Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
The news that Iran and Saudi Arabia will restore relations, a deal brokered by China no less, has set tongues wagging. But is this a revolutionary development for the Middle East or an evolution? It depends on where you stand.
For …READ MORE
It seems incredible to realize that it is a year since Russia invaded Ukraine. Old certainties have seemingly been upended; new realities are apparently emerging. What to make of it all? Three things to consider.
First, the “West” is now more solidly united …READ MORE
To my knowledge, NATO does not have a “Person of the Year” award, but it should, and the inaugural award should go to none other than Vladimir V. Putin. No one has done more for the Atlantic Alliance in many …READ MORE
History never repeats exactly; there are always different nuances and circumstances. Our understanding of the past, on which we apply any equivalence, is distorted by the perspectives of our time. Reliance on historical analogy is therefore risky.
The crisis in Ukraine is …READ MORE
A recent Globe and Mail story about the “China-Canada Track Two Dialogue” was a rare reveal of the kinds of dialogue that go on quietly around the world. Even more revealing were comments about the participation and content of that …READ MORE
In the early 1960s, a scholar named John Burton sought to challenge realist theory related to the resolution of conflicts. Burton, who had formerly been a high-ranking Australian diplomat, sought other ways to address deep-seated conflicts than through the application of …READ MORE
President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty is motivated by a desire to play to the ideology of his political base at home, not by any reasonable national security rationale. This is ironic, given that the greatest …READ MORE
The unrest that has erupted across Iran over the last few months never seriously threatened the regime’s hold on power. Though a genuine reflection of the people’s frustration with their lot, the riots were unfocused and leaderless. They lacked the …READ MORE
The narrowly defeated referendum on the proposed peace deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels provides one of the clearest examples in recent history of a question that all peace processes must deal with: Can you achieve both peace …READ MORE
In all of the millions of words being written and spoken about Shimon Peres, many focus on his legacy as a peacemaker. This is entirely proper; Peres was one of the main architects and drivers of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, …READ MORE
The Iran nuclear deal was Track One. But its roots are Track Two. So whither Track Two in this new century?
Track Two diplomacy exists quietly – on the margins of international affairs. The term ‘Track Two Diplomacy’ was coined …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, April 8, 2015
The framework for a deal on Iran’s nuclear program goes further than many had predicted. If translated into a final agreement – a very big “if” – it would give …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, March 11, 2015
The government’s legislation to increase the powers of Canada’s security services has stimulated a necessary and welcome debate. One aspect of this debate concerns the question of what is the …READ MORE
This is one of a series of CIPS Blog posts examining the legacy of John Baird as Canada’s foreign minister. See also the posts by Daniel Livermore, David Petrasek, Colin Robertson and Ferry de Kerckhove.
In commenting …READ MORE
The Canadian government is renewing its support for a project, based at the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre, to provide Iranian dissidents with a secure means of communicating and circumventing Iranian censorship. The project will also be extended to provide …READ MORE
Canada has now been directly affected by the turmoil raging in the Middle East. It is unfolding on many levels, reflecting the multitude of forces and tensions involved. One way to understand it is as an exercise in fundamentally re-drawing …READ MORE
One of the stranger aspects of the current round of the interminable Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is the reported idea that the U.S. is considering releasing Jonathan Pollard as an inducement to keep the Israeli government at the peace table for …READ MORE
Published in The Globe and Mail, March 19, 2014
There are many aspects to the current struggle over the future of Crimea which pose serious difficulties for an international community that would like to respond firmly. On the one …READ MORE
A January 2nd op-ed in the Globe and Mail (republished in the CIPS Blog) on the current foreign policy of the Conservatives generated a lot of responses. Many were supportive, and others were quite critical. That is …READ MORE
A foreign policy comprises many things. Interests, however defined, often dominate. But values must also be present if that policy is to be more than a series of transactions. Canada has always been a curious country when it comes to …READ MORE
The interim Iranian nuclear deal is just that: interim. It is not the final word on the Iranian nuclear problem; it buys time for a permanent solution to be negotiated.
Iran has agreed to temporarily constrain its nuclear program in …READ MORE
This past week saw a fascinating moment in the debate over guns and constitutional rights that so scars America. The cause was a gentleman named Richard (‘Dick’) Metcalf. A ‘pro gun’ advocate and lobbyist, Metcalf has written op-eds and articles …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, September 26, 2013.
