These are daunting times for those pursuing megaregional trade deals. Although the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) lie at the heart of both commercial and foreign policy, each has encountered troubling obstacles this week.
As U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in late September, in the wake of Chinese President Xi Jinping's grand tour of South Asia, the world will be watching for clues about the future strategic triangle between its three biggest nations.
"There's a bit of a sense of desperation about coming up with ways to break the logjams, on the nuclear talks and the larger relationship" a participant in the talks told the New York Times recently.
Representatives of Latin America and the Caribbean have chosen the troubled government of Venezuela to represent them in the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member whose term begins next January. When the U.N. General Assembly elects new UNSC members in mid-October, Latin America's nominee to debate matters of "peace and security" will be a country that is among the least peaceful and most insecure in the Americas. Although the region's image may suffer as a result, at least President Nicolás Maduro's regime will be conspicuous as its economic mismanagement collapses Venezuela's oil-rich economy and as its repression intensifies in a desperate bid to hold to power.
Even as the United States has begun to bomb Syria, the Obama administration has yet to outline its strategy for defeating the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), the ruthless Islamic extremist gang that now controls large swaths of Iraq and Syria. No doubt, administration officials will assert that they to have a strategy "to defeat and destroy" America's latest battlefield opponent. The difficulty is that American forces are not actually on the battlefield themselves, and wars are not won solely with air power. Islamic State (IS) units will follow the example of the North Vietnamese and others who were subjected to incessant bombing. They will blend in with the population, hide their equipment, acquire more sophisticated air defenses, and, most important of all, accept hardship. They will not surrender.