Questions tagged [international-relations]

Questions about the relationships, agreements or interactions between countries. May also be used for questions relating to international organisations like the United Nations.

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Could Ecuador get Julian Assange out of the UK by giving him some mail to deliver?

As mentioned in an answer to this question, the UK refused to declare Julian Assange an Ecuadorean diplomat, presumably as it would allow him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy and the UK without being ...
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88 votes
9 answers
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Why is the British government so determined to arrest Julian Assange?

The UK government has put the Ecuadorian embassy in London on surveillance for years now. AFAIK, Wikileaks has not released any documents damaging to the UK government. Nor has it released any ...
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78 votes
6 answers
22k views

How does North Korea prevent their ambassadors/diplomats living abroad from defecting?

There's an implicit assumption here which is that the more exposure you have to the truth about North Korea the more likely you are to defect. With that assumption out in the open, my question is ...
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77 votes
10 answers
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What specifically did Michael Flynn do wrong?

These are the three things which I understand about the situation: He potentially discussed sanctions with a Russian ambassador He misrepresented or lied about his conversations with the Russian ...
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71 votes
19 answers
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Why does the US not just accept North Korea's nuclear ambitions and attempt to mend relationships?

Many experts propose that it is not practically possible (without engaging in war and endangering the lives of many civilians, in both US and ally territory) to prevent North Korea from building ...
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70 votes
6 answers
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Why was President Trump heavily criticized for congratulating Putin on winning the election?

According to The Guardian, President Trump was subject to criticism over his decision to congratulate President Putin on winning Russian elections in 2018: Donald Trump defended himself against ...
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62 votes
8 answers
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How did Russia retain the UNSC veto power of the Soviet Union?

I am not sure what the criteria are to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council, but I do wonder how did Russia manage to keep its veto power after the dissolution of the Soviet Union? I ...
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60 votes
4 answers
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Why is Cuba still leasing Guantanamo Bay to the US?

During the last decade and a half, the US has housed prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and has been leasing it from the Cuban government for 55 years. Cuba has never cashed the checks Castro was very anti-...
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56 votes
7 answers
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Why is the USA able to damage the Russian economy by imposing sanctions but Russia can't do the same?

Why is the USA able to damage the Russian economy by imposing sanctions but Russia can't do the same? For example see U.S. tightens sanctions on Russia over Crimea, New US sanctions on Russia inflame ...
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50 votes
3 answers
9k views

How does the expelling of diplomats work to create pressure on the diplomats' home country?

The UK has decided to expel Russian diplomats as response to the poisoning of an ex Russian spy in the UK. This tactic has been used by UK and other countries in the past (example: 4 diplomats were ...
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47 votes
11 answers
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Is there a strong legal guarantee that the U.S. can give to another country that it won't attack them?

Is there a strong legal guarantee that the U.S. can give to another country that it won't attack them? I think because U.S. policy tends to drastically change every time the administration changes, ...
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47 votes
9 answers
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Two Germanys and two Koreas but only one China. Why wasn't a compromise to internationally recognise both Chinas reached?

During the Cold War several former united states ended divided in two opposing polities, each one claiming to be the legitimate government of the whole former state. Although in the beginning most ...
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45 votes
8 answers
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Why is there no willingness in the international community to step in between Pakistan and India?

Pakistan and India are both nuclear powers. And, unlike other nations, such as North Korea vs USA, Pakistan and India genuinely hate each other and have since the two countries came into existence. ...
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42 votes
6 answers
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Why are the Brexit trade talks held up by the divorce talks?

In order to provide certainty for businesses and bureacrats, to a layman it appears practical for Britain to carry out trade talks with the European Union in parallel with the divorce talks. Yet the ...
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42 votes
4 answers
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Why would a Western country sanction Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's possible killing?

Suppose, hypothetically, it is determined that the Saudi Arabian government murdered Jamal Khashoggi over his opposition to Prince Mohammed bin Salman. I can understand why this would be an unethical ...
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42 votes
6 answers
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Why was Singapore chosen to host the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un?

What is the reasoning for choosing Singapore to host the North Korea–United States summit? There are many other neutral places as far as I can tell, e.g. Japan. So why Singapore, of all places?
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41 votes
4 answers
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Why does Germany ban RT but not France24 or Voice of America?

