The Armenia-Azerbaijan War
The people of the Nagorno-Karabakh territory in the southern region of the former Soviet Union have been living a disrupted life. In 1994, during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war, Russia being the key negotiator, signed a peace treaty with Armenia and Azerbaijan to end the military conflict over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, however, it failed to result in a peace treaty. In late September 2020 severe fighting resumed and Russia again had to mediate in early November 2020. The terms of the agreement were widely disliked by Armenians who felt agreeing to those terms was more like a surrender than a fair and productive negotiation, as Armenia has to return certain lands of Azerbaijan, opening of economic and transport links, the inclusion of the Russian Federation peacekeeping force. Countries like Turkey, the United States, France supported Azerbaijan, hence the treaty provided temporary peace but not a long-lasting solution.
The conflict between Afghanistan and the Taliban
Qatar hosted negotiations between Afghanistan and the Taliban to end the double-decade conflict between them. In early December 2020, a preliminary deal was signed which resulted in a failure after a ceasefire. The next round of talks was scheduled for January 5, 2021. The major issues were humanitarian concerns, the future of the Afghan Central Government, and the attainment of peace. Previously the Taliban had made a deal with the United States for the withdrawal of all American troops from Afghanistan by May 2021 in exchange for a drawdown in acts of terrorism by the Taliban. Additional pressure from the West and the promise of approximately $12 billion in relief aid over the next four years is helping both parties see the desirability of a ceasefire and attempts at halting the violence.
Coronavirus reflief measures
Most U.S. lawmakers agree that getting covid-19 vaccine distributed to their constituents is a good idea, but the negotiation issue arises on how to fund the distribution along with other pandemic reliefs. Democrats want to provide considerable funding to States and cities while Republican tends to favor a limited package that would focus more on relief to citizens, cutting back on foreign aid and a direct route to vaccination. Meanwhile, lawmakers decided to provide healthcare workers with the first round of vaccinations. However, accusations arose that some hospitals and clinics were not following established guidelines but were vaccinating favored individuals. These negotiations deliver a typical moral dilemma: Governments need to consider the global consequences of their action, but they are first and foremost responsible to the people they represent.
The Israel-Arab Relations
The U.S. helped broker agreements to normalize Israel’s relationship with United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. In September 2021 Israel, Arabs, and the U.S. signed an agreement to achieve a just, comprehensive, enduring resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While any diplomatic relations that facilitate negotiations instead of aggressions are to be lauded, this one is particularly tricky. While the U.S. was never neutral in this conflict, it has surprised the world with its pro-Israeli policies, such as moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem and the recognition of Israel’s occupation of Golan Heights.
Iran’s Nuclear Power
While the U.S. is committed to further negotiations with Iran to limit their nuclear program, Iran announced an expansion of their Uranium Enrichment Program and further restrictions to the monitoring of the nuclear program by the United Nations. The U.S. aims to revitalize relations, but Iran’s ambitions to achieve nuclear capability could provide excellent negotiating leverage with the United States.
The TikTok Battle
Concerns over national security and Chinese-owned app TikTok led to a demand by the U.S. that TikTok sells its rights to operate in the U.S. to an American company or cease operations altogether. Demands from the Trump administration were set aside, and negotiations with TikTok ran past its deadline, hence a U.S. federal judge blocked a ban of the TikTok platform. Critics say that the Trump administration is using TikTok as negotiating leverage with China, and critics also accused India of a similar political move. India outlawed TikTok in June 2019, citing similar reasons.
Negotiations over post-Brexit relations between the United Kingdom and the European Union took on a special urgency in late 2021. Major issues included trade arrangement, immigration policies, travel requirements, fishing ground regulations, security protocols, and autonomy of the courts. After an up and down process that extended for almost the entire year, the parties signed a 1200 plus page agreement on December 24th, 2021. Stipulations include no tariffs on trade between the UK and the EU, elimination of trade quotas, and confirmation of the British Parliament’s right to take actions on behalf of the English people, rather than to consider the entire region. The UK will no longer need to adhere to the rulings of the EU Court of Justice.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
15 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and five of their regional partners opted to continue their participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), but India wasn’t one of them. The RCEP agreement is now spearheaded by China and is aimed at providing smoother trading access across the region. Member countries account for almost one-third of the global population and contribute to almost 30% of global GDP. Indian negotiators, however, walked out of the negotiations and again confirm their negative stance in November 2020. The primary problem was India feared that RCEP membership would limit their nation’s ability to resist market manipulation by China. Because India was a part of the original negotiations, the country may choose to sign on at any time. Currently, the only RCEP nations India does not have a trade agreement with are China and New Zealand.