Mês: setembro 2017

Israel and Iran

Israel’s Geopolitical Gut Check   A once favorable balance of power has shifted, clipping Tel Aviv’s wings. Sharmine Narwani Sep. 06, 2017 Tel Aviv has had a bad few weeks. A once favorable regional balance of power has suddenly shifted in a direction that clips Israel’s wings—all while adversaries on its borders are making swift strategic gains. At the core of the issue is Israel’s obsession with Iranian ascendancy in the region. The 2015 nuclear deal that ended the Islamic Republic’s isolation was a real setback for the Israeli establishment, but what really hit home this summer was a steady succession of political and military victories for the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies. So Israel’s power players headed to the United States and Russia to try to claw back some lost leverage on the ground. They returned from Washington empty-handed, unable to wrest guarantees on keeping Iranian and allied troops out of southern Syria, where the U.S. and Russia in July established a de-escalation zone near Israel’s border. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s consultations with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi went nowhere too. Russian accounts of those talks describe a highly “agitated” and “emotional” Netanyahu who was told in no uncertain terms by a calm Putin: “Iran is Russia’s strategic ally in the Middle East.” To Netanyahu, Putin offered what must have...

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Pakistan

Pakistan trumps new US strategy for Afghanistan   While US President Donald Trump called on Pakistan to end its support for known terror groups, his man in Islamabad delivered a softer cooperative message on how best to solve the Afghan imbroglio M. K. Bhdrakumar Sep. 03, 2017 The United States and Pakistan have begun the delicate act of reconciliation after the sudden spurt of acrimony ten days ago following President Donald Trump’s ‘shock-and-awe’ speech of August 21 regarding his proposed way forward in Afghanistan. In that speech, Trump threatened Pakistan with dire consequences unless it acted “immediately” to terminate its dalliance with known terrorist groups. Islamabad responded by cancelling the planned visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs, Alice Wells. The day after Trump’s veiled threat US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set in motion a backtracking via a special media briefing in Washington that put the locus of the new US’ Afghan strategy back on a political and diplomatic track. He took some flak for it in the American media, which saw him as undermining Trump’s strategy, but it is inconceivable that Tillerson would have gone out on a limb without a nod from the White House. A more definitive picture of the strategy will emerge when US Defense Secretary James Mattis goes to Capitol Hill next week to brief congressmen and women who...

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USA and Russia

US crassness in Russia spat goes back to Snowden humiliation     The US security establishment appears to be operating in score-settling mode, as evidenced by its seizure of Russian diplomatic facilities     M. K. Bhadrakumar Set. 04, 2017   In case it has escaped your notice, the diplomatic tit-for-tat between Moscow and Washington has become deadly serious. After vacating all staff, on Saturday US authorities took control of three Russian diplomatic facilities, in San Francisco, Washington and New York. The US State Department has said it will control all access to the buildings and take responsibility for security and maintenance at the sites. On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry had summoned the US Deputy Chief of Mission and stressed that any such move would be an “unprecedented aggressive action.” Washington decided to go ahead and create a precedent. The Russians are furious. A statement in Moscow on Sunday denounced the US maneuver as an “outrageous move” and “a blatantly hostile act”. It alleged that “US special services supported by armed police are in control of the seized buildings,” which “are the property of Russia and have diplomatic immunity.” Moscow also demanded US authorities “come to their senses” and return the facilities forthwith. Otherwise, Washington will “bear the total blame” for what ensues. Significantly, the statement warned that the degradation of Russia-US ties cannot but negatively impact “the current condition of global stability and...

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BRICS

Brasil, Rússia, Índia, China e África do Sul   Itamaraty 2017   O que faz o BRICS? Desde a sua criação, o BRICS tem expandido suas atividades em duas principais vertentes: (i) a coordenação em reuniões e organismos internacionais; e (ii) a construção de uma agenda de cooperação multissetorial entre seus membros. Com relação à coordenação dos BRICS em foros e organismos internacionais , o mecanismo privilegia a esfera da governança econômico-financeira e também a governança política. Na primeira, a agenda do BRICS confere prioridade à coordenação no âmbito do G-20, incluindo a reforma do FMI. Na vertente política, o BRICS defende a reforma das Nações Unidas e de seu Conselho de Segurança, de forma a melhorar a sua representatividade, em prol da democratização da governança internacional. Em paralelo, os BRICS aprofundam seu diálogo sobre as principais questões da agenda internacional. Cinco anos após a primeira Cúpula, em 2009, as atividades intra-BRICS já abrangem cerca de 30 áreas, como agricultura, ciência e tecnologia, cultura, espaço exterior, think tanks, governança e segurança da Internet, previdência social, propriedade intelectual, saúde, turismo, entre outras. Entre as vertentes mais promissoras do BRICS, destaca-se a área econômico-financeira, tendo sido assinados dois instrumentos de especial relevo na VI Cúpula do BRICS (Fortaleza, julho de 2014): os acordos constitutivos do Novo Banco de Desenvolvimento (NBD) – voltado para o financiamento de projetos de infraestrutura e desenvolvimento...

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The Deep State

Anatomy of the Deep State   Mike Lofgren Feb. 21, 2014   There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. [1] During the last five years, the news media have been flooded with pundits decrying the broken politics of Washington. The conventional wisdom has it that partisan gridlock and dysfunction have become the new normal. That is certainly the case, and I have been among the harshest critics of this development. But it is also imperative to acknowledge the limits of this critique as it applies to the American governmental system. On one level, the critique is self-evident: In the domain that the public can see, Congress is hopelessly deadlocked in the worst manner since the 1850s, the violently rancorous decade preceding the Civil War. Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid...

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