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During Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s three-day visit to China, the two countries announced the opening of a pipeline that will triple the supply of Russian oil flowing China beginning next year, and they touted closer regional security cooperation. They also extended the terms of an agreement for supplying Russian natural gas to China, but failed to agree on a price for the gas.

According to virtually all global warming projections, humanity faces significantly more conflict in the decades ahead as we fight over dwindling resources in climate-stressed lands. However, those reports typically overlook one likely outcome that could counterbalance the more negative impacts of global warming — that of northern territories becoming significantly milder, more accessible, and, most intriguingly, more hospitable to immigration. This is the essential good news to be found in Laurence C. Smith’s fascinating new book, “The World in 2050.” The ambitious title is perhaps a bit misleading, for where Smith really delivers is on the subtitle: “Four Forces Shaping […]

On Sep. 6, the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Financial Corporation (a branch of the World Bank Group) signed a mandate letter with the consortium behind the Nabucco natural gas pipeline, marking the start of an appraisal process that will eventually secure a €4 billion financing package for the project. The three international financial institutions committed €2 billion, €1.2 billion and €800 million, respectively. Along with the more modest €200 million grant provided by the European Commission last March, the contributions will certainly boost confidence in the project among private investors, who […]

Last week’s brazen kidnapping of seven foreigners, including five Frenchmen, by al-Qaida-linked militants in a uranium mining town in Niger has increased pressure on both France and the European Union to become more militarily involved in the region’s fight against jihadists. The kidnapping threatens France’s major source of uranium for its nuclear power plants, calls into question the practice by some European governments of paying ransoms to free hostages, and throws down the gauntlet for the EU in its counterterrorism efforts. In response to the abductions, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and seven of his European counterparts urged EU foreign […]

When Europe ran the world, trade followed the flag, meaning that globalization in its initial expression — otherwise known as colonialism — grew out of the barrel of a gun, to paraphrase Mao Zedong. On this subject, Franklin Roosevelt and Vladimir Lenin agreed, even if that conclusion led them to embrace diametrically opposed strategies: FDR’s realization that “the colonial system means war” drove him to erect an international liberal trade order following World War II that doomed the vast colonial systems of his closest European allies. Roosevelt’s success not only enabled America to contain and ultimately defeat the soul-crushing Soviet […]

Strategic encirclement is a term that haunts Indian analysts quite a bit these days. So when noted Subcontinent watcher Selig S. Harrison reported in late August that 7,000-11,000 Chinese troops had poured into the northern part of Pakistani-administered Kashmir known as the Gilgit-Baltistan region, the feeling that India was being systematically “surrounded” by Beijing was loudly echoed in the Indian media. The revelations follow a recent controversy triggered by China’s refusal to issue a visa to an Indian general on the grounds that his area of responsibility falls in the disputed Kashmir region; Beijing will only issue “stapled visas” to […]