H-Net Reviews. Where Does the U.S.-Iran Deal Leave Israel? Interior of a a Titan missile silo. Photograph: Eddie Codel No one yet knows what will come of the six-month agreement just signed by Iran and a handful of world powers. Will the deal provide the breathing room needed to reach a comprehensive deal on nuclear weapons? Will it turn out to be, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserts, a “historic mistake”? But some things are clear even now. We know that the modesty of the agreement is little reflected in the criticism it has received. It is true that the deal delivers far less than total, verifiable cessation. But if the burdens placed on Iran are small, so are the benefits it receives.
Disregard Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s patriotic invocations of his country’s nuclear rights, supposedly enshrined in the agreement. What the deal actually provides Iran is, at the high end, about $7 billion in sanctions relief. The conditions that once brought the United States and Israel so tightly together are no longer with us. How Chess Explains the World - By John Arquilla. Sometimes art imitates life; some games do so as well. In the case of chess especially, the parallels with power politics are many and uncanny, persisting over the centuries. Originating on the Asian subcontinent, chess moved to Persia ("checkmate" comes from shah mat, "the king is dead") but really began to diffuse widely during the great age of Arab conquest, starting in the 7th century of the Common Era. The structure and rules of the game remained consistent for centuries within Muslim domains, but in Christian countries to which chess spread, innovations emerged.
The most important change, introduced in the West some 500 years ago, granted greater directional flexibility and longer range to the Muslim "vizier," renamed the queen, perhaps to reflect some of the great queens of the Middle Ages, like Eleanor of Aquitaine, as scholar Marilyn Yalom suggests in her highly entertaining Birth of the Chess Queen. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images. Liberty, Liberalism and Surveillance: a historic overview. Martin Grüner Larsen One of England's most distinguished scholars, Quentin Skinner is a leading historian of political thought and an outstanding advocate of a contemporary republican viewpoint. This interview with Richard Marshall of 3:AM sets out an accessible overview of a lifetime of work. We are grateful to 3:AM for letting us republish it as part of OurKingdom's Democractic Wealth.
We have added at the end two additional openDemocracy/OurKingdom questions about corporate power, surveillance and freedom. Skinner's answer with respect to surveillance is a strong, clear statement of how it is a threat to liberty. This is especially relevant to current affairs given the superficiality of official and in particular British media responses to the Snowden revelations published by the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald about the programmes of total surveillance being attempted by US and UK secret services.
It developed into a formidable political idea during the Italian Renaissance, didn’t it? THOUGHTS ON FRAGILE AND FAILED STATES Part 2. As no two fragile or failed states are the same, there can be no universal template to bring about positive change or a reversal from the brink of collapse to a stable and prosperous state. Rather, it requires a series of coordinated actions and activities to bring about this change. However, when studying fragile or failed states, there will be certain common characteristics that these states share. In my previous posting, I listed several of the common characteristics we have witnessed within certain fragile states we have worked in. When I look at the concept of a state in Africa, I view it as a group of people (usually an ethnic, cultural or religious majority) positioned to rule as a government within a defined territory and implementing a defined constitution.
In turn, this influence - whether positive or negative - can spill across national borders and impact on the region. We should not sugar-coat problems simply to be politically-correct. A common sight in a fragile state… 1. 2. What Putin Has to Say to Americans About Syria. Reviews. Bear F. Braumoeller. The Great Powers and the International System: Systemic Theory in Empirical Perspective. Cambridge Studies in International Relations Series. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. xviii + 276 pp. $90.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-107-00541-9; $29.99 (paper), ISBN 978-1-107-65918-6. Reviewed by Michael Cairo (Transylvania University)Published on H-Diplo (August, 2013)Commissioned by Seth Offenbach Bridging the Gap between Agents and Structures In Agents, Structures and International Relations: Politics as Ontology, Colin Wight argues, “There is a way of thinking about International Relations (IR) that seems to saturate all theoretical discussion within the discipline.
Bear F. According to the introduction, the idea “that Great Powers are free to act, unhindered by external constraints; and that even the actions of Great Powers are dictated largely by circumstance ... divides our understanding of international relations” (p. 1). Notes  .  . . Letter concerning Ayesha Siddiqa's Allegations. Can chaos theory teach us anything about international relations? This year marks that 50th anniversary of the branch of mathematics known as chaos theory. Appropriately enough for a field of study premised on the idea that seemingly insignificant events can have large and unpredictable consequences, the eureka moment of chaos is generally considered to be a short dense paper titled "Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow" published on page 130 of volume 20 of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences in 1963.
As James Gleick writes in his very entertaining history, Chaos: Making of a New Science, "In the thousands of articles that made up the technical literature of chaos, few were cited more often than "Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow. " For years, no single object would inspire more illustrations, even motion pictures, than the mysterious curve depicted at the end, the double spiral that became known as the Lorenz attractor. " The paper's author, Edward Lorenz, was an MIT mathematician working on an early computer weather modeling simulation. ‘Assad is facing assassination no matter what happens’ – Noam Chomsky.
