Kasparov’s Opening Move

WASHINGTON — Garry Kasparov, one of the greatest chess players of all time, won the presidential nomination of Russia’s opposition coalition, the Other Russia, on Sept. 30. Days later, Kasparov launched a book tour in the United States and spoke on Capitol Hill on Oct. 10. Participation in a Washington conference on the state of Russian democracy is a strange campaign move for a Russian presidential nominee often criticized for having overly close ties with the West. His appearance in Washington is also a sign of just how ostracized Russia’s top opposition candidate is back at home and highlights the […]

U.S. Tops Global Competitiveness Rankings

The top 10 most competitive economies in the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s just-released 2007-2008 Global Competitiveness Report, are: 1. United States2. Switzerland3. Denmark 4. Sweden 5. Germany6. Finland 7. Singapore 8. Japan9. United Kingdom10. Netherlands Here’s Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics at Columbia University and Co-Editor of the Report, on its findings: At Foreign Policy’s Passport blog, Adam Lewis has some notable highlights from the report, including what it tells us about the success of Hugo Ch├ívez’s “half-baked socialist vision” and the work that Nicolas Sarkozy has to do in France. The Financial Times has a video […]

NATO Defense Ministers Meeting in Noordwijk

On Wednesday and Thursday of last week, defense ministers from NATO countries gathered in Noordwijk, in the Netherlands, to talk about a number of critical issues facing the alliance. As Frida Ghitis reports, top on the agenda was Afghanistan. Ghitis writes that European member countries are decidedly ambivalent about remaining there, much less committing more troops: Hosting the Noordwijk meeting, Dutch Defense Minister Eimert van Middelkoop made a case to his European colleagues that sounded very much like the “Freedom isn’t free” bumper stickers seen on some cars on American roads. The way van Middelkoop put it, “There is no […]

DOD Follows State Dept. Lead in Launching Video Section

Two months after the State Department launched a Web site that features videos of news conferences and interviews with department officials — and one that allows, YouTube-style, for the videos to be embedded on any Web site — the Defense Department is now following suit. We have criticized DOD in the past for not making their newsworthy video easily accessible to journalists, bloggers and, well, anyone. So now that they’ve launched the video site, we must congratulate their getting with it, so to speak, even if rather late. And it’s commendable that DOD appears to have gone the State Department […]

The Mafia Still Holds Sway in Italy

As Corridors of Power reported this week, a recent report from an Italian retailers association revealed the incredible extent to which the mafia still plagues the southern Italian economy: TONY SOPRANO, EAT YOUR HEART OUT — Italy’s harassed store owners paid $8.5 billion in protection money to organized crime in one year, almost all of it in the south and Sicily, where the Mafia and its Neapolitan counterpart, the Camorra, hold sway. About 160,000 businesses were targeted throughout the country, according to the Italian retailers association, Confesercenti. Loan sharks took in double that amount: $17.1 billion. From 2004-2006 Mafia loan […]

New Videos: ‘Haiti’s Progress’ and ‘Turkey and the PKK’

You can see all WPR videos by visiting our video section. To make sure you won’t miss any, subscribe to our video feed. Below are our two latest video reports. WPR Video Editor Aaron Ernst visited Haiti in August. Here’s what he found: -O- This report on Turkey and the PKK is the first result of a new collaboration between World Politics Review and Feature Story News:

WPR Top 10 Oct. 14-20

First of all, apologies to those who visited WPR yesterday and this morning looking for new articles and came up empty. After a brief editorial respite that was unintentionally prolonged yesterday by a number of factors, including key staff trapped by so-called “weather delays” at one of our nations’ many overburdened airports, we’re happy to say that the editorial week is belatedly under way today. So, in the spirit of transition from one week to the next, now is an appropriate time highlight the top 10 most-read articles on WPR during the week of Oct. 14-20: 1. Iran, Sanctions and […]

When Pro-Israel Means Avoiding, Rather than Confronting, the Issue of Genocide

As reported in a compelling article by the NYT’s Neela Banerjee, Jewish communities in the U.S. face a growing dilemma in discussions of the House resolution to condemn the Armenian genocide: “If you deny one genocide,” said Dr. Jack Nusan Porter, a child of Holocaust survivors and a genocide studies scholar who attended the meeting, “you deny all genocides.” But others, including the powerful pro-Israel lobby group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), have decided that the resolution is too damaging to Israel’s alliance with Turkey. Abe Foxman, the ADL’s national director defends the position in the same article: “Israel’s relationship with […]

