Editor’s note: This will be David Axe’s final “War is Boring” column at World Politics Review. However, we look forward to featuring David’s reporting on our front page, including an upcoming series on sexual violence in eastern Congo. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for his contributions to WPR and to wish him success in all his many endeavors. DUNGU, Democratic Republic of Congo — When the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, attacked the town of Duru in eastern Congo two years ago, it took a convoy of U.N. peacekeepers and humanitarian workers 10 days […]

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 […]

DUNGU, Democratic Republic of Congo — The report must have caused a furor when it reached the Kinshasa headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo: Last week, residents of Duru, a town of several thousand residents in Congo’s inaccessible northeast, told peacekeepers at a nearby U.N. base that the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group had just attacked and abducted several people. Indian army Lt. Gen. Chander Prakash, the new commander of the roughly 20,000-strong U.N. force, was apparently so disturbed that he personally led a reconnaissance mission to the affected community, flying a thousand miles across some of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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Reaction in the Mediterranean to BP’s plans to start drilling five off-shore wells off the Libyan Gulf of Sirte in October has been surprisingly low key given the British oil giant’s recent track record in the Gulf of Mexico. So far, the only group to express vigorous concern, at least in public, has been archeologists: The seabed off that stretch of the Libyan coast is rich in ancient sites and artifacts, including the remains of a sunken port once vital to Roman shipping. Yet there is nothing particularly reassuring about BP’s new $900 million operation, even as the company continues […]

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 […]

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I mentioned in my first post back from vacation that the U.S. should be focusing its foreign policy attention on Africa in the “post-Iraq” era. The reasons why remained inchoate and intuitive, untilNikolas Gvosdev, in his WPR column today, helped me bring them into focus when he wrote: Beyond Latin America, the [U.S. should] explore ways to bind Western and Southern Africa closer to the United States. . . . Washington should pay more attention to surrounding the United States with a “ring of friends” to its south, rather than thinking of our security as guaranteed by the oceans to […]

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Leaders from Egypt, Iran, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Turkey attended a Developing 8 summit in Abuja, Nigeria in July. In an e-mail interview, Gareth Jenkins, Istanbul-based analyst and author of “Political Islam in Turkey: Running West, Heading East?“, explains the background and current state of the D-8. WPR: What is the historic background and focus of the Developing 8, and how is it evolving? Gareth Jenkins: The Developing 8 (D-8) was founded on June 15, 1997, in Istanbul. It was the brainchild of Necmettin Erbakan, modern Turkey’s first Islamist prime minister, who wanted to create a Muslim alternative […]