It’s a big week for US policy and the Middle East, a defining moment for the Obama administration’s impact. What happens this week will not alone be enough to achieve regional cooperation with the US on peace and security but, if it goes wrong, that will be enough to make that cooperation next to impossible for several years again. Continue reading
Ever since the end of the British empire, some of us British have been pondering and picking over the question of what is our place in the world. For the British, it is so much part of the condition of being British that for the most part we don’t realise we’re doing it and, when it’s pointed out to us, we assume that it’s simply part and parcel of having a national identity. But it’s not. And our obsession with it says something about us. As our Parliament merrily implodes before our eyes, the question is coming back again but in the end the answer may be surprisingly banal. Continue reading
Posted in Power
Tagged British foreign policy, Bush, DFID, European politics, G-20, Gordon Brown, international politics, MPs' expenses, On the fiddle, Parliament, Tony Blair, UK-US relationship, US
By the time Obama was inaugurated, he had promised so much, there was a risk that he could only disappoint. Let’s not get too carried away in these tough times, but there is some much needed good news: perfect his administration is not, but the first signs in foreign policy are far from negative. This extended post surveys the key issues. Continue reading
Posted in Climate change, Conflict & peace, Power, The economic crunch
Tagged Bush, China, Copenhagen, G-20, Gaza, international politics, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, US
So Gordon Brown went to Strasbourg and told the European Parliament that the EU is uniquely placed to provide world leadership in the economic crisis. Is this the Gordon Brown who deliberately avoided EU ministerial meetings and designed impassable tests the UK economy had to pass if he was to let it join the Euro? Why the change? Continue reading
This is a key year for climate change policy, leading up to the summit in Copenhagen in December, which has the task of coming up with the “post-Kyoto” climate agreement. With the obscurantism of Bush replaced by the energy and commitment of the still new Obama administration, hopes are high though obstacles are many. As part of its preparations for the year ahead, on Thursday 12th the UK Foreign Office held a workshop at London School of Economics on climate security. Continue reading
Speaking last Friday at the US Marine Corps Camp Lejeune base in North Carolina President Obama announced a big reduction in US troop numbers in Iraq from 142,000 down to 50,000 by August next year, with all US forces out by the end of 2011. So he has made his intentions clear. Or has he?
A few days away from inauguration, there is a palpable eagerness to know how US policy will be under Barrack Obama. Most discussion of this is about his vision and strategic preferences. I think we should also look at the basics of US power. Because, call me old-fashioned or what, I believe that however transformational Obama is, he will also be the American President.