Where the Middle East is concerned – as in so many areas of policy, both domestic and foreign – President Obama and President-Elect Trump are poles apart. It is only slowly, but with growing clarity over the eight years of his presidency, that the political assumptions underlying Obama’s Middle East policy, and the strategic objectives shaped by them, have emerged.
Exactly five hundred years ago, in 1516, the renowned English statesman and social philosopher Sir Thomas More published “Utopia”, a novel in which he pictured an imaginary island where a totally just government had created the perfect society. More, however, was under no illusion that paradise is attainable in this wicked world – which is why the two Greek words from which “Utopia” is constructed translate as “nowhere.” In the real world, where imperfect societies abound, it is certainly incumbent on everyone to strive to eliminate injustice and improve life for humanity in general. But it is also necessary…
We are facing the possibility of a second Cold War – and if it happens, Isis will never be defeated. Every conflict during the Cold War was fought by armies or insurgents working on behalf of the Americans, Russians, or, occasionally the Chinese: Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Angola and the list goes on. These countries would use proxies again, but with a higher death count, in the 21st century At the risk of sounding a little foolish, there is, sadly, much evidence that World War Three has already arrived, though not quite in the way so many futurologists of the past imagined…
US President-elect Donald Trump admires Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. That much became clear during Trump’s presidential campaign, as did his intention when in office to repair the US’s damaged relations with the Russian Federation. At the moment the US and Russia, although both nominally combating Islamic State (IS) in the Syrian civil war, are so far from allies that they are very nearly belligerents. In September 2014 the Obama administration brought together a coalition of countries to undertake a twin-objective military effort in Syria: to defeat the rampant IS that had seized large swathes of the country, and to remove…
Britain’s parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee is at daggers drawn with Britain’s Foreign Office. That is to say, the Members of Parliament who form the influential Select Committee that monitors foreign affairs have taken up cudgels against the government department, headed by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, responsible for formulating and implementing UK foreign policy.
Nation states cause some of our biggest problems, from civil war to climate inaction. Science suggests there are better ways to run a planet. Try, for a moment, to envisage a world without countries. Imagine a map not divided into neat, coloured patches, each with clear borders, governments, laws. Try to describe anything our society does – trade, travel, science, sport, maintaining peace and security – without mentioning countries. Try to describe yourself: you have a right to at least one nationality, and the right to change it, but not the right to have none.
This article first published by GR in November 2006 is of particular relevance to an understanding of the ongoing process of destabilization and political fragmentation of Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Washington’s strategy consists in breaking up Syria and Iraq. * * * “Hegemony is as old as Mankind…” -Zbigniew Brzezinski, former U.S. National Security Advisor The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the…
I wrote the first version of this essay in June 2014. Since then, I had over 4,000 hits on it in my blog. I decided to update it partly because of some elements of neo-isolationist proposals from the Republicans Party and presidential candidate Trump who claimed that Obama and Clinton were the founders of ISIS. More importantly, I see a downward spiral in US foreign policy whether the White House is under a Democrat or Republican administration.
Terrorism and other attacks by disillusioned youth reinforce the need to rediscover equality as a human right. Forms of seemingly irrational violence within society and even sexualised or racial violence are dramatically on the rise worldwide. We see radicalisation and especially a turn to ideology in communities, societies and states. The common denominator is a type of thinking characterised by the feeling of “We against the Rest”. At the same time, people everywhere struggle with the loss of their identity in today’s “liquid modernity”, a concept coined by sociologist Zygmunt Bauman.
Her name is Sherin Khankan. Born in Denmark to a Syrian father and a Finnish mother, the well-known author and political commentator has started a new mosque in Copenhagen, Denmark. Named as ‘Mariam Mosque’, it is led entirely by women imams.