The North Atlantic Treaty Organization last week announced that it is contemplating scaling back its highly publicized NATO Response Force, the Alliance’s rapid reaction military force and its catalyst for military transformation. As is often the case for NATO, the real world intruded on its military ambitions. “There is an examination underway” within NATO to see how to sustain the response force, which requires a steady state of 25,000 troops trained and ready to deploy, said spokesman James Appathurai at a press briefing in Brussels. “We could have an NRF that is not always at 25,000” he postulated, “rather than […]

AT THE UNITED NATIONS, NEW YORK — The fanfare that opens the U.N. General Assembly’s annual session is played on the sirens of New York police cars trying to clear a path through Manhattan traffic for the motorcades of visiting world leaders. New Yorkers are resigned to this autumnal ritual that causes midtown streets to be closed and fills the city’s hotels to capacity — at prices inflated for the occasion. The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where President Bush overnighted Monday while in town to deliver the inaugural address the following morning became a fortress, surrounded by hundreds of New York’s […]

MADRID, Spain — Let justice takes its course: A fine phrase to cap an argument, but not one you’re likely to hear from Europeans in a state of high moral dudgeon over terrorists being confined in cages at Guantanamo. From the objectionists, expect no more than a glare in reply to the question, “Well, then, what would you do to keep terrorists from killing more innocent people?” A minority, however, will sometimes make a profession of faith in civilized Europe’s instruments and institutions for administering justice, based on due process and humane and corrective sanctions for the guilty. That is […]

Recent weeks have seen intense interest displayed in the English-language media to signs of a potential reorientation of French foreign policy under new President Nicolas Sarkozy. Following the publication earlier this month of former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine’s report to the President on France and “Globalization” — which, as the extensive extracts published on World Politics Review show, was largely misinterpreted by the media as a plea for change — some seemingly improvised remarks by current French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner gave renewed impetus to such discussions. During an hour-long interview on the French talk show “Grand Jury” on […]

Since taking office, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has articulated a new paradigm to structure Western engagement with Africa. This paradigm dispels the idea that Africa is a sick and helpless continent for the West to rescue and instead calls for robust European-African partnerships to manage Africa’s genuine challenges of violence, poverty, and corruption. True to his reputation as a man of action, Sarkozy has already transformed these ideas into practical policies, and the result has been a flurry of promising and innovative diplomatic initiatives concerning Africa over the past two months, especially vis-à-vis the ongoing tragedy in Darfur. If one […]

MEMORIES AND MEMOIRS — At a farewell dinner for departing British ambassador Sir David Manning in Washington Friday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warmly recalled how she and Manning had worked together during the Iraq war: Rice as national security adviser to President Bush, and the ambassador as her counterpart at 10 Downing Street. But this harmonious picture doesn’t quite match the one Manning painted in the New Statesman magazine, claiming that the Bush administration sometimes failed to inform Prime Minister Tony Blair of key decisions on Iraq, or failed to take into account British objections. For example, Manning insists […]

The arrest earlier this month of three Islamic radicals suspected of planning attacks on American military installations in Germany has again called attention to the southern German towns of Neu-Ulm and Ulm. The alleged leader of the trio, Fritz G., comes from Ulm. As Roland Ströbele of the local Neu-Ulmer Zeitung reports, the twin cities on opposite banks of the Danube have in recent years become a bustling hub of Jihadist activism. NEU-ULM/ULM, Germany — And once again the trail leads to Neu-Ulm. One of the three presumed members of an Islamic terror group arrested earlier this month in Germany […]

ATHENS, Greece — When Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis called for elections last month, he couldn’t imagine that the forces of nature might unite to thwart his party’s bid for a second term. Just weeks before the general elections, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 16, forest fires fueled by wind, drought and the summer heat made the hills of the Peloponnesus bald, laying bare the inefficiencies and corruption of the country’s political leadership. Greece doesn’t have a nationwide land registry nor forestry maps, pointed out foreign media, and lax development laws encourage arsonists, who started many of the fires. Firefighters struggled […]

At the end of August, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and former Sen. Sam Nunn visited Russia to reinvigorate the pioneering U.S.-funded Comprehensive Threat Reduction Program (CTR) they helped launch a decade-and-a-half ago. The CTR program, widely known as the Nunn-Lugar Program, aims to secure and eliminate the weapons of mass destruction the new Russian Federation inherited from the Soviet Union following the U.S.S.R.’s demise in 1991. On Aug. 30, the two senators visited the chemical weapons destruction facility that the United States and other foreign governments — most notably Britain, Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, Norway and Switzerland — are […]

