The prospect of military action against the Assad regime by western powers has become increasingly real. Soon it may be all but inevitable. But what kind of action, for what purpose, in the service of what larger strategy? All this remains obscure. Continue reading
Syria – what role for diplomacy?
In the course of little more than a week, the idea that diplomacy could achieve anything to prevent the war in Syria escalating yet further fell off the international agenda as arms supplies became the dominant theme and returned to head it following the G8 summit at Enniskillen’s Lough Erne resort in Northern Ireland. Here’s my quick take on what seems to be going on. Continue reading
Syria: intervention – or the great power game?
Syria – the death toll reaches 93,000, the US administration says it has firm evidence of nerve gas use by the Syrian government and further says it will supply arms to the opposition. Things are moving – but towards what? The debate is focused on the arguments for and against armed intervention. I think that may well be very misleading. Continue reading
Obama, 1 year in: flaws aren’t failure – but there are new risks in policy towards Iran
President Barack Obama has handed himself his sharpest challenge yet: a year of showing his unclenched fist to Iran has produced nothing and now he is toughening up his stance with a missile shield for the US naval forces in the Gulf. What will this do to his presidency? There was so much hope and much of that energy remains, even if it is not being so effectively tapped, but in confronting Iran, might Obama seriously lose his way?
Obama in power (11): Hope’s prize
The Nobel Peace Prize Committee has not done either President Obama or itself any favours by awarding him this year’s prize. It’s an award for promise rather than achievement. Read the citation and it sounds pretty much like saying, ‘We award the prize to the most popular man in the world because we like his views.’ Continue reading
Obama in power (6):policies clarifying, pattern still hazy
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