Articles by John Kmiecik:
March 4, 2013 by John Kmiecik
If Washington continues to avoid direct engagement in Mali there remains a possibility that Mali’s instability could spread throughout West Africa and to the greater region. There is some evidence of this in Nigeria with the growth of Boko Haram. Mali’s internal strife not only represents a threat to Mali and its neighbors but the fragile state of intra-African politics. The African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are engaged in Mali with ECOWAS dedicated to the restoration of democracy and the AU committed to preserving the territorial integrity of Mali.
So far the Obama administration has not made any official commitments regarding direct military relief in Mali aside from limited support in the form of ferrying supplies to the region. Adding further urgency, various insurgency groups and Islamists are joining forces in some instances. Organizations such as the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (NMLA), Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Polisario Front, Ansar Dine, and Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) represent a network of terrorist and separatist movements whose combined actions characterize a growing threat to the economic and political development of the region. There are links that bind these movements together like ideology, tribalism, ethnicity, politics, and religion. Mali’s fate is just another piece of the puzzle in resolving issues in West Africa but Washington refuses to address the dynamic relationship between these guerilla conflicts. Reaffirming Mali’s progress towards democracy is the first step that U.S. foreign policy needs to take to resolve Mali’s and the region’s chaos.
November 5, 2012 by John Kmiecik
The attacks on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012 and protests across the Islamic world against the film, Innocence of Muslims, have many officials in Washington questioning America’s role in the ‘Arab Spring’. Because of the US presidential election, political debate is focused on the future of US-Libya relations.
In taking a quick glance at the development of American foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Central Asia one can be overwhelmed at the dismal progress that has made in advancing democracy in those regions. There is an urgent need for a successful event to demonstrate to the domestic public and international community that America is capable of bringing stability to these regions.
October 31, 2012 by John Kmiecik
There have been significant changes in the political and social structures in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) since the beginning of the Arab Spring. These popular uprisings continue to alter American foreign policy.
The dissolution of several totalitarian regimes in the area after forty years of rule heralds a new era of uncertainty not only for the local populations but also the international community. The establishment of new political institutions is leading to unforeseen areas of unrest.
August 23, 2012 by John Kmiecik
Exploring the dimensions of Sino-Russian relations reveals a perplexing question, “who is the junior partner?” No definite answer presents itself because Sino-Russian relations change depending on different issues and situations. In the post Cold War era, China has proved to be very adaptable to change while Russia has struggled to restructure to the new order. However, elements of this relationship afford Russia the facility to reassert authority over the international scene. The equation behind these circumstances is that the relationship benefits Moscow’s interest in the short term and Beijing’s interest in the long term.
Since the Soviet Union dissolved, Russia has been experiencing a national identity crisis. Russia went from being a superpower to a source of regional military and economic instability.
July 15, 2012 by John Kmiecik
In American foreign policy regarding the Middle East, a trend has developed into a paramount issue. The concern over what is the role of Islam in national governments.
The past decade spent in Iraq and Afghanistan has made this even more obvious. The rise in “Islamophobia” in America following September 11 has only reinforced this misconception. In the wake of the “Arab Spring” in 2011, there exists an opportunity for a watershed moment in working towards stability in the Middle East but the possibility of which is diminished by this tendency.
July 9, 2012 by John Kmiecik
As turmoil continues in Syria, the international community continues to press for an intervention to stabilize the situation. As President of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party Bashar al-Assad refuses to relinquish his iron grip over Damascus’ government, more prominent world leaders are calling for him to resign. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has gone far enough to classify the Syrian Uprising as a full-blown civil war. However, calls by the United States, European Union, and Arab League for any possible UN backed resolutions are being blocked by Russia and China.
With last year’s military intervention in Libya fresh in mind, Russia and China are cautious about any NATO activity in the region especially when their national interests are concerned.
June 12, 2012 by John Kmiecik
For Athens, the birthplace of democracy, the time has come to decide the fate of the European Union (EU), the most ambitious political experiment in the world. Fate is maybe too strong a word, but the Greek elections on June 17, 2012 will surely go down in the history books as a watershed moment in the Euro Crisis, but what makes this election important?
In November 2011, former Prime Minister George Papandreou called for a referendum to be held over Greece’s continued commitment to the IMF/ECB (International Monetary Fund/European Central Bank) financial bailout package or more simply whether to abandon the Euro. Papandreou later called off the referendum due to political pressure but he resigned as a result. This ushered in an interim coalition government headed by Lucas Papademos, former Vice-President of the ECB, which lasted until elections in May 2012.
June 10, 2012 by John Kmiecik
Much of the attention about the European Sovereign Debt Crisis (ESDC) focuses on the issue of Greece defaulting on its public debt and the possibility of it being the first country to leave the Eurozone. However, the threat of Italy’s economic instability represents a greater concern for the European Union (EU). As Europe’s financial woes escalate the countries to bear to mind are Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy, but the last stands out because its situation is unique.
As one of the founding members of the European Steel and Coal Community (ESCC) and European Economic Community (ECC), Italy’s issues represent a serious problem about the core foundations of the EU. Greece which joined the EU in the 1980s represents a trend that is commonplace among the countries.
May 24, 2012 by John Kmiecik
A key element in the debate over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (North Korea or DPRK) nuclear weapons program that has evaded attention is the complex relationship between Chinese foreign and domestic policy. A historical trend exists in the Communist Chinese Party (CCP) that foreign policy decisions are made in regards to pursuing domestic objectives.
The CCP’s purging of Bo Xilai, Party Chief of Chongqing province and potential Politburo Standing Committee member, happens to coincide with North Korea’s renewed testing of a ballistic missile after United States officials claimed that a breakthrough moment had occurred in negotiations.