Geography and Resources Articles

Cultivating Equality: Land Reform's Potential and Challenges

By Klaus Deininger
, on , Feature

The original rationale for redistributive land reform is that, at low levels of capital intensity, large farms operated by wage labor will be less efficient than small owner-operated ones. Colonial powers had often tried to restrict access to land to ensure a supply of cheap labor, despite the associated economic cost. Land reform is an effort to rectify this historical injustice and reverse the pattern whereby high inequality of land is associated with low agricultural productivity and overall economic growth. more

Special Report: The Ukraine Crisis’ Regional Fallout

By The Editors
, on , Report

The effects of Russia’s military takeover of Crimea are being felt far beyond Ukraine’s now-disputed borders. The crisis has put a spotlight on NATO, placing it once again at the center of European security discussions. For Russia, the move into Ukraine comes with great risk, as Moscow’s control of European energy supplies has weakened in recent years while a long-running military modernization program has yet to transform Russian forces. And in Washington, next steps depend on an assessment of exactly where U.S. interests lie. This special report reviews the key regional actors in the Ukraine crisis through recently published articles. more

With Eye on China, India Moves to Expand Indian Ocean Maritime Influence

By Saurav Jha
, on , Briefing

In March, India announced that Mauritius and Seychelles had expressed an interest in joining the trilateral maritime security cooperation arrangement between India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Should they join, it would help consolidate a maritime domain awareness network in the island states of the Indian Ocean Region where India has historically had influence and seeks to monitor Chinese movements. more

The Realist Prism: On Ukraine, Obama Tethered to Domestic Politics

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, on , Column

Acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk traveled to Washington on Wednesday to plead for urgent U.S. help for his country. But two newly released public opinion polls will be little comfort to U.S. pundits pushing for vigorous assistance for Ukraine. As midterm congressional elections approach, the Obama administration is highly sensitive to a growing unwillingness to engage in adventures abroad. more

Toxic Mix of Oil and Politics Threatens Libya’s Cohesion

By Thijs Van de Graaf
, on , Briefing

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was removed Tuesday after failing to stop a tanker from sailing away with an illicit shipment of Libyan oil. The event underscores the crucial role of the oil industry in the country’s current political instability. Libya is now on the brink of collapse, following a pattern in which the presence of oil in ethnically divided societies spurs secessionist conflicts and civil wars. more

World Citizen: Russia’s Oil and Gas Are Weapons and Weakness in Ukraine Fight

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

No, this is not a “war for oil,” to cite the old cliche. But behind all the maneuvering in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and the West, oil and gas reserves and the pipelines that turn them into cash lie in the background, just a step behind the principal action. Russia’s vast hydrocarbon stocks figure into the calculations of the major players, who worry Moscow may deploy them once again as a weapon. more

U.K.’s Growing Engagement in Latin America Faces Risks and Competition

By Matt Ince
, on , Briefing

Strengthening Britain’s bilateral relationships throughout Latin America has become a strategic priority under the U.K.’s current government. Nowhere is this more evident than in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, where recent visits by senior British officials highlight enhanced collaboration in security and economic cooperation. Yet as Britain looks to build upon these successes, it must overcome some major hurdles. more

Global Insider: Russia’s Energy Leverage Over Europe, Ukraine Considerably Diminished

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

One factor in Ukraine’s continuing crisis is the possibility that Russia might cut off Ukraine’s gas as it has in previous disputes, disrupting broader European energy markets. In an email interview, Keith Smith, a former U.S. ambassador to Lithuania who is currently a distinguished resident fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, explained how Russia’s leverage over energy markets has changed since it last cut off gas supplies to Ukraine. more

Ahead of Elections, Colombia’s Santos Signals Tough Stance on Mining

By Wesley Tomaselli
, on , Briefing

On taking office, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos trumpeted mining as one of the country’s main drivers of growth. But recently, the Santos administration dealt an unprecedented series of blows to the country’s No. 2 coal exporter, Alabama-based Drummond Co., signaling that multinationals coming to mine Colombia’s natural resources could face a new, hard-line stance when they don’t play by the rules. more

After Kick-Starting Cyprus Talks, U.S. Should Now Stand Back

By James Ker-Lindsay
, on , Briefing

Having failed to restart unification talks as recently as last December, Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders announced earlier this month they had settled on a joint statement as the basis of negotiations. Surprisingly, the deal was brokered by the U.S., rather than the U.N. But while Washington played an essential part in breaking the deadlock, it is unlikely to continue to play an overt part in the talks ahead. more

