Following a violent struggle for control of two checkpoints on the Kosovo-Serbia border, the immediate danger of an escalating crisis has been averted. But the cost has been to reinforce the message that violence delivers results. On the night of July 25, Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci sent special police to seize a pair of border posts in the country’s lawless, Serb-dominated north, resulting in the death of one Kosovo Albanian police officer and injuries to four others. The police withdrew under fierce resistance from the locals, leaving Kosovo Serbs barricading roads to prevent their return. Others torched one of […]

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Nigeria and Cameroon recently negotiated a draft border agreement that would, among other things, allow hydrocarbon exploration along the countries’ shared border. In an email interview, John Campbell, the Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, discussed Nigeria-Cameroon relations. WPR: What is the current state of diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Cameroon? John Campbell: Diplomatic relations between Abuja and Yaoundé appear to be excellent, certainly at the presidential level. There is ongoing dialogue about regional issues, especially those involving the Gulf of Guinea. Former Nigerian President […]

The Taiwanese government of President Ma Ying-jeou has denied that it harbors plans for siding with Beijing in territorial disputes over the South China Sea. Yet the notion that the resource-rich and strategic waters should be the starting point for cross-Strait military cooperation is gaining traction on the island. Since last year, the People’s Liberation Army Academy has repeatedly called for cooperation with Taiwan in protecting “common ancestral rights” in the region’s disputed waters. At the same time, China has regularly invited retired Taiwanese military brass to cross-Strait symposiums where cooperation in the South and East China Seas as well […]

“In China’s thousands of years of civilization, the conflict between humanity and nature has never been as serious as it is today.” — Minister of Environment Zhou Shengxian, February 2011. What is the biggest challenge that China faces? Corruption, the gap between the rich and poor, and the rapidly aging population often top the list of answers to this question. Yet a closer look suggests that the greatest threat may well be lack of access to clean water. From “cancer villages” to violent protests to rising food prices, diminishing water supplies are exerting a profound and harmful effect on the […]

In his keynote address to the 1883 International Fisheries Exhibition in London, T.H. Huxley, a prominent biologist of the day, maintained that the ocean’s supply of fish, such as cod, was inexhaustible: Fish were present in the oceans in such large numbers and reproduced prolifically, while only an insignificant fraction of them in proportion to their numbers was captured. Huxley concluded that human fishing efforts could not meaningfully affect the number of fish in the oceans and that it was unnecessary and even wasteful to attempt to regulate their capture. More than two centuries earlier, Hugo Grotius, the famous Dutch […]

At the dawn of the 20th century, the world population was inching toward a modest 2 billion. In the 111 years since, notwithstanding the impact of war, genocide, disease and famine, the global population has soared, reaching 3 billion around 1960 and now quickly approaching the neighborhood of 7 billion. By 2050, the planet will likely be home to 2 billion more. We may not be witnessing the detonation of the “population bomb” that Paul Ehrlich warned of in his seminal 1968 book, but such rapid demographic change is clearly pushing the international community into uncharted territory. With a limited […]

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Last month the U.S. threatened to impose sanctions against Iceland over its increased whaling activities. In an email interview, Peter Stoett, professor at Concordia University, discussed the politics of the international whaling regime. WPR: What are the main components of the international whaling regime, and what is its recent trajectory? Peter Stoett: The International Whaling Commission is the central global body, mandated to protect the whaling industry back in 1946. As the threat of extinction for several species of cetaceans rose and whales assumed a prominent space in public environmental consciousness, the IWC gradually swung towards an anti-whaling position, led […]