The U.S.-UAE 123 Agreement on civil nuclear cooperation is set to come into force now that the mandatory 90-day period of congressional review has passed. The deal has the firm backing of the Obama administration, which sees it as a model for countries looking to introduce nuclear energy to their territories. For the UAE, the deal represents a reaffirmation of its close ties to the West as well as a gateway to developing a source of energy that, for a number of reasons, makes sense for the Emirates. The third-party beneficiary of the agreement, of course, is France, with its […]

article card

President Nasheed of Maldives and his cabinet held the first everunderwater cabinet meeting on Oct. 28. The spectacle was intended todraw attention to the issue that plagues the archipelago — climatechange. Outfitted in scuba suits and surrounded by fish, the Maldiviangovernment focused on the U.N.’s Climate Change Conference inCopenhagen in December.

article card

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime released a report detailing the effects of a $15 billion industry – the Afghan opium trade. The report connects instability in Central Asia and global heroin addiction to the Taliban-taxed drug. The UNODC explains that insurgent groups derive anywhere from $90-160 million in revenue from opium taxes and that the trade could be financing insurgents across borders. Paradoxically, as the drug is globally smuggled, leaving a trail of addiction in places such as India and China, wealthier nations are intercepting less of the drug at their borders.

When Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin invited Western energy companies to help develop natural gas fields in Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula in late September, many Western observers viewed it as an admission of defeat. After years of increasing state involvement in the upstream of the Russian hydrocarbon sector, a collapse in the price of oil had pushed Moscow to reconsider its adversarial relations with private investors — foreign and domestic alike. While there is some truth to this interpretation, it ignores a more important narrative that emerged from the meeting at the Siberian frontier town of Salekhard about Russia’s shifting attention […]

The doors to the European Union have reopened for Croatia after its new Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor reached a historic deal with her Slovenian counterpart, Borut Pahor, over the two countries’ border dispute, in Ljubljana on Sept. 11. Croatia’s process of accession with the EU ground to a halt last December, when Slovenia put a veto to the negotiations, citing its territorial dispute with Zagreb over the Piran Bay and several small strips of land along the border. Before the Slovenian veto, Zagreb hoped to complete negotiations by the end of this year and join the EU in 2010 or […]

As someone who thinks systematically about the future for a living, I frequently read science fiction with an eye for what it reveals about how today’s real fears are being projected upon tomorrow’s imagined landscapes. The books behind the 1973 movie “Soylent Green” (too many people!) and the 2006 movie “Children of Men” (no more babies!) make for a good example. Compare their central premises and you’ve basically captured the 180-degree turn the popular imagination has experienced on population growth over my lifetime. So what does today’s science fiction tell me? We have a lot of fears about biological technology […]

article card

Voice of America interviews George Friedman, founder of the privateintelligence company Stratfor, and author of “The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century.” Among Friedman’s predictions: Solar arrays will solve the problem of finding clean energy; industrialized nations with declining populations will compete for immigrants from the developing world; the United States and Mexico will come into increasing conflict; and Poland and Turkey will emerge as great powers.