ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Kazakhstan, with its vast reserves of hydrocarbons, is on a path to become a petro-power on a global scale. That, at least, is the plan of the Kazakh government, oil companies with access to the rich oil fields of Kazakhstan, and those seeking alternatives to OPEC oil. However, as oil production in the landlocked country increases in the years ahead, Kazakhstan could find itself without viable export routes to bring its hydrocarbon wealth to market. In 2007, Kazakhstan produced approximately 1.45 million barrels of oil per day (bpd), of which it exported around 1.2 million bpd. Kazakhstan’s […]

MELBOURNE — Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will attend the opening ceremony of August’s Olympic Games in China, a move seen by some as a victory for economic common sense in bolstering relations with this country’s largest trading partner. But his decision is again highlighting the double standards Australia risks espousing on human rights and raising concerns over how his team has managed perceptions of his new government’s relationship with China. Rudd’s decision came just days ahead of Australia-based Rio Tinto announcing a massive rise in iron prices after signing a deal Monday with China’s Baosteel. Prices will almost double, […]

On June 6, Dmitry Medvedev presided over his first major multinational meetings since replacing Vladimir Putin as Russia’s president on May 7. The first gathering involved an “informal” summit of the heads of state of the Moscow-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The second was the annual meeting of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which attracts many foreign diplomats and business executives. At the meetings, Medvedev eschewed the sarcastic and at times menacing rhetoric of his predecessor. He also seemed slightly more open to resolving Russia’s differences with Georgia. Yet, Medvedev reaffirmed Putin’s hard-line position regarding NATO expansion and […]

America’s preoccupation in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has significantly undermined its influence in the Asia-Pacific region. Much has been written about how China has attempted to fill the “American void” in the Asia-Pacific and to reconfigure the region’s geopolitical architecture, but little attention is being accorded to Russia’s new power plays in the region, which, if not appropriately understood, will have tremendous consequences for American interests. Over the past five years, Russia has been slowly repositioning itself in the Asia-Pacific through arms sales, participation in regional venues like the Six-Party Talks concerning North Korea’s nuclear program, and energy exports. […]

While Arab and Israeli peace negotiators expend their energy trying not to bolt from their seats in exasperation, business men and women on both sides of the divide think they may just have found a way to peace that will prove faster, more entertaining, and definitely more profitable. Driven more by a quest for profits than by ideology, Arab and Israeli entrepreneurs are quietly working together on a variety of ventures. Small-scale partnerships between Israelis and Palestinians and between other Arabs and Jews have happened for years. Larger, higher-profile deals are now becoming more common. In recent months, an iconic […]

Part I: Series IntroductionPart II: NATO Reintegration and European Defense PARIS — In assessing the strategic environment to which the Livre Blanc, France’s strategic posture review, must respond, none of the French officials and experts interviewed by World Politics Review could really speak with much certainty. Taken together, the conversations we had gave the distinct impression that outside of the stable if evolving configurations of the European Union and the Atlantic alliance, France’s emerging strategic vision is driven more by questions than by answers. Russia’s determination to reclaim its former influence presents both opportunities for partnership and more alarming scenarios […]

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WASHINGTON — The Argentinean government’s refusal to reconcile its old debts and its creation of new ones has rendered the state increasingly reliant on Venezuela for financial support, and the country is headed for a financial fall if it doesn’t get its fiscal house in order, said participants at a June 2 forum here this week. Hosted by the Hudson Institute, “Is the World Economy Going South? Which Way Argentina?” featured comments from Evan Ellis, an associate with Booz Allen Hamilton and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, Jaime Daremblum, Costa Rica’s former ambassador to the United States, […]

The recent improvement in relations between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan could help remove a major obstacle to the exploitation of Caspian Sea energy reserves. When Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov arrived in Baku on May 19, he became the first Turkmen president in over a decade to visit Azerbaijan. The two countries severed ties in 1999 over an Azerbaijani decision to develop an oil and natural gas field that the Turkmenistan government also claimed. Until now, the unresolved dispute among the five Caspian states over how best to divide and manage the sea and its valuable subsurface natural resources has impeded efforts to exploit […]