What Cheney Attack Says About Taliban Tactics

The conventional wisdom about the increase in suicide attacks in Afghanistan is that Taliban insurgents there are learning from the tactics of the Iraq insurgency. This conventional wisdom was on full display in the day-after press coverage of yesterday’s attack on Bagram Air Base, where Vice President Cheney was visiting. See the Washington Post and New York Times news-analysis-style pieces, for example. However, in a fascinating piece for the Jamestown Foundation, Brian Glyn Williams and Cathy Young, both of U-Mass.-Dartmouth, says a close look at recent suicide bombings in Afghanistan only reveals the ineptitude of Afghanistan suicide bombers as compared […]

Jolie Bolsters Foreign Policy Bona Fides With Post Op-ed

With this blog post we’ve officially spent too much time talking about Angelina Jolie. As a publication that aspires to some level of seriousness, we know we risk mockery for this. But after we noted Monday that the sultry actress is an aspiring member of the Council on Foreign Relations, we can’t help but alert our readers to her Bahai, Chad-datelined op-ed in today’s Washington Post (which we linked to in today’s Media Roundup). We’re normally not inclined to be generous toward celebrities when they wade into the policy arena. But, with that disclaimer, Jolie’s op-ed seemed eminently sensible to […]

More on Chinese Stock Market Tumble

In a column today titled “China’s Market Sideshow Turns Into Main Event,” Bloomberg’s William Pesek, who I quoted in yesterday’s post on the Chinese stock market slide, said investors should not have been surprised: . . . on a relative basis, China has become the key emerging market for the U.S. “To a significant degree, as China goes, so go the emerging-market returns of U.S. investors,” Quinlan said. There you have it — the world’s most developed markets are more vulnerable than ever to the policies of officials in Beijing, regulators in Shanghai and companies throughout the most populous nation. […]

Fears of Chinese Money Tightening Sends Global Markets Tumbling

The Dow Jones Industrial average closed down 3.29 percent, or 415.46 points Tuesday, the biggest one-day point drop since just after Sept. 11, 2001. The Nasdaq fell 3.86 percent. European markets also experienced the biggest single session declines since May 2006. The culprit for this selloff? Fears that the Chinese Central Bank would act to slow a potentially overheated Chinese economy. The Shanghai stock market was the first to tumble on these fears: Shanghai’s Composite Index shed nearly 9% — the biggest decline in a decade — on what analysts said were widespread efforts by investors to cash in on […]


The Financial Times and the New York Post are having a ball with news globetrotting actress Angelina Jolie could become a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. The Post apparently jumped the gun with the “BABE AMID BRANIACS” headline atop its Feb. 25 story claiming CFR has “decided to admit” Jolie, who’ll “soon be rubbing elbows with other club members such as Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and Alan Greenspan.” FT explained on Feb. 26 that CFR has merely decided “to accept the 32-year-old to be considered for a special five-year term.” Note the more careful […]

Commentary Week in Review

The Commentary Week in Review is posted on the blog every Friday. Drawing from more than two dozen English-language news outlets worldwide, the column highlights a handful of the week’s notable op-eds. Blogs are challenging the mainstream media and, in some parts of the world, that’s good thing. Expect the unexpected in the French presidential race. The British drawdown in Iraq is no surprise. Syria is “just as complicit as Iran,” and the Cold War is over, so let’s have a toast. Writing in the Feb. 21 Guardian, Simon Tisdall offered an insightful update on the French Presidential race: Despite […]

Odierno Says U.S. Forces Will Adapt to Helicopter Tactics

From the NewsHour Thursday night: Jim Lehrer: In Baghdad, Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno said militants are trying new tactics, including the rash of attacks on helicopters. Odierno: I think we see in a few cases, two maybe three of the cases, that there were probably some sort of ambush sites that were set up by some of our foes. We are studying those intently, we’re trying to learn from those, and we will learn from those, and we will adapt our tactics. Lehrer: The general said U.S. forces have captured two members of a cell involved in the helicopter […]

More on South African Crime

On Feb. 19, we published “In South Africa, Mbeki Faces Public Outrage Over Crime,” by Robert Carmichael. In that story, Carmichael mentioned an ad campaign by a leading local bank designed to pressure Mbeki to take action on crime: As events moved to a head this month, a leading local bank decided at the 11th hour to pull a campaign designed to pressure Mbeki into putting crime at the top of his agenda in his annual address to Parliament on Feb. 9. (The government’s denial that it had pressured the bank to drop its campaign is not widely believed.) The […]

East Sudan: The Next Darfur?

