The West's clash with Russia is a preview of the conflicts that will arise in the coming decades.
The upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki has generated a storm of warnings about the possible collusion between two presidents intent on crushing the existing international system, on the one hand, and the rest of the international community—the collective West first and foremost—that built that system and is trying to preserve it.
This view, although attractive and popular, is, unfortunately, inaccurate. Donald Trump is, indeed, a consummate Realist. He has little use for international institutions and is not averse to dismantling them in pursuit of short-term goals. Vladimir Putin, in contrast, can be classified as “conservative institutionalist” who values international institutions as they emerged by the end of the Cold War and the traditional tenets of international law. Their opponents should more correctly be characterized as “democratic institutionalists” who seek to quickly remedy drawbacks of traditional international law and develop new institutions by using the rule of majority in roughly the same way it works in domestic politics.
U.S.-Russian relations during President Barack Obama’s tenure developed as conflict between the two latter worldviews. Common misidentification Putin as a Realist makes them concerned about possible collusion with Donald Trump, but, in fact, any cooperation between them can only be temporary and tactical. There is no doubt that they can achieve limited progress, but only because U.S.-Russian relations today are at an unprecedentedly low point.
By Shi Zhiqin
July 2018 will be an eventful month for international politics. On July 12, NATO allies will converse on the future of the Western alliance amidst U.S. President Donald Trump’s diatribes against the Europeans. Days later, on the 16th, EU leaders will attend the 20th China-EU high summit in Beijing, with the international trade order at stake.
As the trade war has now officially kicked in, the China-EU summit provides an unprecedented opportunity for a unified China-EU front upholding the legitimacy of international trade against the paranoia of unilateralism that could take the world into another great depression. Three key strategic insights should motivate China and the EU to act as natural partners in support of globalization and predictable open markets.
From the heart of Europe to the world: Philip Roth (and Franz Kafka), 1968. (https://www.historytoday.com)
Much has been written about the life and work of the American novelist Philip Roth since his death on 22 May. Like many great artists (Shakespeare, Beethoven, Rembrandt), he had a vigorous, uncompromising ‘late’ period, during which his writing took on an unmistakable style and inimitable humour that was often excruciatingly funny. Yet there is a side to Roth that has been somewhat neglected by the obituarists.