Abstract Historically, Iraq stands out as one of the cultural, religious and political centres of the Middle East, a leading country which has constantly exerted a relevant impact on the regional system. However, after years of wars and sanctions and, most recently, the Iraqi Freedom military operation, Iraq crumbled into a difficult period of transition which culminated in the civil war between 2005 and 2006. In 2011, the restoration of its full sovereignty opened up a new phase in this process of transition towards a new internal balance of power. At the same time, Iraq’s government regained the capacity to determine its foreign policy. This contribution aims to give an overview of the recent developments in Iraq’s efforts to reposition itself in the international and regional system, detailing the ratio of Iraqi foreign policy with a specific focus on the relationship between Baghdad, Tehran, Riyadh and Ankara. Paolo Maggiolini, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Foundation for Interreligious and Intercultural Research and Dialogue.
Beijing would vote for Angela Merkel in Germany’s upcoming general elections.
After the regional election in Bavaria, the outcome of the Federal election is harder to predict than ever. While the CDU’s Bavarian junior partner was able to secure a large majority of the votes, the coalition partner FDP has been left behind, receiving a mere 3.3% of the votes. In practice, this means they are no longer represented in the Bavarian parliament. The Chancellor appears untroubled by these developments.
The July 10-11, 2013 US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) made major strides in stabilizing and moving forward US-China relations, building upon the momentum spurred by the June presidential summit between US President, Barack Obama, and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Sunnylands, California. The US and China have hosted the annual S&ED since 2009, and before then as a separate Strategic Dialogue and Strategic Economic Dialogue, which were initiated in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
While the US is seeking a way of rebalancing China in East Asia its approach left space for interpretation. The strategy of positioning itself in Asia on basis of concrete security issues and alliances while keeping its involvement open is seemingly only one aspect of the new game. Today a more or less refined toolbox of ‘strategic persuasion’ was designed in order to deal with an increasingly influential and powerful China. Instead of engaging in a non-desirable and costly direct military opposition to China, the US tries to pull all the strings in order influence its behavior towards moderation particularly in East Asia. In so doing, Washington is encountering an expectation-perception gap. So far the strategy has not necessarily proven successful. In Beijing, strategic maneuvers were often not fully understood and responses did not turn out not as initially desired. The US’ pivot to Asia has aroused a primordial fear in modern China: containment by outside powers. With a return to more traditional language of balancing, in China the situation was better understood. Yet, the implication remains the same. China has in reaction adopted a more assertive stance in military affairs while gradually trying to limit political damage in the ASEAN framework.
Although the US’s recent ‘pivot’ toward the East Asian region has been much discussed, inadequate attention has been paid to the political and economic consequences of this initiative. This paper considers the political-economy of the pivot and suggests that it is best understood as part of a long-standing pattern of American engagement with the region. However, the rise of China is placing important new constraints on America’s ability to use economic leverage as an element of its overall policies in the region. The paper explains why and details some of the most important elements in the evolving Asia-Pacific political-economy.