US-Russia relations My first question is supposed to be related to Magnitsky Act and uneasiness between Russia and the US. What do you think about it? Is there going to be something big related to this Act? I think the right reaction on the part of Russia would be to pass a bill which would require the Russian Foreign Office to maintain a public list of human rights abusers in the US and freeze their assets. But do you think that generally that’s going to really bring some uneasiness from now on in relation to Russia-US relations? Well, it depends on how the matter is handled. Could you tell us something about what do you think about Obama’s reelection? First of all, it is worth bearing in mind that on all sides, it is understood by strategic analysts and presumably by political leaders, that missile defense system is a first strike weapon. So, placing a missile system near Russia’s borders, which is what is planned, is a highly provocative act.
Syria, NATO and Turkey Exactly! Yes. Qatar's Brotherhood Ties Alienate Fellow Gulf States. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L), Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi (C) and Qatar's Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani pose for photos in Riyadh Jan. 21, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed) Author: Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi Posted January 23, 2013 The Arab Gulf States may not admit it publically, but a schism is slowly emerging between these countries in the wake of the rise of Islamist powers in the region. Qatar, on the one hand, has wholeheartedly endorsed the new Islamist powers of the Arab world in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood, while the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have been skeptical at best. Although disagreements concerning external relations have previously emerged within the Gulf Cooperation Council states — for instance, some states have stronger ties with Iran than others would like to see — this is the first time that a member state has allied itself closely with a party that another member state accuses of undermining its system of government.
The FP Top 100 Global Thinkers. In 2012, the hopes for the Arab Spring began fading into cynicism as the world watched Syria descend into civil war, while the region's nascent democracies struggled with their newfound freedom. But, meanwhile, one of the most remarkable and unexpected political reversals of our time has unfolded on the other side of the globe: Burma, long among the world's most repressive dictatorships, began to reform under the leadership of two very unlikely allies. For nearly 20 years, dissident Aung San Suu Kyi was sealed under house arrest by Burma's paranoid military junta, which had drawn an iron curtain over the country since 1962. Now she's a duly elected member of the country's parliament -- and it's partly thanks to reformist President Thein Sein, a former general often described as an awkward, bookish bureaucrat.
To the astonishment of many, Thein Sein began loosening restrictions on free speech and opening the economy after coming to power in 2011. How radical is it? Detailed Political Quizzes. China Expands Karakoram Highway to Pakistan. The road roller struggles up the mountain, tar steaming in the heat. Several Chinese and Pakistani workers stand there, leaning on their shovels and observing how their boss, Mr. Li, operates the yellow machine. A few meters on, he stops and jumps out on the unpaved side of the road, directly before a chasm about 1,000-meters (3,300-feet) deep. Seemingly unfazed by the elevation, he nods to his workers and calls out: "That's how it's done.
Whether its high-rises, ports or streets, China is building -- worldwide and on a grand scale. The almost 1,300-kilometer (800-mile) long path, which runs from Kashgar in western China's Uighur Autonomous Region almost to the Pakistani capital Islamabad, is set to be transformed from a dusty, bumpy road into a modern mountain highway. But government circles in India, China's rival in Asia, are concerned that after the expansion China will also be able to transport tanks and other heavy military equipment to the Indian Ocean. Heavy Security. The Geography of Iranian Power by Robert D. Kaplan. By Robert D. KaplanChief Geopolitical Analyst Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Robert D.
Kaplan's new book, The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate , which will be released Sept. 11. The Geography of Iranian Power The most important facts about Iran go unstated because they are so obvious. Any glance at a map would tell us what they are. Virtually all of the Greater Middle East's oil and natural gas lies either in the Persian Gulf or the Caspian Sea regions. The Persian Gulf possesses by some accounts 55 percent of the world's crude oil reserves, and Iran dominates the whole Gulf, from the Shatt al-Arab on the Iraqi border to the Strait of Hormuz 990 kilometers (615 miles) away. A look at the relief map shows something more. Iranian influence in the former Soviet republics of the Caucasus and Central Asia is potentially vast. Of course, there have been positive developments from the viewpoint of Tehran.
Bo Xilai: The Unanswered Questions by Perry Link. The Chinese Communist Party has always put great emphasis on smooth surfaces, maintaining political “face” through a decorous exterior. Men at the top dye their hair black and every strand must be in place. But sometimes there are cracks in the smoothness and outsiders are given a glimpse into the mafia-like world that lies behind it. On July 26, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported that Bogu Kailai and her personal assistant had been charged with murder. Since Bogu Kailai is the wife of Bo Xilai, a Communist Party “princeling,” the son of one of Mao Zedong’s closest associates and, until recently, a rising star in the CCP firmament, and since the murder victim is a British national, Neil Heywood, the word “embarrassment” has been used in press reports around the world. But I doubt that anything as mild as embarrassment is what fills the minds of Party leaders in Beijing.
Over the past year Bo Xilai has rocked their system and it is still wobbling. Did she really do it? US and China engage in cyber war games | Technology. The US and China have been discreetly engaging in "war games" amid rising anger in Washington over the scale and audacity of Beijing-co-ordinated cyber attacks on western governments and big business, the Guardian has learned. State department and Pentagon officials, along with their Chinese counterparts, were involved in two war games last year that were designed to help prevent a sudden military escalation between the sides if either felt they were being targeted.
Another session is planned for May. Though the exercises have given the US a chance to vent its frustration at what appears to be state-sponsored espionage and theft on an industrial scale, China has been belligerent. "China has come to the conclusion that the power relationship has changed, and it has changed in a way that favours them," said Jim Lewis, a senior fellow and director at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) thinktank in Washington. "The PLA [People's Liberation Army] is very hostile.