U.S. Breaks Its Deal with Iran…Again

U.S. Breaks Its Deal with Iran…Again

Building on its reputation as an unreliable diplomatic partner, the United States announced on October 12 that it was pulling out of the deal that would have granted Iran access to $6 billion of its money in exchange for the release of five American prisoners. This rare diplomatic success between the U.S. and Iran took months to work out, only to see the U.S. break its word again and renege on the deal. In 2018, the United States granted a waiver for South Korea to continue purchasing Iranian oil despite American sanctions on Iran. Instead of being deposited in Iran, the money for the oil...

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Putin’s Valdai Speech, What You Need to Know

Putin’s Valdai Speech, What You Need to Know

On October 5, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the plenary session of the Valdai International Discussion Club near Sochi, Russia. The session was attended by scholars and diplomats from forty-two countries. Putin spoke for half an hour and then answered questions for about three hours. Several interesting things were said. In western discourse it is always said that Russia started an unprovoked war in Ukraine. There has been much discussion—though not in the mainstream media nor in statements issued by western governments—about whether the war was unprovoked. But there has been...

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Someone Wants ‘the War to Continue’

Someone Wants ‘the War to Continue’

At times, Ukraine has been unwilling to negotiate an end to the ongoing war with Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has gone so far as to issue a decree banning negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. At other times, Russia has given up on negotiating. In a press conference at the United Nations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov lamented, if you insist “’on the battlefield’—well, let it be on the battlefield.” And at times, Ukraine and Russia have been willing to negotiate with each other. The United States, though, has at no time been willing to negotiate....

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A Rough Diplomatic Week for Ukraine

A Rough Diplomatic Week for Ukraine

In the early weeks of the war, a peace was still possible that would have seen Ukraine lose few lives and little to no land. Even the Donbas would have remained in Ukraine with autonomy under a still possible Minsk agreement. Only Crimea would have remained lost. A year and a half later, Ukraine’s daily loss of life is horrific and Russia is determined to hold not only Crimea and the Donbas, but Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. But while Ukraine has struggled on the battlefield, it has sustained its diplomatic support. But this week, that too showed strains. Ukraine had a difficult week with both...

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Why We Don’t Negotiate

Why We Don’t Negotiate

The signature of Joe Biden's State Department has been the abdication of diplomacy. Its head, Antony Blinken, the chief U.S. diplomat, has abdicated the role of diplomat. Though obvious in Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea, this absence of diplomacy has been nowhere more evident than in the Russo-Ukrainian war where the State Department has been more the warrior than the Pentagon. On November 9, 2022, it was America’s top soldier, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley, who said, “There has to be a mutual recognition that a military victory is probably, in the true...

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Following the BRICS Road to Multipolarity

Following the BRICS Road to Multipolarity

The five members of BRICS promised that their fifteenth annual summit, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, would be an important one for BRICS’ development and that it would mark a significant moment in the changing international architecture. The political West predicted that the summit would disappoint and forecasted that differences would dominate and unity would not hold. They expected Brazil and India to be roadblocks to further expansion. They were wrong. Though optimists would not have been surprised by an announcement that a roadmap for expansion had been agreed upon, there is no one...

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Ukraine Is More Than Wounded

Ukraine Is More Than Wounded

Getting a count of Ukraine’s dead that isn’t the output of someone’s propaganda machine is difficult to do. But the number of dead is indisputably a horror. Measuring the maiming of Ukraine solely in deaths, though, is an injustice to the depth of the Ukrainian wound. It is not just that using tens of thousands as the unit in which to measure the dead may be an understatement meant to maintain morale and keep Ukrainians fighting with the political West providing support. Deaths may be the worst way to scar a nation, but they are not the only way to scar a nation. The promise that the...

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The Global South Stands Up

The Global South Stands Up

As Ukraine’s counteroffensive and chances of winning the war begin to show signs of falling apart, and the realization that, eventually, Ukraine will end the war only through negotiations begins to dawn, Kiev has begun a campaign of conferences to court the neutral global south, or what Russia now calls the global majority, to their diplomatic side. In June, Ukraine requested that the United States encourage several nonaligned countries that have declined to condemn Russia to gather in Copenhagen for a conference designed to entice them onboard the Zelensky peace proposal. The talks,...

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