All posts filed under: Foreign Policy

Trump, NATO and the Persistent Myths of International Relations

There’s a German word, which is useful to explain what I, and other political realists felt, after Donald Trump gave his first ever interview as PEOTUS to a British newspaper. Of course, the liberal Twitterati exploded. And yes the word is, as some of you might have guessed, schadenfreude. Most of us are not Trump supporters or fans, nor do we consider Trump to be an elegant statesman or practitioner of realpolitik. But his statements were inevitable and predicatable for anyone — barring the diehard liberal ideologues. The apparent breaking point for the Twitterati was reached when Trump called Merkel’s open gate foreign policy a catastrophe, openly siding with UK against EU with regards to Brexit, and trashing NATO as a Byzantine bureaucracy, calling it “obsolete”. How dare Trump criticise the quite obviously flawed and stagnating liberal global order? The global order paid for and secured by American taxpayers, mind you, and managed by terminally incompetent technocrats, adhering to a radical universalist ideology. How dare he invite the rage of the Davos men (as Samuel …

How Will History Remember Obama?

Ta-Nehisi Coates started the revisionism over the most divisive and controversial President in post Cold war history, as Ta-Nehisi Coates is wont to do. Which is unfortunate, because Obama, for good or for bad, deserves a fair, objective, non-linear analysis of his record, and a certainly more nuanced look than the partisan hagiographies that are currently emerging. President Obama, the first biracial leader of the free world, and one of the most gifted extemporaneous speakers of our time, is a textbook example of a young, professorially cynical, cautious, but overall idealistic young leader who was eventually chastened by time. Coates’ essay is a start in what will be the repeated partisan glossing of the legacy of an interesting character, but one who was eventually defeated by personal naiveté and the structural forces that resided outside of his control. He deserves a more thorough scrutiny than terribly worded think pieces focusing on nothing other than one single defining factor, his race. I remember when Obama stood as a smooth-talking Senator against Hillary Clinton in 2008. My rookie journalism …

The Restart of History and the Russia Question

Two Schools of Thought We have a policy paralysis in the West with regards to Putin’s Russia. Recently, two essays “The Cold War is Over” by Peter Hitchens and the “Realism We Need” by Edward Lucas both agreed that Putin is a tyrannical despot, as any sane individual would. They both accept that Russia is a wondrous country with incredible contribution to global literature and culture, and Russians as people are exceptional, as do I. Anyone who disagrees with this, needs to get their head checked. They however differ on the causality of Russian revanchism, and prescribe completely opposing policy to counter this threat. In his essay, Hitchens, unlikely a Realist himself in the academic sense of the term, agrees with a basic Realist explanation of the causation of Russian revanchism in Europe, and squarely blames it on NATO expansion, Eastern European colour revolutions as well as democracy promotion and liberal hegemony. He also suggests that the Cold War is over, and there’s no need to rush into another rivalry with Russia and renew a …

Reappraising Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilisations’

Not so long ago I became acquainted with a young Swedish undergrad, next to my workplace at my University, where I had just started my doctoral research. When Sweden and Germany were boiling over the issue of mass sexual assaults — mostly perpetrated by groups of migrant youths — something led me to talk about Samuel Huntington with my young Swedish friend. This friend, normally very liberal and tolerant, somehow became extremely agitated, and said, everything about Huntington was racist and colonial and supremacist. And ideas like his should be banned across universities as they would be a threat to impressionable late teenagers. I was a bit taken aback by such an over-the-top reaction at the mere mention of the name of a philosopher, controversial though he was. I only read later (to my utter bemusement) that this type of reaction is the latest fad in a certain section of Euro-American academia, and is called “being triggered”. (This is where a section of people try to censor or ban the mere mention of seemingly inconsequential and regular …

Merkel’s Meaningless Mea Culpa

Unchecked migration and Merkel’s mea culpa Angela Merkel is apologizing. Not for her policies, but for a whole lot of other things. She’s sorry for losing control of the refugee crisis, sorry for not preparing enough, sorry for her party’s losses in Germany. After staggering losses of social Democrats to far right parties both in and around Germany, the usually Teutonically stoic Chancellor is sorry, but also not really sorry. Not once did she mention that her policies were inherently flawed, and that her blatant disregard of history has resulted in the highest nativist backlash and destabilization in European societies since the 1930s. In a press conference Merkel said that she and her government made mistakes in how they handled their refugee policy. Over a million migrants turned up because of Germany’s liberal “open door” policy, most of them male, able bodied, (and a lot of them not even from war zones). The German chancellor’s call of “we can manage this” prompted thousands to cross the freezing Mediterranean, paying their life savings to people smugglers …