Debates over space policy typically concern three themes: national security, civil space and commercial space. National security discussions have historically focused on threats to space systems and the proper steps to either preclude, or respond to, those threats. Over the past several years, however, those discussions have grown more sophisticated, moving on to the broader issue of U.S. dependence on and use of space to enhance its military, economic and political power. In civil space, policy discussions address questions of resources and priorities: how much to spend and what to spend it on. Roughly every decade, civil space programs experience […]
On Jan. 31, 2011, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, Robert O. Blake Jr., told the Indian press that the United States is hoping to become India’s “close partner” in space exploration. Blake’s comments reflected a major tenet of the Obama administration’s 2010 National Space Policy (NSP): partnerships in space exploration with more nations. Although the global future in space may well be characterized by countries both cooperating in some areas and competing in others –what some have called “coopetition” — U.S. National Security Adviser Tom Donilon has been clear that Washington wants a […]
Space activity has increased tremendously over the past decade thanks to both the growth of space applications and the entry of many new national and regional players. Space is now understood as a fully dual-use domain, with space systems not only part of the digital and cyberspace domains and as such powerful socio-economic enablers, but also at the core of all global defense policies and operations. Indeed, space is the smart-power tool par excellence, effective for applying both soft and hard power or, as is more often the case, a little bit of both. Space power is the modern-day equivalent […]
Police in Madrid made several arrests late Sunday night after a peaceful protest against government austerity measures ended in violent clashes. Although rallies were held in 50 cities across the country, most of the confrontations were centred in the capital.
Despite having enormous natural and human resource endowments, Ukraine has experienced severe difficulties during the past two decades transitioning from a Soviet republic subordinate to Moscow to an independent country with a democratic political system, effective liberal market economy and foreign and defense policies that meet the country’s unique national security requirements. Many of Kiev’s particular foreign policy concerns result from Ukraine’s status as both a bridge and a front-line state situated between the former Soviet empire and Western and Central Europe. Ukraine has increasingly tried to turn that status to its advantage. For now, though, it has yet to […]
Demonstrators furious at the severe injury of a protester during an anti-austerity march clashed with riot police in central Athens on Thursday, the second day of violence in the Greek capital.
May 1 marked the end of a transitional period for the European Union, after which all existing members were required to fully open their labor markets to eight countries that joined the union on May 1, 2004. In an email interview, Herbert Brücker, an expert in European integration at the Institute for Employment Research in Germany, discussed the opening of the EU labor market. WPR: What was the logic behind the labor market restrictions that were recently lifted? Herbert Brücker: According to the “2+3+2” formula, the European Union agreed to suspend free labor mobility for up to seven years for […]
CAIRO — Following the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt seems poised to pursue a more independent foreign policy in the Middle East. But as Cairo prepares to change course from Mubarak’s unblinking adherence to the region’s pro-U.S. bloc, Saudi Arabia can be expected to do its best to prevent both the current military leadership and any future civilian government from disrupting the status quo. Riyadh, whose first concern is blocking the expansion of Iranian influence, has an arsenal of political, economic and social tools to keep Egypt in check. Saudi Arabia’s rulers, long accustomed to dealing with Mubarak’s […]
In what was described as a major milestone in the six-nation Multirole Medium Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) tender, the Indian Ministry of Defense announced the final contenders for the $10 billion, 126-plane purchase in April. Only the Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon were left in the fray, while Boeing’s F-18 E/F Superhornet, Lockheed Martin’s F-16, Saab’s Gripen and UAC’s MiG-35 were all eliminated. The selection of aircraft offered only by European manufacturers has been seen by many U.S. commentators as a political snub to the Indo-U.S. strategic partnership, despite the Indian government’s great efforts to frame the decision as a […]
The U.S.-China relationship may have reached its strongest footing of the Obama presidency, judging from high-level talks that came to a close in Washington yesterday. But some observers noted a palpable gap in focus between the two powers, with the U.S. addressing a broad agenda — ranging from concerns over the value of the yuan to human rights — and China more narrowly concentrated on issues pertaining to its sovereignty. The core of China’s agenda going into the Strategic and Economic Dialogue was a strategy of maintaining control “over their territory and their waters, and frankly their cyberspace,” says Patrick […]
In April, the leaders of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru signed the Pacific Agreement, creating a new regional economic bloc. In an email interview, Augusto Varas, co-vice chair of the Advisory Board for the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, consultant for the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre and chairman of Fundación Equitas, discussed the Pacific Agreement. WPR: What was the driving force behind the Pacific Agreement? Augusto Varas: Latin American governments and the private sector have shown different levels of success in creating an enabling environment for business in the region, and, in some cases, […]
Myanmar was recently reported to have concluded its first set of international energy deals — with China, Singapore and South Korea — since the installation of a nominally civilian government late last year. In an email interview, Matthew Smith, a senior consultant for EarthRights International, discussed Myanmar’s trade and energy relations. WPR: What is the current state of Myanmar’s energy sector, and who are its major international partners? Matthew Smith: Myanmar — also referred to as Burma — is rich in natural gas, and its rivers have the region’s greatest potential for hydropower generation. Investment in the energy sector is […]
BEIJING — As policymakers from the world’s two largest economies gather in Washington for the third U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, the Chinese yuan is trading at a 30-year high against the dollar, while its convertibility has expanded significantly since this time last year, and bullish sentiment surrounds its future evolution. Although this may suggest China is finally getting serious about rationalizing the value of the yuan, recent measures are geared toward internationalization rather than genuine liberalization, and China’s economy is still decades away from being able to support a free-floating currency. It is in the U.S. interest to support […]
At the start of the Arab revolutions, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) tentatively placed Turkey on the side of the pro-democracy movements, starting with Tunisia and then Egypt. In contrast to 2009, when Ankara backed the Ahmadinejad administration following Iran’s disputed elections, Turkey was the first country to call for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to step down at a time when other leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, were hedging their bets. In doing so, Erdogan positioned himself and Turkey as regional leaders in encouraging democracy in other Muslim countries, based on […]
In the lead-up to next week’s U.S. China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has vowed to oppose trade barriers imposed by the Chinese regime on US companies, if he is confirmed as the next ambassador to China.
India and Pakistan recently renewed their dialogue over the countries’ moribund trade relations, with Pakistan indicating it is considering extending most favored nation status to India. In an email interview, Mohsin S. Khan, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a former director of the Middle East and Central Asia department at the International Monetary Fund, discussed India-Pakistan trade relations. WPR: What is the status quo of trade relations between India and Pakistan? Mohsin S. Khan: Trade between India and Pakistan is negligible, amounting to only $1 billion to $2 billion a year, reflecting very poor […]