120 votes

Why is the British government so determined to arrest Julian Assange?

The UK government is not above the law. UK law requires the government to pursue fugitives. There is no tradition in the UK of allowing fugitives to go free if they are able to remain free for a long ...
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  • 92.1k
113 votes

Why does the United States call Japan an ally?

Japan and Australia are both MNNAs (major non-NATO ally) Japan allows the US to have large bases on its territory, that alone makes it a major ally. The ability to station troops, aircraft and ...
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  • 92.1k
113 votes

Why was President Trump heavily criticized for congratulating Putin on winning the election?

After the Crimea annexation, the social media trolling during the US election and the recent Skripal incident, the public image of the Russian government in the western world turned from bad to worse. ...
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  • 66.7k
113 votes

How did Russia retain the UNSC veto power of the Soviet Union?

Essentially, you got a permanent seat on the Security Council if you were one of the major powers who won WW2 and went about setting up the post-war peace organisation, i.e the United Nations. When ...
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  • 8,307
110 votes
Accepted

Is there a strong legal guarantee that the U.S. can give to another country that it won't attack them?

No such guarantee would be meaningful if the US administration and congress change their opinion. Whatever they write in law or sign, they can undo -- if not legally then in practice. The US had ...
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  • 78k
90 votes

Why is the British government so determined to arrest Julian Assange?

Ok, let's get this down straight. The Guardian, 2017-04-21: The US attorney general has explicity said that getting Assange is a priority. Sydney Morning Herald, 2012-09-27: The US military has ...
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  • 4,662
86 votes
Accepted

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

There have been a few high-profile ambassadors who did actually defect, the highest being the deputy ambassador in London in 2016. As user4012's answer speculated, the regime does hold family members ...
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  • 22k
86 votes

Why are the Brexit trade talks held up by the divorce talks?

This might be described as an "eat your vegetables" strategy by the EU27. The three preliminary issues are not palatable to the UK government: It is reluctant to discuss the divorce bill. Paying any ...
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85 votes

Why does the US not just accept North Korea's nuclear ambitions and attempt to mend relationships?

From the USA point of view there are two types of arguments. The first ones are those that state that the fewer nuclear capable countries there are, the better1: Fewer nuclear warheads at risk of ...
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  • 27.5k
81 votes

Why does the US need to spy on its allies?

Everyone realistically spies on everyone else. The US spies on Germany, Germany spies on the US, every marginally powerful country spies on every other marginally powerful country. The fact that two ...
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  • 5,261
80 votes
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Why is Cuba still leasing Guantanamo Bay to the US?

So why has the Cuban government not asked them to leave? The simple answer to that is that they have. From Wikipedia: The United States assumed territorial control over the southern portion ...
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  • 87.9k
80 votes

Why would a Western country sanction Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's possible killing?

It's especially an issue for the US because Jamal Khashoggi is an immigrant and permanent resident to the US. The Washington Post reported on 9 October that "US intelligence intercepted ...
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80 votes
Accepted

Is it unusual for foreign leaders to congratulate US presidential candidates before their opponents have conceded?

It is conventional for foreign leaders to congratulate a newly elected leader soon after victory becomes obvious. Like most diplomacy, this is a somewhat fussy matter of form. Congratulate too early, ...
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  • 53.3k
76 votes
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Why does Germany ban RT but not France24 or Voice of America?

First a little clarification: It's not the original English-language RT which is banned in Germany. The English version of RT is actually available via satellite and in some regions of Germany via ...
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  • 66.7k
75 votes
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Can a country be only de jure sovereign ? (Such as Andorra)

In a way you are doing word games. International law has developed as customary law. There is no nature-given or God-given definition of sovereignty, it is merely a verbal shortcut to describe a whole ...
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  • 78k
74 votes

Why is the British government so determined to arrest Julian Assange?

The UK courts have issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange - for failing to surrender whilst on bail. Assange took this matter to Westminster Magistrates’ Court relatively recently. It's well ...
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  • 1,739
73 votes
Accepted

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

"Death to <whatever>" is to some extent one of those ritualised phrases whose actual meaning is separate from the literal meaning of the phrase. It is a statement of disapproval that ...
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  • 7,386
68 votes

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

However, what NATO was doing in the recent years seemed to raise the risk of hot war with Russia. For example, NATO tried to build missile bases in Eastern Europe and even trying to include Ukraine, ...
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  • 36.8k
66 votes

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

I can't answer about North Korea (as nobody really has much visibility into how they operate), but it's known and clear how other countries (like USSR) did it in the past. It's a combination of: One'...
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  • 88.8k
65 votes

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

It is an open secret that most diplomatic missions all around the world are also involved in intelligence service operations. This isn't a Russian thing. Everyone does that. So forcing another ...
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  • 66.7k
64 votes
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Can European countries bypass the EU and make their own individual trade deal with the U.S.?

They cannot. It's an exclusive competence of the EU. So much so that the point played a major role in the Brexit negotiations. The reason there are two phases in the Brexit deal (leave first, then ...
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62 votes

Why is the USA able to damage the Russian economy by imposing sanctions but Russia can't do the same?

Top five trading partners for the United States by imports: China Mexico Canada Japan Germany If we replace Germany with the European Union as a whole, the EU would be second. Top five trading ...
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  • 87.9k
61 votes
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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")

This seems to be a post Cold War phenomenon, and it’s even more a post 9/11 phenomenon as Bush was the first US president to make such a statement in public. Here are some examples: US President ...
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  • 2,434
60 votes

Why is Biden's "(Putin) ...cannot remain in power" widely considered a gaffe to be walked back while previous US presidents have said similar?

It's often said that "a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth", and that's very much what's happening here. For the most part, the pushback isn't because people think Putin should stay ...
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  • 25.7k
59 votes

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

From the pre-amble to the convention: Realizing that the purpose of such privileges and immunities is not to benefit individuals but to ensure the efficient performance of the functions of ...
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  • 92.1k
57 votes

Why is the UK against joint inquiry into the poisoning of Sergey Skripal? Is it a deadlock?

It may help to turn it around. Suppose Vladimir Putin is poisoned and Russia suspects the UK as the culprit. How would Russia respond to a suggestion from the UK that they "help" Russia investigate? ...
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  • 14.1k
57 votes

Why is there no willingness in the international community to step in between Pakistan and India?

why aren't more of the leading nations of the world stepping in to help make amends between these two countries and try to actively solve the recent Kashmir issue? Many of the “leading nations of the ...
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  • 14.6k
57 votes
Accepted

Why is China interested in Socotra Rock?

The Chinese government has spent the last decade and more very actively pursuing the extension of their territorial waters into what is commonly accepted to be international waters, or even the ...
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  • 2,834

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