Editor's Note: Christopher R. Hill is Dean of the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. For more from Hill, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.
By Christopher R. Hill, Project Syndicate
For many foreign audiences, the United States’ primary elections for the 2012 presidential vote – which will, alas, continue to rage into the summer – must be a frightening display of what Americans and their leaders do not know about foreign policy. Debate after debate reveals the fact that none of the candidates seeking to challenge President Barack Obama is particularly interested in the details of any of America’s relationships around the globe, not to mention the crises that dot the international landscape, especially those that do not involve US troops.
Indeed, ignorance seems to be a source of strength for the candidates still in the race. When Jon Huntsman, an early contender, displayed some real intellectual heft by making a few useful points about dealing with China, punctuated by a brief display of his own mastery of Mandarin, some other candidates responded with derision. To have even known the Chinese perspective seems to have been disqualifying for Huntsman, who soon ended his candidacy. Foreign policy, it seems, increasingly excites only the emotional parts of a presidential candidate’s brain. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Christopher R. Hill, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, was U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, South Korea, Macedonia, and Poland, U.S. special envoy for Kosovo, a negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords, and chief U.S. negotiator with North Korea from 2005-2009. He is now Dean of the Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. For more from Christopher R. Hill, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.
In one sense, the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il changes everything. It is by no means clear, for example, that Kim’s coddled youngest son, Kim Jong-un - now hailed as the “Great Successor,” but singularly unprepared to lead - will ultimately succeed his father in anything but name.
Working in Kim Jong-un’s favor is his striking resemblance to his grandfather, Kim Il-song, who, strangely, held a certain charisma for North Koreans. Looks aside, Kim III will need a lot of help; in the meantime, we can expect further consolidation by the Korean People’s Army of its leadership of the country. Even more than in the past, we must expect the unexpected in North Korea. Above all, the West must work closely with China. In that sense, nothing has changed. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Christopher R. Hill, a former US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Ambassador to Iraq and numerous other countries.He is now Dean of the Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver. For more from Christopher R. Hill, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.
By Christopher R. Hill, Project Syndicate
Yemen’s renewed violence is just the latest sign that the Arab Spring may be joining the list of those historical contagions that, in the fullness of time, did not turn out well. Indeed, its effect may be reaching countries in ways that we did not expect.
Israel, in particular, can be forgiven for curbing its enthusiasm over the effect of the Arab Spring on its own security. On August 19, Israel absorbed an attack in the Negev Desert, through an increasingly dangerous border with Egypt, which left eight civilians dead. Just a few weeks later, a mob attacked Israel’s embassy in Cairo, forcing the evacuation of Israeli diplomats and creating a major row with Egypt’s fragile interim government. In Syria, nobody is prepared to predict the outcome of what is turning into a bloody battle with sectarian overtones. And in Libya, while getting rid of Moammar Gadhafi is a good first step, democracy and the rule of law are, to be optimistic, years away. FULL POST
While NATO probably will not want to replicate its Libya intervention anywhere else anytime soon, it appears that the alliance, with a little help from its friends, has prevailed in Libya, succeeding in toppling Col. Moammar Gadhafi. This is a good moment for NATO, but one that evokes more a sense of relief than of celebration.
Given the mismatch of member states’ policy (topple Gadhafi) and a strategy to “protect civilians” based on a contested United Nations Security Council resolution, NATO can certainly take pride in managing a great challenge and strengthening its role as the preeminent Euro-Atlantic institution.
Now, however, comes the real hard part. FULL POST
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