The cables were cut multiple times, despite being buried beneath the Mediterranean seabed, five miles off the Egyptian coast, near Alexandria. As a result, Internet finance and commercial traffic stalled in at least 10 Middle Eastern and Asian countries in early 2008. More than 80 million Web users in India, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia had connection problems. Egypt and Pakistan alone lost 70 percent of their digital connections to the outside world. “It even affected [U.S. Central Command],” said James Lewis, director of the technology and public policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a […]

Large video displays in the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Virginia, Aug. 22, 2018 (AP photo by Cliff Owen).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. Cyberspace has long been seen as shifting power toward the individual, with attacks over the past decade on corporations, governments and other weighty institutions largely corroborating this view. But while the structure of cyberspace itself will always lend significant and previously unavailable advantages to individuals, we are now entering a period where governments and institutions are beginning to regain the upper hand against asymmetric cyberwarfare. In his 1996 "Declaration of the Independence […]

In June 2009, a computer worm called Stuxnet was unleashed against the nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz, Iran. Designed to infect the operating system used by the Iranians to control their nuclear centrifuges, Stuxnet significantly disrupted, and thus delayed, Iranian nuclear efforts, according to a New York Times report on Jan. 15, 2011. The Times report also provided a breathtaking peek behind the scenes of what appears to have been a large and complex covert operation to develop the Stuxnet worm. If the revelations are true, then the Stuxnet attack provides significant insights about the potential character of war by […]

In March, a few international media outlets quietly reported that Mongolia and the U.S. had been holding informal discussions on a proposal that would have Mongolia serve as a regional depository of spent nuclear fuel. The arrangement would allow South Korea and Taiwan, which the U.S. supplies with nuclear rods, to dispose of their spent fuel, resolving what has become an increasingly thorny problem for the U.S. News of the story spread quickly in the Mongolian press, and public opinion came out decidedly against the proposal. The Japanese nuclear crisis in Fukushima has compounded opposition in Mongolia to nuclear energy. […]

Global Insider: India-Thailand Relations

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva recently met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi to discuss promoting trade ties between their two countries. In an email interview, Faizal bin Yahya, a research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies at the National University of Singapore, discussed Thai-Indian relations. WPR: What is the recent history of Thai-Indian relations? Faizal bin Yahya: Thailand and India have increased their bilateral engagement in recent years. Important developments include India’s liberalization of its economy in 1991, its progressive engagement with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its inclusion in the East Asian […]

One of the main causes of the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt was the frustration that millions of Tunisians and Egyptians felt with the state of their economies. Among their many grievances, citizens of both countries were especially fed up with inequality, high unemployment and corruption. Yet the uprisings have led to a further deterioration of economic conditions in both countries. International tourists are staying away, and tourist facilities have laid off thousands of workers. Increased economic uncertainty has also led international investors to stay away for now. To make matters worse, some labor unions have taken advantage of the […]

With last month’s approval by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of a safeguards plan, China is set to construct the Chasma-3 and Chasma-4 nuclear reactors in Pakistan. By supplying the two new nuclear power plants, however, China will be in direct contravention of its nonproliferation commitments. Under the 1992 revised guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a global export-control body that China joined in 2004, transfer of nuclear technology and material from a NSG member state can only take place under the provisions of full-scope safeguards. These safeguards require that all nuclear facilities in the state receiving nuclear […]

BRICS Blast NATO Bombings in Libya

The world’s emerging economic giants have called for a reform of the global financial system at their annual summit. According to this report by the Russian government-owned global news station Russia Today, the so-called BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — have also commented on NATO’s operation in conflict-torn LIbya.

