31 Jan The week in foreign policy
This week has seen the number of those diagnosed with the coronavirus climb above 10,000. As major airlines cancel flights to China, and the World Health Organisation has declared an international health emergency, Dr Claude Posala explores how poorer countries will suffer the most in The Guardian. Those in countries with less developed health infrastructure, such as the Pacific Islands of Samoa and Fiji, are panicking as the virus spreads.
In Nepal, fears over a meltdown in the Himalayas have stoked government action on climate change, according to Kamal Dev Bhattarai and Sujata Karki in The Diplomat. According to a report released last year, even if global warming is kept to 1.5 degrees, the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region will experience glacial melting, biodiversity loss, and a lack of water availability. The Nepalese government is organizing its first ever global summit dedicated to climate change issues in response.
US President Donald Trump this week announced his long-awaited ‘Middle East peace plan’, a proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Whilst seemingly committing to the two-state solution long backed by most of the international community, the plan would give Israel the right to annex nearly all Israeli settlements, and allots the Palestinians far less land than any previous proposal. The New York Times suggests this plan is merely an appeal to both Mr Trump and Israeli President Benjamin Netenyahu’s right wing bases as they face reelection this year.
Nicolas Pelham, The Economist’s Middle East correspondent, writes an extraordinary account of being detained in Iran in 2019, for 1843. Pelham was held at a time of high British-Iranian tensions, when Britain had seized an Iranian tanker. ‘I feared either that the Revolutionary Guards thought they could use my presence to negotiate some kind of deal, or that I was becoming a pawn in the internal rivalry within the Iranian government’ he writes.
The decision of the UK government to allow Chinese tech giant Huawei some access to the UK’s 5G network shows the limits of US and British power, write Ryan Heath and Nancy Scola for Politico.They suggest this decision could be a tipping point in Washington’s ‘faltering struggle with Beijing for global technological and economic dominance’. The UK government, lured in by a quick and cheap option for 5G networks in a post-Brexit climate, proved resistant to the US’ pressure campaign.