A Distracted U.S. Struggles To Shift Its Global Focus

Omar Lamrani By Omar Lamrani – Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • The United States is restructuring its global military footprint, reallocating its resources and shifting its strategic focus to better compete against China and Russia.
  • To achieve this, the United States will be compelled to prioritize its commitments in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
  • However, enduring U.S. commitments elsewhere and emerging global flashpoints will sidetrack Washington’s attention and resources. 

U.S. soldiers watch paratroopers from the U.S. Army 173rd Airborne Brigade, the UK's 16 Air Assault Brigade and Italian Folgore Airborne Brigade as they parachute to the ground during a training jump as part of the Saber Junction 16 military exercises near the Hohenfels Training Area. April 2016, near Grafenwoehr, Germany.

(MATEJ DIVIZNA/Getty Images)

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A Defiant Russia Builds Barriers to U.S. Sanctions

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • As the United States pressures Russia with sanctions, Moscow will use a mix of options to counter the penalties in the short term, including diplomatic negotiations and financial support for threatened businesses.
  • In the long term, Russia will continue deploying a strategy to insulate its people and businesses, leading Moscow to increasingly move away from the West and toward the East.
  • While Moscow may make tactical concessions to protect its economic interests, U.S. sanctions ultimately will be ineffective in compelling Russia to strategically shift its foreign policy, meaning the Russia-West standoff is here to stay.

This photograph shows bars of aluminum.

(MIKE DOTTA/Shutterstock)

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U.S. President Donald Trump Cancels the North Korea Summit With Kim Jong Un

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

In a shock announcement, U.S. President Donald Trump has canceled the planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In a letter directly addressed to Kim, released early May 24, the U.S. president thanked his North Korean counterpart for his time and patience in the discussions but said that the “tremendous anger and open hostility” displayed in North Korea’s most recent statement made a meeting inappropriate. The letter is referring to a May 23 statement made by North Korean Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui in the state-run media outlet KCNA, in which she threatened to pull out of the North Korean summit and condemned U.S. Vice President Mike Pence for recent remarks threatening North Korea if it doesn’t make a deal with the United States. Choe’s statement is the second such threat from North Korean officials in the past week. Trump’s letter ends with an invitation for North Korea to reach out if the country changes its mind about its position on the United States.

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Can North Korea Really Give Up Its Nukes?

Rodger Baker By Rodger Baker – Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • North Korea’s diplomatic outreach again raises the possibility that it is willing to use its nuclear program as a bargaining chip.
  • With an eye toward regime survival and eventual Korean unification, Pyongyang could trade away the public face of its nuclear weapons program.
  • Having offered such a concession, North Korea will demand a lot more than an easing of sanctions by South Korea and the United States in return.

In this photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defense Science at an undisclosed location.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

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China Re-Enters the Korean Field of Play

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

It can be difficult to separate the important from unimportant on any given day. Reflections mean to do exactly that — by thinking about what happened today, we can consider what might happen tomorrow.

Highlights

  • Through a top-level meeting with North Korea, China is signaling it will not be a bystander in the evolving dynamics on the Korean Peninsula.
  • China may have an opening to restore its long-frosty relations with South Korea by extending outreach on trade measures.
  • Both North Korea and South Korea have an interest in including China to some extent in their evolving diplomatic dynamic.

Following days of heightened speculation about who was aboard a mystery train that traveled from Pyongyang to Beijing, China confirmed on March 28 that it hosted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this week.

(-/AFP/Getty Images)

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Is Kim Jong Un Making a Visit to China?

Re-Blogged From Stratfor

Highlights

  • Amid a diplomatic outreach between North Korea and other regional powers, the arrival of a North Korean train in the Chinese capital signals that Beijing is probably preparing to reach out to Pyongyang itself — perhaps through a meeting with Kim Jong Un.
  • Ahead of its likely summits with the United States and South Korea, North Korea may try to use its position of strength to gain more equal footing with China in their relationship.
  • Because any lasting diplomatic solution to the North Korean crisis will have to include China, Pyongyang will not be able to sideline Beijing entirely in its negotiations.

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