Dienstag, 28. April 2009

At a Crossroads - NATO's future reconsidered


My latest piece is just out - the Journal of American Foreign Policy Interests was kind enough to accept the article called "Finally at a Certain Crossroads - Three Critical Challenges for NATO". The essay deals with the necessary debate on NATO's future in a more fundamental manner, it argues that NATO needs to redefine nearly all its relationships: from the Partnership for Peace to allies and foes alike.
More details can be obtained in the internet, of course:
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=g910609883~db=all

Montag, 27. April 2009

The Decider. Obama's first one hundred days



Former US president George Bush often referred to himself as the "decider". This stance led him to invest his political capital only in projects he really believed in, which considerably contributed to the perception that he did not govern in a bipartisan manner, listened to his allies foreign and abroad and finally led to serious opposition both within and outside the US. One hundred days in office, and the Obama administration did make a jolly good start and delivered some sort of a change, a departure from the Bush-years. Obama's ability to seek the initative in various fields leads commentators to question whether his pace will pay off or is as reckless as it is self-destructive. But he certainly has gained the initative on nearly all fields, delivered on a couple of his promises and seems to treat each policy area with the same amount of attention, leaving much of the details up to Congress. Even more than his predecessor he has proven to be a decider. Indeed he moves so quickly that the GOP finds it hard to attack consistently on a single front, a hundred days in the opposition and it is still hard to identify, how the GOP wants to make a comeback, even harder than 99 days ago. But afterall that is a change in style rather than in content.

Montag, 13. April 2009

Blessing Turkey



President Obama's first trip abroad was hailed as an impressing success: And indeed it was. He rebranded the United States in the eyes of many and almost certainly in the eyes of those, where the US has suffered the most in recent years. He convinced France and Germany to support his Afghanistan strategy and deploy more troops (although only few troops, that is no small success, considering how reluctant the Western European nations are to engage in a theatre that they already consider a quagmire to say the least) and he received general agreement to his economic policy at the G20 in London. But his short trip to Turkey left me wondering: Why would the United States officially support Turkey's membership aspirations with regard to the European Union and at the same time emphasize that Turkey is a Muslim country and hence different - this difference is the only reason he was able to make a point by going to Turkey. So Soner Capagtay was absolutely right in elaborating in more detail today:

"President Obama's April 6 speech to the Turkish parliament in Ankara has addressed Washington's concerns over Turkey's turn from the West. In his speech, Obama tackled the erosion of Turkey's liberal democratic values. He also took up Turkey's recent foreign policy differences with the United States. Lately, a civilizational view of world politics has formed in Ankara, relativizing good and bad according to religion and splitting the Turks from the West. In the latest incident, at the Davos meeting in January, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan chided Israel's president for "killing people" -- and then returned to Ankara to host the vice president of Sudan. Since September 11, Turkey is fact becoming a "Muslim" nation, and a member of the "Muslim World." The only way to counter this conception -- as well as Turkey's turn towards illiberal politics at home and a civilizational view in foreign policy -- is to emphasize Turkey's Western vocation. By speaking strongly in favor of a Western and European Turkey, Obama did exactly that, putting Turkey back in the West."

See the rest of his remarks on:
http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC06.php?CID=1264