Posts Tagged foreign relations

Silicon Valley and China

From Foreign Policy:

In the U.S. system, laws are legitimate insofar as they are conceived by what Jean-Jacques Rousseau called “the general will” of the people, expressed through the workings of a democratic political system. Laws that are arbitrary or imposed by the will of a single person of authority are illegitimate. Yet the Chinese system rests on the idea that the sole source of legitimacy is the CCP, which represents—it claims—the will of the Chinese nation in its entirety and violently suppresses challenges to its authority. This sharp tension between the political value systems that prevail in the two countries is a primary cause of the spiraling bilateral competition. Tech companies confront this tension when they are tasked to comply with Chinese laws, by enabling the arrest of dissidents for “subversion of state power” or the mass surveillance of Uighurs, which are rightly viewed by most Americans as immoral and illegitimate.

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The Inevitability of Foreign Entanglements

The Inevitability of Foreign Entanglements is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By George Friedman

The Fourth of July weekend gave me time to consider events in Iraq and Ukraine, U.S.-German relations and the Mexican borderland and immigration. I did so in the context of the founding of the United States, asking myself if America has strayed from the founders’ intent with regard to foreign policy. Many people note Thomas Jefferson’s warning that the United States should pursue “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none,” taking that as the defining strategy of the founders. I think it is better to say that was the defining wish of the founders but not one that they practiced to extremes.

As we know, U.S. President Barack Obama has said he wants to decrease U.S. entanglements in the world. Ironically, many on the right want to do the same. There is a common longing for an America that takes advantage of its distance from the rest of the world to avoid excessive involvement in the outside world. Whether Jefferson’s wish can constitute a strategy for the United States today is a worthy question for a July 4, but there is a profounder issue: Did his wish ever constitute American strategy? Read the rest of this entry »

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The American Public’s Indifference to Foreign Affairs

The American Public’s Indifference to Foreign Affairs is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By George Friedman

Last week, several events took place that were important to their respective regions and potentially to the world. Russian government officials suggested turning Ukraine into a federation, following weeks of renewed demonstrations in Kiev. The Venezuelan government was confronted with violent and deadly protests. Kazakhstan experienced a financial crisis that could have destabilized the economies of Central Asia. Russia and Egypt inked a significant arms deal. Right-wing groups in Europe continued their political gains.

Any of these events had the potential to affect the United States. At different times, lesser events have transfixed Americans. This week, Americans seemed to be indifferent to all of them. This may be part of a cycle that shapes American interest in public affairs. The decision to raise the debt ceiling, which in the last cycle gripped public attention, seemed to elicit a shrug. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By George Friedman

The struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the world — a shift that followed intense German interest in Ukraine. This week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, in a now-famous cellphone conversation, declared her strong contempt for the European Union and its weakness and counseled the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to proceed quickly and without the Europeans to piece together a specific opposition coalition before the Russians saw what was happening and took action.

This is a new twist not because it makes clear that the United States is not the only country intercepting phone calls, but because it puts U.S. policy in Ukraine in a new light and forces us to reconsider U.S. strategy toward Russia and Germany. Nuland’s cellphone conversation is hardly definitive, but it is an additional indicator of American strategic thinking. Read the rest of this entry »

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The U.S.-Iran Talks: Ideology and Necessity

The U.S.-Iran Talks: Ideology and Necessity is republished with permission of Stratfor.”

By George Friedman

The talks between Iran and the Western powers have ended but have not failed. They will reconvene next week. That in itself is a dramatic change from the past, when such talks invariably began in failure. In my book The Next Decade, I argued that the United States and Iran would move toward strategic alignment, and I think that is what we are seeing take shape. Of course, there is no guarantee that the talks will yield a settlement or that they will evolve into anything more meaningful. But the mere possibility requires us to consider three questions: Why is this happening now, what would a settlement look like, and how will it affect the region if it happens? Read the rest of this entry »

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