As Ukraine prepares to hold its second presidential election since the 2014 “Revolution of Dignity”, there is less focus on the country in the United States now that at any point in the last five years. That is not to say that it has fallen off the radar or that US policy circles no longer care about what is happening there, but rather that the situation in Ukraine is seen as being a fair way along the inevitable process of moving from crisis to normalisation.
Fra pochi anni, quando presumibilmente sia gli Stati Uniti che la Nato saranno ancora impegnati in Afghanistan, la guerra più lunga nella storia americana compirà vent’anni. È dal 2001 che le forze americane e alleate si impegnano alla ricerca di una stabilizzazione, che tuttavia è ancora lontana a venire. Certo alcuni scopi strategici gli Stati Uniti li hanno già perseguiti con successo: la cattura di Bin Laden e la conversione dell’Afghanistan in un paese poco ospitale per i gruppi terroristici di matrice islamista.
Understanding the current iteration of the two-decade long North Korean crisis is not easy. It is, for what of a better word, complicated. Furthermore, the fact is that it has finally imploded while Donald Trump is President. “Of all the presidents in all the world, why did you have to start a North Korean crisis with him...?” This is not an administration that lends itself to level analysis. And nor is the topic, for that matter.
The conventional wisdom is that Barack Obama is America’s first ‘Pacific president’. Obama grew up in Hawaii and Jakarta. The ‘pivot to Asia’ is Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement. And the Trans-Pacific Partnership is the cornerstone of Obama’s trade policy. By contrast, Europe is – or at least appears to be – less important to the U.S. President. Obama has few if any obvious European roots. His attention to European security has been sporadic rather than strategic. And his determination to conclude the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) before the end of his administration is more rhetorical than real.
This conventional wisdom is pervasive. It is also misleading. The transatlantic relationship is bigger than any sitting president. Moreover, Obama’s policies toward Europe show more continuity with his predecessors than change. Relations have changed across the Atlantic despite this continuity.
Di Matthew Wilson
As President Obama enters his last full year in office, his supporters and critics alike have begun to debate his legacy, seeking to shape the first-draft assessment of “the Obama years.” President Obama has been one of the most polarizing figures in recent American political history, so it is no surprise that judgements of his domestic policy accomplishments diverge sharply along partisan and ideological lines. Even many of his supporters, however, would acknowledge that his domestic policy accomplishments will in many areas fall frustratingly short of the aspirations that they had on his historic election in 2008. (...)
Di Walter Russell Mead
President Obama’s final State of the Union address comes at a time when, for the first time in his administration, the public believes that the nation’s most serious problems involve foreign policy rather than domestic issues, the majority disapproves of the President’s handling of foreign affairs, and 73 percent say they want the next President to take a “different approach” to foreign policy. President Obama, for his part, remains deeply committed to his approach to foreign affairs, is determined to continue on his current course through the end of his mandate, and wants a new kind of foreign policy to be part of the political legacy of his administration. (...)
It is an interesting and intense November in international relations. The APEC Summit in Beijing has gathered the leaders of a number of countries, which represent 54% of the world Gdp; 9 of them are G-20 members. The G-20 Summit itself, taking place in Australia (15-16 November), seems to once more highlight the centrality of the Pacific region in the world economy and politics. At the region’s core, China is slowly but steadily taking the lead and asserting its own centrality.
When Presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping meet in Beijing this week, they will try to reverse the downward spiral in relations between their two countries. There is a growing sense that a promising partnership, one that was captured by the agreement to forge a “new type of major country relations,” has lost its momentum and threatens to run off the rails.