The television program Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria has begun posting all of their weekly shows on YouTube — a great step in what we hope will be an evolution of the video-sharing site (now owned by Google) toward a place that features more than just lip-synching teenagers and virtuoso guitar performances (not that we have anything against those). Each of the Foreign Exchange shows is 30 minutes long — perhaps a little long for posting on a blog. Fortunately, however, individual reports that have aired on Foreign Exchange, many of them produced by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, […]

Vanishing Foreign Coverage? The Web is the Answer

In this past Sunday’s Washington Post, Pamela Constable, a veteran foreign reporter, became the latest in a string of op-ed writers to lament the the “Demise of the Foreign Correspondent.” Constable made a compelling case for the necessity of foreign coverage: Today, Americans’ need to understand the struggles of distant peoples is greater than ever. Our troops are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, countries that we did not know enough about when we invaded them and that we are still trying to fathom. We have been victimized by foreign terrorists, yet we still cannot imagine why anyone would hate us. […]

Commentary Week in Review

The Commentary Week in Review is posted on the blog every Friday. Drawing from more than two dozen English-language news outlets worldwide, the column highlights a handful of the week’s notable op-eds. Normally, in our Commentary Week in Review, we highlight five notable op-eds from the week, on the theory that a review of the world’s opinion pages can’t hope to be comprehensive, but can merely highlight a few interesting or excellent examples among the very diverse smorgasbord of subjects and points of view that are covered each week in newspapers and magazines from New York and Washington to Mumbai, […]

The Philippines: One Area of Progress in Terror War

Paul Wiseman’s story in USA Today Feb. 14 is heartening. The Philippines, with U.S. help, is making progress against its homegrown Islamists: CAMP BAUTISTA, Philippines — Thousands of miles from the bazaars of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, U.S. military forces are quietly helping defeat terrorists in the jungles of the southern Philippines, a forgotten front in the global war on terrorism. Working behind the scenes with a rejuvenated Philippine military, U.S. special forces have helped kill, capture or rout hundreds of Abu Sayyaf guerrillas who have links to the Islamic terror groups Jemaah Islamiyah and al-Qaeda, Philippine and […]

Australian PM Slams Obama

In perhaps the best example yet of how international the politics of the upcoming U.S. Presidential race are destined to be, Australian Prime Minister John Howard pulled no punches in his reaction to Democratic Senator Barak Obama’s announcement this weekend that he will seek the presidency in 2008. “If I was running al-Qaida in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats,” Howard, a staunch conservative and ally to the Bush administration told Australia’s Nine Network television on Sunday. Obama […]

Commentary Week In Review

The Commentary Week in Review is posted on the blog every Friday. Drawing from more than two dozen English-language news outlets worldwide, the column highlights a handful of the week’s notable op-eds. Will the United States bomb Iran? Is that exactly what Iranian hard-liners want? Those questions and others, including ones on Sri Lanka’s civil war, Pakistan’s Taliban collusion and global warming, made their way into opinionated print the week of Feb. 4 through Feb. 9. Noting the Bush administration is “beating the drums of war with Iran,” Lenoard Weiss and Larry Diamond wrote in the Feb. 5 Los Angeles […]

The Politico on International Lobbying

Here inside the beltway, the launch of the political newspaper and Web site The Politico has gotten a lot of attention. As we spend all our time following international politics, rather than the domestic political scene, we’re not really in a position to comment on the quality of the Politico’s core product. However, leafing through the latest print copy of the new tabloid-format paper, garnered for free from the Politico dispenser that recently joined the long line of newspaper boxes in front of our local Starbucks, one Politico feature did catch our eye. It’s a column called Suite Talk, which […]

Pentagon Will Establish AFRICOM

Photo: Participants in the U.S. military’s Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa “Host Nation Conference” at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Jan. 9. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Pentagon plans to establish an Africa Command, or AFRICOM. WPR contributor Richard Weitz wrote about the need for such a command back in November. Here’s what Weitz said: The escalating war in Somalia, coming on top of the conflicts in Sudan and the Congo, underscores the need for the United States to develop an improved means for managing African security issues. For many […]

Happy Bloggers of Syria

The manner with which the Internet is now connecting a growing number of Syrians with information about the world and each other is practically too good to be true — at least if you’re willing to steer clear of writing about politics in your blog. Just ask young bloggers in Damascus. I had the chance to meet with several of them while researching an article on Syria, which ran first in the February issue of Reason Magazine. Like many young women growing up and living in the Middle East today, 27-year-old Sara Takieddin says she’s become a “more devout” Muslim […]

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