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Before the G-8 summit in Heiligendamm, nonproliferation experts in the U.S. government lobbied the other member countries to endorse another so-called “10 + 10 over 10” plan that would have extended G-8-led multinational WMD threat reduction efforts after 2012. As in 2002, the United States would have pledged $10 billion, with the other seven G-8 governments contributing another $10 billion, during the decade after 2012. If adopted, the U.S. proposal would have extended the “Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction,” launched at the June 2002 G-8 summit in Kananaskis, Canada. At the summit, however, […]

GLASGOW, Scotland — Gordon Brown becomes Britain’s new Prime Minister today amid growing speculation over what kind of foreign policy can be expected from a seasoned politician who has rarely spoken out on foreign affairs in the past. Despite recent speeches on Britishness, national security and climate change, Browns views about the wider global policy agenda, and whether they will differ greatly from Tony Blair, are not yet clear. Central to Blair’s foreign policy was his close relationship with George W. Bush and his loyal backing for U.S.-led military interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Given the situation he inherits in […]

The Middle East, the land that gave the world the very concept of the Messiah, is about to receive a new one. So, why don’t we hear any Hossanas in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, or Rammallah over Tony Blair’s imminent anointing as the new Middle East envoy by the International Quartet for Middle East Peace? By now, after a decades-long parade of envoys, special representatives, shuttle diplomats, mediators, negotiators, intermediaries, and every variety of peace-making performers and reconciliation evangelists, the one creed that is spreading in the region, beyond the three major monotheistic religions, is the gospel of cynicism. That’s the […]

BRUSSELS — Europe’s most successful, charismatic and internationally recognized center-left leader steps down Wednesday, but there will be little mourning for British premier Tony Blair in London and most continental capitals. An opinion poll carried out for the Financial Times newspaper last week reveals just how divisive a figure Blair remains. Asked whether he would make a good first president of the European Union — a post created at a June 21-23 EU summit in Brussels — 64 percent of Germans, 60 percent of Britons and 53 percent of French respondents said nein/no/non. Few Europeans would deny that Blair oozes […]

Editor’s Note: Corridor’s of Power, written by WPR Editor-at-Large Roland Flamini, appears every Monday in World Politics Review. RHINEMAIDEN’S SWANSONG — The grand finale of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s six months as president of the European Union (Portugal takes over next week) was not exactly a triumph, but it wasn’t Gotterdammerung either. To stick with Wagnerian metaphors, it was more The Flying Dutchman, in which the 27-nation European Union is destined to sail eternally from one compromise to another. Still, at last week’s EU summit Merkel — reportedly with an energetic assist from French President Nicolas Sarkozy — seems to […]

COLCHESTER, England — It’s not just Hamas rockets that regularly strike Israeli interests these days. It is just as likely to be the long-range politicized “ordnance” of British elites, given the British Left’s predilection for pursuing and securing boycotts against Israel and its interests. Over the past two years, the unions for British journalists, architects, doctors, and even the Synod of the Church of England, have all sought boycott or censure motions against Israel. And now British academics have added themselves to the list — imposing a boycott of relations between British and Israeli universities at a conference of the […]

Germany has a new superstar. With the publication of his new book “Five Years of My Life: a Report from Guantanamo” [“Fünf Jahre Meines Lebens: ein Bericht aus Guantanamo”], the former Guantanamo inmate Murat Kurnaz has been all over the German media. Even before the book’s official release on April 23, there had already been a feature spread on the Web site of the popular weekly Stern, an empathetic review on the rival Spiegel-Online, and reports featuring the star author himself on both of Germany’s public television networks ARD and ZDF. Typically glowing reviews in all of Germany’s major papers […]

Editor’s Note: Corridors of Power appears this week on Wednesday, but will return to its normal Monday slot next week. SOME EUROPEANS MORE WELCOME THAN OTHERS — High on the talks agenda of George Bush’s hosts everywhere he went in the New Europe was the visa waiver issue. Visitors to the United States from 15 European Union countries haven’t needed entry visas for years, but nationals of the 12 recently admitted members do, and the latter want equal treatment. Among them are the Eastern European countries on Bush’s recent travel itinerary. They complain that they supported Bush on Iraq, and […]

