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  • Author: David Makovksy
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: Although Benny Gantz’s party lost the head-to-head battle, Avigdor Liberman’s favorable influence on the coalition math has left the general in a stronger position—and taken some diplomatic weight off the Trump administration’s shoulders. Israel’s third round of elections last week seemed inconclusive at first, but the deadlock may now be broken. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did better this time than in September’s round two, but his gains were insufficient to form a new government. Potential kingmaker Avigdor Liberman jettisoned his previous idea of getting the two top parties to join forces; instead, personal antipathy and policy differences have led him to definitely state that he will not join any government Netanyahu leads. Thus, while centrist Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz may have options to shape a new government, Netanyahu has no pathway on his own. In theory, the center-left bloc has the requisite number of seats for a bare majority in the 120-member Knesset, since anti-Netanyahu forces won 62 seats. In reality, the situation is more complex.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Government, Politics, Elections
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Israel, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Mehdi Khalaji
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
  • Abstract: A week after Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei played coy, remarking, “I have no judgment on the American election...[Both parties have been] naughty toward us.” Of course, his true reaction was far more complex. On one hand, he saw in the president-elect—who had spoken much of disentangling U.S. forces from the Middle East—a prospect of decreased military pressure on his country. On the other, he heard Trump’s raw vitriol directed at Iran’s leadership and the nuclear deal crafted by President Obama. The eventual U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA demonstrated that the new president could back up his talk with punishing action. In this close analysis of statements by Khamenei and other Iranian leaders, former seminarian Mehdi Khalaji lays out the regime’s current views on President Trump and the United States. He shows that even after the American assassination of Qods Force chief Qasem Soleimani, Iranian leaders could be open to negotiating with Washington if they believe the regime’s existence depends on it.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Politics, Elections, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ellie Geranmayeh
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Europeans wish to persuade Iran to compromise on strategic issues – but, unless they understand the dynamics of domestic Iranian politics, they will not get far. Three main power blocs compete to influence Iran’s supreme leader, including the ‘modernisers’, who were instrumental in building the case internally for the nuclear deal. The US ‘maximum pressure’ campaign has placed them on the back foot. Improving the economy remains the most pressing issue in Iran. Without a Western economic offer, the other two power blocs – the conservative ‘Principlists’ and IRGC-linked ‘securocrats’ – will continue their recent ascendancy and press for a confrontational ‘maximum resistance’ response. Immediately after the US presidential election, Europeans should embark on shuttle diplomacy with Washington and Tehran to agree an interim deal on the nuclear issue. This could also strengthen modernisers ahead of Iran’s own presidential race in 2021.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Bilateral Relations, Elections, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Iran, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Ioannis N. Grigoriadis
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP)
  • Abstract: As the American elections are about to take place, many in Turkey brace for the outcome. After countless disputes between the United States and Turkey during the 2010’s, coupled with growing divergence of Turkish foreign policy, two allies’ relationship has been deceptively good for the last two years. This was not due to a meaningful rapprochement, but to Erdogan’s well-executed personal diplomacy with Trump which has proved beneficial for Turkey in many cases. Yet, this superficial rapprochement is challenged by the prospects of a Biden presidency. Biden, whose remarks are far from affable towards Erdogan and who has even pledged to support Turkish opposition, is very likely to demand Turkey to recommit to its alliance with the West. Hence, we may soon see a Turkey at a serious crossroads: either Turkey will turn its face to West once again, or it will further alienate from the West.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Bilateral Relations, Elections, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Turkey, North America, United States of America, Mediterranean
  • Author: Sébastien Mort
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI)
  • Abstract: From the 1920s to the 1980s, the American press followed strict discursive practices based on objectivity and fairness. Starting in the 1930s, the country's political center of gravity was on the liberal side and there were few overtly conservative media. From the 1980s onwards, the vast deregulation effort undertaken by the Reagan administration paved the way for the emergence of a powerful conservative media ecosystem. Hosted by strong personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, conservative radio talk-shows were broadcast by a large number of local AM radio stations. Created in 1996, the Fox News channel gained massive traction in the 2000s. Many information websites close to the far right have gradually joined this environment.
  • Topic: Politics, Elections, Media, Conservatism, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: North America, United States of America
  • Author: Eric Lerhe
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Security and Development, Dalhousie University
  • Abstract: The election of President Trump provoked considerable disarray. His pre-election warning that states not meeting NATO defence spending targets might be denied US protection has resulted in a member of the Bundestag’s Committee of Foreign Affairs arguing for a non-US nuclear deterrent. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister warned of a Russian provocation against the Baltic states timed to occur prior to the President-elect taking office. Trump's parallel calls for greater Korean and Japanese military contributions, including his readiness to accept their nuclear self-arming, had the Tokyobased Diplomat predicting region-wide mayhem ranging from the greater potential for climatebased conflict to the increased probability of China opening hostilities with Taiwan. That at least one election declaration – a commitment to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership – may have stemmed from an astonishing lack of understanding was also of concern: in debate with US Senator Paul Ryan, the President-elect seemed to be criticizing the TPP in part because he thought China was included. Closer to home, Trump’s threat to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement provoked calls within Canada to counter this by increasing its own defence spending to the 2% of GDP NATO target and scrapping supply management.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, NATO, Elections, Donald Trump
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, North America, United States of America