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

Power plays | Patrick Porter | The Critic Magazine

(Image: The Critic)

Power plays

Patrick Porter


In foreign policy circles, “Great Power Competition” (GPC) is the talk of the town. The long-haul international struggle for power, resources and stature has replaced the Global War on Terror (GWOT) as the new, supersized concept.

It is easy to see why. America’s unipolar moment of dominance is long gone. As wealth and power have spread, the world is now more multipolar, competitive and dangerous. Clashes over disputed terrain, expulsions of diplomats, demands for deference, militarised disputes and domestic interference promise a future of tense crisis management, or worse. Yet we, the US-led West, enter this process intellectually unprepared. (Read more)


China Doubles Down on Xinjiang Policy Amid Reports of Cultural Erasure

Eleanor Albert


Chinese President Xi Jinping reaffirmed his commitment to Beijing’s policies in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region at a two-day party conference on the region last weekend. Calling for its long term implementation, Xi said that “practice has proven that the party’s strategy for governing Xinjiang in the new era is completely correct.” Xi emphasized that the government’s policies “laid a solid foundation for long-term peace and stability in Xinjiang,” echoing language used in a white paper issued by the State Council Information Office in September on employment and labor rights in Xinjiang. “Facts have fully proved that China’s work on ethnic affairs has been successful,” Xi added according to a summary of the conference by Xinhua news agency. (Read more)


Fighting Between Armenia and Azerbaijan Risks Drawing in Bigger Powers

Andrew E. Kramer

New York Times

A long-simmering territorial dispute in the Caucasus region that reignited in recent days, with tanks, artillery helicopters and infantry engaged in combat, suggests that the two sides — Azerbaijan and Armenia — are girding for an extended conflict rather than the border skirmishes that they have engaged in over the years.

And what would seem to be a local war over a mountainous land of little strategic value is taking on greater importance because of its potential to draw in bigger powers like Russia and Turkey.

The fighting over the territory, known as the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, escalated on Monday after breaking out over the weekend, with reports on both sides of rising numbers of wounded and dead. (Read more)


Donald Trump has COVID-19. How might this affect his chances of re-election?

Timothy J. Lynch


With just a month left until the November 3 US presidential election, contracting the virus could have politically positive or negative consequences for President Donald Trump. These will, of course, be contingent on how severe the president’s illness becomes. But we should not count him out and Biden in just yet.

Here are the ways the diagnosis could swing the election either way for Trump. (Read more)


Churchill the European has been written out of history

Denis McShane

LSE Blogs

One of the comfort blankets for pro-Brexit evangelists is that Germany will ride to Boris Johnson’s rescue and sideline Michel Barnier and impose political deal that chimes with the wishes of Dominic Cummings or Michael Gove and other Brexit hardliners. Sometimes President Macron is mentioned as the man on a white horse who can send Barnier packing and cut a deal mano-à-mano with the UK prime ministers. French food and wine exports and German automobile exports are so important to Paris and Berlin, runs the argument, the two leading governments will accept far more of what the UK is demanding than the inflexible team from Brussels. (Read more)


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