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VIENNA, Austria — Jamel, Germany, is haunted. Fastened onto the plains near the Baltic Sea, Jamel is a hamlet of a few dozen people; a quiet retreat from a quickened world. But this would-be sleepy little outback stirs with trouble, strangled by the choke hold that a clan of neo-Nazis have held it in for more than 15 years. Led by 30-something-year-old Sven Krueger, the gang of neo-Nazis has rooted out anyone who has dared to complain about their Nazi celebrations, their Nazi music blasting, their Nazi flags waving or the Nazi graffiti that mars the city’s infrastructure. Residents who […]

WASHINGTON — The hybrid war crimes tribunal set up by the government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations achieved what international observers described as a major milestone in July when it delivered sentences of 45 and 50 years to three men convicted of committing war crimes during Sierra Leone’s late-1990s civil war. The ruling at the Special Court for Sierra Leone marked the first-ever conviction of an African warlord for using child soldiers, and it came just a few weeks before a second round of convictions, on Aug. 2, in which two other former militia leaders were found guilty […]

PARIS — There has been much talk of late of impending “changes” in French foreign policy. New French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s programmatic speech last month on foreign policy matters — and especially his remarks on the “unacceptability” of an Iran armed with nuclear weapons — first spurred such discussions. Then came the publication last week of former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine’s commissioned report to the French President on globalization and French foreign policy. Védrine, a Socialist, served as Foreign Minister from 1997-2002 in the government of Lionel Jospin, in which capacity he famously qualified American counter-terrorism efforts in the […]

On Sept. 3, the Russian government indicated it would insist on challenging conditions for negotiating any limitations on its tactical nuclear weapons (TNW). Russian Col. Gen. Vladimir Verkhovtsev, head of the Defense Ministry’s 12th Main Directorate, which is responsible for Russia’s nuclear weapons, told reporters that Russia would require that other countries — “above all France and Britain” — join with Moscow and Washington in any future TNW arms control talks. For years, Western officials, legislators, and analysts have called for additional measures to eliminate, or at least sharply reduce, the remaining TNWs in the U.S. and Russian arsenals. TNWs […]

When President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran described the Holocaust as a “myth” and hosted a Holocaust revisionist conference in Tehran in December 2006, he was warmly cheered in the Third World and severely castigated in the United States and Europe. Yet most Western pundits largely failed to grasp the significance of the assault. They limited themselves to outrage and righteous indignation. Ahmadinejad’s fulminations were, on the one hand, jeered as “paranoid” and, on the other, described as on par with his other threats to destroy Israel — pardon, “the Zionist entity.” In other words, Western commentators dismissed the Iranian President […]

WASHINGTON — In early August, Seattle-based Boeing, the nation’s second-largest weapons manufacturer, extended invitations to several East Coast-based online journalists to ride on a lavish Boeing corporate jet to Everett, Wash., to tour the company’s 767 airplane factory. Boeing’s aim: to win some good-will from a relatively neglected slice of the media as the company vies for one of the biggest and most important military contracts in decades. In coming months, perhaps as early as December, the U.S. Air Force will decide between Boeing and a partnership of Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman and the European firm EADS for a $40-billion […]

For decades during the Cold War, the United States sought nuclear primacy. Now it may be on the verge of achieving it. As America’s presidential candidates begin to articulate positions on nuclear policy, it is worth remembering that in all dealings with the nuclear genie, you should be careful what you wish for. . . . When a state can obliterate its adversary’s arsenal with a first strike, it is said to possess nuclear primacy. America had primacy early in the Cold War, but the Soviet Union’s acquisition of a secure second strike capability in the 1960s ushered in the […]

At the end of August, Iranian presidential spokesman Ali Akbar Javanfekr threatened to turn to “other candidates” to complete the country’s long-delayed nuclear power plant at Bushehr if “problems arise again” between Tehran and Moscow over the project. The previous month, European officials related that the Russian government had informed Iran in July that Moscow would refuse to supply nuclear fuel for the Russian-built nuclear reactor until Tehran provides more details about its past nuclear activities to the international community. These reports might indicate that the Russian government has finally decided to suspend cooperation with Iran’s nuclear program until Tehran […]