It is now widely recognized — including in the highest-level policy statements of the United Nations, European Union, African Union and NATO — that managing conflict requires a multidimensional, comprehensive, whole-of-government or integrated approach. All these approaches have a similar aim: to achieve greater harmonization and synchronization among the international and local actors, as well as across the analysis, planning, implementation and evaluation phases of the program cycle. One-dimensional or single-facet conflict-management responses are now viewed as superficial and counterproductive, in that they address only some aspects of a wider system. They thus tend to distort, shift or redirect tensions […]

For the first time since American and Soviet missiles silently faced off across the vast, icy expanse of their northernmost Arctic territories during the Cold War, the Arctic is again becoming a strategic concern. As global climate change forces both permanent and seasonal sea ice to recede, the world is gaining what amounts to a brand new ocean — one that has never been fished, rarely navigated, and has waters that are thought to be rich with natural resources. In 2009, the United States Geological Survey estimated that the Arctic contains over 90 billion barrels of oil, 1,669 trillion cubic […]

Global Insider: Britain’s New Security Council

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s newly formed coalition government has announced that it will create a National Security Council to manage all aspects of the country’s security. Richard Fontaine, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security who served on the United States National Security Council staff from 2003-04, explains the significance of Britain’s newly formed NSC. WPR: How will the new NSA/NSC impact Britain’s national security infrastructure and policymaking? Richard Fontaine: In creating a new National Security Council, Prime Minster David Cameron is fulfilling a campaign pledge to integrate the work of Britain’s foreign, defense, energy, home […]

During Britain’s recent parliamentary elections, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg argued that the U.K. should scrap the proposed “like-for-like” replacement of its submarine-based nuclear deterrent, known as Trident, with a similar modernized system. As a possible alternative, Clegg’s party has suggested fitting Britain’s Astute-class submarines with nuclear cruise missiles, or in the event of a crisis, arming these same submarines with Trident missiles. Although such proposals may lead to financial savings, they are deeply flawed and could have far-reaching strategic and political implications for both the United Kingdom and its NATO allies. With Clegg now part of Prime Minister David […]

Hague Says UK-US Bond Remains ‘Unbreakable’

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague says that the U.K.’s new coalition government is still a great ally of the United States and though there may be cause for dissenting views later on, the two are on the same page regarding current foreign policy issues such as Afghanistan and Iran. NewsHour’s Margaret Warner talks to Hague about the newly formed government and its policies. Having trouble viewing this video? Click here to watch.

British Politics and the Old ‘School Tie’

David Cameron moved into 10 Downing Street this week, establishing Britain’s first coalition government since World War II, and returning the Conservatives to (shared) power after 13 years in opposition. The last Tory occupant of No. 10, which is both office and home to the prime minister, was John Major. But it was Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady of the 1980s, who faced down the unruly labor unions and introduced tough fiscal policies, thus shaping a decade of economic prosperity in Britain. Cameron may be a Conservative, but he is no heir to Thatcherism. He does not share Thatcher’s combative […]

Greece’s financial crisis, and its accompanying social protests and violence, has sent shockwaves across the world. Although the crisis is generally viewed as an economic and sovereign debt issue, its larger significance may ultimately lie within the geopolitical realm. As leaders in virtually every developed country, including the United States, are beginning to realize, they, too, will sooner or later face the same sort of fiscal challenges now confronting Athens. Eventually, this growing debt awareness will put pressure on defense budgets and, ultimately, on alliance structures. Specifically, what’s at stake is a global security architecture established by the United States […]

Global Insider: EU-Latin America Summit

The EU-Latin America summit will convene next week in Madrid, but only after the Spanish government, currently holding the EU presidency, rescinded an invitation to the president of Honduras, after some UNASUR leaders threatened to boycott the meeting. In an e-mail interview, Brookings Institution senior fellow and former Vice President of Costa Rica Kevin Casas-Zamora explains the significance of the dispute in the context of EU-Latin American relations. WPR: How would you characterize broader Spain-Latin America and EU-Latin America relations? Kevin Casas-Zamora: Relations between Spain and Latin America are very strong. Besides the historical closeness, there are very powerful economic […]

