By teaming up with allied nations on defense acquisition programs, the United States hopes to reduce the cost of weapons such as the Joint Strike Fighter, the next-generation fighter aircraft for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. But some question the benefits of cost-sharing with other countries. In the view of one defense analyst, such arrangements limit U.S. decision-making flexibility and offer little in return. “It’s a huge impediment to the American strategic debate” to conduct big defense procurement programs in conjunction with allies, according to Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow in foreign policy studies at The Brookings Institution, a […]

On May 26, 2004, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) launched the Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), a collaborative program aimed at securing vast stocks of dangerous nuclear material scattered around the globe. The program, run by a semi-autonomous agency within the DOE known as the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), has two central elements: repatriating or otherwise securing nuclear fuel; and converting reactors to use new, more proliferation-resistant technology. The program has seen some success and has even received more funding than expected, but so far progress has been slower than initially hoped. Programs like GTRI (others include the […]

RIBNITSA, Transnistria — Last month, a trolley bus ambled along a Soviet-era street on a hot afternoon, and blew up before it reached its next stop. Eight people were killed, and 46 injured in this July bomb blast, creating a rumble not quite strong enough to pique the interest of the war-fatigued Western press. It happened again two weeks ago when a trolley bus on a similar route, this time touring around on a quiet Sunday afternoon, was blown to bits, killing a 50-year-old man and six-year-old girl. Ten people were injured, many of them seriously. The following day, a […]

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — On Aug. 16, the new Slovakian government, led by center-left Prime Minister Robert Fico, blocked the planned partial privatization of the airport in the country’s capital, Bratislava. The government rejected a $370 million offer by a Viennese consortium aiming to offset the need for a new runway at Vienna International by integrating the airports of the “twin cities” of Vienna and Bratislava, which are just 33 miles apart and thus well-suited to serve as twin hubs serving increased air traffic to the region. The deal is the first large privatization to be annulled in Slovakia in the […]

article card

NAIROBI, Kenya — The collapse of the World Trade Organization talks in the past month has presented Africa with a double predicament. On the one hand are the lost trade opportunities following the collapse of the WTO’s Doha Round. If the talks had succeeded in favor of Africa’s position, the continent would have gained better market access to the European, U.S. and Japanese economies. The continent also sought to successfully negotiate for the elimination of agriculture production and export subsidies that make produce from developed countries cheaper than Africa’s in the world market. On the other hand, the preferential trade […]

PRISTINA, Kosovo — Weaving through the narrow mountain roads over the Bosnian-Montenegrin border in a blue mini passenger bus, Bulajic Veselin fidgeted impatiently for the duration of his six-hour journey. Traveling to his hometown of Niksic, Montenegro, from the University of Tuzla in Bosnia, this trip held a special significance for Veselin. For the first time in his life, the 25-year old medical student was returning home to a free and independent Montenegro. “This is a historic time for my country,” he says, pointing enthusiastically to the grassy hills and mountain lakes as though seeing them for the first time. […]

“Italian troops are not going to Lebanon to disarm Hezbollah,” Italy’s foreign minister said Tuesday. Nobody is going to use force against a movement “considered by many Lebanese as patriotic” and “a sort of national resistance force,” said Massimo D’Alema in an interview with the Italian magazine l’Espresso. The August 11 U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a cessation of hostilities in Lebanon also said the Shiite militia should turn in their weapons. But D’Alema says the only “realistic solution” is for Hezbollah fighters to be integrated into the Lebanese regular armed forces – a process the minister estimates will […]

article card

The United States has no plans to join the U.N. stabilization force destined for southern Lebanon, but the Bush administration is pressing the international community to speed up troop deployment if the fragile cessation of hostilities has any chance of becoming durable. Technically, it is the U.N.’s responsibility to recruit and shape the 15,000-strong force, but World Politics Review has learned that on Wednesday foreign ambassadors in Washington were called to the State Department where a senior U.S. official called for more haste in pledging and sending contingents. Diplomats who attended the meeting, which was not publicly reported, said the […]

article card

European intelligence sources were surprised by the news of the alleged plot to blow up five U.S. airliners over the mid-Atlantic. This was not because a major strike by Islamist terrorists was in itself unexpected. But European intelligence organizations, sources said Saturday, had anticipated that the target would be an international institution, or the energy center of a major city, such as a large power station. Instead, the thwarted attack turned out to have echoes of 9/11. Though al Qaeda has not been firmly linked to the plot, the evident Pakistani connection brings it geographically close to Osama bin Laden’s […]

article card

SARAJEVO — Campaign rhetoric and political infighting are heating up as Bosnia and Herzegovina heads toward general elections this fall, the sixth such vote since the war-torn nation bloodily seceded from the former Yugoslavia in 1992. With the May secession of tiny Montenegro from what’s left of Yugoslavia — now known simply as Serbia — the challenge of staying united has never been so great for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s two entities, the Serb-leaning Republika Srpska (RS), and the predominantly Muslim-Croat Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBH). One need only listen to Milorad Dodik, the man leading in the polls and […]