article card

One could almost hear a collective gasp across the Middle East when Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri made a most astonishing statement earlier this month. After vehemently accusing Syria of orchestrating his father’s murder in 2005, after leading a revolt that pushed Syrian troops out of Lebanon on the strength of that accusation, after galvanizing what seemed an unstoppable political movement on the power of those charges, Hariri said it had all been just one big mistake. The reversal marked the passing of a short-lived era in Lebanese history and of Western influence in Lebanon, a country that serves as […]

President Barack Obama’s July 2011 deadline for a drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has raised concerns among Central Asian analysts, who worry that links between the Taliban, al-Qaida and Islamist militants in Central Asia could result in a negative spillover effect following the U.S. withdrawal. As if to highlight their fears, the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) claimed responsibility for a Sept. 19 attack on a military convoy in Tajikistan, which left 25 military personnel dead. And according to Baktybek Abdrisaev, former Kyrgyz ambassador to the United States and Canada and currently a visiting professor at Utah Valley […]

On Sept. 12, after months of negotiations, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, a historically low-profile international institution, announced that its participants had agreed to new international minimum capital standards for banks. Scheduled to be phased in carefully over the next eight years, the new agreement — informally referred to as Basel III — represents the most significant set of international financial regulations to emerge since the onset of the global financial crisis. Yet, to succeed, Basel III depends entirely on national governments voluntarily following through on implementing and maintaining the new standards. As a result, distributional consequences across countries […]

article card

When Bob Woodward’s book, “Obama’s Wars,” is released on Monday, the denizens of Washington’s Beltway will eagerly skip to the index to see whether they are mentioned — and if not, who is. But as they digest the stories of infighting, rivalry and catty comments among the president’s national security team, excerpts of which have already begun to circulate, the larger question is whether the revelations in the latest Woodward tome will have an impact on the Obama administration’s Afghan policy. Woodward seems to confirm what many have suspected ever since President Barack Obama’s speech at West Point announcing the […]

JUBA, Sudan — Growing fears over Southern Sudan’s approaching referendum on self-determination have ratcheted up the stakes of Friday’s summit between U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, U.S. President Barack Obama and high-level representatives of Sudan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently referred to the situation as a “ticking time bomb,” and statements this week from various officials on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York have further contributed to the bleak international outlook. Preparations for the referendum vote are badly lagging, as are negotiations between Khartoum and Juba over post-referendum arrangements. Meanwhile, trust between the North and South […]

A great deal of ink has been spilled on the domestic trajectory of the “Tea Party” movement, which is demonstrating its growing clout within the ranks of the Republican party and could end up playing a decisive factor in the 2010 midterm congressional elections. But less attention has been given to the foreign policy implications of the Tea Party’s possible ascendancy. Even if the Republicans take back control of both houses of Congress this fall, the Tea Party is unlikely to play a major role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. However, its perspective will shape popular perception, and its counsel […]

Nuclear energy’s recent renaissance has seen the United States firm up nuclear cooperation agreements with a number of emerging nuclear nations. However the most eye-catching so far is the proposed deal with Vietnam, which stands out not only for its departure from the standard template of such deals, as epitomized by the U.S.-UAE nuclear agreement, but also because it comes at a time when Sino-American interests have been at odds in the South China Sea. More broadly, the deal reflects the unfolding American strategy to counter Chinese assertiveness in the Asia-Pacific region. Nonproliferation hawks are up in arms that the […]

With little more than 50 days left until elections on Nov. 7, tensions are rising noticeably in Burma — the country renamed Myanmar by its military rulers. The junta that keeps the country in its steely grip is trying to make sure the election goes off exactly as planned — which is to say, without triggering a new revolt, let alone a full-fledged revolution, and without producing an electoral outcome that would embarrass the regime or weaken its hold on power. The regime is so nervous that it recently ordered the temporary suspension of the magazine Modern Times as punishment […]

KINSHASA, Congo — The local residents had been waiting for hours, and there was no guarantee they’d get in to the poorly lit room where administrators from the Forces Armées de la République Democratique du Congo (FARDC) were busy filling out paperwork. The U.S. Army and the FARDC were trying to register the Congolese civilians for a free health clinic that would take place the following week. The clinic, administered by military medical personnel from both countries, would be one of the culminating events of a two-week, U.S.-led exercise meant to improve the FARDC’s medical capabilities — all part of […]

