Belgium’s Ambassador Johan Verbeke is a distinguished diplomat with vast experience in different roles in some of the toughest places of duty. He has a pragmatic world view which seeks win-win situations in trade and diplomacy.
The Seventh Round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks took place in Washington, DC from September 29 to October 3, 2014. This landmark trade deal has huge impact on both sides of the Atlantic. In an exclusive interview with Diplomatic Courier, Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to the United States, discussed a wide range of topics including EU-U.S. trade relations and the crisis in Ukraine.
This August, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and in conjunction with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the leading organization responsible for maintaining the internet’s stability, hosted the Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance, also known as the NETmundial Initiative. This conference brought together hundreds of government representatives, private sector members, civil society leaders, and academic and technology experts, as well as thousands of viewers via social media, to discuss the framework for carrying out global internet governance, in accordance with the NETmundial Principles established earlier this April.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on October 25th at the annual Valdai Discussion Club made clear that Russia does not view the post-Cold War order as legitimate, but rather as just a system of rules imposed by the West—ones that the U.S. itself does not even follow. There was little new in the speech, but it confirmed that Moscow is in no mood to negotiate, and that there will be no compromise on Ukraine.
This past February, Russian armed forces invaded and later annexed the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine. This bold move shocked the world, but in reality this invasion was just a case of history repeating itself. A nearly identical scenario took place in Cyprus 40 years ago, and that event—like the division of Ukraine—has yet to find a resolution.
The United States has long held the reputation of protector of the “Free World,” promoting democratic ideals and the rule of law globally. But today, the United States is a shy mediator in the midst of disarray and the world order is beginning to reflect it.
The 2014 Twiplomacy report was released in June from global public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, finding in-depth statistics from the microblogging platform Twitter and quantifying Twitter’s instrumental role within global politics and diplomacy. The study begins by noting that world leaders, like many 21st century cultural figures, “vie for attention, connections and followers on Twitter”, and that for many world leaders, Twitter has become a huge diplomatic tool for real-time relations, reflecting an impressive amount of the nuance of global affairs. Twitter is an increasingly influential diplomatic tool, with now more than “half of the world’s foreign ministers and their institutions” and 83 percent of the 193 UN member countries present on the site.
After the Khobrogade diplomatic dust up, FDA pushback on Indian generic drugs and FAA reprimand of India’s commercial airlines, the United States Government hopes Narenda Modi’s election will open the door to a relationship reset. But without more than a change at the helm of the Indian government, the relationship will continue adrift. The U.S. and India need something bigger to right their footing, and nothing brings countries together like a common, addressable humanitarian crisis that requires mutual cooperation. Stronger relations and lasting benefits would ensue for both countries if they pursued a strategic approach to combat Tuberculosis, a condition where the largest number of new cases resides in India and the highest costs of treatment for resistant cases are in the U.S.
As tensions continue to rise in the East and South China Seas, the Obama administration’s attempts to redefine the balance of power in the Asia is undergoing a rebalancing of its own.
President Obama’s recent commencement speech at West Point (full transcript here) provoked a variety of reactions, but one frequently heard claim is that the President is trying to do too much in terms of diplomacy, stretching too thinly the U.S.’s limited supply of diplomatic capital.
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