Posted inUnited States

US-Australia submarine deal rocks NATO alliance

The United States, by elbowing France aside in a deal with Australia over military submarine purchases, has once again raised doubts about  Washington’s commitment to the NATO alliance. Washington has also highlighted the speed with which President Joe Biden is pivoting, at least militarily, to East Asia. When Biden succeeded the oft-hostile Donald Trump, European […]

Posted inAnalysis

A tale of two generals in Ukraine

The two top commanders of Russian and Ukrainian forces are set to go head-to-head in the spiraling conflict in Ukraine that has become Europe’s most destructive and deadly since World War II. Last week, in hopes of rescuing a flagging seven-week-old invasion, Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, named a veteran officer, General Alexander Dvornikov, to replace […]

Posted inOpinion

The Central Asian school of diplomacy

Daniel Williams’ book Forsaken: The Persecution of Christians in Today’s Middle East,  published in 2016, contributed much to our understanding of the plight of an ancient religious confession under extreme duress. It remains relevant now: “Across the Middle East today, Christian communities find themselves the victims of widening repression to a point where, in the region that was […]

Posted inOpinion

Let the games begin – in Ukraine

Let the games begin, and I don’t mean the just-concluded Beijing Winter Olympics. Rather, it’s the pending Russian invasion of Ukraine and uncertain Western response. Putin was canny enough to withhold invasion during the winter sports festival hosted by his geopolitical friend Xi Jinping. But with the Olympic Games over, public relations problems with China […]

Posted inOpinion

Haitian, Cuban refugees a Biden re-election danger

The combination of a vicious and mysterious assassination of Haiti’s president and unprecedented anti-government protests in Cuba spell political danger for US President Joe Biden should they engender a massive flow of refugees. Biden already faces criticism for allowing tens of thousands of largely economic migrants, mostly from Central America, to cross illicitly from Mexico. […]

Posted inAnalysis

West turns sanctions screws slowly; foes move fast

Major Western democracies have decided to rely on economic sanctions to force improvements in human rights or the reversal of unwelcome foreign policy moves by despotic adversaries, notably Belarus, Russia and China.                                                                                                                                          The punishments have been imposed gradually in the hope that the slow tightening of the screws will persuade the targeted government to make changes […]

Posted inAnalysis

Navalny stokes Putin’s fear of being overthrown

As thousands of demonstrators across Russia were protesting against the arrest of detained dissident democratic leader Alexei Navalny, Russia Today, one of the Kremlin’s propaganda TV arms, broadcast a documentary on the 2014 anti-Moscow uprising in Ukraine. The juxtaposition was indicative of one of President Vladimir Putin’s apparent fears – that mass street protests might […]