Category: Long essays (Page 2 of 2)

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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The Cost of Cambodian Citizenship

In July 2015, a North Korean man traveled to Hawaii, bought, and attempted to ship military goods to China. China is a common route for weapons transfer to North Korea, and Kim Song-Il knew what he was doing. Homeland Security agents arrested Song-Il, and sentenced him to more than three years in prison in late February for violating the Arms Export Control Act, a law that regulates overseas shipment of U.S. military items. Song-Il’s lawyer declined to disclose the fate of the Cambodian passport he used to travel to the U.S.

Kim Song-Il's law enforcement booking photo provided by the Weber County, Utah, Sheriff's Offiice

Kim Song-Il’s law enforcement booking photo provided by the Weber County, Utah, Sheriff’s Offiice

Although the Kingdom of Cambodia holds diplomatic ties with the rogue state, the fact that the government handed Song-Il a passport is still irresponsible. The man had ties to a company known for fronting arms to North Korea. Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni never should have stamped Song-Il’s immigration forms. Yet in September 2008, that’s exactly what he did. And, over the years, a number of suspicious individuals have been granted Cambodian citizenship. 

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Analysis: “Freedom of Press”, Turkey and the real story of Zaman takeover

The crescendo of the Conflict: Guest post by Akif Avcı. (Akif is a Doctoral Researcher at the University of Nottingham)


 

The motivation behind typing this article is to resist against the mainstream media in the issue of the takeover of media group Feza Journalism by the AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, Justice and Development Party) government. Two days ago, a decision has been made by a Turkish court to takeover the Feza Journalism, which owns Turkey’s largest-circulation newspaper and one of the most famous private news agency affiliated with Gulen Movement. Many people gathered in front the Zaman building to protest this seizure. Police forces have attacked the protestors with water-cannons and tear gasses. Many of the journalists, intellectuals, and political party leaders in Turkey have approached the takeover of the Feza media group as a threat to the freedom of press, and declared their solidarity with Gulenist Media.

Supposing this as a threat to the freedom of speech in Turkey-as most of the mainstream media has done so far- is nothing more than masking the truths behind the scene. Rather, this takeover, from my perspective, is the latest attempt of the AKP government in the sense of overcoming its enemy in the ongoing battle between the Gulen Movement and the AKP government, which has become crystallised after the so-called corruption probe started in 17-25 December of 2013. I would like to highlight the fact that there is this agenda needs to be focused on in order to unearth why the AKP has attacked the Gulenist media. This article argues that the takeover is the reflection of intra-capital, intra-state conflict between the AKP government and the Gulen Movement. The task of this article is to uncover the history and unpack what the AKP-Gulen coalition fuelled the neoliberal authoritarian regime. 

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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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“The Russians Are Coming!”

Relax…Russians are not invading the Baltic states anytime soon. As you know, BBC docu and the recent RAND Corp report both states Russia will win a war with NATO, without mentioning why on Earth would Russia want to even fight a war with NATO…so I read the report, so that you don’t have to.

Here’s my response, from a Neo-Realist perspective.

You’re welcome.

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 

B&D Editor’s exclusive: Britain shouldn’t rush to war in Syria

As Britain inches towards war again (A Realist Perspective)

One can almost hear the war drums beating again, as Britain prepares for a parliament vote to decide on war in Syria. David Cameron proceeded with his half-hearted case about war in Syria, and why Britain should join with US and France in bombing ISIS in Syria, an argument which was as logically incoherent as a kitchen sieve with water. The Labour party on the other hand in completely in disarray, and with civil war about to break out, and an incompetent and ideologically pacifist leader in Jeremy Corbyn. Such is the situation, that when Corbyn this time is actually raising extremely valuable points, no one is listening to him, as the atmosphere inside Labour is so vicious. Cameron leads a country from one Middle East misadventure to other, with the majority of the country remaining opposed to it, but there is no one to stop him.

Let’s first analyse the case for war. To be frank, there is none.

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