OPATIJA, Croatia — Immediately, the signs along the road started to look familiar. The landscape tried with some success to transport me to an awfully different, dangerous time. I felt my back stiffen a little: back to the Balkans. This time, however, no checkpoints manned by armed men awaited. No bombed out homes marked the path of spreading carnage. Before I even had a chance to blink away the images of the 1990s in this region that brought the world that horrific expression “ethnic cleansing,” my 21st century cell phone beeped with a text message. “Welcome to Croatia!” The same […]

In a high-stakes referendum held last month, Romanian President Traian Basescu won an important vote of confidence from the Romanian electorate. Although the holding of the referendum was duly noted in the international media, surprisingly little was said about the stakes involved for Romania: a young post-Communist democracy and new EU member state that found itself precipitated into an unprecedented constitutional crisis by an attempt to oust the president that clearly resembled a parliamentary coup. Basescu’s first two years in office had been distinguished by an aggressive anti-corruption campaign designed to meet the expectations of Romania’s European partners and by […]

Editor’s Note: Corridors of Power, penned by WPR Editor-at-Large Roland Flamini, appears in WPR every Monday. SORRY ABOUT THAT NO. 1 — It’s generally considered poor form in the international community for a foreign leader visiting a friendly country to have a private meeting with the leader of the opposition, but President George Bush wasn’t going to be in Rome and pass up a chance to spend quality time with prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. Prior to Saturday’s presidential visit, the Italian government had made it clear to the White House that a meeting with Berlusconi would not be appreciated, and […]

The Russians, Tom Clancy’s old reliable villains, are back. The American techno-thriller author has lent his name to several computer games, including the intricate new title from Ubisoft known as EndWar. The video game’s scenario? In the next twenty years, America deploys a space weapons system to protect the United States and Europe from nuclear attack, while a sullen Russia stays out of the missile shield club. A few years later, the world’s peak oil doomsayers are suddenly proven right and all of the world’s major oil producers — except for Russia — are found to have massively inflated their […]

Russia has put a price tag of half a billion dollars on plans to build a nuclear “research” center in Burma, one of the world’s poorest countries, where electricity is a luxury for most inhabitants. Rangoon’s new diplomatic friend North Korea set a precedent for a destitute country managing to find the means to develop nuclear capabilities. But many Burma watchers take the view that on the issue of nuclear power there is little comparison between the North Korean and Burmese regimes. The former is run by a dynastic demagogue, while the latter is controlled by self-enriching generals who rarely […]

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Zambia’s former president, Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba, is famous for his clothes. In a raid, 349 designer shirts, 206 jackets and suits, and 72 pairs of shoes, many of them bearing Chiluba’s personalized FJT monogram, were seized as part of an investigation into corruption and graft. In May, he was found guilty of siphoning millions from state coffers while in power, and his clothes were cited as “the most telling example of corruption” by the London high court judge presiding over the case. The story of Frederick Chiluba and his monogrammed designer clothes, in a country where the majority of […]

From May 28 through June 1, the International Federation of Journalists held its 26th World Congress in Moscow. The hundreds of media representatives present chose the Russian capital as their venue for the prestigious triennial event in part to draw international attention to the Russian government’s encroachment against media freedoms. In March 2007, the U.S. State Department published its 2006 Reports on Human Rights Practices, which reviews civil rights practices in foreign countries. The report on Russia, whose dismal findings were echoed the following month in a separate State Department assessment on global media freedoms, warned that the Russian government […]

With the international media focused on the violent clashes between left-wing “anti-globalization” activists and German police at the anti-G-8 protest in Rostock this past weekend, another component of Germany’s broad “anti-globalization” consensus will have passed largely unperceived: namely, the neo-Nazis of the National-Democratic Party of Germany or NPD. Under the motto “There is no such thing as fair globalization,” an NPD-sponsored anti-G-8 demonstration had been scheduled to take place in the nearby city of Schwerin on Saturday, the same day as the “leftist” demonstration in Rostock. The NPD protest was, however, cancelled at the last minute, as the state supreme […]

Editor’s Note: Corridors of Power, written by World Politics Review Editor-at-Large Roland Flamini, appears every Monday. A PARTING GIFT FOR BLAIR? — At a Friday Council on Foreign Relations briefing in Washington on this week’s G-8 summit, Gene Sperling, former National Economic Council director, and now a CFR senior fellow, said President Bush’s proposal for a series of meetings on climate change are “an attempted parting gift to Prime Minister [Tony] Blair . . . and I think if Blair is trying to look and say he got something out of this partnership, perhaps this is his last chance to […]

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