Uganda’s President Museveni Coming to America, Seeking Funds

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will meet with U.S. President George W. Bush in the White House October 30. An October 12 White House press statement lists Uganda’s role in Somalia, the conflict with the LRA/reconstruction in the North, and combating HIV/AIDS as the main topics for discussion. In each area, the Ugandan leader is likely to make a case for continuing or increasing U.S. funding: -On Somalia, Uganda has been the sole African Union country to fulfill its commitment to deploy troops in a U.S. funded stabilization effort. Uganda’s Daily Monitor reports that Museveni is likely to offer to send […]

Eyeing Iran, U.S. Hopes to Cut Deal With Russia on Missile Shield

In a fairly predictable trade-off, the U.S. is wooing Russian support for stopping Iran’s nuclear program, offering to soften the U.S. stance on missile defense in Eastern Europe. The missile shield the U.S. hopes to build in Poland with radar in the Czech Republic would still be built, but the U.S. has offered not to turn it on unless Russia agrees that Iran has become a threat. Perhaps the most significant, and largely unstated implication in the offer, is that the missile shield is really to defend against Iran, North Korea and other “rogue states”, and does not seek to […]

For Bush and Congress, Threats from Turkey are Scarier than from China

As the New York Times reports today, the House resolution to condemn as genocide the 1915-17 massacre of Armenians in Turkey is losing steam. Under pressure from the Bush administration and the Turkish government, more and more Representatives are backing off, acquiescing to the argument that the non-binding resolution could have a devastating impact on relations with Turkey. The measure is largely symbolic, partly a nod to the Armenian population in the U.S., and partly a rebuke to Turkey, which still has laws against referring to the killings as a “genocide.” The Turkish government has threatened serious damage if the […]

The Surreal Path to Peace: David Lynch Visits Israel

Auteur and transcendental meditation devotee David Lynch, director of such surrealist masterpieces as Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, met with Israeli President Shimon Peres this week as part of an effort to “encourage transcendental meditation as a new approach to . . . creating a peaceful world,” CBS reports. This clip provides a flavor of the weirdness that ensued: The cell phone breaking in with the INXS ring tone is just too perfect.

House Plans Hearing on Yahoo and Shi Tao Case

From the House Committee on Foreign Affairs: Committee Asks Yahoo! Executives to Testify About False Information Given to Congress in China Human Rights Case Washington, D.C. – The House Foreign Affairs Committee today asked top officials of Yahoo! Inc. to testify at a hearing on how the Internet company gave false information to Congress about its role in a human rights case in China that sent a journalist to jail for a decade. Committee Chairman Tom Lantos has asked Yahoo! Chief Executive Officer Jerry Yang and the company’s senior vice president and general counsel, Michael Callahan, to appear at a […]

New Videos: Russian Protests and How the World Sees America

In case you missed them, WPR has posted two new videos in recent days. To watch them and browse our other videos, go to the WPR video section. Or you can watch them below: To receive an email every time we post new video, sign up for our video feed by email. Alternatively, enter your email address in the email box labeled “Get WPR alerts” that is at the top of every page on our site and make sure you check the “Video Alert” box on the first registration page.

Berlin and Vienna Block EU Iran Sanctions

In an interview that appeared in the German daily Handelsblatt on Tuesday (Oct. 9), the Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik made public Austria’s opposition to French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s proposal for EU economic sanctions against Iran. According to previous reports in the German press, the German Foreign Ministry has been leading the opposition to the Sarkozy proposal. Plassnik met with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Monday. “The basis for Iran sanctions are U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Plassnik told the Handelsblatt, “France is free to push for changes. Our position remains unchanged.” EU Foreign Ministers are scheduled to […]

One Reason Why the Government Can’t Do Intelligence

A private security company, the SITE Intelligence group, had developed a method of monitoring al-Qaida communications on the Internet. When the group shared some its information, a Bin Laden video, with the Bush administration recently, a leak to the media compromised the group’s source. It’s a stark illustration of one key reason our national intelligence system is in such bad shape: the government is terrible at keeping secrets. What’s more, the manner in which intelligence officials played down the seriousness of the compromise demonstrates that they don’t understand the value of non-governmental and open-source intelligence gathering in our modern world. […]

Rice Speaks at the Organization of American States

Condoleezza Rice spoke at the Organization of American States yesterday in a speech sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. She had much to say about an area of the world that the Bush administration has often been accused of neglecting: Latin America. Here’s the 25-minute speech on video, courtesy of the State Department: The full transcript is here. More on the speech: There was surprisingly little news coverage of the speech, but what reports there were focused on Rice’s remarks on trade, and on the related issue of globalization. Mike Boyer at Foreign Policy’s Passport Blog notes that Rice […]

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