Sarkozy on U.S., Turkey, Iran

WASHINGTON — In an interview posted on the Web sites of French embassies around the world, recently inaugurated French President Nicolas Sarkozy began to outline how his administration can be expected to shape a new era for France’s foreign policy. Most noteworthy, however, were remarks Sarkozy made about his position toward two of the countries with which France’s relations have been strained in recent times: the United States and Turkey. In the interview, published initially in the May 2007 issue of the quarterly French magazine “Politique Internationale,” Sarkozy also offered hints about the role his government may be expected to […]

Ukraine Steps Back From Brink

WASHINGTON — Bringing an end, at least for now, to the political standoff that until this weekend appeared to have Ukraine on the brink of civil war, the country’s president and prime minister have agreed that parliamentary elections will be held on Sept. 30. The BBC reported that President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich announced the new date for elections early Sunday after “more than 12-hours of talks between the two men aimed at ending a long-running political crisis.” The crisis began unfolding earlier this year when President Yushchenko accused Prime Minister Yanukovich of illegally inviting members of […]

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. Africa’s secret prisons Writing in the New Statesman on May 21, Christopher Thompson claimed that the United States has “quietly opened” a War on Terror front in East Africa, specifically through the use of undocumented Ethiopian jails for “‘rendition’ and interrogation of terror suspects” rounded up in the region. “Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing the exact number of prisoners. They are kept in secret detention that […]

Price Controls, Food Shortages in Venezuela

On Monday in the Wall Street Journal, Mary Anastasia O’Grady wrote a column about food shortages resulting from Hugo Chávez’s price control policies in Venezuela. WSJ subscribers can read “A Circus But No Bread” online. Or watch O’Grady talk about her column in the video below. But first, check out the news story we ran way back on March 7, by Caracas-based contributor José Orozco. In “Chavez, Private Sector Face Off Over Food Shortages in Venezuela,” WPR covered this story just as Chavez began his price control policies, before it had been written about anywhere else. Here’s an excerpt: “On […]

Is the U.S. Chasing Its Tail in the Middle East?

For those who subscribe to the Atlantic Monthly, or who can otherwise get their hands on a copy of the June issue, we highly recommend reading the cover story, “Grand Illusions,” about Condoleezza Rice and U.S. diplomatic strategy in the Middle East.Samuels’ article does more to describe the Bush administration’s “grand strategy” — to the extent it has one — for the post-Iraq Middle East than anything else I’ve read. The picture that emerges of that strategy is somewhatdiscouraging in a number of ways. Perhaps the most significant cause for worry relates to whether the U.S. strategy for Palestinian-Israeli peace […]

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. February’s bilateral agreement between the United States and North Korea to push Pyongyang toward giving up its nuclear programs is now on the verge of collapse, according to John Bolton, who reminded us in the May 18 Wall Street Journal that “the first step, 60 days after ratification, was to be that North Korea ‘will shut down and seal for the purpose of eventual abandonment’ the Yongbyon nuclear […]

What Does the World Think of America?

Amar C. Bakshi, a producer and videographer with the Washington Post’s PostGlobal site, has just set out on a trip to the far corners of the world to chronicle “How the World Sees America.” Right now, he’s only gotten as far as Manchester, England, but the results so far — from a conversation with Prospect magazine founder David Goodhart about British anti-Americanism to a discussion with British college students about American patriotism — show the project has promise. The germ of the idea came from Bakshi himself, according to the Post’s David Ignatius. An experience in a Zimbabwean prison in […]

More on Afghanistan: Peace Talks and Civilian Casualties

In his post below, John Rosenthal pointed to Europe as the source of much of the push for (most probably futile) negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan. However, much of the news coverage of the issue following the Afghanistan Senate’s recent vote in favor of negotiations pointed toward internal Afghan origins for the apparent movement toward negotiations. In a story in the Sunday New York Times, for example, Carlotta Gall and David Sanger suggested that there is an upsurge in anger among the Afghanistan public after a number of incidents in which U.S. and NATO air strikes caused civilian deaths. […]

Afghanistan: Negotiating With War Criminals?

