“We must make sure that the deployment of our troops is not merely the appetizer and that the main course becomes . . . an outbreak of nation-building and infrastructure construction and resources which are . . . not within our capacity to provide for everyone around the world.” After eight years of operations in Afghanistan, and the recent announcement that additional troop deployments will continue to execute a strategy that stretches the military beyond its traditional combat role for at least another 18 months, the above quotation could easily convey the commitment-fatigue prevalent in Washington these days. But the […]

A Russia-India Nuclear Deal

Russia and India continue to bolster ties through a nuclear agreement.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has stressed that nuclear cooperationbetween the two nations is only for peaceful collaboration and thatRussia does not intend to expand the nuclear club. Prime MinisterManmohan Singh was in Moscow for the leaders’ third meeting this year.

BRUSSELS — While media and popular attention has focused on the European Union’s nominations for its newly created positions of president and high representative for external affairs, key positions recently filled on the European Commission suggest a major shift in the EU’s economic policies. In an apparent reaction to the financial and economic crisis, the commissioners chosen for the main economic portfolios are likely to alter the union’s pro-market approach of recent years. The commission is the EU’s supranational institution, with functions similar to the executive branch of national governments. Although each country is guaranteed a commissioner, the importance of […]

This Week’s WPR Video Highlights

Here are a few of this week’s highlights from WPR’s video section: -Romanians are discouraged by their choices for the next president as election day approaches. The Wall Street Journal reports in this video. -Kosovo meets resistance in its fight for independence. This Al Jazeera video shows the push back coming from Belgrade. -Residents of Gyumri, Armenia’s once-prospering second city, contemplate the significance of an open border with Turkey in this WSJ video. -United NationsSpecial Representative in Iraq Ad Melkert discusses the political climate in Iraq in this New America Foundation video. And if you missed our Afghanistan strategy video […]

Talking with Putin: His Longest Ever Q&A

RussiaToday reports on Vladimir Putin’s longest ever question andanswer session with the Russian public. The four-hour dialogue coveredtopics such as Russia’s counter-terrorism efforts, the economy andStalin. This lengthy discourse takes place among rumors that Putin maybe considering running for president again in 2012.

Romanians Head to the Polls, Cynicism in Tow

Romanians are plagued by frustration as they gear up to cast theirballots in the upcoming presidential election. Critics of the candidates say,twenty years after the fall of communism, their choices for a nationalleader are disappointing at best.

Trichet: Strong Dollar is Good for the Euro

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet says that a strongU.S. dollar is good for a bilateral relationship with the Euro. In aDow Jones Newswire interview, Trichet stressed that the independence ofall central banks of major economies, such as the Fed, is of extremeimportance for confidence — the key factor he believes has beenlacking since the financial crisis. For more on the global impact of the dollar, read this piece from WPR contributor Daniel McDowell.

NATO’s ‘New Troops’

As I suggested, the fact that President Barack Obama stated in his West Point address that he was “confident” additional forces would be forthcoming from NATO allies was a tip-off that assurances had been made. Still, there’s a reason why the NY Times calls them “new troops,” even if you had to read the WSJ’s report to understand why: About half of the pledged troops are already in Afghanistan, as part of last spring’s Afghan election surge, and simply won’t be withdrawn as scheduled. There’s also something else that the Times didn’t bother to mention, and the Journal glossed over, […]

NATO Reaction to Afghanistan Call

There are a number of revealing aspects to the reactions of various NATO allies to President Barack Obama’s call for more troops for Afghanistan. First, last week’s reported telephone call to Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi makes more sense in light of Italy’s initial signals that it will deploy between 500-1,500 additional troops to Afghanistan. The troops will actually be redeployed from other theaters of operation (Kosovo and Lebanon) according to previous drawdown schedules there. So nothing immediate (the second half of 2010), but probably in line with the U.S. deployment schedule. It’s also a bold political move on Berlusconi’s […]

Armenia’s Second City Awaits Open Border

Gyumri, Armenia’s once wealthy second city has fallen into disrepairand the prospect of an open border with Turkey could be what it needsto be revived. Gyumri is one of many cities plagued by the choices theywill have to make should a border agreement be signed by Armenia andTurkey. On one hand, citizens welcome the economic benefits of an openborder, while on the other they find it difficult to forget themassacre of more than one million Armenians in 1915 at the hands of theTurks.

Kosovo Fights While Belgrade Pushes Back

The International Court of Justice will determine the legality ofKosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence. However, popular opinionin Belgrade has already cast a verdict on the matter. Al Jazeera’sMatthew Collin reports from Belgrade where Serbians openly disapproveof the move toward Kosovar independence.

Swiss Minaret Ban Reflects Fear, Violates Rights

Swiss voters’ passage of a referendum banning the construction of minarets next to mosques in Switzerland has unleashed international outcry from rights advocates and thrown a harsh light on European countries’ efforts to integrate immigrant populations. The nationalist Swiss Peoples’ Party sponsored the vote, claiming that minarets represent the first steps toward encroaching radical Islam and the threat of Sharia law in Switzerland. The referendum was opposed by the government and widely expected to fail. Instead, 57 percent of voters approved the measure. The ban comes into effect immediately. Switzerland is home to only four mosques with minarets, and Muslims […]

During his sojourn in Paris last Friday and Saturday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his entourage of Russian economics ministers and business executives signed a number of important commercial agreements with their French counterparts. These two-dozen deals will result in increased French involvement in various Russian energy and automobile enterprises, in return for sizable injections of French financing and technology into these sectors. “We are on the way to achieving this goal to transform our good, high-level political relations in the sphere of the real economy,” Putin joyfully told journalists. “I think it is a real breakthrough in the […]

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