Foreign policy priorities for Obama’s second term
As President Obama begins his second term in office, Shawn Donnan, world news editor, is joined by Richard McGregor, Washington bureau chief, Geoff Dyer, US diplomatic correspondent and Roula Khalaf, Middle East editor to discuss what the administration’s foreign policy priorities are likely to be and if we should expect any surprises.
While parts of the British media obsess about whether or not the UK has landed a few special forces boots on the ground in Mali, a far more significant deployment has been taking place.
An armoured column of Chadian troops was rumbling on Wednesday through the Niger scrub on its way to the Mali border. The contingent is part of a 2,000-strong force that N‘Djamena has promised to deploy to help retake the northern two-thirds of the country from Islamist militias, whose offensive towards the Malian capital triggered France’s intervention.
The Chadian army has had extensive training from France and some from the US too in recent years. More importantly, the Chadians have their own history of fighting rebellions in scalding desert sands and mountains – something the smaller Nigerian contingent that has landed in Bamako as part of a hurriedly put together African intervention force cannot quite claim.
Photo by Getty
Senior Ukrainian officials insist they are still intent on closer integration with the European Union. So why do they make it so difficult for Europe to embrace it?
Friday’s announcement that jailed former premier Yulia Tymoshenko is now a formal suspect in ordering the 1996 contract killing of a Ukrainian lawmaker threatens further worsening of relations between Kiev and the west. Though prosecutors said last year they were investigating her involvement in the killing, which she categorically denies, the latest move is clearly an escalation.
That is a surprise — especially since the EU is currently debating whether to soften its stance on Ms Tymoshenko’s 2011 conviction on abuse of office charges, widely seen as politically motivated. Her imprisonment is the main reason why a far-reaching EU trade and political cooperation deal with Kiev — the biggest Brussels has ever negotiated with a third party — remains unsigned, though the text is agreed.
The Davos conference centre (AFP).
The World Economic Forum’s 43rd annual shindig is kicking off in Davos this morning and to get you started ahead of our live blog, here’s some reading to accompany your morning coffee. You’ll find all the FT pieces on our WEF page. And here’s the WEF home page. Enjoy.
From our A-List blog of guest writers Howard Davies, who will be blogging for from the conference, in an amusing take on why the forum is like Scientology.
Peter Vanham guides us through what is being touted as one of the main themes at the bash - how to capitalise on the strength of emerging markets over developed ones – on our Beyondbrics blog.
On Alphaville, David Keohane, gives us the Davos D-List, and introduces the lovely Mdm D. Deville as the blog’s own special correspondent. Do follow her on @DavosDeville.
It’s the first day of the World Economic Forum. We’ll keep you up to date. By Tom Burgis, Claire Jones and Ben Fenton in London with dispatches from FT correspondents in Davos. All times are GMT.
18.26 That’s it for the first day of Davos live.
Among the talking points were monetary policy, currency wars and that speech by David Cameron.
The British PM arrived in Switzerland today and is due to talk at 10.30am local time (9.30am UK time) tomorrow.
18.03 Unsurprisingly, the “resilient dynamism” (see 10.09) theme of this year’s Davos hasn’t gone down too well with the British press pack:
17.48 The IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde took the stage after Mario Monti and she’s just taken a swipe at Cameron:
17.40 Gideon Rachman’s analysis of the Italian PM’s reaction to Cameron’s speech:
Gideon Rachman: His line that Europe does not need reluctant Europeans will be spun as anti-Cameron. But, in context, I think Monti was trying to be positive.
The Italian PM said Cameron was right that “prosperity and growth have to be priority number one” and that he was confident “Britain will vote to stay inside” in the event of a referendum. He also said it’s good that Cameron will ask the “fundamental” question of whether nations are in or out and that this will provoke Brits to make a proper analysis of costs and benefits.