The news of the Ukrainian crisis have ebbed and flowed with other issues high on the agenda of the Western leaders, such as the stagflation nightmare hanging over the Union and the primitive violence of the decapitations operated by the ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Clearly, this is not one of the best moments in history we have been through. All three emergencies point right to the core of the Western liberal system in an unprecedented way, challenging its very fundamentals.
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 US-Egyptian relations have been experiencing serious fluctuations ever since the outbreak of the Egyptian uprising in January 2011. Bilateral relations have even reached their lowest point with the decision of the Obama administration to suspend substantial military aid (1), military training, and other economic aid funds to the Egyptian government in October 2013, pending what US officials called a credible progress toward an inclusive, democratically elected civilian government through free and fair elections.
Executive branches of governments have always enjoyed a primacy in managing foreign policy and waging war. However, the highly influential parliamentary debates in the United Kingdom, the United States or France on the Syrian conflict have given rise to the perception that parliaments are becoming increasingly influent in first-order international affairs. When looking at recent developments concerning the Syrian crisis, could it be that parliamentary prerogatives in matters of foreign and defense policy are gaining new momentum?
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.
After saying for months that all Iranian presidential hopefuls were the same, foreign observers are falling over themselves in fine-tuning the special features of the successful candidate, Hassan Rohani. Indeed, Rohani’s profile confirms that Iran’s politics are more complex and nuanced than is normally depicted in Western media. Iran’s new president can be safely labelled as a moderate conservative; but what does this mean, and how to deal with the new government in Tehran?
While US-China bilateral relations are currently strained across multiple issues –North Korea’s increased nuclear testing; emissions curbing of “super GHGs”, human rights; and China’s increasingly assertive territorial claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea – it is the cyber war debate that has been claiming recent news headlines, and much more so within the US than in China.