Donald Trump’s first year as President of the United States has been, to put it mildly, tempestuous. After a bitterly divisive campaign and a razor-thin victory (he won in the Electoral College with only 46.4% of the national popular vote), Trump took office with the lowest initial approval rating of any president in the modern polling era, and has remained historically unpopular for a first-year president.
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.
One year after the annexation – or reunification, depending on the point of view – of Crimea, Russian mass media is doing its best to keep up the degree of patriotism – or nationalism, again according to the point of view – within the population.
The approaching of elections compels whoever is concerned to pounder Nigerian politics and so happened to the Author of this short commentary.
Afghanistan faces a major milestone in 2014: the withdrawal of the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) troops by the end of the year.
ISAF’s combat troops are scheduled to leave Afghan soil, ending a 13-year war against an unbeatable insurgency.
This paper offers an assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan through the lens of the Taliban insurgency. As the ISAF presence decreases, the onus will shift to the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) to secure the country and continue the fight against the insurgents still battling the Afghan government. Moreover, because it is a key regional actor, the actions of Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) will be critical to the endgame of the conflict and future direction of Afghanistan.
The outcome of the forthcoming general elections is wide open, and Iraq’s political scene could change considerably in a short time. But, whatever its shape and color, the government that takes power will have to address serious medium-term economic challenges. In one way or another, these challenges all relate to oil – and it is difficult to see how it could be otherwise, as Iraq is already one of the largest oil producers in the world and the third largest exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia.