Where is the positive vision for U.S. foreign policy in this election? President Barack Obama and on-again, off-again “presumptive” GOP nominee Mitt Romney now duel over who is more anti-declinist when it comes to America’s power trajectory, with both slyly attaching their candidacies to the notion that “the worst” is now behind us. On that score, Obama implicitly tags predecessor George W. Bush, while Romney promises a swift end to all things Obama. Halftime in America? Indeed. But what’s the animating vision, besides rebounding? What course are we setting, besides up? So far, all the candidates’ visions seem negative — […]

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper traveled to China earlier this month, where he met with senior Chinese leaders and signed deals promoting bilateral economic cooperation. In an email interview, Daniel Poon, a researcher at the North-South Institute, discussed trade and diplomatic relations between Canada and China. WPR: What is the nature and extent of energy relations between Canada and China, and how are they evolving? Daniel Poon: Due to years of prioritizing the U.S. market over all others, the extent of Canadian energy and, more generally, commercial relations with China have been relatively limited. In 2010, roughly one-third of Canada’s […]

TORONTO — Wrapping up a trip to China last week, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper described the visit as “very successful.” The trip saw the signing of a number of trade deals worth an estimated $3 billion in oil, natural gas, minerals and other products. But though it also ended with the commissioning of a feasibility study into the possibility of a free trade agreement between the two countries, Harper was quick to advise caution on what remains a long-term goal. That the two economies need each other is not in question. With bilateral trade valued at $50 billion in […]

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When South Sudan seceded from Sudan, it took three-quarters of Sudanese oil production with it, and the two countries have disputed oil revenues and transit fees ever since. Because South Sudan lacks oil infrastructure, it must transport its oil northward through existing pipelines to Sudan’s Port Sudan, on the Red Sea, where there are refineries and loading facilities for tankers. Seeking other options for oil exports, the landlocked country is now considering building an oil pipeline through Ethiopia and Djibouti, and signed an agreement last month to link its oil fields with a coastal town in Kenya. “Any sane or […]

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The Russian energy giant Gazprom announced in January that it had signed a deal to double gas purchases from Azerbaijan. In an email interview, Shahriyar Nasirov, a doctoral candidate at the University of the Basque Country and a research fellow in the energy department of the Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness, discussed Azerbaijan’s energy sector. WPR: How has Azerbaijan’s energy sector evolved over the past 10 years, and what are its current strengths and weaknesses? Shahriyar Nasirov: Azerbaijan’s major strengths are the existence of a stable legal framework and attractive environment for foreign investors in the energy sector, and the provision […]

Beginning with the George W. Bush administration, the U.S. strategic policymaking community has expressed its desire to support India’s emergence as a great power. However, the very fact that these exhortations must be made from time to time reveals the distance the world’s two largest democracies must still travel to truly understand each other. The U.S. continues to struggle with India’s non-alignment impulses, while India continues to see relations in a globalized era as depending on balance of interests, and not balance of power. Indeed, it is this differing approach to globalization that prevents the two countries from fully consolidating […]

Recent Iranian saber rattling about closing the Strait of Hormuz is yet another reason for the U.S. to look north to Canada for oil imports. Military confrontation or a perceived threat of it in the strait — the route for almost 17 million barrels of oil daily — would wreak havoc on global oil supplies. The effects for the United States would be particularly severe: 75 percent of oil from Saudi Arabia, which at 12 percent of net U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products is our second-largest supplier, passes through this strategic waterway. Occasional threats to global oil […]

In December, with a dispute over oil-transit fees between Sudan and South Sudan exacerbating already tense post-independence relations, the world looked to China to save the day. Beijing sent Special Envoy Liu Guijin to negotiations in Addis Ababa in the hopes of brokering a deal on oil revenues and facilitating a final post-independence settlement between the two sides. A month later, the crisis between and within the two Sudans continues. But the episode raises the question of whether China’s evolving Sudan policy reflects a broader evolution in its approach to African and international diplomacy. China’s current relations with the two […]

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During a visit to the Persian Gulf countries last month, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for the conclusion of negotiations for a free trade agreement between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states. In an email interview, Jean-Francois Seznec, a visiting associate professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, discussed the proposed China-GCC free trade agreement. WPR: How has trade between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries evolved over the past decade? Jean-Francois Seznec: Trade between the GCC and China has grown to about $90 billion in 2010 from $10 billion 10 years ago. China imports […]