Germany has banned RT, apparently because it is considered to be not independent of the Russian government (Die Medienkommission sieht die Staatsferne nicht gewährleistet), which funds it directly. ...
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40 votes
7 answers
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Why would Putin or Russia benefit from a weak EU or weak EU countries?

Various (western) commentators and politicians state that "the only one happy with/benefiting from [insert bad scenario here] is Putin/Russia" (I'm not sure which one(s) of the two they mean). ...
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40 votes
3 answers
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Who was General Qasem Soleimani, and why was he targeted by the US?

Early on Friday morning, the US carried out an air strike on Baghdad airport which killed General Soleimani, along with members of local militia. Who was General Soleimani, why is he so important, ...
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39 votes
7 answers
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Why is Biden's "(Putin) ...cannot remain in power" widely considered a gaffe to be walked back while previous US presidents have said similar?

Together, answers to How often a post WWII US president said publicly that the leader of another country must go? (e.g. "For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power") have listed perhaps ...
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39 votes
5 answers
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Why has China chosen the Chengdu consulate specifically to be closed down?

Since China's order to close down the Chengdu consulate of the USA is a retaliation of the USA's order of closing down of Houston consulate of China, I have a feeling that there must be a rationale ...
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39 votes
1 answer
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What happens to an embassy when the country it represents stops existing?

There are numerous Afghan nationals and Afghan embassies abroad, with at least some of the staff in those embassies not supporting the new regime/government. What would happen to the embassy staff, ...
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37 votes
6 answers
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Why doesn't Russia join NATO and what would happen if it tried?

So, I'm likely demonstrating my own stupidity here, but I'm wondering what I'm missing. Russia claims that it's afraid of NATO and feels like it might attack it. So... what if it joined NATO? I know, ...
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37 votes
4 answers
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How often a post WWII US president said publicly that the leader of another country must go? (e.g. "For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power")

US President Biden concluded his March 27, 2022 speech in Poland with the words For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power. (e.g. CBS News's video Biden says Putin "cannot remain in power&...
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37 votes
3 answers
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Why are so many countries still in the Commonwealth?

53 countries, all of them former British colonies except for two, are in the Commonwealth. Why are countries such as India, which had a major protest movement to gain independence from Imperialist ...
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37 votes
3 answers
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How did India and Pakistan avoid war when India accidentally launched a missile at Pakistan?

India claims that on March 9, 2022, it accidentally launched a missile at its neighbor and frequent adversary Pakistan. The two countries: have fought three wars and have engaged in numerous military ...
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36 votes
9 answers
9k views

Is there anything like Schengen area anywhere else in the world?

Is there anywhere else in the world where people can (legally) cross an international border without any immigration check, like in the Schengen area? (Assuming pre-Covid-19 pandemic situation) If not,...
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  • 7,255
34 votes
10 answers
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Why does the US need to spy on its allies?

Recently, I've read about the NSA (the US National Security Agency) spying on European leaders - Angela Merkel in particular. But this is highly unusual for me. I can understand the US spying on its ...
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34 votes
2 answers
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Is there any precedent for the UK arresting a diplomat on their own soil?

As Assange gets citizenship to Ecuador and becomes an official diplomat of the country, I'm wondering if there is any precedent for the UK to arrest him in that capacity for alleged transgressions ...
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33 votes
4 answers
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Why was Qasem Soleimani in Iraq?

Earlier this week, Qasem Soleimani was killed by the US. The news media is brimming to capacity with news stories about this. However, not one - that I've seen at least - mentions why Qasem Soleimani ...
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33 votes
6 answers
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Has Russia explained why Ukraine can trust them, given the Budapest memorandum?

It doesn't seem in dispute that Russia has breached the Budapest Memorandum, which among others said that Russia will "Respect Belarusian, Kazakh and Ukrainian independence and sovereignty in the ...
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33 votes
3 answers
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Can European countries bypass the EU and make their own individual trade deal with the U.S.?

Can European countries bypass the EU and make their own individual trade deal with the U.S.? I am asking, because for instance Italy decided to join the Belt and Road before other countries meaning ...
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33 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is Turkey still denying the Armenian genocide?

The European Parliament recently adopted a resolution encouraging Turkey to "come to terms with its past" and recognize the Armenian genocide: They welcome statements by the President and Prime ...
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31 votes
7 answers
10k views

Why doesn't the US send airplanes to Ukraine, when the Soviets sent MiGs to North Vietnam?