The past weeks have seen a shift in Iran-U.S. relations. Instead of the usual bombast we are seeing measured, even respectful points from the two presidents. We hear that Iran’s …READ MORE
Published on the IISS blog Politics and Strategy, August 14, 2013
Amid the relief, if not the fanfare, which has greeted Hassan Rouhani’s surprise election as President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, one hears a constant strain of …READ MORE
As a writer of opinion pieces, I am used to receiving messages about them. Most are negative; people who agree with you are less likely to take the time to write something than those who don’t. But that’s OK. The …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, June 16, 2013
The Iranian electorate has surprised us. Most Iran experts (mea culpa – me too) had confidently expected that Hassan Rouhani had little chance of victory. But then he won. …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, May 28, 2013
The field has been set for the June 14 presidential election in Iran. The list of approved candidates to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tells us a lot about where the country …READ MORE
For many years Stephen Harper has carefully honed a narrative. It runs like this: “You may not like me personally, but you know in your heart that I am a good steward of the public purse, and that I am …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, April 12, 2013
A curious dynamic has seized the world in the past week concerning the latest iteration of North Korea’s ongoing game of blackmail by brinkmanship. The North, a failed state by …READ MORE
The recent 10 year anniversary of the Iraq war brought forth a flood of retrospective analyses, many dedicated to answering the vexed question of whether it was worth it. In reading them, one is struck by the arguments of those …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, February 18, 2013
Among the many reasons why Iran should not acquire nuclear weapons (a sentiment with which any reasonable person must agree), one hears the argument that it would initiate a cascade …READ MORE
Iran’s nuclear program continues to generate much heat and light on the global stage. While the Iranian nuclear challenge is a serious matter, much of the commentary on the degree and immediacy of its dangers is overblown. These are the …READ MORE
The Israeli election was that rarest of things: a real surprise. We had been assured for weeks that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition would make gains. But the big winner was the political centre.
Why were we so surprised? Perhaps …READ MORE
Published in The Hindu, January 5, 2013
A controversy erupted recently over Track Two discussions regarding the Siachen issue. “Track Two Diplomacy” is a term with which much mythology is associated. Some proponents believe that it can cut through …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, December 28, 2012
A year ago, after noting that making predictions about the Middle East is a foolish endeavour, I made a series of predictions about what might happen there in 2012. To …READ MORE
Published in the Ottawa Citizen, November 25, 2012
Iran was an issue in the U.S. election. Now that he has won, President Barack Obama has to decide what to do about it. There are no good options.
Beyond the …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, November 19, 2012
Slowly, painfully, fitfully, the new Middle East is emerging. Egypt is key to this, both in terms of its internal evolution and its response to regional events, such as the …READ MORE
The fracas over opinionated letters sent by Prince Charles to various British politicians and senior officials has broken out of the courts and into politics. The letters, which are understood to be frank in their advice on various subjects dear …READ MORE
The award of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union is curious. The stated reasons are fair enough on the face of it: the EU has helped to create a stable and peaceful Europe, to extend democracy and …READ MORE
Published in Global Brief Magazine.
The phrase “Nuclear Posture Review Implementation Study” hardly trips off the tongue. But this obscure internal study underway within the US government could end up being one of the more significant watersheds of the nuclear …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, May 25, 2012.
Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program have wrapped up in Baghdad. There was no agreement, but one wasn’t expected and both sides agreed that talks will continue. The broad outlines of …READ MORE
For all the expressions of friendship and support between U.S. President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the two have different thresholds over what would lead them to attack Iran and different visions of how the issue of Iran’s potential …READ MORE
CIPS Policy Brief No.15, March 2012.
By PETER JONES.
Published in the Ottawa Citizen, February 26, 2012
To listen to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and his “best friends” Stephen Harper and John Baird, one would think that the Israeli government has made up its mind about attacking …READ MORE
Published on November 11, 2011 in the Globe and Mail.
The latest United Nations report on Iran’s nuclear program has further raised tensions. While the report was notable for its candour, it carefully avoided making definitive statements on two …READ MORE
In the wake of the alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington, the predictable chorus of right-wingers has come forward to promote one of their favourite causes: the idea of an attack on Iran. Not surprisingly, the idea …READ MORE
Published in the Ottawa Citizen,October 25, 2011
For much of NATO’s history, the term “burden-sharing” sent Canadian officials scrambling for cover. Coined during the long standoff with the Soviet Union, the term encapsulated a complex debate over who was, and …READ MORE
Published in the Globe and Mail, October 21, 2011.
Although the images of Moammar Gadhafi’s body being dragged through the streets are disturbing, one can understand why his death is being deliriously welcomed in Libya. Often regarded as a