A weekly digest of news and analysis from AEI's Foreign and Defense Studies tea
Theresa May’s decision to hold a snap election this past week will go down as one of the great political blunders in UK history. May proved herself to be a dismal campaigner, but perhaps more damaging than losing her absolute majority in Parliament was what the election did to solidify Jeremy Corbyn as Labour’s now fearless leader.
The real problem in the UK, and across much of the voting world for that matter, seems to be the disappearance of a genuine center in politics. By its nature, politics polarizes, but when candidates are moving so far to the left or right that their ideas sound more like fairytales than pragmatic policy solutions, some serious revaluating needs to be done.
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Have a great week,
AEI’s Foreign and Defense Policy team
Tweet of the week
Dalibor Rohac @DaliborRohac
So much for the idea that one can successfully fight populism by coopting/taming it. #UKelections2017
Upcoming AEI Events
Tuesday, June 13, 2017 | 9:00 am
Countering Putin’s Russia: A conversation with Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA)
Iran has sent multiple planeloads of food and supplies to Qatar after the tiny petrol-rich nation saw its diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE, and Bahrain severed last week for reportedly funding radical Islamic terrorists. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hosted his Qatari counterpart Saturday and, while noting Russia’s policy of not intervening in other nations’ domestic affairs, called for “a mutually respectful dialogue” between the parties involved to resolve the crisis.
Michael Rubin breaks down the dispute between Qatar, its Gulf neighbors, and Egypt in his latest “In 60 Seconds” video. Watch here.
How should the US respond to this latest development from the Middle East? Andrew Bowen took to the AEIdeas blog to argue that we should not pick sides in the primarily intra-Gulf Cooperation Council spat and that the US must be an active mediator in the dispute. Read more here.
Qatar was not the only incident making waves across the Middle East last week. ISIS’s attack in Iran makes clear that there is a well-resourced and well-prepared ISIS cell and support structure in the Islamic Republic, concludes the Critical Threats team’sFrederick W. Kagan and Marie Donovan. The attack was even more remarkable in that Iran is one of the most security-minded states. Will ISIS focus greater resources on conducting attacks like the one in Tehran as the group continues to lose territory in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere? Keep reading here.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party lost its majority in Parliament in last week’s snap election, which May called hoping to strengthen her position before negotiations to leave the EU began. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party has agreed in principle to form a coalition government with the Conservatives, which would give May a majority.
In his most recent AEIdeas blog, Dalibor Rohac reflects on the winners and losers of the snap election here.
Watch Danielle Pletka discuss May’s miscalculation and the other headlines driving the day on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press Daily” here.
Last week’s election in the UK reinforced that Europe, and more precisely the European project, is facing a crisis. Rohac teamed up with Federico Ottavio Reho andRoland Freudenstein in an American Interest op-ed to advance their ideas on how Europe might be saved: “In our view, the best response consists not in jeopardizing the common European institutions in favor of returning to some mythical golden age of European nation states. Instead, it involves reorienting the existing institutional framework of the European Union (EU) in a conservative direction—more sympathetic to cultural traditions and national identities.” Continue here.
Russian authorities detained opposition leader Alexei Navalny earlier today for orchestrating a major wave of protests against the corruption of Putin’s regime. Protestors in at least 200 cities and towns across Russia filed official requests to hold demonstrations.
TOMORROW: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2014 revealed that Vladimir Putin intends to revise the post–Cold War order in Europe. But his subsequent intervention into Syria and meddling in politics on both sides of the Atlantic demonstrate that Putin’s strategy reaches beyond recovering geopolitical assets lost in the Soviet Union’s collapse and includes a broad, methodical push to erode unity in the West. How should Washington respond? Join us tomorrow at AEI at 9:00 a.m. as Leon Aron and Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, discuss the dangers Putin’s Russia poses and what the US and our allies can do.RSVP to the event here.
Newly elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in raised eyebrows earlier today when he proposed the idea of North Korea joining the regional effort to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup. North Korea has conducted at least 10 ballistic missile tests in 2017 alone. President Moon is expected to meet with President Trump in Washington later this month after Moon halted the deployment of its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system last week, which South Korea received from the US.
President Trump sent a strong message to Beijing when he took a phone call from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen late last year as president-elect. However, after reversing his decision to review the status of Taiwan, President Trump seems to have bowed to Chinese pressure. Should the US strengthen ties with Taiwan, and if so, then how? Dan Blumenthal, AEI’s director of Asian Studies, will testify before the House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific to answer this question Thursday at 2:45 p.m. in Rayburn 2200. Watch his testimony here.
AEI video of the week
50th anniversary of Six-Day War
Danielle Pletka | AEI’s “Viewpoint” video series
The Six-Day War, otherwise known as the June War, between Israel and its neighbors, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, marked a turning point in how Arab countries would see the Jewish state for the next half-century and had lasting implications for US–Middle East relations more broadly. Despite being heavily outnumbered and out-armed, Israel won the war, which lasted from June 5 to June 10 in 1967. Israel seized control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria. All of these, besides the Sinai Peninsula, remain disputed territories today.
Pletka, AEI’s senior vice president for foreign and defense policy, led a series of conversations with experts on the ’67 war as part of AEI’s “Viewpoint” video series. The experts included Elliot Abrams, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former George W. Bush administration official; Ziad Asali, president and founder of the American Task Force on Palestine; and David Makovsky, distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East policy. Watch the video series here.
Whether you have a long car ride ahead of you or are simply tired of overages on your cellphone bill, sometimes video streaming isn’t an option. Not to worry — we have you covered. You can also listen to Pletka discuss the ’67 war with these distinguished scholars via AEI’s podcast channel. Listen to the conversations here.
In a Pittsburgh Tribune op-ed, John R. Bolton contends that Donald Trump’s recent visit to Israel and his historic visit to the Western Wall, the first by a sitting American president, dramatically underline the permanence of Israel’s achievement during and since the ’67 War. Read why here.
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