A former resident of Addis Ababa returning today after an absence of five years would find the city almost unrecognizable. In that time, Ethiopia has transformed itself economically, and nowhere is that transformation more on display than in its capital. In terms of infrastructure and housing, Addis Ababa has blossomed from perhaps Africa’s worst example of urban planning into a grid of paved streets and multilane ring roads, with corresponding glass-walled high rises and luxury villas comparable to Johannesburg, South Africa. The Ethiopian government has used its unlimited power to bulldoze whole neighborhoods, evicting residents with little notice or compensation […]
The sense of ideological triumphalism with which China recently celebrated the 90th anniversary of Communist Party rule echoed a flood of recent books and analyses in the West that have readily embraced that same sentiment. Nevertheless, there is a growing mountain of evidence that suggests China’s “unprecedented” economic accomplishments are far less impressive than popularly imagined. And with the region’s “demographic dividend” already shifting from China to both India and Southeast Asia, there are plenty of reasons to believe that Beijing — and the world — is just one financial crisis away from finding the “superiority” of state capitalism revealed […]
DENPASAR, Indonesia — The appointment by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of his own brother-in-law as the new chief of the army has highlighted a trend that sees Indonesia’s political leaders keen to maintain personal control of the security apparatus, while remaining averse to pushing for civilian democratic control. Gen. Pramono Edhie Wibowo, the younger brother of first lady Ani Yudhoyono, was sworn in on June 30. Now 56, Pramono graduated at the top of his class at the Indonesian military academy in 1980, and his background includes commanding the Siliwangi Military District in West Java as well as stints […]
Thailand is set to have its first female Prime Minister in Yingluck Shinawatra, younger sister of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Her victory as leader of the opposition Pheu Thai party has raised hopes that women can play a larger role in the country’s male-dominated politics.
Tensions continue to grow over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea between Beijing and its Southeast Asian neighbors. Some experts contend the long-standing dispute could be resolved by a treaty.
After seven years of debate and impasse, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 46-nation group of nuclear technology suppliers, agreed at a meeting last month in the Netherlands to revise the guidelines for trade in enrichment and reprocessing (ENR) technology. The move was immediately criticized in India by the media and opposition parties as a reversal of the NSG’s 2008 waiver allowing the transfer to India of sensitive ENR technology, which can be used for the production of both nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. The NSG’s original guidelines dated from 1978, three years after the group was formed in response to […]
MAE SOT, Thailand — On June 9, deadly clashes broke out in northern Myanmar between the country’s army and the ethnic minority Kachin Independence Army (KIA). The fighting reportedly erupted after Myanmar’s military moved to secure the Tarpein Hydropower Project, a Chinese-built dam that came online in January. The plant, which sits on a tributary of the Irrawaddy River close to rebel-held areas, has since suspended its operations, and the clashes have spread to surrounding regions, pushing Myanmar’s strategic borderlands to the brink of civil war. Rights activists say the Myanmar army’s offensive has brought a range of rights abuses, […]
When the generals in Myanmar orchestrated their pseudo-democratic pageant last November, the exercise was labeled a “sham” by most of the world. Some in the West, however, speculated that despite the deeply flawed elections, the long-ruling junta might still redeem itself and allow real democratic progress in the wake of the polls. So far, however, the optimists are being proven spectacularly wrong. In the months since the vote, the country has marched in the direction of civil war and intensified oppression rather than toward democratic reconciliation and real reform. The election may, in fact, have made matters worse. Myanmar’s new […]
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is currently on a three-country tour of Africa. In an email interview, Gabriel Jonsson, an associate professor of Korean studies at Stockholm University, discussed trade and diplomatic relations between South Korea and Africa. WPR: What is the recent history of South Korea’s diplomatic relations with Africa? Gabriel Jonsson: Although South Korea began to establish diplomatic relations with African countries starting in the early 1960s, relations with Africa have been less active than with any other continent. In 2006, President Roh Mu-hyon became the first South Korean head of state to visit Africa since 1982. Roh […]
In secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan that concluded in Islamabad on June 25, the two nations decided to set their differences aside and work toward a new future. But even as both sides reassess their ties and mull confidence-building measures, the thorny issue of tactical and strategic missile tests and ballistic missile defense (BMD) continues to cast a long shadow over the bilateral relationship. Recent reports that India is seeking to develop longer-range strategic missiles have raised anxieties in Pakistan. On June 2, the head of Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), India’s premier defense-research agency, declared that India […]
Robert Gates could boast a remarkable public service career when he retired from the Pentagon on July 1. In addition to his other contributions, Gates was the only defense secretary to have overseen two different wars serving under two presidents of two different parties. His solid if low-key Republican credentials and reputation as a prudent hawk helped depoliticize national security issues during and well beyond the presidential transition from George W. Bush to Barack Obama. These qualities also helped Obama avoid the kinds of problems experienced by President Bill Clinton, the previous Democratic president whose clashes with senior military officers […]
In the aftermath of Japan’s Fukushima disaster, many in the West have begun to question the wisdom of extending the lives of existing nuclear power plants as well as building new ones. But rising powers in Asia and developing countries in the Middle East have shown little desire to turn away from plans to develop nuclear energy. In this Special Report, World Politics Review examines the shifting nuclear landscape through articles published over the past 16 months. Below are links to each article in this special report, which subscribers can read in full. Subscribers can also download a .pdf version […]
Among the mutual recriminations ringing out between the U.S. and Europe regarding NATO’s already stressed-out intervention in Libya, we have seen the usual raft of analyses regarding that military alliance’s utility — or lack thereof. As someone who has argued for close to a decade now that America will inevitably find that China, India and other rising powers make better and more appropriate allies for managing this world, I don’t find such arguments surprising. You don’t have to be a genius to do the math: Our primary allies aren’t having enough babies and have chosen to shrink their defense budgets, […]
The Communist Party of China is celebrating its 90th birthday with parties, ceremonies and a cinema propaganda campaign.
For the past 20 years, American and Russian policymakers have been searching for “the big thing” that would serve as the foundation for an effective and durable partnership between the two countries. In the months following Sept. 11, for instance, there was a sense that the “war on terror” might recreate a “grand alliance” between Moscow and Washington akin to the World War II partnership against the Nazis. But grandiose schemes for a revamped European security architecture and even a U.S.-Russia strategic alliance have foundered because realities could never match the rhetoric. Learning from these missteps, the Obama and Medvedev […]
At a recent meeting in Beijing, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie agreed to increase bilateral defense cooperation. In an email interview, Yitzhak Shichor, a professor in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Haifa, discussed China-Israel relations. WPR: What is the recent history of Israel-China relations? Yitzhak Shichor: Sino-Israeli relations in the first decade of the 21st century reflect what I call “mutual disillusionment.” Earlier Chinese expectations that Israel would become a major source of advanced military and security technologies for China have failed. Similarly, Israeli expectations that China would become a […]