In Context: China Unveils New Antarctic Base

By Matt Peterson
, on , Trend Lines

China’s unveiling of its fourth research base in Antarctica this weekend has produced a flurry of interest in the Chinese polar program. The broad consensus among analysts is that Beijing's intent is more about gaining sway over long-term rule-making than furthering science. As Lily Kuo writes in Quartz, “China’s Antarctic aspirations are likely for status and more importantly, leverage over a distant future when the region opens up.” more

Peru-Chile Maritime Border Decision May Have Come Too Late for Bolivia

By Jed Bailey
, on , Briefing

The International Court of Justice decision on the Chilean-Peruvian maritime boundary dispute closed a chapter of a trilateral territorial dispute that has festered among Chile, Peru and Bolivia for more than a century. But while Chile and Peru mend fences, similar progress between Chile and Bolivia has not materialized, and a bilateral settlement is less likely given the region’s energy market realities. more

Afghanistan After America: Western Afghanistan’s Vulnerable Security Oasis

By Kathy Gilsinan
, on , Trend Lines

The ethnically mixed western region of Afghanistan has been notable for the stability and wealth of its most important province, Herat, and its capital city of the same name, which owe much of their prosperity to customs revenue. Herat’s growth and integration with the rest of the country, however, are potentially threatened by instability and poor infrastructure in the surrounding provinces. more

China Playing a Long Game in Polar Governance

By Anne-Marie Brady
, on , Briefing

China’s Antarctic program has made global headlines amid the dramatic rescue of a trapped Russian research vessel involving a Chinese icebreaker that then got trapped itself. The episode brought positive PR for a country whose growing polar interests arouse anxiety among traditional players in the Arctic and Antarctic, where China is consolidating its interests and seeking a greater voice in governance. more

As Chile Votes for President, Diversification Key to Addressing Energy Crunch

By Jeremy Martin
, on , Briefing

As Chile heads into second-round voting Sunday, the country is seeking a more diverse energy policy. More specifically, security, efficiency and sustainability are the clear-cut issues facing policymakers and energy sector participants alike. With the country’s economic growth in recent years, the need to address the problem has become ever more urgent for Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s likely next president. more

New Trilateral Water-Sharing Deal a Rare Cause for Optimism in the Middle East

By Russell Sticklor
, on , Briefing

Jordanian, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators struck a deal earlier this week outlining new water-sharing arrangements for this perpetually water-stressed region. Facilitated by the World Bank, the deal promises to bolster water supply to Jordan, the West Bank and southern Israel while enhancing cross-border water sharing through new desalination plant construction, increased water transfers and new water sales arrangements. more

OPEC Faces Perfect Storm of Global Supply Glut, Internal Tensions

By Thijs Van de Graaf
, on , Trend Lines

Last week, OPEC decided to leave its production ceiling unchanged at 30 million barrels per day, the target that it set two years ago, a decision that seems to reflect OPEC’s satisfaction with current high oil prices. Yet, in reality, OPEC’s inaction masks its members’ inability to agree on a strategy to avert the threat of a widely anticipated supply glut in world oil markets as internal tensions build. more

Global Insights: With Air Defense Zone, China Scores ‘Own Goal’ in South Korea

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

China’s decision to establish an air identification zone that encompasses its disputed islands with Japan is yet another attempt to expand its territorial claims by presenting neighboring countries with a fait accompli. But in this case Beijing may have overreached. The declared zone encompasses several important South Korean national territories, triggering sharp rebukes from Seoul not seen in several years. more

In Chile, Presidential Election Outcome Certain, Future Less So

By Christopher Sabatini
, on , Briefing

While Michele Bachelet is all but certain to win Chile’s presidential election, the long-term implications of her victory are still to be written. A realignment of political forces and the emergence of a new generation of young politicians have pushed a new reform agenda, which Bachelet has tried to capture, and the shifts are certain to shake up Chile’s traditionally staid post-Pinochet democracy. more

Global Insights: With Asia Tour, Putin Puts Russia’s Pacific Pivot on Display

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip this week to Vietnam and South Korea, which follows last week’s unprecedented foreign and defense ministerial meeting in Japan, testifies to Moscow’s continuing efforts to raise its profile in Asia. Like their Western counterparts, Russian analysts consider that demographic and economic trends will make the Asia-Pacific the world’s most important region in coming decades. more