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

Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud is pictured at the Divan Palace in'Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 8, 2016.

(Image: Rainer Jensen—picture-alliance/dpa/AP)

The Real Message Behind the Saudi Crown Prince’s Diplomatic War With Canada

Bessma Momami


Saudi’s young Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman (MBS) has been moving his country at a rapid speed of change. At home, that has elicited joy and caused a surge of nationalism. But since becoming crown prince last year, his foreign policy moves have been a source of anxiety for the international diplomatic community. Unpredictable and brash moves have now become the crown prince’s diplomatic signature.

From the alleged kidnapping of the Lebanese Prime Minister to get him to renounce Hizbollah and Iranian influence in Lebanese politics, to the severing of all diplomatic and economic ties with neighboring and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council member Qatar, to the now intractable war against the rag-tag Houthi rebels in Yemen, MBS takes foreign policy to the extreme. (Read more)


Zimbabwe’s Opposition Is Under Attack. It Should Seek a Unity Government Before It’s Too Late.

Evans Simbarashe Zininga

Foreign Policy

After Zimbabweans voted on July 30, it took the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission three days to confirm President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory. The opposition MDC Alliance is still clinging to the hope that it can reverse the election results in court, something that will never happen if the ruling party, Zanu-PF, has its way. Indeed, in the days since the election, the opposition has reported attacks on its leaders and their families; some of the have even attempted to flee the country for fear of abduction by the military junta. The question now is whether the MDC Alliance should push for a coalition government or continue shouting from the sidelines that Mnangagwa’s victory was illegitimate. (Read more)


Why has the populist radical right outperformed the populist radical left in Europe?

Valerio A. Bruno and James F. Downes


Twenty-first century European politics has been characterised by patterns of electoral volatility, alongside the recent economic and ongoing refugee crisis. This has allowed ‘populist’ parties on both the right and left to capitalise on the electoral failure of mainstream centre left and right parties.

There has been a considerable amount of research on the recent rise of populist radical right and populist radical left parties. A number of studies have shown that these parties have shaken up the political landscape in contemporary European politics during times of economic and political crisis. But surprisingly few studies have examined the electoral fortunes of radical right and left parties together.

Electoral gains

The figure below demonstrates that in the last two national parliamentary elections that fall across the recent refugee crisis period, the radical right made the largest electoral gains in EU countries. Mainstream centre left parties suffered the largest losses, underlining the electoral downfall of this party family in the post-economic crisis period and wider anti-incumbency effects. Radical left parties performed well electorally, but their electoral gains were considerably lower than those of radical right parties. (Read more)


Rajiv Gandhi’s Foreign Policy: Diplomacy in Tough Times

Antony Clement

Modern Diplomacy

The end of the World War II in 1945 gave the birth to Cold War among the two superpowers. The U.S. and the USSR had respectively been spreading their ideologies (Capitalism and Socialism) across the globe. This was continued till the disintegration of the Soviet in 1991. International relations scholars described 1980s as the peak period of bipolar competition which had already expanded to the Indian Sub-continent. Shri Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of our country during that time (1984-89).

Throughout the Cold War many developing countries were on the hinge, had stuck without moving either side but wedged with Non-allied Movement (NAM). Moreover, at that time India was leading the NAM, a trustful head for the Third World countries. Further, throughout the Cold War playoffs, building relations with other countries were not only a hard task but getting a new partner would be seen as suspicious in our old friend’s camp. Hence, in the Cold War era reaching out to new friends while keeping the old friends close to us was one of the difficult jobs and challenging. In general, articulating strategy and diplomacy would be really a tough choice but necessary. If a single word is spelt out wrongly would have greater consequences in the international stage. However, the neorealist thinker Kenneth Waltz “believes that bipolar systems are more stable and thus provide a better guarantee of peace and security” (Read more)


Treaties and Irrelevance: Understanding Iran’s Suit Against the U.S. for Reimposing Nuclear Sanctions

Elena Chachko


As the United States gradually reimposes sanctions following its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal (formally  the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), the other parties to the agreement are beginning to advance their own legal measures in response. The European Union is set to activate its “Blocking Regulation” to protect EU companies doing business with Iran from U.S. sanctions. Iran just initiated proceedings against the United States in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to enjoin the reinstatement of U.S. nuclear sanctions. The case tees up an interesting question: whether, under international law, a treaty can be abrogated because too much has changed in the relationship between the parties. In other words, can a treaty become inapplicable because it is simply irrelevant? (Read more)



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