A vote by the Afghan Senate last week calling on the Afghan government to enter into negotiations with the Taliban has created a considerable amount of buzz. In fact, the idea is not new. It was first publicly floated by the chairman of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), Kurt Beck, following a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on April 1. At the time, the reaction of the Afghan government to Beck’s proposal was hardly enthusiastic. “The hard core among the Islamists, like Taliban leader Mullah Omar and his [since killed] military chief Mullah Dadullah, do not want […]

Padilla Terror Trial Finally Under Way

MIAMI — It took the government a while, about three-and-a-half years, but the much the much-hyped trial of alleged terrorist wannabe Jose Padilla is finally under way in Miami’s district court. Padilla, who prosecutors assert was an aspiring al-Qaida fighter looking to wage global jihad against the U.S. and its allies, looked sharp in his suit and tie Monday as federal lawyers volleyed numerous accusations in their opening remarks that the suspect supported and colluded with terror groups like al-Qaida. His duds, though far from designer, were in sharp contrast to the prison-issue orange jumpsuit, handcuffs and leg irons Padilla […]

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. With the United States deep in battle against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and “fearing the next terrorist attack” on its own shores, Lorenzo Vidino posed the following in his May 9 Boston Globe commentary: “Why not empower moderates within the Muslim world? Why not intervene in what is often defined as a civil war for the soul of Islam in support of those who espouse positions that […]

Welcome to World Politics Review

Dear Readers, We are pleased to announce some exciting changes at the publication formerly known as World Politics Review. First and foremost, we have a new name. We are now WORLD POLITICS REVIEW. We think the name World Politics Review more accurately captures the mission of our publication, which is to provide context and analysis in our original news, commentary, audio and — coming soon — video content. (And, in our our blog and media roundup, we point readers to must-read information on world politics from other sources.) Along with our new name, we have a new address on the […]

Cuba, Venezuela React Angrily to Posada Ruling

A U.S. federal judge has dismissed all charges against Luis Posada Carriles, the anti-Castro Cuban exile and former CIA operative accused of masterminding a 1976 Cuban airliner bombing that killed 73 people as well as a series of other bombings that took place in Havana in 1993. Posada, who was born in Cuba and later became a citizen of Venezuela, is reported to have sneaked into the United States sometime in late-2004. The May 9 ruling, which nullifies immigration fraud charges that had been brought against him by the U.S. government in El Paso, Texas, attracted “sharp criticism from the […]

Balkan Islamism and the Fort Dix Terror Plot Bust

With the news that two brothers who plotted to kill soldiers at the U.S. Army’s Fort Dix in New Jersey are ethnic Albanians originally from Macedonia, expect a lot of news coverage and commentary in the coming days about the extent to which fundamentalist Islamism is present in the Balkans. (Even though these guys apparently left Macedonia as very young men and plotted their attack while living in a New Jersey suburb.) This AP story from today describes the plotters’ ethnicity as unexpected, pointing out that the would-be terrorists’ homeland is “one of Europe’s most pro-American corners — a region […]

Revisiting the Royal-Sarkozy Debate: A Bizarre Impression Explained

PARIS — One of the dominant impressions left by the televised debate between Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal last Wednesday was that of a strange disconnectedness of Royal’s discourse from both the questions posed and, above all, the remarks of her ostensible “debating partner” Sarkozy. It was as if Royal was reciting from a prepared script — in which, however, only her lines were written and hence she could not be sure when exactly to pronounce them. This bizarre impression was undoubtedly most pronounced during the most widely cited “exchange” of the debate: when Royal suddenly raised her voice, declaring […]

Balkan Pressure Cooker

SARAJEVO — A string of recent events has turned up the heat in this part of the world. With the final status of Kosovo still in the balance, we find ourselves on the heels of a series of important developments that should be viewed within a wider Balkan political context, in addition to the impact they could have on Kosovo. The latest came May 7 in Belgrade, as Serbian Parliament tapped Tomislav Nikolic, a.k.a. “The Undertaker,” to be its new speaker — the country’s third most powerful post. Nikolic, 55, is deputy head of Serbia’s Radical Party, which took 37 […]

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