Kim Jong Il’s death and apparent replacement by his 20-something son, Kim Jong Un, has introduced a potentially potent new variable into South Korean politics at a time when the South’s traditional political parties are dissolving. This vulnerability may tempt the North to engage in aggressive provocation, while making it difficult for the South to respond cohesively. For the time being, both capitals are likely to maintain the status quo. South Korea’s policy toward the North is set by its executive, composed of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik. Though the South Korean media often refers […]

It’s too soon to know how the events of this fast-fading year will ultimately reshape our world, but the upheaval we witnessed in 2011 will most assuredly keep future historians ponderously occupied. Indeed, it was a year of uprooting, breaking up and tilling the geopolitical soil — a year that will have mattered in many ways, many of which we don’t yet fully understand, but that clearly represent a turning point. Ten events in particular reshaped the global landscape in 2011. The Arab Uprisings. The spark lit by Tunisian food vendor Mohammed Bouazizi at the end of 2010 set much […]

article card

Canada sent forces from the Canadian Special Operations Regiment earlier this month to train Mali’s military to fight against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. In an email interview, Joel Sokolsky, principal and professor of political science at the Royal Military College of Canada, discussed Canada’s overseas military deployments. WPR: In addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, where has the Canadian military deployed over the past decade, and how have its deployments impacted both the Canadian armed forces and the civilian leadership? Joel Sokolsky: Notwithstanding a Canada First Defense Strategy that suggested a focus on the direct defense of Canada and domestic […]

BEIJING — With multiple indicators pointing to a tangible slowdown in the Chinese economy, continuing signals from senior leaders that the country is entering a new period of more-controlled economic growth, and significant reforms afoot, there is growing evidence that China is entering a new phase in its economic development. But deterioration in the global macroeconomic environment has created a new and less benign backdrop for this change, significantly limiting policy options for reform and reducing the margin for error. With domestic systemic financial stress and social tension also both ticking upward, China may be finally forced to confront the […]

article card

Over the past year, maritime territorial disputes between China and Japan as well as between China and various Southeast Asian states have triggered several incidents at sea, raising tensions in the region and beyond. So last week’s stabbing death of a South Korean Coast Guard officer at the hands of a Chinese fishing boat captain intercepted in South Korean waters understandably raised concerns that a similar crisis might be at hand. Instead, South Korea responded by calling attention to another maritime security challenge facing the region, that of illegal fishing, and invited Japan and China to jumpstart a dialogue mechanism […]

Kim Jong Il is dead, and the world is wondering what to do about it. The task of leading North Korea has fallen to an inexperienced 27-year-old without a major constituency, even as the threat of regime collapse worries both friends and enemies of the largely isolated nation. What should Washington, Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo do in order to avoid a crisis? Some observers are arguing that this represents an opportunity for the United States to push hard against the DPRK, hopefully causing it to topple. This would be a mistake; the DPRK is likely not only to survive such […]

Europe’s unresolved debt crisis has been the major problem facing the global economy of late. Beyond taking center stage for economic policymakers, Europe’s problems led investors to seek refuge in the safe haven of U.S. debt, dubiously anointed the “least dirty shirt” of the global economic landscape. As investors pulled out of faster-growing economies, the capital flight drove down the value of those countries’ currencies, many of which had been bid up at the beginning of 2011. While the problem of overvalued currencies may have receded over the summer, the underlying issue of currency manipulation still threatens the global economy. […]

Two great uncertainties define the current succession process in North Korea. First, will the new leadership pursue aggressive or moderate foreign policies? Second, how should foreign countries respond to the new situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)? Given how little we know about North Korea’s internal politics, the first question is difficult to address. Although some indicators of future behavior should emerge in coming weeks, the succession process could take years to evolve. The North Korean regime may continue to muddle through, remaining a military threat to South Korea — and other states — and representing a […]

The “Arab Spring” that started early in 2011 has shaken the entire Middle East. Rulers who had reigned for decades have been toppled; power has changed hands; and the few regimes that are resisting changes are still undergoing tumultuous unrest. Beijing has been forced to face the rapidly changing developments and make adjustments both to monitor the potential repercussions at home and to protect its growing commercial interests in the region. Beijing has responded to the events in the Middle East with tentative policy adjustments aimed at securing domestic stability and minimizing economic losses resulting from the unforseen and sudden […]

Much of what drives America’s current phobias regarding China stems from the dual — and fantastically linear — assumptions of America’s terminal decline and China’s perpetual ascension. We are thus led to believe that China no longer needs the United States and that America, in turn, can do nothing — short of increasing military pressure — to constrain the Middle Kingdom’s rise to global hegemony. On all scores, nothing could be further from the truth. China and the United States suffer a level of strategic interdependency that is vast and shows no signs of reduction. Simply put, America cannot stay […]

The death of around a dozen people over the weekend in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan, follows months of reported strikes, bombings and other violence in the western part of the country. The exact reasons for the disturbances are unclear. Labor disputes, clan rivalries and resurgent Islamist militancy all seem to be at work. Whatever the causes, Kazakh authorities should heed the warning represented by the violence and ensure that the country’s upcoming legislative elections are free and fair. On Nov. 16, President Nursultan Nazarbayev dissolved Kazakhstan’s national legislature and established Jan. 15, 2012, as the date for the next parliamentary elections. Since […]

The Obama administration entered office three years ago with high hopes that it could repair America’s relationships with other key powers in the world. While some successes were achieved in 2009 and 2010, Washington closes out 2011 facing the sobering reality of simultaneously deteriorating relationships with China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Russia. At the same time, Washington can expect only limited support from its major Western allies in managing a host of global hotspots, as the ongoing eurozone crisis has, in a matter of months, turned European attention away from a more activist and interventionist approach to the world toward […]

article card

A nuclear submarine leased from Russia is all set to join the Indian Navy in early 2012. Official sources in New Delhi confirmed today that a Nerpa class nuclear submarine leased by the Indian Navy will leave Russian shores by end of the month. World News Videos by NewsLook

Showing 1 - 17 of 341 2 Last