The Obama administration is moving ahead with a James Baker-style strategy in attempting to persuade Russia to support stronger and stricter sanctions against Iran. This week, the president submitted the “123 Agreement” on civilian nuclear cooperation to Congress. The agreement had been initialed during the Bush administration, but was withdrawn from congressional consideration after the Russia-Georgia war in 2008. It will now take effect unless both houses of Congress pass legislation to block its implementation within a 90-day period. The agreement matters a great deal to the Russian nuclear industry, which, along with the country’s oil and gas complexes, makes […]

SKOPJE, Macedonia — When the old Yugoslavia tore itself apart during the 1990s, the people of Macedonia watched with dismay. Would they, too, experience the horror of war if they declared their independence from Belgrade? As it happened, Macedonia’s secession from Yugoslavia triggered only a token action from the Yugoslavian army. That, however, did not mean that Macedonia would join the community of nations without conflict or strife. Conflict did come, in the form of profound internal divisions that sparked a brief, low-grade war, and stubborn external obstacles that nearly blocked the way to international recognition. Almost two decades into […]

Global Insider: The Politics of the Antarctic

The Antarctic Treaty Conference in Uruguay wraps up tomorrow, ending two weeks of discussions between more than 350 foreign officials, on pressing issues such as conflicting territorial claims and environmental threats to the region. In an e-mail interview, Danila Bochkarev, Energy Security Associate at the EastWest Institute, explains the current political climate in the Antarctic. WPR: What is the current territorial status of Antarctica under the Antarctic Treaty, and how would current territorial claims change that? Bochkarev: The Antarctic Treaty of 1959, which relates to all land mass and ice shelves south of 60 degrees south latitude, bans military and […]

IMF Deputy Outlines Bailout

NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill talks to John Lipsky, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, about the $1 trillion aid package meant to stabilize the Greek economy and prevent the debt crisis from spreading. Lipsky says the package was designed in large part to provide Greek authorities with “breathing room” to implement some much needed, albeit unpopular, economic reform. He also said that once ambiguous intra-eurozone relationships are now being much more well defined for the first time in the euro’s existence.

The Greek Debt Crisis: Political Bankruptcy

I found it instructive to see the fact that Greece has officially requested the first installment of its EU-IMF bailout package tacked on almost as an anecdotal footnote to an article describing the larger EU-IMF bailout plan approved over the weekend. It reflects the way that the “Greek debt crisis” has now become a signifier for something much larger, in the way that “Lehman” or “subprime” did before it. What is that much larger something? For one thing, it’s the fact that in the space of a few months, there no longer seems to be a solid foundation under what […]

At a recent NATO foreign ministers meeting in Tallinn, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the United States would not withdraw its tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) from Europe in the near-term future. Clinton also said that these weapons should only be drawn down if done so simultaneously with similar Russian systems. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen echoed these sentiments and stated that U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe are an integral part of the alliance’s deterrent. But in addition to being increasingly unpopular among U.S. allies, the estimated 150-200 U.S. TNWs in Europe (.pdf) also lack military utility and […]

Iran’s alleged clandestine pursuit of a nuclear-weapon capability dominated the headlines last week during the ongoing Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. However, beyond the theatrics of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s verbal exchange, it is important to remember, and ultimately to address, the root cause of the Iranian nuclear problem — namely, the spread of dual-use technologies such as uranium enrichment to countries outside the ring of first-order world powers. The problem with uranium enrichment is its ambiguity: It is a vital component of the civilian nuclear power industry, yet it can also be […]

British Politicians ‘Reduced’ to Political Deal-Making

On Thursday, the British electorate was asked to make its choice of who would run the country for the next four years. They gave a muffled and incoherent answer. The leaders of the Conservatives, Labor, and the Liberal Democrats now have to sort out the mess — with a behind-the-scenes assist from the queen. (Because of the so-called royal prerogative, this is her moment too.) Arriving at a viable government is likely to involve — horrors! — a considerable amount of wheeling and dealing, much despised by Westminster politicians as un-British and “Continental.” In addition to forcing British politicians to […]

Greek Debt Crisis: Merkel the Scapegoat

Matthew Yglesias proves that Godwin’s law is attainable in 140 characters or less. Clever. Lord knows I picked a bad week to defend German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the EU. But if, as many observers are now arguing, the current EU-IMF package isn’t sufficient to keep Greece from eventual insolvency and debt restructuring, then nothing that was on either side of the table a few weeks ago was even remotely sufficient. Which is to say, Merkel did not single-handedly torpedo a workable solution. I understand, too, the importance of signaling when it comes to the markets. But once the signaling […]

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