Although Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou’s historic rapprochement with China has ushered in a period of stability in cross-strait relations, the military imbalance between the two neighbors continues to grow. Beijing’s military modernization is rapidly dwarfing Taipei’s capabilities and blunting Washington’s ability to defend its ally in the event of conflict. Left unchecked, this growing imbalance will make it increasingly difficult for Taipei to maintain the necessary deterrent required to preserve its independence from the mainland, and for long-term stability to prevail in the Taiwan Strait. The calm that has pervaded the Taiwan Strait since Ma’s inauguration last year is certainly […]

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon hosted a meeting on Global Food Security Sept. 26 in New York, with leaders from 130 countries. Ban and Clinton jointly introduced a proposal at the meeting titled “Partnering for Food Security: Moving Forward.” The thrust of the initiative is to take a more preventative and less reactive approach toward food security. “We will continue of course to invest in the crises and emergencies, but we want to begin to try to alleviate the crises and the emergencies by once again enabling people to feed themselves,” Clinton said at […]

After two days of high-profile meetings and deliberation last week, the G-20 managed to make official something everyone already knew: the United States and Europe can no longer effectively manage the whims of the global economy on their own. To that end, the group reached consensus on two major fronts: 1) the more diverse G-20 should effectively replace the Western-dominated G-8 as the world’s primary economic coordinating body; and, 2) voting power within the IMF should be reformed to give greater voice to emerging powers. Stop the presses, right? Yes and no. This is big news, but not necessarily new […]

President Barack Obama’s performance at the United Nations last week was widely hailed — and condemned — as a clear departure from that of his predecessor, George W. Bush. His most telling statement spoke volumes about the limits of U.S. power in an interdependent world: “Those who used to chastise America for acting alone in the world cannot now stand by and wait for America to solve the world’s problems alone.” Subtext? Atlas has put down the heavy globe and has neither the intention nor the wherewithal to pick it up again. If that makes for an uncertain age, it’s […]

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On Sept. 23, U.S. President Obama spoke before the United Nations General Assembly for the first time as president. The president outlined “four pillars” he believes are “fundamental to the future that we want for our children”:”non-proliferation and disarmament; the promotion of peace andsecurity; the preservation of our planet; and a global economy thatadvances opportunity for all people.” Full transcript.

JERUSALEM — History will record Tuesday’s trilateral summit at the Waldorf Astoria hotel as the moment when U.S. President Barack Obama recognized that his initial strategy for bringing Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table had become counter-productive. Realizing he was on the wrong course, Obama began a gradual shift toward a less dramatic, less public, and potentially more successful route. At the end of the gathering with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Obama sounded impatient and more than a little frustrated. If you listen carefully, there was a most definite change in tone […]

This WPR special report on the Afghanistan war compiles news, analysis and opinion from WPR’s pages to provide insight into the situation on the ground, as well as the strategic questions faced by U.S. and coalition policymakers. Contributors to the report include, Spencer Ackerman, David Axe, Andrew Bast, Andrew Exum, Joshua Foust, Judah Grunstein, Seth Rosen, Vikram Singh, Hampton Stephens, Balint Szlanko, and Richard Weitz. Below are links to each article, which subscribers can read in full. Subscribers can also download a pdf version of the report. Not a subscriber? Subscribe now, or try our subscription service for free. Abu […]

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The Washington Post’s Rajiv Chandrasekaran says Obama is considering a”pretty significant shift in policy” on Afghanistan, from acomprehensive counterinsurgency and nation-buiilding campaign to a muchmore narrowed mission focused on counterterrorism. The fraudulentAfghanistan elections are at least one major factor in precipitatingthis change from March, when the White House promulgated a much moreexpansive Afghanistan strategy.

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President Barack Obama’s rollback of the European-based ballistic missile defense system is a strategic blunder that will incentivize Russian intransigence at the negotiating table, erode relations with loyal U.S. allies in Central and Eastern Europe, and ultimately place the American homeland at greater risk. The about-face stands in a long line of similar American miscalculations on Russia and its leaders. Famously misreading his Soviet counterpart, Joseph Stalin, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt once mused, “If I give him everything I possibly can and ask nothing from him in return, [he] won’t try to annex anything and will work with me for […]

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In this interview with Gary Thomas of Voice of America, CIADirector Leon Panetta says President Hamid Karzai will in alllikelihood still emerge as the winner of the presidentialcontest in Afghanistan, even after contested votes are thrown out.Panetta also says there aredifferences among Iran’s leaders about whether to actually build anuclear bomb, and he talks about the CIA’s reaction to the U.S.attorney general’s investigation into interrogation techniques.

Indian Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram’s four-day visit to the United States earlier this month helped take India-U.S. ties to a higher level in the vital areas of counterterrorism and intelligence-sharing. But it also spotlighted a few related security issues that have been left unaddressed. Cooperation between India and the U.S. in the fields of defense and security is one of the key pillars of bilateral ties identified by the Obama administration and reinforced during U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s India visit in July. Chidambaram’s visit, too, was a continuation of the same dialogue, focusing on an assessment of South […]

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Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the decision to abandon the Bushadministration’s plans for a land-based missile defense system inEastern Europe came about because of a change in the U.S. perception ofthe threat posed by Iran. The Associated Press reports.

Fourteen years after the massacre of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica in Bosnia, the perpetrator of the largest atrocity in Europe since World War II, indicted war criminal Gen. Ratko Mladic, still roams free. Worse still, if the recent anniversary of the massacre — which garnered little notice in European countries and the United States — as well as recent diplomatic signals are any indication, Europe and the U.S. seem ready to effectively turn the page on his arrest. This is surprising, because while the instruments of international accountability are slow and cumbersome, they are beginning to demonstrate the capacity to […]

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U.S. President Barack Obama announced a new phased, adaptive approach for missile defense in Europe, a revision of the Bush administration’s 2007 plan for missile defense. The administration says the new approach is based on an assessment of the Iranian missile threat, and a commitment to deploy technology that is “proven, cost-effective, and adaptable to an evolving security environment.”

There is an important element missing in the extensive coverage of Afghanistan: multilateral diplomacy. The Obama administration has been correct to emphasize the stakes for Pakistan in Afghanistan and, by extension, the seriousness with which the U.S. takes Pakistan’s stability. But it has begun to sound like Afghanistan has only one border, and only one important neighbor. So far, the administration and the media’s portrait has oversimplified the nature of the Taliban insurgency, defining it as essentially an extension of the fragility of the Pakistani state and political system. In truth, Pakistan is probably more stable than it looks, however […]

Eight years ago, a small number of U.S. personnel, working in tandem with local Afghan leaders, entered Afghanistan with a defined aim: to punish al-Qaida and overthrow the Taliban regime that harbored them. Over the past year, that mission has morphed into the much broader objective of rebuilding the Afghan state and protecting Afghan villages. Most recently, America’s top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, said a new strategy must be forged to “earn the support of the [Afghan] people . . . regardless of how many militants are killed or captured.” Such an undertaking, amounting to a large-scale social-engineering […]

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s latest visit to Moscow resulted in a package of arms and energy deals that highlight the mutually beneficial nature of the current Russian-Venezuelan relationship. Facing declining purchases from traditional arms clients, such as India and especially China, Russia has sought to compensate by expanding arms sales to new markets, including in Latin America. For the most part, however, Russian sellers have not been able to achieve major successes, despite Latin American countries doubling the volume of weapons they purchased between the periods of 1999-2003 and 2004-2008. Although the share of Russian arms exports going to Latin […]

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