Global Insider: Nile Basin Water Rights

In March, the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement garnered enough national signatures to allow it to be presented to national parliaments for ratification. In an email interview, Aaron Wolf, a professor at Oregon State University specializing in water resources policy and conflict resolution, discussed the political maneuvering over water rights in the Nile Basin. WPR: What is the significance of the finalization of the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement? Aaron Wolf: I’m not sure “finalization” is the right word. It seems clear that discussions over management of the Nile will continue for some time before anything is really […]

The United States faces a serious but silent intellectual crisis: U.S. national security elites have separated into two tribes of specialists, technical and nontechnical, who are incapable of communicating with each other. The implications of the divide between experts in science and technology on one hand and experts in politics on the other are dangerous and far-reaching. If the United States policymaking community cannot bridge the gap between these communities, we risk making mistakes with repercussions running all the way from wasting scarce resources to war. While hardly a golden age of national security policy decision-making, the Cold War set […]

South Africa will formally join the BRIC grouping of Brazil, Russia, India and China at their April 14 summit in Hainan, China. Echoing previous meetings, the major focus of the summit will be to consolidate the impression that the BRICs are the rising force in the global arena. The June 2009 Yekaterinburg summit was hailed as an “historic event” by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and was punctuated by a call for “the emerging and developing economies [to] have a greater voice and representation in international financial institutions” (.pdf). Then-Brazilian President Lula da Silva, host of the April 2010 summit, upped […]

South Korean Farmers Rally Against Free Trade Deal with EU

More than a thousand South Korean farmers rallied in Seoul on Tuesday urging their government to stop pursuing a free trade deal with the European Union. The farmers say they are concerned the deal would increase competition and ruin their business.

Global Insider: India-Africa Relations

The recent takeover by Indian firm Essar Africa Holdings of Zimbabwe’s state-owned iron and steel company, Ziscosteel, is a prime example of India’s efforts to ramp up its economic involvement in Africa. In an email interview, Elizabeth Sidiropoulos, national director of the South African Institute for International Affairs, discussed India’s economic relations with Africa. WPR: What is the current state of Indian investment and development aid in Africa? Elizabeth Sidiropoulos: Indian companies have been operating in Africa for many years, although more recently there has been a substantial increase in investment — from $556 million in 1997 to some $18 […]

This is the second of a two-part series examining China’s telecom sector. Part I examined the domestic telecom market. Part II examines Chinese telecoms’ international expansion. SHANGHAI — Building on strong domestic development, China’s telecommunications sector has enjoyed a period of impressive international expansion over the past decade. Under the banner of the “Go Global” campaign, national flagship companies have built up their international operations through a range of overseas purchases and cooperative ventures with foreign partners. Greater technological capabilities and cost advantages have also allowed Chinese firms to rapidly establish themselves as important vendors of telecom products and services […]

The Russian government has effectively managed to balance its competing interests regarding Libya, despite having much less influence on events there than many other governments. The Russian delegation to the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) voted to impose sanctions against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime for its violent suppression of peaceful demonstrators, but abstained on the crucial March 17 vote authorizing the use of force to protect civilians from the Libyan government. Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said that Moscow could not support the resolution since it lacked clearly defined limits on using military force. After Western countries initiated wide-ranging military operations against […]

This is the first of a two-part series examining China’s telecom sector. Part I examines the domestic telecom market. Part II will examine Chinese telecoms’ international expansion. SHANGHAI — In less than 20 years, the Chinese telecommunications sector has developed from a primitive government monopoly into the largest cellular and Internet communications market in the world. This change is a testament to the country’s rapid social and economic development as well as the increasing sophistication of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the industry. But with domestic markets rapidly approaching their saturation point for basic services, sustaining this growth will require deepening […]

Much of the global perception of America’s long-term decline as the world’s sole surviving superpower is in fact driven by our fiscal decline. That’s why I was disturbed to hear Democrats so quickly dismiss GOP Sen. Paul Ryan’s bold, if flawed, federal budget proposal on the grounds that it would “end Medicare as we know it.” Frankly, arresting our decline means ending a lot of things “as we know them.” That’s simply what being on an unsustainable path forces you to do. But as difficult as reforming federal entitlement programs will be, it is absolutely necessary, because a look at […]

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