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

(Image: Doug Chayka)

America Has No Reason to Be So Powerful

Stephen Wertheim

New York Times

The next president, whoever he is, will not determine the future of America’s role in the world. Joe Biden does not recognize there is a problem. President Trump has no answers.

Three decades into the “post-Cold War era,” still named for what preceded it, the United States possesses no widely shared, deeply felt purpose for vast global power. America’s armed dominance today occupies a position similar to that of liberal immigration, free trade or private health insurance a decade ago. Taken for granted by political elites, it is nonetheless ripe for challenge beneath the surface. (Read more)


Greece must reform its failed asylum policies now

Daphne Panayotatos

New Humanitarian

As European countries negotiate a new Pact on Asylum and Migration, “no more Morias” has become a rallying cry: The scorched camp is a palpable symbol of Greek and EU policy failures. The Pact aims to improve “solidarity” and better distribute responsibility for asylum seekers among EU states. But that in itself is not a solution to the humanitarian crises and human rights violations occurring at and within the EU’s borders.

For there truly to be no more Morias, the EU as a whole must recommit to its fundamental values. But Greece cannot wait for an agreement to fulfill the obligations it already has to protect those seeking safety. (Read more)


China’s Economic Statecraft in Europe During the Pandemic

John R. Deni and Jake Shatzer

War on the Rocks

The novel coronavirus pandemic has unleashed an immense shock to the global economy. In Europe, the gross domestic product among the countries that use the euro has dropped by over 12 percent while unemployment rates have risen to nearly 8 percent. Many countries are unlikely to reach pre-pandemic levels of gross domestic product until 2022 or later.

China may take advantage of the crisis — just as it did in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2007 to 2008 — to advance its geopolitical and economic interests in Europe. While the European Union put together a 750 million euros ($878 million) pandemic recovery package this July — demonstrating more advanced crisis management capabilities than it has during past Eurozone crises — the continent is still struggling. Beijing may use its sovereign wealth fund as well as nominally private Chinese companies to act as lenders of last resort in Europe, building Beijing’s soft power at Washington’s expense. (Read more)


Iran Wants Russia, Turkey to Join in Syria-Style Talks to Solve Armenia, Azerbaijan Fight

Tom O’Connor


Iran has proposed a mechanism to resolve the battle between neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan through talks with Russia and Turkey, two countries with which it coordinates an ongoing effort to end the war in Syria.

In a call Thursday with his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed his country’s “readiness to help achieve peace and a lasting solution to this conflict within the framework of the Iran-Turkey-Russia regional initiative,” according to the Iranian Foreign Ministry.

This track, Zarif said, would complement ongoing consultations held by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Minsk Group, of which Russia is joined by the U.S. and France as co-chair, and Turkey is among other several member states. (Read more)


The Beirut Blast Has Yet to Spark Political Reform

Dr. Elie Abouaoun and Osama Gharizi


Over two months later, there are still more questions than answers regarding the Beirut explosion that killed over 200 people and damaged large swaths of Lebanon’s capital city. Meanwhile, the fallout from the explosion has forced the resignation of Lebanon’s government, which had already been under fire after months of protests over corruption and a deteriorating economy. USIP’s Elie Abouaoun and Osama Gharizi look at where the blast investigation stands, what’s holding up the formation of a new government, and what a new outbreak of COVID-19 means for Lebanon. (Read more)

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