Russia and Middle East

December 4, 2019 11:29 am

TEL AVIV – The collapse of the Soviet Union three decades ago meant that its once-formidable presence in the Middle East collapsed as well. Today, however, as the United States has withdrawn from the region, Russia has rushed to recapture the Soviet Union’s position there, through a combination of military force, arms deals, strategic partnerships, and the deployment of soft power. But its success is being significantly overestimated.

All is not well with global economy

December 3, 2019 10:39 am

​NEW YORK – This past May and August, escalations in the trade and technology conflict between the United States and China rattled stock markets and pushed bond yields to historic lows. But that was then: since then, financial markets have once again become giddy. US and other equities are trending toward new highs, and there is even talk of a potential “melt-up” in equity values.

WASHINGTON, Nov 25: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired the Navy’s top civilian on Sunday over his handling of the case of a Navy SEAL who was convicted of battlefield misconduct in Iraq and later won the support of President Donald Trump.

SHANGHAI, Nov 21: The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to back protesters in Hong Kong and send a warning to China about human rights, sending two bills to the White House where President Donald Trump is expected to sign them into law.

KATHMANDU, Nov 20: Although the number of Nepali students visiting the US has decreased marginally as compared to the previous years, the US has remained one of the most preferred destinations for further education, according to figures released by the Institute of International Education and US Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.

KATHMANDU, Oct 23: The mandatory provision of the Diversity Visa of the United States to include the applicants' passport number from this year has resulted in a dramatic surge in the number of persons seeking passport.

HELSINKI, Oct 6: North Korea’s chief negotiator said that nuclear talks with the U.S. had broken down, but Washington maintained the two sides had “good discussions” in Sweden that it intends to build on in two weeks.

Decline of democracy

September 30, 2019 02:40 am

While declaring the September 15 as the international day of democracy, the United Nations stated that “the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of the people.” As democracy is about consulting, caring and comforting people, the job of any government is to protect people, improve their quality of life in larger freedom giving a sense of ownership in governance.

WASHINGTON, Sept 29: As Washington plunges into impeachment, Attorney General William Barr finds himself engulfed in the political firestorm, facing questions about his role in President Donald Trump’s outreach to Ukraine and the administration’s attempts to keep a whistleblower complaint from Congress.

DUBAI, Sept 25: Iran is willing to give reassurances on not seeking nuclear arms and accept changes to its 2015 nuclear accord with world power if the United States returns to the deal and lifts sanctions, a government spokesman said on Wednesday.

KABUL, Sept 23: A Taliban delegation met China’s special representative for Afghanistan in Beijing to discuss the group’s peace talks with the United States, a spokesman for the Islamist insurgency said.

U.S. health officials are investigating more than 450 cases of severe lung illnesses and at least six deaths linked to the use of electronic cigarettes, or vaping devices, in 36 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

KATHMANDU, Sept 12: Chairman of ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal has courted controversy yet again after his name surfaced in a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry of China on Tuesday in which Dahal was quoted as saying that Nepal disapproved the Indo-Pacific Strategy unveiled by the United States.

DUBAI, Aug 27: Iran will not talk to the United States until all sanctions imposed on Tehran are lifted, President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday, a day after President Donald Trump said he would meet his Iranian counterpart to try to end a nuclear standoff.

Anatomy of coming recession

August 27, 2019 00:25 am

NEW YORK – There are three negative supply shocks that could trigger a global recession by 2020. All of them reflect political factors affecting international relations, two involve China, and the United States is at the center of each. Moreover, none of them is amenable to the traditional tools of countercyclical macroeconomic policy.

Will democracy die last?

August 25, 2019 01:05 am

PARIS – In the late 1970s and early 1980s, prominent international relations experts such as the late French political philosopher Pierre Hassner argued that the world was witnessing a process of competitive decay between the United States and the Soviet Union. For the latter, the conflict in Afghanistan was about to become an even costlier failure than the Vietnam war had been for America. By 1989, the verdict was clear: The Soviet Union had atrophied much faster than the US, and its empire collapsed, the victim of its own errors and contradictions.

Trump’s one-way economy

August 18, 2019 01:05 am

LONDON – Nowadays, when people ask me how I am, I answer, jokingly, that I’m doing great, so long as I ignore Donald Trump’s presidency in the United States, Brexit, the crisis of the United Kingdom’s major political parties, and the performance of Manchester United.

LONDON/GIBRALTAR, August 15: The United States has applied to seize the Iranian Grace 1 tanker in Gibraltar commandeered by British Royal Marines in the Mediterranean last month, complicating a possible tanker swap between Britain and the Islamic Republic.

DUBAI, August 12: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the United States on Monday of turning the Gulf region into a “matchbox ready to ignite”, according to Al Jazeera television.

KABUL, Aug 11: Afghanistan’s president on Sunday rejected foreign interference as the United States and the Taliban appear to be closing in on a peace deal without the Afghan government at the table.

SHANGHAI, Aug 8: An order by U.S. President Donald Trump to freeze the Venezuelan government’s assets and cut off its funds is an act of “gross interference” and a violation of the norms of international relations, China’s foreign ministry said.

SEOUL, August 7: North Korea said Wednesday leader Kim Jong Un supervised a live-fire demonstration of newly developed, short-range ballistic missiles intended to send a warning to the United States and South Korea over their joint military exercises.

