NEW DELHI — With the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) decimated in the northern provinces of Sri Lanka, India is now seeking greater involvement in the welfare of the Tamils in the island country. New Delhi is looking to supply electricity, rehabilitate and resettle displaced Tamils, and rebuild infrastructure in general. And this month, Rahul Gandhi, the general secretary of the ruling Congress party and son of the all-powerful Sonia Gandhi, emphasized that India will do everything in its power to protect the rights of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka. “The central government is applying as much pressure […]

Brazil celebrated Independence Day twice this year: once on Sept. 7, the anniversary of its independence from Portuguese rule, but also a week before, on Aug. 31, when President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva declared the country “free” from poverty’s dominion, delivered by oil. President Lula’s “New Independence Day” accompanied his government’s announcement of a proposed overhaul of regulations governing the country’s oil and gas industry. The new regulatory model, Lula said, would “allow the government to become the owner of the petroleum.” Specifically, the proposal dealt with Brazil’s effort to increase its regulatory and fiscal control over the development […]

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As somebody who spends his workdays evaluating investment opportunities in emerging/frontier economies, I receive a lot of business pitches involving new technologies. The time I spend listening to these accounts of how things can ultimately work out for the better balances my work in the national security realm contemplating how everything must “inevitably” collapse into conflict. I find the perspective it offers invaluable, because it reveals how often what we call “realism” tends to be hopelessly trapped in centuries past. Right now the bulk of the pitches I receive focus on alternative energy. No surprise there, but not for the […]

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s latest visit to Moscow resulted in a package of arms and energy deals that highlight the mutually beneficial nature of the current Russian-Venezuelan relationship. Facing declining purchases from traditional arms clients, such as India and especially China, Russia has sought to compensate by expanding arms sales to new markets, including in Latin America. For the most part, however, Russian sellers have not been able to achieve major successes, despite Latin American countries doubling the volume of weapons they purchased between the periods of 1999-2003 and 2004-2008. Although the share of Russian arms exports going to Latin […]

Less than a month after making progress on the Nabucco pipeline deal, which has now secured half of the gas needed to fill it, Turkey signed another natural gas agreement in early August that will allow access into Turkish territorial waters to the South Stream pipeline. South Stream, a Russian-Italian venture, is designed to bring Russian gas to Bulgaria while bypassing troublesome transit countries on the route between the Russian Federation and the European Union. A few days later, Turkey also held discussions with the emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, on pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, […]

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently completed its most comprehensive assessment in months of Iran’s nuclear program and Tehran’s degree of cooperation with the agency and U.N. Security Council resolutions. Although the Aug. 28 report (.pdf) notes some new developments, its basic message is that Iran has not appreciably changed its main nuclear policies despite years of negotiations, U.N. sanctions, and its recent presidential elections. As a result, as in the past, both advocates and opponents of harsher sanctions on Tehran can cite some of the agency’s findings to support their positions. The report, which was promptly leaked to […]