The United States spends around $40 billion to $50 billion per year to protect the free flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to the global economy, more than the entire defense budgets of all but a few countries. China, by comparison, spends virtually nothing on Gulf security, while pursuing its strategy of building political and economic relations with oil-rich countries in order to secure oil for its growing economy. This is nowhere more apparent than in China’s relations with Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil power. Beijing’s focus on the Persian Gulf began in earnest in 1978, when it […]

Many Western observers hope that India’s growth as a global power will both balance China’s rise and ensure that rise remains peaceful. Indeed, the U.S. has identified India as a crucial partner for the coming century, and as part of its effort to cultivate a strategic partnership with New Delhi, Washington has even pledged to help India develop its nuclear energy capabilities. But the continued disappearance of India’s women and girls described in preliminary census figures released last week is putting the future of India’s security partnership with the West at risk. According to the census figures, the sex ratio […]

Global Insider: Canada-Japan Trade Relations

Canada and Japan announced in February that they were formally studying the possibility of concluding a bilateral free trade agreement. In an email interview, Carin Holroyd, a political science professor at the University of Waterloo, discussed economic relations between Canada and Japan. WPR: What is the current state of trade relations between Japan and Canada? Carin Holroyd: Trade between Canada and Japan looks, in many ways, as it has for decades. Canada sells about $9 billion annually of primarily resource products — coal, canola, lumber, copper, pulp and paper, aluminum, wheat, meat and fish — to Japan. In return, Canada […]

On April 4, 2011, Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission (CEC) announced the preliminary results of the presidential elections held the previous day. As expected, incumbent President Nursultan Nazarbayev won re-election by a wide margin, garnering 95.5 percent of the votes cast. The CEC will announce the final results in a few days, but these are not expected to change the outcome. Despite noting significant irregularities, most of the international observation teams confirmed the outcome’s validity. China, Russia, the United States and many other governments have already congratulated Nazarbayev on his victory. But the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) […]

As recently as a decade ago, Latin America’s economic future looked dim, as highlighted by a number of events in December 2001. That month, Argentina’s economy crashed; amid massive street protests, four Argentine presidents resigned in less than two weeks, with one presiding just long enough to officially declare the largest sovereign debt default in history. Brazil and Uruguay reeled from their neighbor’s meltdown, while other countries in the region braced for capital flight by panicky investors. In addition to Argentina’s collapse, a looming threat from the East was the cause of further foreboding: On Dec. 10, 2001, the People’s […]

The notion that the underlying distribution of global power is shifting from West to East and from North to South is not new. For more than a decade, astute observers have noted that countries like China, Brazil and India, among others, were consistently posting impressive economic growth rates and closing the gap separating them from the advanced industrial economies. Yet, even as the reality of their economic rise was impossible to dispute, the structures of global financial governance did not adapt to reflect these changes. Of course, this is not surprising, as international institutions are notoriously resistant to reform. As […]

Africa’s longstanding position as the forgotten continent is rapidly being transformed. At the heart of this dramatic change is the rise of economic giants in the developing world — China, India and Brazil, in particular — whose state-owned enterprises and private companies, acting in combination with assertive diplomacy, have forged a growing partnership with Africa. Under the rubric of “South-South cooperation,” these emerging powers have made significant inroads into Western economic and political dominance on the continent. While the media has tended to focus on the dislocating effect that competitive emerging powers have had on key sectors of African economies […]

With energy market observers focused on the Middle Eastern uprisings and the Japanese catastrophe, the entrance on March 21 of the German company Wintershall into the consortium backing the South Stream pipeline came as a great surprise. Inaugurated in 2007 as a 50-50 joint venture between Russian giant Gazprom and Italy’s ENI, the project aims to transport up to 63 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas per year from the eastern shore of the Black Sea to the consuming markets of Eastern, Central and Southern Europe. According to the memorandum of understanding signed in Moscow, Wintershall will acquire a […]

The rampant globalization meme of the 1990s was that the state would wither away, leaving nonstate actors to rule — or ruin — the world. The terror attacks of Sept. 11 seemed to confirm this notion, triggering all manner of academic fantasies that a proliferation of super-empowered individuals would overwhelm the world’s declining and failing states. But when globalization’s alleged coup de grĂ¢ce arrived in the form of the 2008 global financial crisis, not only did the world not slide into widespread conflict, as so many anti-globalization hysterics predicted, but the state made quite the comeback. Nowadays, if globalization suffers […]

Corruption in Camps on Thai-Myanmar Border

Thousands of people fleeing military rule in Myanmar have settled in refugee camps across the border in Thailand. Some have lived there for over 20 years. But many lack official papers, leaving them vulnerable to abuse.

Global Insider: U.S.-Pakistan Security Relations

In March, Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor who shot and killed two men rumored to be agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, was released in return for a $2 million payment to the victims’ families. In an email interview, Shaun Gregory, a professor at Bradford University and director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit there, discussed relations between the CIA and ISI. WPR: What are the main areas of cooperation — and mistrust — between the CIA and ISI? Shaun Gregory: The interests of the CIA and ISI most closely converge around the fight against al-Qaida as well as […]

Global Insider: Japan-South Korea Territorial Dispute

Japan recently arrested a South Korean crab fisherman for operating illegally not far from group of islands claimed by both countries. In an email interview, Min Gyo Koo, an expert in East Asian island disputes at Seoul National University, discussed the territorial dispute between Japan and South Korea. WPR: Briefly, what is the history of the territorial dispute between Japan and South Korea? Min Gyo Koo: The disputed islands known as Dokdo in Korea and as Takeshima in Japan are de facto controlled by South Korea, but Japan does not recognize South Korea’s de jure sovereignty. Japan’s fundamental legal claim […]

Six U.S. Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

Six U.S. soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division were killed March 29 in Afghanistan’s Kunar Province near the Pakistan border. This U.S. Defense Department video includes a statement from Maj. General John Campbell, commander of the 101st Airborne.

A number of recent overtures by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos toward China have caused concern in Washington and put pressure on Congress to finally pass the free trade agreement (FTA) with Colombia. Although this is probably Santos’ intention, the highly publicized moves should actually be understood in the context of his broader efforts to diversify Colombia’s foreign policy posture. In September 2010, one month after his inauguration, Santos accepted $1 million in aid from China to be used to acquire Chinese logistical military equipment. The Chinese government also invited several senior military officers to participate in training courses in […]

COMBAT OUTPOST BOWRI THANA, KHOST, Afghanistan – Since taking over this volatile district on the border with Pakistan earlier this year, Charlie Company of the U.S. Army’s 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment has come under a series of attacks from incoming rockets. One round hit just inside the small outpost, its shrapnel slicing off one soldier’s hand and leaving him with a hole in his thigh. Another, on a different day, scored another hit, throwing one lieutenant off his feet and sending him hurling through the air. “We took as many attacks — four — in a month as our […]

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