News broke Sunday night that Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier had returned to Haiti after an absence of 25 years. The dictator’s return capped off a difficult year for Haiti, as the island continues to recover from an earthquake, a hurricane, a cholera outbreak, and a contested presidential election. Many worried that Duvalier intended to take advantage of the chaos and suffering that still plagues the country in order to regain influence. Though Duvalier has now been charged with corruption dating from his time in power and may instead face trial, the alarm triggered by his arrival is a reminder that, […]
From the moment the first cell-phone videos of balaclava-clad young men sprinting away from police gunfire began to travel across cyberspace a few weeks ago, the mounting social unrest in Tunisia has caught many by surprise. Even longtime observers have had difficulty explaining how one of North Africa’s most prosperous and, arguably, most socially stable countries became a powder keg of political, economic and social fury. “I thought it could happen, but I didn’t believe it would happen so suddenly,” said Abdelwahab Hechiche, a political scientist at the University of South Florida who engaged in political activism for Tunisian independence […]
Exiled Haitian dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier has made a surprise return to the county, adding to the country’s turmoil. In this NewsHour report on the development, Gwen Ifill speaks with NPR’s Jason Beaubien about possible implications of Duvalier’s return.
JODHPUR, India — In China, one often hears that it is impossible to govern a population of more than a billion using democracy. The country’s phenomenal rise over the past 30 years certainly testifies to the success of its “Leninist corporatism.” However, while concerns mount over the sustainability and fairness of this model, India’s greater tolerance and openness may become a source of considerable comparative advantage in the quest for regional leadership in the “Asian Century.” The fundamental differences in the two emerging behemoths’ social and political attitudes are reflected in their respective approaches to the past. In China, the […]
On Jan. 14, two of the world’s oil giants, Russia’s Rosneft and BP, announced an unprecedented “strategic global alliance,” in which they will be exchanging shares and expanding their joint ventures, including launching a new Arctic oil-drilling project. Both companies bring important assets to their new alliance, but the deal has alarmed foreign governments and environmentalist organizations due to its potential commercial, security, and ecological implications. The arrangement also raises interesting questions related to the Russian government’s economic modernization program. Through the deal, Rosneft will acquire 5 percent of BP’s shares, while BP will obtain an additional 9.5 percent share […]
“The world is beating a path to your door,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron when visiting India last July. Cameron’s words were not mere rhetorical flourish: During the second half of 2010, the leaders of all the permanent U.N. Security Council members passed through New Delhi, underscoring India’s increasing importance in the global system. Significantly, all the visiting dignitaries either affirmed support for India’s claim to a permanent seat on the council or, in the case of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, made a statement “supporting India’s aspirations for a greater role in global affairs.” Indeed, the reordering of global […]
President Barack Obama came into office promising a new sort of bilateral relationship with China. It was not meant to be. Washington hasn’t changed any of its long list of demands regarding China, and Beijing, true to historical form, has gone out of its way to flex its muscles as a rising power. With the recent series of revelations concerning Chinese military developments, the inside-the-Beltway hyping of the Chinese threat has reached fever pitch, matching the average American’s growing fears of China’s economic strength. Of course, the world’s established No. 1 power always greets the challenge from a rising No. […]
In pursuit of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s concept of strategic depth, Turkey has been reaching out to rising powers in Asia while at the same time offering itself as a mediator in disputes in its near abroad. As part of this approach, Turkey is leveraging its longstanding ties with Pakistan and its stature as one of the few industrialized countries in the Muslim world to create a diplomatic role for itself in Afghanistan. But in a sign that Ankara’s geopolitical outreach cannot transcend regional fault lines, Turkey kept India out of the January 2010 tripartite summit on Afghanistan at Pakistan’s […]
At the heart of the U.S. war in Afghanistan lies a striking and unresolved contradiction. While the U.S. has sent approximately 100,000 troops to this impoverished, landlocked country to combat a fearsome local insurgency, the actual focal point of U.S. policy in the region largely revolves around protecting and stabilizing a country just across Afghanistan’s eastern border: Pakistan. It’s an ironic but not altogether surprising strategy. After all, Pakistan remains home to Osama bin Laden, his key lieutenants and other terrorist organizations intent on striking American targets. The country maintains a significant nuclear capability, and its ongoing conflict with India […]
The Obama administration has been transmitting a relatively clear set of signals regarding its policy toward Afghanistan ever since the strategic review was completed in December 2010: Progress has been made, but it is “fragile” and “reversible.” According to this argument, since U.S. and allied efforts are showing the first green shoots in terms of being able to train and deploy Afghan security forces that could end up holding territory on their own, it would be irresponsible to change course now. The current strategy must be given sufficient time to play out, even if that does not neatly dovetail with […]
Despite emergency meetings this week, the Lebanese government has effectively collapsed following the resignations of 11 government ministers from Hezbollah and its Lebanese allies. The row that led to resignations is over a UN investigation into the murder in 2005 of Rafik Hariri, father of the current Lebanese prime minister. Last minute meetings with Saudi Arabia and Syria to resolve the deadlock also failed.
Two Thai detainees charged with espionage have left a Cambodian court after three hours of questioning. The two are members of a group called the People’s Alliance for Democracy, known as “yellow shirts.” They are among seven Thais charged in December with illegal entry and encroachment on Cambodia’s border military zone.
With the U.N. Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) preparing for its Jan. 15 exit, few were surprised by the head of the mission’s final, stern warning. In a statement, UNMIN Chief Karin Landgren warned (.pdf) that “growing differences within the major political parties add to the mistrust between them, and the failure of the peace process to advance had strengthened the hand of those on all sides who derided it as unproductive.” Landgren, like several experts, also warned that a return to war is possible. But will UNMIN’s departure exacerbate the risk? UNMIN was established in January 2007 to support the […]
When Brazilian voters went to the polls last year, they voted for continuity. In electing Dilma Rousseff, a 63-year-old technocrat who had never run for office before, they responded to the pleas of their popular outgoing president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula, as he is known, had made his preference clear. “A vote for Dilma is a vote for me,” he told them, with both leaders promising that she would continue moving Brazil down the same path. When it comes to foreign policy, Dilma, as Brazilians call their new president, has also said she will follow her predecessor’s line. […]
China has confirmed that it has conducted a successful flight test of a new stealth fighter jet. The news was announced while U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is on an official visit to the China. Chinese President Hu Jintao stated the tests were pre-planned and the timing was a coincidence.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana’a, Yemen, comments on the fight against terrorism being a top priority of the U.S., and of Yemen. Clinton’s trip marks the first time in 20 years that a U.S. secretary of state has visited Yemen.
As the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) opens in Hanoi on Jan. 12, the country is at a crossroads in terms of its future development trajectory and, possibly, its international posture. During the nine-day gathering, the congress is to discuss, revise and approve the document that sets the guidelines for Vietnam’s 2011-2020 national socio-economic development strategy as well as the CPV Central Committee’s political report. In addition, the nearly 1,400 delegates, representing more than 3.6 million party members in 54,000 grassroots organizations, will elect the new Central Committee. The 160 full members and 21 candidates […]