Archive for Foreign Relations

Guide To Brexit Abbreviations and Phrases

What is a hard Brexit? The term “alternative agreement”means what? What is “Article 50 TEU”? These and other terms are explained (along with embedded links where necessary) in this Brexit Glossary recently published by the UK Parliament Library.

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Recent Reports on China

China and the International Order (RAND, 2018); The China challenge, democracy, and U.S. grand strategy (Brookings, 2019); China: What Think Tanks Are Thinking (European Parliament Think Tank, 2019. Dozens of active links to EU position papers); China’s Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States (CRS, 2018); China’s Massive Belt and Road Initiative (CFR Backgrounder, 2019); The Higher Road: Forging a U.S. Strategy for the Global Infrastructure Challenge (CSIS, 2019); Money, Might and Mindset: China’s Self-centred Global Ambition (Chatham House, 2018); U.S.China Relations (CRS, 2019); and Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2019 (DOD).

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United Nations Digital Library

As of this writing, over 950,000 records are included in this database consisting of speeches, reports, meeting records, documents, resolutions, and all the other bureaucratic paperwork associated with such a vast organization. The material can be filtered by UN body as well as by year; an advanced search screen provides even more options.

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United States – North Korea Relations

This State Department page offers a brief review of this country’s interaction with then-Korea and its present bifurcated state. Basic information on the country itself is found here courtesy of the CIA’s World Factbook; the BBC also provides an excellent country profile. In addition, there are numerous CRS reports on this situation, among them North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation.

Diplomatic and intelligence sources can be found in a number of sites:

The National Security Archive has curated briefing books featuring North Korea, the most recent one entitled The United States and North Korea Nuclear Threat.

The Foreign Relations of the United States series has many volumes of relevant documents – Foreign Relations of the United States, 1950, Korea, Volume VII; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1951, Korea and China, Volume VII, Part 1; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1951, Korea and China, Volume VII, Part 2 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Korea, Volume XV, Part 1 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Korea, Volume XV, Part 2 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Korea, Volume XV, Part 1 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1952–1954, Korea, Volume XV, Part 2 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955–1957, Korea, Volume XXIII, Part 2 ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1958–1960, Japan; Korea, Volume XVIII ; Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume XXIX, Part 1, Korea ;  and Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XIX, Part 1, Korea, 1969–1972. (Because of the slowness in reviewing and declassifying documents, the FRUS is now woefully behind in adhering to its mandate to publish documents/volumes within a thirty-year timeframe. Come here to review this problem.)

The CIA makes available an historical collection that is appropriate – Baptism By Fire: CIA Analysis of the Korean War – as well as thousands of reports, briefings, analyses, some as recent as 2017.

The Wilson Center has several collections of value: United States-North Korea RelationsConversations with Kim Il Sung; China-North Korea Relations; Inter-Korean Relations (one of several troves so titled); and Japan and the Korean Peninsula. Also, consult its North Korea International Documentation Project.

This is a video worth watching – Primary Sources for Research on North Korea – a 2014 webcast sponsored by the Library of Congress.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: INF Treaty

President Trump has announced that the United States is going to withdraw from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty or INF. This agreement eliminated all missiles that had a range of between 300 miles and 3,000 miles, effectively stripping the European Theater of Operations from the threat of missile attack, whether of a conventional or nuclear nature.

There have been some reports that Russia was not abiding by the letter of the law; see Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress from CRS for an overview. Also, this proposed legislation – S.430 – Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty Preservation Act of 2017.

Although of recent historical vintage, there are indeed valuable primary sources of information for those wishing to visit this topic.

Firstly,  read the treaty in its entirety along with its informative narrative.

Secondly, examine the hundreds of documents that have been selected to explain the diplomatic process. These are found in the valuable Foreign Relations of the United States series, especially Soviet Union, October 1986-January 1989, Volume VI , and read the preface to this volume that points to additional relevant volumes in this ongoing documentary project.

Thirdly, consult the National Security Archive for its “briefing book” – The INF Treaty and the Washington Summit: 20 Years Later that contains additional sources, including some from the Soviet side. This wonderful site also has numerous entries on the predecessor negotiations as well.

Fourthly, drop by the Wilson Center’s digital collections that were culled from disparate entities that have an impact on the present topic.

Fifthly, visit Georgetown University’s digital video collection containing then-contemporary interviews of some of the major players/analysts of the time from both the academic and governmental perspectives.

Sixthly, peruse statements, addresses, interviews of President Ronald Reagan (who was a key participant in this treaty) housed at the American Presidency Project.

And lastly (because I can’t bear the thought of writing “seventhly”), watch the various Congressional hearings on the INF courtesy of C-SPAN.

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Full Text of the DOD Summary Report on the Niger Ambush

It is here and a transcript of the press briefing is also available as is a video.

U.S. forces have been deployed in Niger since 2013 as advisers and trainers because Niger is in a region controlled by terrorist organizations ranging from Boko Harum to al-Qaeda. (Why U.S. forces are in Niger from CSIS adds to the discussion.)

These CRS reports provide background information: Niger: Frequently Asked Questions About the October 2017 Attack on U.S. Soldiers and Attack on U.S. Soldiers in Niger: Context and Issues for Congress.

For those who are interested in where our military forces are deployed around the world, please consult this CRS report – Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-2017. Basic country information can be found in the CIA World Factbook and this BBC Country Profile.

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CRS Reports on the “Iran Deal”

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