foreign policy

April 18, 2017

Greenland’s national assembly is to vote during its spring session next month on a measure that would see Nuuk open a representative office in Reykjavík. Nuuk already has such offices, which function in a similar capacity to embassies, in Copenhagen, Brussels and Washington. Iceland opened its own consulate in Nuuk in 2013, making it the first country to do so since the Second World War.

A hard-line strategy is not likely to persuade the DPRK regime to give up its missiles and nuclear weapons. Nor will it garner the support of the South Korean public, which is poised to elect a centrist or center-left president in the May 9 election. Most importantly, preemptive strikes or enhanced sanctions will delay ongoing economic reforms in North Korea and set back its integration into the global economy. Internal economic and social change is ultimately the only path to moderate the DPRK regime and its policies.

It is without a doubt pleasing to see that DFAT is on its way to progressing and further developing its digital diplomacy programmes, however, it is still a long way away from meeting the requirements it needs to influence people around the world, and increase the efficiency of its diplomats and enable them to adapt to a rapidly evolving technology and diplomatic space. 

Doing nothing when war crimes are committed is immoral. It is also bad policy. But a response to war crimes such as those perpetrated by the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad must be more than a display of righteousness; it must become an element of a broader foreign policy initiative. This is the challenge facing the Trump administration after the missile strike launched by the United States 

City diplomacy luminary and Attorney Michael Shuman, a leader of the former Center for Innovative Diplomacy, reminds us that local government participation in foreign affairs is enumerated in and protected by the Constitution. Thus, when American local governments responded to the threat of nuclear annihilation vis-à-vis the U.S. arms race with the Soviet Union, to the federal government’s inadequate response to Apartheid, and to other problems from the federal-level, the resultant municipal activism was not only legal, it was defining of American federalism.

One would not expect the secretary of defense routinely to inspect the sentries and walk point on patrols, but, in effect, that is what the secretary of state has to do. He is the chief executive of a department numbering in the tens of thousands, and a budget in the tens of billions; but he is also the country’s chief diplomat, charged with conducting negotiations and doing much of the detailed work of American foreign policy. 

President Donald Trump faces his most critical week of statesmanship so far -- and it will reflect sharp changes of direction he has already wrought in US foreign policy. Trump will hold his most important meeting with a world leader yet when he welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on Friday, after putting Beijing on notice that if it does not do more to rein in its ally North Korea over its nuclear program, the US will take tough action.

Under Xi Jinping China has made no secret that it aspires to bigger roles on the global stage, including taking on leadership in global governance and multilateral cooperation. Xi’s recent speech at Davos World Economic Forum, though a little ironic, came as a timely boost for international trade and economic cooperation. In the case of climate change, should China become the next champion, this is not only because it seeks international status, but there is also concrete convergence of domestic interests and international commitments.

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