Category: North America (Page 2 of 3)

On Hiroshima and Apologizing

In the final year of his presidency, Barack Obama took the liberty to do what it had been speculated that he would do for some time: visit Hiroshima and give a speech on the atomic bomb. It should be emphasized that he “gave a speech” and didn’t “apologize,” but nonetheless, “apology” is the word of choice, especially across the right side of the blogosphere.

Nowhere did Obama take a stand on whether or not it was right to drop the bomb. That wouldn’t have been the place to do it. You don’t respect your allies by reasserting the righteousness of your might in the place where 60,000 civilians were incinerated. Even if that was necessary to end the war, it was a tragedy that it had to happen and that it did happen.

Acknowledging that tragedy was what Obama did. “We come to mourn the dead,” Obama said. He included the victims of the Nagasaki bombing, too, in reciting the death toll and made specific note of the one dozen American POWs killed (and made no mention of the British and Dutch POWs).

“Yet in the image of a mushroom cloud that rose into these skies, we are most starkly reminded of humanity’s core contradiction. How the very spark that marks us as a species, our thoughts, our imagination, our language, our toolmaking, our ability to set ourselves apart from nature and bend it to our will — those very things also give us the capacity for unmatched destruction,” he said.

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Money doesn’t grow on trees: What Bernie Kids don’t understand

So, this came out.

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Highly opinionated and ideological with zero economics knowledge, laced with perceived victimhood, privileged, wasting thousands of dollars on subjects with minimal job prospect, and expecting a bailout from the taxpayers. This is what welfare queens look like these days.

Now, here’s something deeply troubling with this tweet. And that goes into the heart of the problem we are facing today, not just in US but across the World.

First of all, who in their right mind borrows $226,000 dollars to study Speech Pathology, and then expect a bailout from taxpayers? I never borrowed ten dollars to study something, which doesn’t have job prospect, just because I am bleeding in my heart to help people, unless I am smart enough to get a scholarship.

(Thankfully I always had, not because I am the smartest man in this planet, but in this volatile and fluid era, with chances of conflict between great powers increasing, which might result in massive death unless a grand strategy pattern is predicted, my research is in a field which analyses the aforementioned foreign policy patterns of great powers. Demand, meet supply.)

Look, it is simple economics, and here’s how it works. 

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Weekly Reading List: So, I got published in War on the Rocks and Nottspolitics

Big week, as I mentioned before, with a couple of major publications coming, other than my regular columns.

To start with, the biggest one till date, my essay on War on the Rocks, where I write a Neo-Realist critique of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s latest revisionist history lesson. And was then called a Neo-Con for some reason, in the comments. But that’s another issue.

The second big one was my guest post at the official blog of the University of Nottingham, Dept of Politics and IR, where I talk about a foreign policy course for Philippines and how it should balance between China and US.

Other than that, here are my weekly columns.

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No, Trump’s not a Realist. He’s not anything, because he has no ideas.

After Donald Trump’s foreign policy interview with the New York Times, foreign policy analysts, including coeditor Maitra, Tom Wright, and Stephen Walt, began discussing whether or not Trump was a neo-Realist, as Dan Drezner argued in his February 2 WaPo blog piece, “So when will realists endorse Donald Trump?”

Even if Trump was a dyed-in-the-wool Realist, one could still choose not to endorse him if they wanted a president who was the least bit dignified, or one who knew anything about foreign policy. Moreover, as Maitra argued, Trump is not in the least a Realist.

I second Maitra’s argument for the simple reason that Trump doesn’t know enough about foreign policy to qualify as an adherent to any ideology. Asking whether or not he’s a Realist is not even a valid question in the first place. It’s like debating whether Kim Kardashian is a Keynesian or an Austrian.

This is the candidate who doesn’t know who the leader of ISIS is or what Hamas and Hezbollah are.