SYDNEY, August 4: The United States says China is destabilizing the Indo-Pacific, U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday, charging Beijing with predatory economics, intellectual property theft and “weaponising the global commons”. s

SEOUL, August 2: North Korea fired missiles for the third time in eight days on Friday, a series of launches that analysts say are designed to improve military capabilities and pressure the United States and South Korea as they seek to restart denuclearization talks.

August 1: The United States believes that Hamza bin Laden, a son of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and himself a notable figure in the militant group, is dead, a U.S. official said on Wednesday.

MEXICO CITY, July 28: Mexico’s government said on Saturday it would help Honduras create 20,000 jobs this year and support its coffee farmers as the two countries seek to curb migration to the United States that has created tensions with U.S. President Donald Trump.

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey, July 27: Diego Costa scored four goals as Real Madrid were embarrassed 7-3 by rivals Atletico Madrid in the final match of their United States tour in New Jersey on Friday.

KATHMANDU, July 26: Chairperson of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal has expressed solidarity with Cuban people who have been struggling with the sanctions imposed by the United States for several decades.

SEOUL, July 26: North Korea said on Friday its latest missile launch was a warning to South Korean “warmongers” to stop importing weapons and conducting joint military drills, a message that analysts said was also aimed at the United States.

COLOMBO, July 21: The United States wants a special forces cooperation agreement with Sri Lanka to sidestep bureaucracy and has no intention of setting up a military base in the country, the American ambassador to the island nation said in a television interview.

KABUL, July 19: An explosion on Friday near a gate to the campus of Kabul University in the Afghan capital killed six people and injured at least 27 as students waited to take an examination, officials said.

BERLIN, July 14: U.S. online retail giant Amazon (AMZN.O) plans to open a new warehouse in Germany this year and create more than 2,800 jobs with permanent contracts in what is its second-biggest market after the United States.

BEIJING, July 14: China’s military recently carried out air and naval drills along its southeast coast, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday, following the latest arms sales from the United States to self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as a renegade province.

Room to grow

July 13, 2019 00:05 am

As an American, I have seen how currently living in the United States is difficult for many minorities, for multiple reasons. But, one group I have seen that is being targeted frequently by the government, certain media, and the public is the LGBTQ+ community—this community is continuously evolving and including new terms and identities.

VIENNA, July 10: The United States will use an emergency meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog’s board on Wednesday to raise pressure on Iran over breaches of its nuclear deal, but diplomats expect no concrete action as parties to the deal consider their next move.

July 10: Iran welcomes France’s efforts to save the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday, as French President Emmanuel Macron’s top diplomatic adviser visits Tehran for talks to help ease the crisis.

LYON, July 8: The United States won a record-extending fourth women’s World Cup with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands on Sunday as second-half goals from Megan Rapinoe and Rose Lavelle confirmed their status as the leading power in the women’s game.

WASHINGTON, June 13: The United States is open to dialogue to resolve trade differences with India by allowing American companies more access to Indian markets, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday ahead of a visit to New Delhi later this month.

SEOUL, June 11: North Korean state media called on the United States on Tuesday to “withdraw its hostile policy” towards Pyongyang or agreements made at a landmark summit in Singapore a year ago might become “a blank sheet of paper”.

MOSCOW/TOKYO, June 7: Russia and the United States blamed each other for a near collision between their warships in the East China Sea on Friday with both countries accusing one another of dangerous and unprofessional behaviour.

SINGAPORE, June 2: China on Saturday made a three-point proposal on enhancing defense cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region at the Shangri-La Dialogue being held here.

Looking back at 100

May 28, 2019 00:30 am

The last two decades have made clear that no post-Cold War US foreign policy consensus exists

BEIJING, May 20: Cases of European firms forced to transfer technology in China are increasing despite Beijing saying the problem does not exist, a European business lobby said, adding that its outlook on the country’s regulatory environment is “bleak”.

WASHINGTON/BEIJING, May 7: China backtracked on substantial commitments it made during trade talks with the United States, prompting President Donald Trump to impose additional tariffs on Chinese goods slated to go into effect on Friday, top U.S. trade officials said on Monday.

BEIJING/WASHINGTON, May 6: China said on Monday that a delegation is still preparing to go to the United States for trade talks, after U.S. President Donald Trump dramatically increased pressure on Beijing to reach a deal, saying he would hike tariffs on Chinese goods this week.

BEIRUT, April 26: The U.S.-led coalition killed more than 1,600 civilians in the northern Syria city of Raqqa during months of bombardment that liberated it from the Islamic State group, hundreds more than the number the U.S.-led coalition claims over the entire four-year campaign against IS, Amnesty International and a London-based watchdog group said Thursday.

SEOUL, April 26: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told Russian President Vladimir Putin peace and security on the Korean peninsula depended on the United States, warning that a state of hostility could easily return, North Korean media said on Friday.

COLOMBO, April 24: The U.S. had no prior knowledge of the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed over 350 people, the American ambassador said Wednesday, despite local claims that foreign officials had been warned an attack was looming.

BEIJING, April 23: China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday it has lodged representations with the United States over its decision to end waivers on sanctions on Iranian oil imports.

BRUSSELS, April 15: European Union countries gave final clearance on Monday to start formal trade talks with the United States after months of delay due to resistance from France.