U.S. Foreign Relations: Some Brief Updates

This is mainly a follow-up to the concluding class session on foreign policy in my two current classes, though it should be of interest to past students as well (because I hope you’re all still following what’s going on).

Sweden and Finland, who have not been members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) thus far, want to join now to insure themselves against any aggression from Putin’s Russia.  Because NATO is a treaty among all of its members pledging to come to each other’s defense, agreement to let new members in has to be unanimous and has to pass each member country’s procedure for treaty ratification.  One current NATO member, Turkey, has doubts about letting Sweden and Finland in.  The government of Turkey feels that Sweden and Finland have been too friendly to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish nationalist group that Turkey regards as a terrorist organization.  The Kurds are an ethnic minority living mostly within Turkey.  NPR report, May 19, 2022

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico, has said he won’t attend the Americas Summit in Los Angeles next month if heads of state from Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua aren’t invited.  The U.S. is trying to get him to relent, while also saying that final decisions about who’s invited haven’t been made yet.  President Biden has been putting great emphasis on the need for the U.S. to shore up its relations with democracies as a bulwark against totalitarianism; those three countries currently have totalitarian dictators.  NPR report, May 19, 2022

President Biden is about to visit South Korea and Japan, and among the main topics will be the China challenge.  NPR report, May 18, 2022  There’s a possibility that North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un will be marking the occasion with a missile test.  NPR report, May 19, 2022

One thought on “U.S. Foreign Relations: Some Brief Updates

  1. Isaac

    Greetings Professor Benjamin,

    I took this same class with you 2 years ago during the worst of the pandemic and I faithfully follow your posts about any important event in the United States government ever since. On the situation in Russia; Finland, a country that lived under the shadow of Russia for much of its history (including its greatest landmark, the Helsinki Cathedral, is built in Orthodox style being a Protestant country) and with which it shares an 830-mile-long border, left aside its neutrality and has decided to bring NATO under the noses of Saint Petersburg and Moscow, Sweden also plans to do the same. Putin must be infuriated, because it is precisely what he did not want: to see the “buffer zone” between Russia and NATO reduced and to continue having its sphere of influence in neighboring countries. Today Biden declared that both countries will have the full support of the US, how will this play out against Finland and Sweden? It is clear that both countries are sacrificing themselves for the rest of Europe and it’s a diplomatic victory for the US and for the western allies.


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