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Foreign Policy Tag

James Jeffrey is the outgoing United States envoy in Syria. During a recent interview, he rather candidly admitted lying to President Trump about the number of American troops that have been kept in Syria, contrary to Trump's orders. Jeffrey was appointed to other diplomatic positions under Presidents Bush and Obama. He is part of the permanent, unelected leadership class in Washington, DC.

Serious concerns over German Chancellor Angela Merkel's health have grown after she was seen shaking uncontrollably in public for the third time in the last few weeks. Chancellor Merkel, whose term ends in 2021, downplayed the trembling episodes claiming she was doing "very well" and "no one should be worried." The first bout of trembling occurred on June 18 when she stood alongside Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the playing of the national anthems. Days later she was seen shaking during a public appearance with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Ahead of Chancellor Angela Merkel's one-day visit to Washington scheduled for Friday, German media have complained about the lack of ceremonial pomp accorded to the visiting leader. German media outlets were incensed by the fact that French President Emmanuel Macron, who is also touring the US this week, was receiving an preferential treatment from the White House. Germany, given its economic strength, considers itself a bigger player in Europe than France.

Rattled by President Trump's proposal to raise tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the European Union is threatening the U.S. with a full-blown trade war. "We will now impose tariffs on motorcycles, Harley Davidson, on blue jeans, Levis, on bourbon," Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission, warned earlier this week. "Should Trump follow his words with actions, Europe will reply proportionately," German Economy Minister Brigitte Zypries said in response to the proposed move.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's first official visit to India is grabbing headlines for all the wrong reasons. "Why India is being really rude to Justin Trudeau," lamented Washington Post in an opinion piece. "There seems to be no end to the Indian snubbing of the Canadians, even as the Trudeaus are trying their best to disarm the Indians with a charm offensive," the newspaper continued. Indian Prime Minister Modi remained conspicuously absent during his Canadian counterpart's eight-day visit to India.

Of all the topics I cover for Legal Insurrection, stories related to India-Israel relations are closest to my heart. It was, therefore, a pleasant surprise when I was invited to address a large pro-Israel rally in the Indian city of Calcutta. The invitation for the last week's event was extended by Hindu Samhati, a prominent Hindu organisation active in eastern India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is rolling out the red carpet for the leaders of Southeast Asian countries on the eve of India's Republic Day. What is being described by the Indian media as a diplomatic 'coup' in India's ongoing territorial row with China, ten heads of states from Southeast Asian countries will finalize the details of a new maritime mechanism with New Delhi and attend tomorrow's Republic Day parade, an annual event that showcases India's military prowess.

Despite the recent diplomatic rift over India's vote against Israel in the UN General Assembly, the visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi got off to a promising start with both country's singing nine bilateral agreements -- ranging from transfer of agriculture technology to strategic defense cooperation.

The European Union has launched disciplinary proceedings against Poland, accusing the county of breaching the EU's "core values" over a series of judicial reforms passed by the Polish parliament. The European Commission, the EU's executive body, triggered Article 7, also dubbed as the "Nuclear Option." The process could lead to economic sanctions and suspension of the country's voting rights within the EU's decision making bodies.

In what amounts to a significant policy shift, Indian public sector companies are bidding for Israeli offshore oil and gas fields. A consortium led by India's state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is seeking drilling rights in 24 offshore blocks in Israel’s Mediterranean waters, Indian and Israeli newspapers reported on Wednesday. Last month, India's Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan indicated his country's intention to bid for Israeli oil-and-gas blocks. According to Israeli media reports, a high-ranking Indian delegation visited Israel in September "to discuss taking part in the tender for blocks in the Mediterranean Sea and Israeli officials said they were pleased with the visit."

Combatting Islamist terror was high on the agenda when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the White House on his first official visit since President Donald Trump took office. "We are both determined to destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them. We will destroy radical Islamic terrorism," President Trump said in his joint statement with the Indian Prime Minister at the Rose Garden. "We discussed the serious challenges of terrorism, extremism, and radicalisation, which are the major challenges facing the world today.  And we have agreed to enhance our cooperation in fighting against these scourges," Prime Minister Modi said.

Donald Trump and First Lady Melania are set to visit Israel with Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner later this month as part of a three stop tour of the Middle East. A massive effort for increased security is already underway in Israel. The Times of Israel reports:
Frenetic preparations underway for Trump’s Israel visit A delegation from the White House and Central Intelligence Agency is heading to Israel to plan US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel amid reports it plans to turn Jerusalem’s iconic King David hotel into a virtual fortress.
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