Saturday Musings

Geopolitics Shifting In Middle East
Following the announcement of the Geneva Agreement on nuclear weapons the geopolitics of the Mideast began shifting toward Iran, argues Frida Ghitis in World Policy Review.

“Arab states in the region are visibly reassessing their strategic calculations. And so far, they seem inclined to hedge their bets in anticipation of living with a much more powerful Iran. That looks a lot like the scenario that America’s Arab allies have feared.

“One after another, the members of the Saudi-centered Gulf Cooperation Council, the regional bloc, have been holding meetings with Iranian officials in the two weeks since the Geneva deal. GCC states fear Washington is in the process of developing links with Tehran at the expense of ties with Arab states. Meanwhile, Iran has launched an assertive and self-confident diplomatic offensive in the Gulf. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Kuwait this week, carrying a message of reconciliation between Iran and its Arab neighbors. From Kuwait, Zarif headed to Oman, where, only days later, the speaker of Iran’s parliament, Ali Larijani, was scheduled to arrive,” she writes.

Rising Tide Of Nationalism In Asia
It is said that a rising tide lifts all boats. But when that rising tide is nationalism, it merely lifts the lid on simmering tensions that are rooted in a complex history. Such a case is occurring in the Pacific where old grievances between China and Japan are being renewed.

“Today, nationalism is a powerful force in China as it seeks to emerge from what Communist Party propaganda calls ‘two centuries of humiliation.’ And the Communist Party has been increasingly turning to nationalism as an antidote for the growing public scorn it faces for its recent history of corruption and decadence. Seen in that light, risky confrontations with foreign powers can be a good thing in the party’s eyes, so long as China does not suffer a loss. But a reminder of where the danger lies came this week with the deployment of new American patrol aircraft in Japan,” says Canadian journalist Patrick Brown.

In France, The Clash Of Civilization Continues
French Philosopher Finkielkraut argues in an interview with Der Spiegel that “multiculturalism does not mean that cultures blend,” which means the clash of civilization will continue to occur. He says that is particularly true in France.

“The US sees itself as a country of immigration, and what is impressive about this truly multicultural society is the strength of its patriotism. This was particularly evident after the attacks of September 11, 2001. In France, however, the opposite could be seen after the attacks on French soldiers and Jewish children in Toulouse and Montauban last year: Some schoolchildren saw Mohamed Merah, the assailant, as a hero. Something like that would be unthinkable in the US. American society is a homeland for everyone. I don’t think that many children of immigrants here see it that way,” he adds.

American Foreign Policy Will Be Driven By Economics, Not Military Might
David Rohde of The Atlantic contends the future of American foreign policy will be driven by economics, not military power.

“As a fiscally constrained and war-weary Washington confronts its foreign policy challenges, events in Ukraine and Afghanistan show that economic incentives can play a major role in addressing them. Younger generations in both countries are eager for prosperity, reduced corruption and a place in a globalized economy. Globalism is challenging cronyism,” Rohde maintains.


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