For mineral-rich countries, large-scale extractive industry projects are a double-edged sword. On one hand, mining royalties and taxes provide funds that can be invested in infrastructure and social services. Mining projects can also create local jobs and spur demand for locally produced goods and services, supporting livelihoods and spurring economic growth. On the other hand, mining revenues can be—and there is plenty of evidence that they routinely are—spirited or frittered away, leaving little to show by way of long-term productive investment or better living standards. Moreover, mining booms undermine growth in other industries by skewing labor demand and swelling the […]

Global Insights: Russia Warily Embraces Iran’s Rouhani

Many countries have welcomed the election of Iran’s newly inaugurated president, Hasan Rouhani, while remaining cautious about the prospects for major shifts in Iranian policy as a result of his victory. But few countries have responded as erratically as Russia. Recent weeks have seen media reports that President Vladimir Putin would visit Tehran and that Moscow would sell Iran advanced weaponry—only to be retracted days later. Russia’s interests regarding Iran are complex and often conflicting, explaining Russian policymakers’ seemingly erratic behavior. Moscow has six core goals regarding Iran: supporting nonproliferation, preventing war or regime change, maintaining regional security, minimizing sanctions, […]

This is the first in a two-part series on the U.S.-South Africa bilateral relationship. Part I examines the state of economic ties. Part II will examine the state of political ties. Although it was inevitably overshadowed by the serious decline in Nelson Mandela’s health, U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to South Africa at the end of June provided the opportunity for a comprehensive re-evaluation of the bilateral relationship. Though both sides talked about expanding cooperation and strengthening ties, the backdrop to the visit was a checkered and uneven relationship since the birth of the new South Africa in 1994. By […]

It was the phone call heard around the world: The conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was hailed as a major diplomatic breakthrough, a triumph for U.S. President Barack Obama, who in the last moments of his trip to Israel last March nudged the two leaders to end their festering disagreement. Reconciliation, however, is yet to come. Four months after the call, Israel and Turkey have still not managed to bridge the gaps that have separated them since relations fell apart in May 2010, when an Israeli raid on a Turkish ship […]

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