The response in particular that got a lot of attention in the Times interview was that he would consider letting Japan and South Korea develop nuclear weapons. Let’s talk about his views on nuclear: He doesn’t even know what the nuclear triad is, he admitted at a debate, and “I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”

Here’s what he said about nuclear in his other disastrous recent interview, the one with the Washington Post editorial board:

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So, is Donald Trump a Neo-Realist?

I guess this was inevitable.

After the debate about Obama being a Realist, (he’s ofcourse not) it was inevitable the Neorealist tag would be on Donald Trump after his interminable dross for New York Times. It is an incoherent mess, with talking points which will make, Hayek to Say to Ricardo to Morgenthau to Waltz, all cringe in shame, but it had some interesting moments.

But not as interesting as this debate which started right after.

If you click on the above images, you will get the crux of the argument. Is Trump a Neorealist or not? The argument for, is that he wants Japan and South Korea to have independent deterrence, and rid United States of carrying the security burden in Asia. The counter argument is, well…he is insane.

Here’re my points.

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Weekly Reading List: All about foreign policy Realism.

Hi everyone, been long we had a Weekly Reading List! Not weekly anymore, unfortunately, as I am busy with my work and research, but as Easter break is approaching, and I will be immersed full time in my PhD thesis, here’re a few articles which I want to leave you guys with, which I wrote in the last one month.

JIR2016_1First, the big one.

My research paper got published, titled “Was Putin Ever Friendly to the West?”: An Expository Study of the First Two Terms of President Vladimir Putin, In Light of the Theories of Realism. (Journal of International Relations, Faculty of International Relations, University of Economics in Bratislava 2016, Volume XIV, Issue 1, Pages 58-92. ISSN 1336-1562 (print), ISSN 1339-2751 (online) Published 15. 3. 2016)

You can download the full paper here.

Aurangzeb_in_old_age_2Secondly, most of you would remember I wrote a comparative piece on how modern Russia is like seventeenth century India under the Mughals? I went a bit further and compared Putin and the medieval Indian emperor Aurangzeb. (Which, incidentally got a nice review here!)

I wrote two articles on Russia-Direct, the first one on how unlikely it is for Russia to actually invade the Baltics, and the second one on the fact that Russia and US is not in any New Cold war, but just a usual Great power rivalry with competition and cooperation happening simultaneously.

I also wrote one long essay for The Interpreter Magazine, on how contrary to popular belief, Obama is not a Realist…infact he doesn’t seem to understand what Realism in foreign policy means.

With regards to my weekly columns, here are they. 

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“New Cold War” and policies to confront Russia

Joint editorial by Mitchell Blatt and Sumantra Maitra, editors of Bombs and Dollars


 

For those who make a career out of observing and analyzing international relations, the Munich security conference is a surreal experience. A lot changed since the passive aggressive rupture in 2007 by Vladimir Putin, in front of a stunned and a little dismissive European audience, and the world has come a long way since then. Russia pummeled Georgia, annexed Crimea, divided Ukraine, and intervened in Syria. Europe faces a migration crisis unlike ever before in history, of an exceptional magnitude and character. Migration and jihadism are used as weapons of blackmail not just by an adversarial Russia but a supposed ally in Turkey, and partners in East Europe. The liberal world order has crashed, and history has returned with a vengeance. Not everything has changed, of course… Stop the War, Code Pink and Global Research Canada still blames Western imperialism. Ed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald still think intelligence-gathering and espionage in times of war are totally outdated and provocative policies, a view shared (rhetorically, at least) by Ted Cruz, for some reason. Donald Trump proudly touts his support from Putin and pledges to buddy up to him in return, while Trump’s supporters comment on Facebook that at least they think an autocratic tyrant who is behind the deaths of dissidents is better than President Obama. Trump defended him, on the grounds that, “the U.S. kills people, too,” and “there’s no evidence” he has killed a journalist, but it doesn’t matter, because even if he did start shooting people on Fifth Avenue, they would still support him. Mitt Romney was mocked in 2012 for stating that Russia was America’s“biggest enemy.” Obama painted him as an out-of-touch old hawk who didn’t know the Cold War ended decades ago. Just this February, Russian PM Dimitry Medvedevsaid, “We are in a new Cold War.” 291150701-e1409886026827

So are we or are we not in a new cold war? And if we are, how big is Putin’s Russia a threat to the West, and how to deal with it?

