Like many policy issues regarding North Korea, the U.S. has no good options regarding the question of whether or not to resume deliveries of food aid to the isolated country. Last year’s flooding and severe weather have combined with Pyongyang’s perverse policies and rising world food prices to produce major shortfalls in food supplies in many parts of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The United States used to be one of North Korea’s major food donors until the deterioration in bilateral relations in 2008-2009 and the refusal by DPRK authorities to allow extensive monitoring of the aid flows […]

The entry plaza of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters, June 2, 2011, in Seattle (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson).

Though they have long existed, NGOs are playing an increasingly significant role in global governance, whether participating in the United Nations system or bringing global concerns to the domestic level. From local to global, NGOs are now an essential aspect of a variety of systems. It has become fashionable to assert that the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in world politics has grown in importance since the early 1990s. This assertion is true, but not because of the end of the Cold War nor because there is anything new about NGOs exercising influence, as is often claimed. Consider the success […]

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European countries have been accused of ignoring the refugee crisis on Libya’s borders. This report produced by the U.S. government-owned Voice of America explores the fate of hundreds of thousands of mainly sub-Saharan migrants who were forced to flee Libya following the brutal crackdown on anti-government protests earlier this year.

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The war in Libya and the recently increased activities of three Africa-based Islamist groups have raised questions about whether Africom — the U.S. military command created to oversee U.S. military operations in Africa — may be shifting from its initial posture of projecting soft power to one of managing a hot theater. However, according to Jennifer G. Cooke, who directs the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington, while Africom’s public affairs posture may now be in flux, the command’s core mission of growing African capabilities to meet African security challenges has not changed. Cooke reminded […]

The multilateral South American organization UNASUR announced Friday that its members planned to begin pulling troops from the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti, known by its acronym Minustah. “There’s consensus for a gradual withdrawal of troops, consistent with Haiti’s needs,” Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim told the press after the body met in Montevideo, Uruguay. Amorim’s words carry weight. South America contributes the most peacekeepers to Minustah’s 12,000-strong mission, and Brazil leads its forces. But while the announcement may seem to mark the beginning of Minustah’s withdrawal, the mission is far from over. In fact, the Minustah mission is not […]

A United Nations vote on statehood for Palestine will not determine whether and how a Palestinian state is established and recognized. That will be determined predominantly by the political realities dividing and linking Israel and Palestine. However, regional and global factors may influence the timing and shape of the forthcoming Palestinian state, the extent to which its prospects for peace and prosperity are enhanced and the basis on which its relations with surrounding states are put in place. Since one important area in which exogenous factors may be as important as internal factors in Palestine and Israel is refugee return, […]

Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series on the impact of Sept. 11 on U.S. foreign policy. Part I examined the militarization of U.S. foreign policy following Sept. 11. Part II examines ways to reverse this trend. After the debacles of Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States should be contemplating a future of military restraint and foreign policy modesty. Moreover, with potentially painful cuts on the horizon for the Defense Department, the time has come for the armed forces to do less and for other agencies to pick up the slack. But that doesn’t appear to be […]