Hummer Goes Chinese

Despite being a lifelong camper, a one-time vegetarian and a dedicated, if lazy, supporter of environmental causes, I’ve also always been a GM man. (With the exception of the ’72 Dodge Dart that I owned for the three weeks it took me to find my beloved ’81 Oldsmobile Delta 88, nicknamed “The Penthouse.”) So obviously, the recent news has been tough. Still, I don’t think anything could be more emblematic of the shift in global geopolitics than Hummer going Chinese. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Hummer fan. In fact, the only thing I find more ridiculous than a […]

Pakistan’s Priority Problem

U.S. coverage of Pakistan’s spotty effort to battle extremists is understandably U.S.-centric. So we hear a lot about what Islamabad should do to contain the FATA-based Taliban who are also feeding the Afghan insurgency. Since last November’s Mumbai attacks and the subsequent unveiling of the Obama administration’s regional strategy, there’s been a bit more attention paid to India’s concerns. But what doesn’t get as much attention as it deserves is China’s concerns about Uighur separatist terrorist groups, and Iran’s concerns about Baloch separatist terrorist groups, both also using Pakistani territory as a safe haven (both via John McCreary). In other […]

Pakistan’s Independent Judiciary

India’s disappointment with a Pakistani court decision freeing one of the Pakistan-based suspects behind the Mumbai attacks is understandable. But it’s also a case where the external demands on the Pakistani judiciary (i.e., to serve as a hanging judge) are flying in the face of Pakistan’s internal needs. The independence of Pakistan’s judiciary played a central role in the crisis thatbrought democratic rule back to the country, and the stand off betweenthe executive and the judiciary has continued under the civilian ruleof President Asif Ali Zardari. In a WPR op-ed last March, Arif Rafiq argued that strengthening the judiciary and […]

ISLAMABAD — The showdown in Waziristan hinted at by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari 10 days ago may have already begun with the killing of Taliban militants by security forces in South Waziristan, and the deployment of hundreds of additional troops to the troubled region in the last few days. In response, Pakistan-based Taliban have launched multiple suicide and bomb attacks in two major cities and threatened to further target others. A local official in South Waziristan — who spoke on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to comment — told World Politics Review that security forces killed […]

Economic Crisis a Human Rights Crisis

In its annual State of the World’s Human Rights report released May 28, Amnesty International emphasized the relationship between economic injustice and human rights, and argued that the decreasing focus on rights, both in principle and in practice, highlights the need for a new approach to the issues. In order to truly — and finally — end the cycle of global rights abuse, AI argues, the world must adopt an approach based on multilateral, multi-stakeholder collaborations that end impunity and the enrichment of the few at the expense of many. AI’s Secretary General Irene Khan sought to rouse action in […]

South Korea’s entry last week into the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) in response to a North Korean nuclear weapon test represented a long-sought objective of PSI proponents. For years, the Republic of Korea (ROK) government had delayed joining the program due to fears about how North Korea might respond. It took Pyongyang’s May 25 test detonation of a nuclear device to prompt the South Korean government to commit to membership. The PSI is a voluntary coalition of national governments that agree to collaborate against the illicit transfer of all weapons of mass destruction (WMD), their means of delivery (which in […]

Projecting Intentions in International Relations

As an addendum to last week’s post on the difficulties in gauging the intentions of other states, I found myself thinking over the weekend that President Barack Obama’s public diplomacy campaign towards the Muslim world is an illustration of how it is sometimes just as difficult to project one’s own intentions to other states. That difficulty obviously grows out of — and subsequently feeds off of — any divergence between strategic communcation on the one hand, and the reality of national policy as experienced by policy actors and citizens abroad on the other. Not only that, though, some of the […]

Last week’s Economist carried a feature on a recent wave of farmland purchases in poorer parts of the world. The buyers? Cash-rich emerging markets and Arab oil states looking to insure themselves against future food shortages. And if you think that’s just a reaction to last year’s stunning spike in prices, think again. The new trend speaks to the impact global warming will have on where food will be produced in abundance in coming decades. In terms of global grain production, which is what this investment frenzy is all about, the world is decidedly unflat. In fact, four major regions […]

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