GADHAFI REACHES OUT — In recent days, Washington has been the target of a mini-media blitz by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, including an op-ed piece in the New York Times and a video conference with Georgetown University students. The advertised purpose of both was to push Gadhafi’s idea of a one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, which he calls Isratine. But as commentator Dana Moss points out in the Guardian this week, the quirky Libyan leader is reaching out to the Obama administration “using his stance towards Israel as bait.” According to a Libyan source in Tripoli, Gadhafi is disappointed […]

While few can predict exactly what new policies will be implemented by the incoming Obama Administration, it is clear that addressing climate change will be among its top priorities, and that any successful approach to the challenge will involve international cooperation. The outlines of a solution are relatively simple. Over time, global carbon emissions need to be reduced, which means that current emitters — largely in the developed world — will need to reduce their emissions. Countries in the developing world, meanwhile, will need to limit the increase in their emissions as their economies grow and modernize, so as not […]

Long before we knew who the 44th president of the United States would be, Latin America experts began debating the list of priorities that should guide the next administration’s regional policy. From Foreign Affairs to the Brookings Institution to the Washington Office on Latin America — every magazine or think tank with a background in the region was shopping a set of ideas that could reverse the low tide of the Bush years. Some argue for more emphasis on free trade, a robust regional security initiative, and a strategy to isolate Hugo Ch├ívez and his populist ilk; others want to […]

When throngs of Brazilians take to the streets of Rio de Janeiro next month for the famous Carnival, Barack Obama will be there, dancing to the sultry beat of the samba. Obama masks are all the rage as preparations for the Carnival kick into high gear. When the party starts, hundreds, maybe thousands of Brazilians with Obama masks will hit the streets. Not surprisingly, the new president of the United States has become a celebrity in Latin America, just as he has in the rest of the planet. While at times it seems the entire globe is cheering Obama in […]

MADRID, Spain — Barack Obama begins his presidency with an unprecedented level of goodwill among Europeans, who are hoping he will reverse many of the unpopular policies that embittered transatlantic relations under his predecessor. As the contours of Obama’s foreign policy come into focus, however, much of the onus for smoothing the frayed relationship will lie with Europe, not the United States. Obama faces a daunting list of domestic and foreign policy challenges, at a time when the United States’ historic levels of debt — combined with the faltering American economy — will force him to call on Europeans to […]

During the U.S. presidential election, the Republican National Committee made headlines with a campaign flyer it mailed out to voters in Missouri and Virginia. A photo on the front showed a plane with its nose pressed against the exterior of an airport terminal, presumably filled with travelers. The text, beside a picture of the Democratic nominee on the inside, read, “Barack Obama thinks terrorists just need a good talking to.” The flyer was meant to be provocative in its partisan assessment of an Obama presidency. Equally intriguing, however, was what it reflected about the way Americans still think of terrorism. […]

In recent weeks there has been a notable — and positive — political event in Africa that does not involve the disaster zones of Somalia, Sudan, or Zimbabwe. On Jan. 7th, John Atta Mills, the candidate from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, was inaugurated as Ghana’s president. He won a Dec. 28 runoff with 50.23 percent of the vote, beating Nana Akufo-Addo, representing the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), who won 49.77 percent. This election was clear evidence that Ghana’s democracy continues to mature. Despite the razor-thin win by the opposition candidate, there was no eruption of political […]

In recent years, Brazil has generated a level of international interest and excitement that was wholly unexpected and unpredictable as little as 10 years ago. As one of the so-called BRIC countries — the emerging powers of Brazil, Russia, India and China — Brazil has been drawing increasing attention on a variety of fronts. Brazil’s economy has been growing steadily and solidly since roughly 2002, with low inflation, expanding trade, and gradually declining public debt. As a consequence, the country has been an inviting location for both foreign direct and portfolio investment. Internationally, Brazil has been in the forefront in […]

In the 21st century so far, regional integration has been one of the most notable elements of South American foreign relations. Picking up speed in recent years, the continent’s heads of state have enthusiastically met in numerous summits, promising increased political, economic, social, and development cooperation. Across the spectrum, governments are expanding current integration frameworks and entering into new agreements. Expectations are no less grand. As Brazil’s President Luis Inacio “Lula” da Silva recently stated, “South America, united, will move the board game of power in the world, not for its own benefit, but for everyone’s.” Economic integration is a […]

The current dispute between Russia and Ukraine over 2009 gas prices marks the fourth time since the Orange Revolution that Moscow and Kiev have tried to sign a contract. Each time, the process has been trumped by a hydra of hidden agendas and political intrigues, with far-reaching implications for consumers. Gazprom prices, scaled to its customers, are pegged to a basket of oil prices with a six-month lag. Embedded in the price for Ukraine, however, are transit fees for downstream exports to Europe. When concessions are made for the transit rate, calculated per 100 km of 1,000 cubic meters of […]

Slovenia’s decision to effectively block Croatia’s entry to the E.U. on the basis of an unresolved border dispute represents a dangerous precedent that, if copied, could damage or destroy the chances of other accession hopefuls in southeast Europe. Because of the Slovenian veto in late December, Croatia was able to open only one new “chapter” — representing a policy area in which it must prove that it meets EU norms — out of an expected 10, and close three, instead of the five foreseen, in the latest round of its ongoing accession negotiations. It is not the first time an […]

LONDON — There wasn’t much good cheer for Prime Minister Gordon Brown coming from Britain’s Anglican bishops this Christmas. One prelate after another used his seasonal message to denounce what the Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch, called the Labour government’s “morally corrupt” strategy for economic recovery. Before the holidays, Brown encouraged consumers to take advantage of slashed prices in the stores to keep the economy going. For the bishops, encouraging a spending spree was the wrong approach. Bishop Stephen Lowe of Hulme lamented that “the government isn’t telling people who are already deep in debt to stop overextending themselves, but […]