The Fairy Tales of Multilateralism

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With the US tied down in the Iraqi quagmire, leftist intellectuals urge the US to abandon allegedly neocon unilateralism and return to concepts of multilateralism. Multilateralism is praised as a panacea for handling failing states, terrorism or proliferation. The op-eds are full with multilateral recipes for handling crises in all corners of the globe.

Those advocates however hardly ever define what they mean by multilateralism. Does their multilateralism call for consensus among the P-5, the veto-holding powers in the SC of the UN, as a noble principle or … Continue Reading ››

Iraq: Don’t cut and run but change course

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Iraq is much too important to Western interests to be abandoned. The US and its allies – and far too few countries consider themselves to be US allies with shared interests – must not give in to calls to weaken its presence in Iraq. The Baker Commission's recommendations are playing to US public opinion which longs for a change of course in Iraq and a soon withdrawal of US troops. However, the Commission does not offer reasonable solutions to address the current Iraqi quagmire without … Continue Reading ››

Litvinenko: The Alleged Iranian Trail and the Mossad

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Russian sources are now suggesting A. Litvinenko might have been involved in the smuggling of Polonium 210 to Iran. This is obviously farcical for two reasons:

First of all, this looks like an excellent public relations coup: Nothing else could shake Litvinenko's credibility and appraisal in western public opinion more than his collusion with the alleged nuclear weapons programme of Iran. This rumour about Litvinenko's smuggling is precisely meant to wreck his image. Is is furthered by leaked allegations of D. Kovtun that Litvinenko was in … Continue Reading ››

Losing Afghanistan

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US and allied forces are about to lose Afghanistan: The anti-terror and anti-Taliban efforts as well as state- and institution building are bearing no sustainable fruit.

The democratic institution-building process initiated by the Petersberg Conference in 2002 has indeed initiated the build-up of state-institutions based on electoral choice by a vast majority of Afghan citizens. The current Karzai government however is fragmented, inefficient and torn by corruption. What is more, its authority is weak beyond Kabul and rests with rogue warlords in the provinces. Civic … Continue Reading ››

Der nukleare Dammbruch

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Die Versuche, die Verbreitung militärisch-nuklearen Wissens und dessen Nutzung zum Bau nuklearer Sprengkörper durch rechtliche Barrieren − das Nichtverbreitungsregime NPT 1970/1995 − aufzuhalten, kann als gescheitert angesehen werden. Zwar wurden die atomaren Diffusionsprozesse verlangsamt, aber die Dämme drohen nunmehr zu brechen. Das militärische Arsenal Nordkoreas und die mutmassliche militärische Nuklearoption Irans werden vermutlich regionale nukleare Rüstungswettläufe auslösen, aus denen nahezu zwanzig Nuklearstaaten entstehen werden.

Die militärische counter-proliferation als alternativer Schutzmechanismus gegen nukleare Aufrüstung neuer Staaten stösst in vielen Fällen an enge Grenzen: unbekannte, unterirdische oder verbunkerte … Continue Reading ››

Trading Values for Gas

russia_gas.jpgIn recent months we have witnessed a fierce debate among scholars and politicians on the relations of the European Union with Russia. Two camps have emerged putting different emphasis on political conditionality, i.e. deepening the ties to the degree Russia implements democratic reforms and respects human rights and the rule of law.

Both positions do have its merits, but according to my view the EU should not mix vital interests in certain policy areas with human rights issues.

Any comment on these issues has to answer three questions. The … Continue Reading ››

NATO: Out of business while out of area

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In the nineties Senator Richard Lugar made his seminal statement about NATO going either out of area or out of business. Lugar was totally right – then. NATO had to accept new commitments beyond its territory, proliferate stability, enforce peace and enable civic actors to engage in post-conflict peace building were it to sustain its legitimacy. NATO since then has been of vital importance with SFOR in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with KFOR in Kosovo and, most recently, with ISAF in Afghanistan.

ISAF is faced with growing resistance and ever more … Continue Reading ››

The Litvinenko Murder

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The murder of the former FSB agent A. Litvinenko is a heinous crime. The substance used – Polonium 210 –, causing a slow and painful death, indicates that the perpetrators were vying for utmost public attention. Otherwise Litvinenko could have simply been gunned down by contract killers. In addition, the murderers deliberately left a trail implicating a direct Russian involvement, particularly the traces of Polonium found in planes used for Russian destinations. Furthermore, these many places with Polonium contamination are meant to disguise the professionalism of the perpetrators; the … Continue Reading ››