Critics of the New START treaty charge that, if ratified, it would constrain U.S. missile defense plans. Whether or not the treaty’s non-binding preamble supports their argument, the broader question regarding the future of missile defense is an important one. Missile defenses bolster deterrence and strengthen the security of U.S. allies, giving them a significant role to play in a fluid and dynamic contemporary security environment. But regardless of the New START treaty, the Obama administration will have to limit U.S. missile defense plans if it wishes to remain credibly committed to future arms reduction agreements with Russia, as well […]

China’s remarkable weathering of the global recession has accelerated the expansion of its power relative to that of the West. American observers of China have already noted an increasingly assertive approach by Beijing, and attribute this shift in behavior to an expectation among China’s leaders of a greater degree of deference and influence in international affairs. Nowhere is this dynamic more apparent than in regional maritime issues, where Beijing’s interests in maintaining access to foreign resources and enforcing its claims of sovereignty mix with foreign perceptions of Chinese intentions and external reactions to China’s decades-long military modernization program. Fueled by […]

In June of this year, the United States Navy published the 2010 Naval Operations Concept (.pdf) (NOC), designed as the operational fulfillment of the Cooperative Maritime Strategy (.pdf) (CS-21) released in 2007. The 112-page NOC is an elaboration of the concepts set forth in the 20-page Cooperative Strategy, with detailed discussion of how the missions laid forth in the earlier document can be accomplished with the forces available to the United States Navy. CS-21 itself is a curious document. Deceptively modest, it was developed as the Navy’s strategic answer to the post-Cold War environment. But whether intentionally, as some have […]

If America could be magically granted its ideal Muslim strategic partner, what would we ask for? Would we want a country that fell in line with every U.S. foreign policy stance? Not if the regime was to have any credibility with the Islamic world. No, ideally, the government would be just Islamist enough to be seen as preserving the nation’s religious and cultural identity, even as it aggressively modernized its society and connected its economy to the larger world. It would have an activist foreign policy that emphasized diplomacy, multilateralism and regional stability, while also maintaining sufficient independence from America […]

In U.S. domestic politics, which demands that presidential administrations pursue policies with near-instantaneous results, the biblical adage, “One sows, another reaps,” is anathema. As a result, President Barack Obama is not only under growing pressure to demonstrate results to a skeptical American electorate months before the 2010 midterm elections, he also needs to chalk up a series of successes to buoy his 2012 re-election campaign. Fortunately, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pithily noted during her last visit to Georgia, the United States is able to walk and chew gum at the same time. This logic also applies to the […]

In his April 2009 Prague speech, President Barack Obama ambitiously pledged to “secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.” The goal is driven by the need to ensure that terrorists never obtain a nuclear weapon or materials usable for a nuclear device, and its urgency cannot be overstated. Twenty countries are believed to possess bomb-grade nuclear material that is not secure. While fissile material security is usually associated with developing countries, developed countries such as the U.S. must also take additional steps to safeguard their own nuclear materials. What’s more, despite a myriad of national laws […]

article card

In this four-part video opinion series on Afghanistan, WPR contributor David Axe examines obstacles to NATO and U.S. victory in Afghanistan. These include terrain, a culture of corruption, the agrarian nature of the economy, and the technology employed by U.S. and NATO forces, he argues. -o- Lesson I: Terrain -o- Lesson II: Culture of Corruption -o- Lesson III: Thinking Like a Farmer -o- Lesson IV: Technology

Combat operations in Iraq have figured prominently in World Politics Review’s coverage since the publication’s founding in 2006. In that time, Iraq has seen an uptick in violence, followed by the implementation of a new counterinsurgency strategy and troop “surge,” a subsequent reduction in violence, and finally a national parliamentary election in 2010. As the United States declares the official end to combat operations in Iraq, and Iraqis continue to wrangle over forming a government, the strategic landscape is again evolving. This provides an opportunity to look back at four pivotal years in the life of Iraq through the lens […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 201 2 Last