During the Vietnam War, the Soviets sent hundreds of MiGs to North Vietnam. Now, Americans say they cannot send airplanes to Ukraine lest it lead to escalation. Why wasn't the Soviet assistance to ...
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31 votes
1 answer
6k views

Does Congress not have to approve the US withdrawal from the Iran deal?

How is Trump able to withdraw from the Iran deal without Congressional approval?
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31 votes
4 answers
13k views

Are the US President's phone calls recorded?

Apparently the official phone calls of the US President are recorded and transcripts are made. This process has apparently resulted in multiple phone conversations being revealed to the public by ...
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30 votes
4 answers
8k views

What is the motivation for the expansion of NATO in Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, at the risk of starting a hot war with Russia?

My understanding is that due to its overall economic conditions today, Russia, a country much weaker than Soviet Union, does not have enough military power to defeat NATO in a hot war without invoking ...
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30 votes
3 answers
9k views

How true are Trump’s claims about NATO spending?

Over President Trump’s term in office, he has been very vocal about the spending commitments made by many NATO countries, and their frequent failure to live up to them. He now seems to be taking ...
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30 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why is China interested in Socotra Rock?

I have read about how China is trying to claim Socotra Rock (a submerged rock 4.6 meters below sea level). However, this is not recognized by international law since the rock is 12 nautical miles from ...
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30 votes
3 answers
9k views

Why is Japan trying to have a better relationship with Iran?

Why is Japan trying to have a better relationship with Iran? Shinzo Abe has become the first Japanese leader to visit Iran in 40 Years. Is it worth it for Japan to risk alienating the U.S., which is a ...
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  • 6,987
30 votes
4 answers
7k views

Why is the U.S. foreign ministry called the "State Department"?

What is the reasoning behind the somewhat odd and awkward naming of the U.S. Foreign Ministry as "State Department"? I get the department being the American equivalent of ministry but in what way ...
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29 votes
5 answers
15k views

Why does the United States call Japan an ally?

From @PacificCommand Secretary Tillerson met with two key strategic allies - #Australia and #Japan - for trilateral strategic talks. Japan has been largely pacifist since WWII. During Gulf War I, ...
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29 votes
2 answers
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What is the significance of Sec. Pompeo's labeling of China's treatment of the Uighurs as "genocide"?

A couple of recent headlines: Pompeo labels China's treatment of Uighurs 'genocide' - The Hill US accuses China of 'genocide' of Uyghurs in Xinjiang - CNN It seems reasonable to expect that this ...
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28 votes
6 answers
9k views

What do those Iranians who say "Death to America!" mean by it?

I was watching an old Anthony Bourdain show and I saw local Iranians in Tehran chanting "Death to America!" and then in the next scene saying "We need one day to be friends". Do ...
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  • 1,098
28 votes
7 answers
7k views

No deal Brexit : How is it going to help UK to create new trade deals?

There is a lot of optimism that leaving EU's Single Market, will be an opportunity for UK to create new trade deals with other countries outside the EU. I have seen articles and people using this ...
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28 votes
4 answers
6k views

Is it usual for a US president to make specific comments about a UK Prime Minister's suitability during a general election?

According to a BBC ariticle, Trump has made comments like: Jeremy Corbyn would be "so bad" as prime minister Of Boris Johnson: "[He's] the exact right guy for the times" Is it usual for a US ...
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  • 399
28 votes
3 answers
7k views

What did Kim Jong-un mean by “denied the existence of … my country”?

According to this statement from Kim Jong-un, Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of ...
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28 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why has Turkey "opened the floodgates" for migrants to the EU?

Over the past few days, Turkey has reportedly relaxed restrictions on the movement of migrants travelling through the country into the European Union via the Greek border, allowing the hundreds of ...
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26 votes
6 answers
9k views

Even if by accident, is the act of military men showing up in a foreign country in full uniform considered an invasion?

I came upon this (humorous) video where there are presented several incidents of the Swiss army accidentally marching into Liechtenstein due to bad map awareness and orientation. In the video they are ...
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  • 387
26 votes
6 answers
5k views

What are the consequences for a developed nation to not accept any refugees?

What are the consequences for a developed nation to not accept any refugees? Are there grave consequences for not accepting any refugees? I am asking, because almost every country on the planet ...
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