In the coming months, Brazil will host the World Cup and hold elections across all levels of government—all while its once-strong economy shows growing signs of a slowdown, hobbled by the country’s suffocating public sector, trade protection and inflation. Brazil’s GDP shrank in the third quarter of last year, its first contraction since 2009. The current outlook is a far cry from the exhilarating days of 2006-2007 when then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in office 2003-2011, oversaw a massive oil discovery in the Tupi field off Brazil’s southeastern coast and successfully wooed FIFA, international soccer’s governing federation, for World […]

This month, South Korea announced a major reduction in its target for nuclear power generation, partly in response to domestic safety concerns. In an email interview, Miles Pomper, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, explained the role of nuclear energy in South Korea. WPR: How important is nuclear within Korea’s current energy mix? Miles Pomper: Nuclear power plays a major role in South Korea’s electricity generation, meeting about 30 percent of the country’s energy needs in 2012, and South Korea is one of the top five nuclear-power-generating countries. South Korea does not have significant […]

After years of deadlocked negotiations and apparent inflexibility on the part of the Islamic Republic of Iran to make substantive concessions on its development of nuclear technology, some of which might be used for weapons, Tehran has recently become much more accommodating. The framework agreement reached in November in Geneva, trading cessation of enrichment and dilution of existing stockpiles of enriched uranium for sanctions relief, will go into effect Jan. 20. Is this newfound willingness to negotiate simply a result of personnel changes, beginning with the election of Hassan Rouhani as president? Not entirely. After all, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei […]

Mexico’s recently enacted energy reform bill marks an important first step on the long path of transforming the country’s energy sector. Now that the constitutional changes have been ratified by a majority of states, the real work of drafting the enabling legislation, creating new institutions and profoundly changing many existing ones now begins. All of this will take time, and there will be much to debate along the way. The reform’s ultimate success will depend on maintaining political support while managing public expectations during the long slog of implementation. While Mexico’s challenges in implementing the reform are complex and many, […]

During his campaign for president in 2008, Barack Obama promised that he would restore America’s standing in the world—in part by using his unique multicultural background to better communicate with U.S. friends and foes alike. While Obama has certainly enjoyed some foreign policy successes, there is one region in which he has so far glaringly and disappointingly fallen well short of that promise: Africa. By every conceivable metric, Africa is growing in stature and importance. More than 60 percent of Africans are below the age of 25, and the continent’s population is expected to double by 2050 to more than […]

Few countries have claimed for themselves the mantle of revolution as frequently and as fervently as Mexico. Previous efforts brought change, even revolutionary change, but failed to lift large parts of the population out of chronic poverty. That is about to change. Over the past 12 months, Mexico has launched a series of urgently needed but long-delayed fundamental reforms. Because of that, it now stands on the cusp of enormous change. The world is about to witness a country enter a phase of dazzling economic growth, with concurrent social change. The formula for tapping Mexico’s vast potential was never a […]