This Week’s Top 5 Picks in International History and Diplomacy

(Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Trump’s Iran Decision Sends North Korea a Signal. Was It the Right One?

Motoko Rich

New York Times

In announcing his decision to exit the Iran nuclear accord, President Trump said he also wanted to send a signal about the kind of hard bargain he plans to drive with another longtime American adversary, North Korea.

Many analysts in Asia greeted the move with skepticism, however, saying it would instead jeopardize the goals of a planned summit meeting between Mr. Trump and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un.

By withdrawing from the Iran deal, analysts said, Mr. Trump has proved the United States to be an untrustworthy negotiating partner that cannot be counted on to honor any agreement.

“Only a fool would trust the US to keep its word in a rogue state nuke deal now,” Robert E. Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University in South Korea, wrote on Twitter. (Read more)




What North Korea learned from Libya’s decision to give up nuclear weapons

Wyn Bowen & Matthew Moran

The Conversation

The North Korean nuclear challenge has lately become something of a diplomatic rollercoaster. Only a few months ago, Pyongyang and Washington were locked in an escalating war of words and increasingly confrontational military posturing – but today, their standoff has given way to a sequence of what look like major diplomatic breakthroughs.

Besides marking the first time a North Korean leader has set foot in the south since the end of the Korean War, the recent inter-Korean summit also yielded a joint statement announcing that both sides would initiate talks on formally ending the Korean War and “denuclearising the Korean peninsula”. Since the Trump administration has been very clear that denuclearisation is a prerequisite for any negotiations over the peninsula’s future, this has led to intense speculation about whether the north is actually serious about fully denuclearising, and if so, how that might be achieved. (Read more)


Silvio Berlusconi allowed to run again for election as Italy’s prime minister, court rules

Jane Dalton

The Independent

An Italian court has ruled that three-time prime minister Silvio Berlusconi may run for office again, more than five years after he was banned for tax fraud.

However, three days ago the 81-year-old gave his blessing to the anti-migrant League party to form a government without him in the wake of an indecisive election result in Italy in March.

The League is in talks with the populist 5-Star Movement over forming a government, and is reportedly close to a deal – so the tribunal ruling could have come too late for him.

The Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, gave the two parties until tomorrow to reach a coalition deal and end the political impasse.

But Mr Mattarella has said that if political leaders cannot form a government soon, he will appoint a non-political premier to govern until the end of the year at the latest. That would then mean a fresh election and a chance for Mr Berlusconi to run again. (Read more)


Iraqi voters sick of sectarianism look to moderate parties

Richard Spencer

The Times

Today’s election is a tale of two Iraqs. There are the packed streets of Baghdad, where business is thriving, bars are opening and the security threats which once made it the least livable city in the world have vastly diminished.

Then there are those left behind, like Firas, 23, from west Mosul, who sits in a corner of a borrowed house and describes his experience a year ago stuck in the bombed wreck of his home with his dead son on his lap for four days.

His family had been persecuted by Islamic State, and ten of his relatives killed by the forces which came to rescue them. He was eventually found by relatives and dragged to safety but more than a year later, with his house and his life still in ruins, he cannot see why he should concern himself with elections for a government that has not done much for him since. (Read more)


Hungry, sick and increasingly desperate, thousands of Venezuelans are pouring into Colombia

Chris Kraul

Los Angeles Times

For evidence that the Venezuelan migrant crisis is overwhelming this Colombian border city, look no further than its largest hospital.

The emergency room designed to serve 75 patients is likely to be crammed with 125 or more. Typically, two-thirds are impoverished Venezuelans with broken bones, infections, trauma injuries — and no insurance and little cash.

“I’m here for medicine I take every three months or I die,” said Cesar Andrade, a 51-year-old retired army sergeant from Caracas. He had come to Cucuta’s Erasmo Meoz University Hospital for anti-malaria medication he can’t get in Venezuela. “I’m starting a new life in Colombia. The crisis back home has forced me to do it.”

The huge increase in Venezuelan migrants fleeing their country’s economic crisis, failing healthcare system and repressive government is affecting the Cucuta metropolitan area more than any other in Colombia. It’s where 80% of all exiting Venezuelans headed for Colombia enter as foreigners. (Read more)

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