Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Porkins Great Game: Episode #17 - The Unquiet Frontier

In December 2017, Pearse Redmond and I finally managed to record a new episode of Porkins Great Game. We start off by explaining why we want to take the show in a new direction, focusing more on the Eurasian rimlands and less on Central Asia and the Caucasus region. This brings us to the 2016 book "The Unquiet Frontier" by Aaron Wess Mitchell and Jakub Grygiel who both joined the State Department in 2017 after President Trump picked Mitchell as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. Pearse and I consider the question of whether Mitchell and Grygiel have influenced the foreign policy of the Trump administration and what we can learn from "The Unquiet Frontier".
Our second segment deals with the recent assassinations of Chechen "freedom fighters" in Ukraine. We focus on the case of Timur Makhauri who led a mysterious life in Chechnya, Georgia, Turkey and Syria before he was eventually blown up in the heart of Kiev.
Pearse and I finish off the episode with our favorite stateless fugitive Mikheil Saakashvili and his latest antics in Ukraine.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

The 'Rimland Imperative': How Trump's Chief Diplomat for European-Eurasian Affairs Wants to Counter Russia, China & Iran

Since his appointment as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Aaron Wess Mitchell has mostly stayed out of the spotlight but his geopolitical views are already having a profound impact on U.S. foreign policy, as illustrated by the Trump administration's newly released National Security Strategy and the decision to provide lethal weapons to Ukraine.

One week before U.S. President Trump unveiled the 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS), his National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster gave a preview of the strategy at an event hosted by the British think tank Policy Exchange in Washington.

McMaster disclosed that the Trump administration views Russia and China as "revisionist powers" which "are undermining the international order and stability" and "ignoring the sovereign rights of their neighbors and the rule of law."

"Geopolitics are back, and back with a vengeance, after this holiday from history we took in the so-called post-Cold War period," McMaster emphasized.[1]

Read the full article on Newsbud

Merkel's Tenuous Pact with America in the Age of Trump

Upon taking office, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) decided to make "a pact with America the cornerstone of her foreign policy," reorienting Germany away from Russia and back towards the United States.[1]

This pact has become increasingly tenuous after the election of Donald Trump as this year's Berlin Foreign Policy Forum demonstrated.

The Berlin Foreign Policy Forum is an annual event hosted by the Körber Foundation in cooperation with Germany's Federal Foreign Office, bringing together politicians, government representatives, foreign policy experts and journalists to discuss German foreign policy and Germany's role in the world.[2]

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) opened this year's forum with an unprecedented attack on Merkel's pact with America, telling the audience: "Germany cannot afford to wait for decisions from Washington, or to merely react to them. We must lay out our own position and make clear to our allies where the limits of our solidarity are reached."[3]

Read the full article on Newsbud

This article was published on December 7, but I forgot to share it here.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Germany Protects Gülen Movement from Erdogan

German-Turkish relations keep plummeting as Berlin and Ankara argue over the threat posed by U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen and his movement, but there is more to the latest dispute than meets the eye.

In recent weeks, tensions have been running high between Germany and Turkey due to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s referendum campaign. Disagreements over the Gülen movement are now adding fuel to the fire.

On March 27, as Turkish citizens living in Germany began casting their ballots in Turkey’s constitutional referendum, German media dropped a bombshell.

Read the full article on Newsbud