Posts

Showing posts with the label United States

North Korean Endgame: Is The Regime Rational or Not?

Image
2016 was the year of the most missile tests conducted ever by North Korea, a total of 24. Since the beginning of 2017, the regime in Pyongyang had ratcheted up the tests, currently at 17, with the promise to reach a new all-time high, and surpass the last year’s record. The last test, conducted symbolically on the 4th of July, marked a new milestone by introducing an intercontinental capability to the Pyongyang’s ballistic missiles (ICBMs) with a range that could reach Alaska and potentially Seattle. It is now believed that North Korea will soon be able to develop and mount miniaturized nuclear warheads to its ICBMs and become an even greater threat to its neighbors, and the United States. The urgency of the current developments, fast outpacing the expected timetable for acquiring such capabilities, has raised the stakes at Washington, Seoul, Tokyo, Moscow, and Beijing, prompting for fast new policies targeting the military belligerence of the rogue state. What are the main policy op…

How Europe and America Lost Turkey

Image
A Japanese diplomat once replied to an American counterpart asking him about the principles of the Japanese foreign policy by pointing, “Your country may be based on principles, ours is based on archipelago”. Geographic boundaries are rarely elastic, even when socially constructed. Cultural boundaries may seem more elastic, but like the physical ones, they too are rarely prone to fundamental changes. More importantly, the latter often determine the perception of the former. In “The Revenge of Geography” Robert Kaplan argued in a powerful way that ignoring geography may be a fatal mistake that could prevent us from understanding the nature of many political conflicts. What he ostensibly omitted from his paradigm is the difference between physical and human geography. A cursory look would show that when the two overlap, greater stability ensues. But when they don’t, a search of identity could take many paths, not all of them leading to stability.

Turkey is a case in focus. In a striking …

Trump's Gorbachev Moment

Image
“I couldn't wait to get to the most powerful position because I thought then I would be able to fix problems that only a leader can fix. But when I got there, I realized we needed a revolutionary change.” These are not the words of the just-inaugurated President Trump, even though they could easily be mistaken for his. These words belong to another president, long fallen into oblivion: the last Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and its first and last president – Michail Gorbachev. Unlike Trump, Gorbachev presided over a true “empire of evil”, driven by ideological fanaticism, economic determinism, and political oppression – in a way, a complete opposite of the U.S.: USSR was a communist dictatorship, U.S. is a capitalist liberal democracy; Gorbachev was a career apparatchik and a sincere believer in the virtues of communism, Trump is a businessmen with no prior political experience, whose belief in capitalism is perhaps the only certain characteristic of…