9 July 2017   Leave a comment

The dispute over Russian interference in the US presidential election in 2016 is a fascinating spotlight on the realist definition of the “national interest”.  The bedrocks of the realist definition are the ability to defend national territory and the ability of the state to govern exclusively in terms of the interests of its citizens.  In ways that the realists of the 19th century (Metternich and Bismarck, for example) could never have imagined, it appears as if the national interest of the US was seriously compromised by Russia.  But perhaps more importantly, in a globalized world in which electronic transmissions are difficult to contain and monitor, it may be the case that the old idea of the national interest is no longer tenable.

After three years of occupation by Daesh (the Islamic State), the city of Mosul in Iraq seems close to liberation.  Iraqi troops are closing in on the last holdouts who seem to be fight to the death.  It will be some time before the city is safe and the civilians who have suffered brutal occupation feel safe enough to return.  But, while the government seems close to control, there will be fighting over the future of the city among the forces who were allied against Daesh: Iranian militias, Kurds, and different Sunni and Shia groups.  It will be very interesting to see how the US and Iran jockey for influence in Iraq once the threat of Daesh recedes.

Iraqi Troops Outside Mosul

One of the largest protests in recent Turkish history–the protesters were numbered in the hundreds of thousands–took place in opposition to the increasingly authoritarian politics of President Erdogan.  The protest occurred about a year after an abortive coup against Erdogan led to the imposition of harsh policies against the military, the press, and the judiciary.  The response by Turkish authorities will undoubtedly be harsh–the world should try to assure that the protests do not elicit a complete breakdown of the civil order in Turkey.

Posted July 9, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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