With India’s parliamentary elections a month away, the man who served as Gujarat state’s chief minister since 2001, Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), looks likely to become India’s next prime minister. His tenure in Gujarat was marked by brisk economic growth as well as a spasm of communal violence, and his position as prime ministerial favorite puts the U.S. in an awkward position. more
After more than a decade with the U.S. at war, the question around Washington is not whether the DOD budget will come down, but by how much. The $500 billion base budget the Pentagon released yesterday was described by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week as the first “to fully reflect the transition DOD is making for after 13 years of war—the longest conflict in our nation’s history.” more
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
Last weekend, Mexico’s most-wanted drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was arrested after spending 13 years as a fugitive since escaping from prison. In an email interview, David A. Shirk, a political science professor and director of the Justice in Mexico Project at the University of San Diego, explained the state of Mexico’s prison system today and whether a Mexican prison could hold Guzman now. more
Last November, the United States suspended aid and arms transfers to Egypt in reaction to the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. In contrast, earlier this month Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Egyptian defense minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, praising the “unconditional friendship” between Egypt and Russia countries and reportedly working to negotiate a $2 billion arms deal.
Last week’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada trilateral summit resulted in a communique that among other things called for increased energy cooperation on the continent. In an email interview, Jed Bailey, managing partner of Energy Narrative, a research and consulting group focusing on Latin America’s energy sector, explained the recent history of and next steps for North American energy integration. more
Three months after the P5+1 and Iran reached an interim agreement to limit Iranian nuclear capabilities, the negotiating parties announced last week that they had agreed on a framework for negotiation of a final comprehensive agreement. Announcing the framework agreement, U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said that these negotiations, set to begin in March, would be “very tough.” more
The arrest of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman this weekend was remarkable not only for its images of a long-sought drug kingpin finally captured, but also for its display of close U.S.-Mexican security cooperation. Despite a reported pause in security relations, wheels were moving behind the scenes; it was the Americans, relying on U.S.-gathered intelligence, who pushed for the operation that led to Guzman’s capture. more
With senior officials acknowledging that the potential damage from infectious disease could rival the impact of a nuclear, chemical or large-scale cyberattack, the Obama administration recently launched a new effort to response to this growing threat. The initiative, called the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), is intended to build coordination across U.S. government agencies and between partner governments.
Speaking to a crowd in Tel Aviv last month, former Israel National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror emphasized a common Israeli concern about future conflicts. “Whatever will be the scenario,” he said, Israel “will have to deal with many missiles and rockets.” Israel is now investigating the use of laser-based missile defense against the rocket arsenals of regional foes like Hezbollah. more