According to the United Nations, today marks the birth of the world’s 7 billionth person, an event sure to cause great angst among the many surviving Malthusians who still believe that humanity’s ingenuity and the planet’s resources are both finite. But thanks to globalization’s continued advance and the modernization it enables, roughly four-fifths of humans live in societies with falling birth rates and half live in societies featuring lower than replacement-rate fertility. So we now know that the trajectory of global population growth will proceed somewhat more slowly toward our eighth and ninth billions, and that we may never reach […]
Some 3,000 U.S. and Filipino marines have begun two weeks of joint training drills, including a hostile beach-assault exercise near the Spratly Islands — a patchwork of islets and atolls at the center of maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea. While U.S. military officials assert the drills are not aimed at China or any other country as a specific target, Marvin Ott, an Asia expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, says they represent an obvious strategic move by Washington to counter growing Chinese efforts to claim sovereignty and exert dominance over the South China Sea. […]
The strategic partnership agreement signed by Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi last week made front-page news across the region and beyond. The attention it attracted is hardly surprising: The agreement, the first of its kind for Afghanistan, includes the provision of training for Afghanistan’s military and police, the establishment of social and cultural exchanges, and measures to enhance economic ties. It also comes in the context of increasing tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. A day prior to the announcement, Karzai harshly criticized Islamabad for not supporting ongoing peace and stability operations in […]
“Resource wars” enthusiasts worldwide have a new — and unexpected — poster child: “zero problems with neighbors” Turkey. The Turkish government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is beside itself over Israel’s recent moves to cooperate with Cyprus on surveying its Eastern Mediterranean seabed for possible natural gas deposits thought to be lying adjacent to the reserves discovered last year off the coast of Haifa. I told Reuters last week that the mounting war of words between Turkey and Israel, which includes some clear military preparations, amounts to a “storm in a teacup.” But other respected experts quoted in the […]
While much has been written about China’s port development projects in the Indian Ocean region, it is actually Beijing’s undersea activities in the area that may prove to be the greater source of consternation for India and its navy. In July, the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association announced that it had secured approval from the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to explore the southwestern Indian Ocean ridge for polymetallic sulphide nodules. The move was not received well in Indian policymaking circles, which believe that it not only reflects Beijing’s intentions to extract resources from the Indian Ocean region […]
Serious communication gaps between the humanitarian sector and refugees in Dadaab, Kenya, are increasing refugee suffering and putting lives at risk, according to a new joint assessment report released by Internews, an international media development organization. Internews led the assessment and produced this video.
On Sept. 23, Zambian authorities announced that longtime opposition leader Michael Sata had won the country’s presidential election, held three days previously. Sata’s victory is notable for two reasons. First, African incumbents like outgoing President Rupiah Banda seldom lose elections. Second, Sata’s anti-China rhetoric has made Beijing nervous — and other observers curious — about whether Zambia will now spearhead an African backlash against Chinese economic activities on the continent. Anatomy of an African Opposition Victory Michael Sata, 74, began his career as a police officer and railway worker, before breaking into Zambian politics in the 1960s. His steady rise […]