At F&ES, Rwanda Official Makes Case for Stronger Policy-Academic Partnership

michael jenkins forest trends yale

Last year, Rwanda became the third of 39 countries to ratify the Kigali Amendment, an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that, among other goals, set a timetable for reducing the production and usage of hydrofluorocarbons, a category of potent planet-warming gases, in cooling and refrigeration systems.

The agreement, which struck a balance between the need for these air-cooling technologies in a warming world and the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, was named for the Rwandan capital that hosted the meeting where the agreement was reached. It was approved by nearly 200 national “parties” to the historic Montreal Protocol, the 1987 international treaty that sought to reduce emissions of ozone-depleting substances.

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US Policy on Russia Aims for Iran

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in 2015; US National Security Adviser John Bolton meets Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev in 2018

Russia interfered in the 2016 US presidential election. Foreign leaders and members of Congress have since focused their attention on Donald Trump’s Russia policies and may be neglecting other national security challenges. “The intense scrutiny placed on Trump and collusion has created a political atmosphere in which Russia has effectively become a boogeyman for domestic political ends,” writes Nicholas Trickett, research scholar and editor-in-chief of BMB Russia. “The Russia story provides political cover for the much scarier prospect of war with Iran.” Trump appointed hawks on Iran for two key positions: national security advisor in March and secretary of state in April. By May, the United States withdrew from the deal on containing Iran’s nuclear weapons program. So far, no policy shifts signal that the United States is going easy on Russia. Trickett analyzes the Trump administration’s subsequent moves with Russia on Syria and concludes that the Iran hawks may have figured out how to manipulate the president for their own political ends. – YaleGlobal

The West Scrutinizes Chinese Investment

Defending Western industry: European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker scrutinizes trade deals; in 2016, China’s Midea acquired Kuka, Germany’s top robotics company

Protectionist stances on immigration and trade have overshadowed proposals for stricter reviews of inbound foreign investment: The United States plans reform for the Committee on Foreign Investment of the United States, which reviews projects for national security concerns, and the European Union prepares a pan-European screening mechanism. In 2017, Chinese investment in Europe totaled €35 billion, or $40.75 billion, and the US total was $29.4 billion, down from $46.2 billion in 2016. “Between the Trump administration’s ‘America first’ stance, labeling China a ‘strategic competitor’…, and a mainstream Europe actively looking to improve the EU’s toolbox for screening foreign investments, China is carrying on its old practice of ‘divide and rule’ among states while also trying to play Europeans against Americans, thanks to the current ‘trade war,’” writes Philippe Le Corre, a senior fellow with the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School and a nonresident senior fellow with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The United States and Europe, by cooperating, would enjoy a stronger negotiating position. – YaleGlobal

US Strategy in Afghanistan Requires Diplomacy and Military Power

After many promises about military prowess and secret plans, the Trump administration is desperate for victory in Afghanistan. US presidents have struggled to understand that, for the Taliban, a fundamentalist political and military group, victory is the ability to outwait a foreign invader, explains Ehsan M. Ahrari, author and military strategist who teaches at the US Army War College. The Trump administration has adjusted strategy for the war in its 17th year by targeting illicit activities that finance the Taliban and embedding US military advisors with Afghan troops closest to combat. Cooperation with other nations is essential to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table: China needs a stable Afghanistan for the success of its Belt and Road Initiative Central Asia, and Pakistan expects the United States to take its apprehensions about any Indian involvement in Afghanistan into consideration. While the Taliban outwaits the foreign troops, China and Pakistan have reason to worry about a fast US exit with minimal political commitment, leaving Afghanistan destabilized. – YaleGlobal

Facing an Aggressive China: The US May Be Inching Towards Asian Alliance

The juxtaposition of speeches and leadership show a stark contrast. Under Xi Jinping, China is strategic in expanding its influence, while the United States and the Donald Trump administration seem to be floundering, lurching about with policies. “Since the 2016 election of Donald Trump, Xi has projected himself as a responsible global statesman committed to maintaining global norms and leading on tackling challenges such as climate change and global trade,” explains Harsh V Pant, professor of international relations. Asian nations assess the strength of commitments as Trump undertakes a 12-day visit with stops in Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. “The Narendra Modi government has invested significant diplomatic capital in building ties with Washington, with Modi visiting the United States four times during the last three years,” Pant explains, adding that China’s fast rise may not go completely unchallenged. He concludes that the United States and India along with Japan and Australia could “emerge as guarantors of free trade and defense cooperation across a stretch of ocean from the South China Sea, across the Indian Ocean to Africa.” Again, much depends on the United States keeping its many commitments in word and deed. – YaleGlobal

Nuclear North Korea in US-China Relations: Where do Washington and Beijing Go from Here?

Please join us on Wednesday, October 18 from 4-6 PM, SLB Room 120

Nuclear North Korea in US-China Relations: Where do Washington and Beijing Go from Here?
American and Chinese leaders have long believed the other country to be vital to any solution to North Korea’s nuclear weapons. After Pyongyang’s summer of nuclear advances, are the United States and China any closer to cooperation on the Korean Peninsula? What would a mutually acceptable North Korea strategy look like, and how can Washington and Beijing move towards it?

Join Dingding Chen (Jinan University), Wang Dong (Peking University), Paul Gewirtz, Mira Rapp-Hooper, and Robert Williams (Yale Law School) for a timely conversation on a vexing national security challenge – and what it means for the world’s most important bilateral relationship.

Refreshments will be served