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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy met at a summit in Brasilia in July to discuss the development of bilateral and regional ties. In an e-mail interview, Dr. Mahrukh Doctor, lecturer in political economy at the University of Hull and visiting associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, discusses Brazil-EU relations. WPR: What issues are driving the current relationship between Brazil and EU? Mahrukh Doctor: The key drivers of Brazil and EU relations are trade and investment. Brazil is the largest […]

While the world doesn’t yet face a food crisis on par with the summer of 2008, it’s clear that the drought currently affecting the Black Sea trio of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan — all big-time global exporters of wheat and barley — has suddenly made food inflation a primary threat to the somewhat fragile and decidedly uneven global economic recovery. At the very least, it reminds us just how tight global food markets are, due to the contradictory combination of rising middle-class demand and the enduring commitment by brittle governments around the world to keep prices low — at whatever […]

Global Insider is an ongoing World Politics Review interview series that examines developing trends in geopolitics. From maritime disputes and arms sales, to free trade agreements and evolving bilateral relations, Global Insider explores the foundations and implications of new developments in international affairs through the voices of preeminent experts that hail from government, academia and research institutions. Global Insider is published multiple times per week at worldpoliticsreview.com/trend-lines. On this page, and in a pdf document that is available for download by subscribers in our document center, we have collected every Global Insider interview conducted since the series began in April […]

Graz, Austria — The recent advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, that Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February 2008 was legal, was a defeat for Serbia. But it also offered an opportunity for Serbia to start maneuvering out of the impasse into which its intransigence led. There are signs it is taking this chance. Days after the ICJ pronouncement, Serbia’s President Boris Tadic warned parliament that Serbia “must have the best possible relations with the most powerful states of the world, because everything else would lead the state straight to ruin, and its citizens into poverty.” The parliament […]

The indefinite postponement of Saudi King Abdullah’s scheduled visit to the French capital last month does not bode well for France’s efforts to considerably raise its profile in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and it could well dampen the supposed gains made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s two visits to the desert kingdom last year. Reports suggest that King Abdullah, who was to open an exhibition of Saudi antiquities at the Louvre museum in Paris during his proposed July 12 visit, canceled his trip in the wake of a controversy generated by an article that appeared on the Web site of […]

After the Obama administration shifted gears in its strategy to stop Iran’s nuclear program, moving from diplomacy to sanctions, a sense of skepticism about its chances for success emanated from all corners. From top American generals saying they did not think the sanctions would work, to a wide variety of politicians, analysts and journalists — including your humble correspondent — a growing consensus emerged that the weak United Nations sanctions obtained by Washington with enormous difficulties would simply fail to deter Iran’s defiant push in pursuit of nuclear know-how and, most likely, nuclear weapons. Since the latest resolution’s passage, however, […]

One reason why President Obama and other very senior U.S. officials personally met with a select group of leading columnists and opinion writers at the White House last week was to highlight the often overlooked progress his administration has achieved in securing comprehensive European support for the U.S. policy toward Iran. Although it is too early to judge the effects of the new sanctions adopted by the EU and the United States independently and collectively through the United Nations, we can begin to assess the administration’s multilateral diplomacy. At least in the case of Europe, that diplomacy seems to be […]

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In his assessment on how things could have been different in Afghanistan, David Sanger in Sunday’s New York Times repeats one of the fixed assumptions about America’s longest war to date: we wouldn’t be in the current mess in Afghanistan “if only [the Bush administration] had not been distracted by Iraq, or averted [its] eyes from the Taliban’s resurgence.” That’s almost certainly the case. But it turns out that without the Iraq war, the U.S. could well have found itself fighting in Afghanistan without NATO. It was the rapid U.S. advance across Iraq, particularly the fall of Baghdad, that turned […]

According to Taliban spokesman Qari Yusuf Ahmadij, the insurgent group is very happy about the Dutch military withdrawal from Afghanistan that began on Sunday. “We want to wholeheartedly congratulate the citizens and government of the Netherlands for having the courage . . . to take this independent decision,” Ahmadij told the Dutch daily Volkskrant, adding that, “We hope that other countries with troops stationed in Afghanistan will follow the Netherlands’ example.” Ahmadij’s remarks, though intended to be provocative, in fact raise key questions — namely, how many other countries will indeed follow the Netherlands’ example, and how quickly. The decision […]

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Britain and France are launching a joint effort to examine possibilities for defense cooperation in the face of shrinking defense budgets. In an e-mail interview, Nick Witney, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and former chief executive of the European Defence Agency in Brussels, explains the context for current France-Britain military cooperation. WPR: What are some of the historic differences between Britain and France’s defense postures? Nick Witney: We’ve won more times than they have! Think Agincourt, Trafalgar . . . More seriously, since World War II, the main differences have stemmed from France’s independent, Gaullist […]

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United States Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller delivered a statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the new START treaty. Gottemoeller was the lead United States negotiator on the new treaty. She highlighted the fact that there were no backroom deals during negotiations, despite rumors of the contrary, and emphasized the treaty’s importance.