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South Africa recently signed an agreement on military cooperation with Argentina, expanding the African power’s relationships with Latin America. In an e-mail interview, Dr. Lyal White, director of the Center for Dynamic Markets and senior lecturer at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria, discussed South Africa’s relations with Latin America. WPR: What are South Africa’s main bilateral relationships in Latin America? Lyal White: While the relationship between South Africa and Latin American countries is improving, South Africa is still conceptually very distant from Latin America. A preferential trade agreement (PTA) exists between the Southern African Customs Union […]

The International Criminal Court (ICC) will rule on whether to issue summonses for six men accused of crimes against humanity for their alleged roles in violence following Kenya’s disputed 2007 presidential election. But in announcing the suspects’ names on Dec. 15, ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo indicted the entire East African nation, saying that “we had to launch this because nothing was happening in Kenya.” It was an overt and pointed critique of the government of national unity born from the post-election violence. Although only barely able to hold itself together, the government has managed to strengthen Kenya’s already entrenched culture […]

For Ban Ki-moon, the past few weeks have arguably been the most dramatic he has encountered since becoming United Nations secretary-general nearly four years ago. In Côte d’Ivoire, U.N. peacekeepers are guarding the internationally recognized winner of this month’s presidential election while the country slides toward chaos. Meanwhile, in New York, the Security Council spent Sunday locked in fruitless debates on the simmering Korean crisis. Ban, as South Korea’s former foreign minister, can do little to shape the council’s discussions of his home country’s security. He has based his tenure on maintaining good relations with both Washington and Beijing, and […]

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After nine years of war in Afghanistan and seven more in Iraq, Americans are understandably weary of military interventions designed to remake or rebuild failed or fragile states. Nevertheless, many countries are still falling apart, or worse, falling into the hands of fundamentalists, terrorists, and other militants who disregard popular will and care little for human suffering. As a result, such nation-building interventions will remain necessary for the foreseeable future, as the U.S. involvement in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan demonstrates. So instead of renouncing these missions, the U.S. must better define why and how it will carry them out, to […]

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It has been said that the transition of power is the weakest part of democracy. If developments surrounding Egypt’s recent parliamentary elections are any indication, the same might also be true — at least in some paradoxical sense — for authoritarian governments. Outside analysts generally agree that the country’s Nov. 28 elections were wracked by widespread fraud and poll-rigging, resulting in a nearly across-the-board victory for President Hosni Mubarak’s ruling National Democratic Party (NDP). However, as the nation’s crippled opposition now bands together to form a “shadow parliament,” the extent to which the ruling party will be able to use […]

In late-November, a 40-car motorcade drove through New York City toward Presbyterian Hospital, bringing Saudi King Abdullah along with dozens of his accompanying princes and dignitaries to an important medical appointment. The 86-year-old king, whose entourage reportedly took over the hospital’s entire VIP floor and much of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, had come to New York for surgery on a slipped disk and a blood clot pressing on nerves in his back, according to palace officials. The medical treatment would keep the king away from his duties for many weeks, and, as with any patient of that age, there was a […]

At the closing ceremonies of the International AIDS Conference in Vienna this year, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to redouble U.S. efforts to fight HIV and AIDS through his Global Health Initiative, notwithstanding hard times in the wake of the global recession. Despite this verbal commitment, many AIDS activists were not satisfied and would later protest, particularly before the midterm U.S. congressional elections, that the U.S. was not spending enough on AIDS overseas. A closer look at the Global Health Initiative budget reveals that these concerns may be justified. While AIDS funding has grown 4 percent from FY2010 to FY2011 […]

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A Kenyan appeals court recently ordered the release of nine suspected pirates, ruling that Kenya lacks jurisdiction over events that did not occur within the country’s territorial waters. In an e-mail interview, Eugene Kontorovich, associate professor of law at Northwestern University, discussed the international legal regime for Somali pirates. WPR: What legal regime, if any, applies to captured Somali pirates? Eugene Kontorovich: Captured Somali pirates are tried under the laws of whichever country prosecutes them, which, as in the case of Kenya, may not be the country that captures them. International law allows a nation to try pirates that it […]

Côte d’Ivoire’s President Laurent Gbagbo used a prescient campaign slogan in the run-up to the country’s Nov. 28 presidential run-off election: “We win, or we win.” Despite regional and international recognition of Alassane Dramane Ouattara as the winner of the poll, Gbagbo wrapped himself in the Ivorian tricolor for an inauguration ceremony on Dec. 4, warning darkly against any threat to Ivorian sovereignty. The move followed a decision by the country’s Constitutional Court, stacked with Gbagbo cronies and acolytes, to void the Independent Electoral Commission’s results giving Ouattara 54 percent of the votes, saying that the commission’s delay in announcing […]

The world is undergoing a period of significant defense retrenchment. The U.K. has cut back dramatically on its defense budget and is making potentially transformative cuts to the storied Royal Navy. NATO’s members have gone back to the drawing board for a new Strategic Concept to guide the organization’s often-questioned mission. In Asia, the U.S. is assessing its relations with old allies and courting new ones, always with an eye to hedging China’s rise. And elsewhere, regional security organizations seek to define their role. This World Politics Review special report examines the global security picture through articles published from March […]