Well…the question itself is complicated, and the key is in the wording. While news outlets that printed Medvedev’s quote used capital letters for “Cold War,” as if it were a proper noun, it is indisputable that we are in a cold war—not like the one between America and Russia, but a geo-political battle of a different scale. No matter how much German foreign minister tries to Germansplain Medvedev’s remarks, there is no questioning that is true. Russia is a shadow of the former Soviet self and simply lacks the capability for global political, military, economic and ideological confrontation. However, that doesn’t make it any less important, because unlike last time, the West is not united. Many in Western Europe and the U.S. and Canada are complacent and accommodating this time around. But for the Baltic countries and Ukraine, they are in big trouble, and they know it.

To deal with this new development, we need to understand and more importantly accept that we’re in a geo-political conflict. Here’s how. 

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Few blog posts for your holiday weekend reading!

Well, I apologise for not being regular, hectic week. But here’re a few publications by me. It’s that time of the year. When we celebrate the birth of our Lord of Scientific Reasoning, Sir Isaac Newton. 12436640_10203967247220283_1423912340_o

On the ongoing battle of Ramadi. Just remember, this Christmas, there are men and women fighting and dying so that others can live for free.

On what IR theory tells us about what’s happening in South China Sea. (Psstt…it’s called Buckpassing)

On why Turkey and Saudi Arabia are a major threat to Western credibility when it comes to Human Rights.

On the top four takeaways from Putin’s annual Presser. Where he answered some “tough” questions by Russian journalists on about what perfumes he like and how men look up to him on villages. It was surreal to watch, like anything on Russia.

And finally, what according to me, are the top geo-political changes of 2015 and the top challenges of 2016.

That’s pretty much it from me to end this year…Merry Christmas from all of us! Have a wonderful time, with your loved ones! God Bless.

 

Was Putin ever a friend of the West? — New working paper published at SSRN

Realism and the Rise and Decline of Putin’s Rapprochement with the Bush Administration after 9/11

Sumantra Maitra takes on conventional wisdom with his Working Paper Series for SSRN. Here’s the abstract:

It is a common notion among a lot of analysts, including but not limited to Dmitri Trenin of Carnegie Moscow, that Vladimir Putin was a “friend of the West,” and that due to causal and structural reasons, like Iraq War, NATO expansion, Eastern Europe missile defenses and oil price index, he turned into a revanchist ruler that he is today.

I argue, that was not the case, and this essay highlights that he was always a shrewd Realist, on a tactical alignment with the West, looking to chart his own course at his earliest convenience. The study of this time period, of Putin’s first two terms, highlights the importance and suggests future policy course in dealing with him.

This paper is expository and tests the theory of Realism with Russian actions under the first two terms of Vladimir Putin, which broadly coincides with the George W Bush Administration.

Download the full paper here.

Suggested CitationMaitra, Sumantra. Working Paper Series : “Was Putin Ever a Friend of the West? Realism and the Rise and Decline of Putin’s Rapprochement with the Bush Administration after 9/11” (Dec 16, 2015). Available at SSRN – http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2704623 

Editor’s Exclusive: Chinese Foreign Policy Realism and Africa

What China understands about Africa that the West doesn’t

As China’s president Xi Jinping toured Africa for a China-Africa forum aimed at deepening economic and security ties, the visit is increasingly asking deeper questions about world order. President Xi mentioned recently, that “China supports the resolution of African issues by Africans in the African way.” That’s an extremely important quote, to be highlighted, which underscores Chinese diplomacy as Xi channels a Sun Tzu realism, in his way of handling one of the most important regions of the world. It also highlights a very Chinese way of statecraft, which differentiates her from the Western Neo-Liberal globalist perspective. It is important to note, as it provides answers to deeper questions about Great power behavior in a changing global order.

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