Russian Tension with Ukraine, West

Two stories involving Russia from this morning’s Media Roundup caught our eye. First, Russia and Ukraine avoided a confrontation over gas, but the former Soviet republic’s flirtation with NATO caused Vladimir Putin to threaten targeting the country with nuclear missiles. Meanwhile, the LA Times reports that the “Pentagon is trying to assess whether a low-level flight by a Russian bomber over American warships in the Pacific Ocean last weekend was a sign that Moscow is returning to a worrisome ‘Cold War mind-set.’” The LA Times article mentions tensions over the U.S. missile defense system and Washington’s “strengthened relations with Ukraine, […]

WPR in the Jerusalem Post

Ehud Olmert visited Berlin this week, and the Jerusalem Post used the occasion to publish an analysis on a key source of tension between Germany and Israel: the former’s economic relations with Iran. The Post quoted a World Politics Review piece by John Rosenthal at length in its analysis: . . . Olmert’s visit, and the pressing threat of a nuclear-armed Teheran, exposed the fault lines in German-Israel relations. The 800-pound gorilla in the room is Germany’s solid economic relationship with the mullahs. Perhaps in an effort to blunt the damage caused by Germany’s technological and material support for the […]

Photo Feature: Anti-FARC March in Bogotá

Editor’s Note: The following photos are a supplement to Anastasia Moloney’s Feb. 7 report on the anti-FARC march in Bogotá. All photos by Anastasia Moloney. Effigies of FARC leaders. This marcher’s sign says FARC stands for “Ferocious Assassin Rat Cowards” There was widespread anti-Hugo Chávez sentiment on display. More anti-Chavez sentiment: this time FARC stands for “Revolutionary Armed Forces of Chávez” Among the posters of FARC kidnap victims that lined the march route were pictures of the three American contractors who remain in FARC custody.

Gates: the Anti-Rumsfeld?

In a recent report on the German media’s coverage of Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ letter to the German defense minister, John Rosenthal noted that one German Green Party officials said Gates’ letter “represented a ‘relapse’ to the ‘Rumsfeld period.’” Fred Kaplan’s must-read profile of Gates in Sunday’s New York Times magazine makes it clear just how inapt that comparison is. The traits that “distinguish Gates from his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld,” according to Kaplan, are “caution as opposed to brashness, attention more to particulars than to grand theory and a view of history as a set of warning bells, not an […]

Le Monde: French Soldiers Fired on Rebels in Chad Fighting

Did French forces participate in the defense of N’Djamena against the rebel forces that attacked the Chadian capital earlier this month? The title of an article in last Friday’s edition of Le Monde suggests that they did not: “Chad: Paris Decided Not to Intervene.” But the details of the article indicate exactly the opposite. The article cites unnamed French government sources, at least one of whom is supposed to have taken part in the government’s deliberations. Here a translation of the key paragraph: Confronted by the attack of the Chadian rebels, the French President chose at first to stick to […]

German Politicians Denounce ‘Shameless’ Gates Letter

The reactions of German politicians and media commentators to U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’s request for troop support in southern Afghanistan are striking not only for the virtual unanimity with which the request has been rejected, but above all for their virulence. The reactions were sparked by two reports that appeared on the same day (Jan. 31) in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and in the Spiegel. The reports referred to a letter from Gates to German Minister of Defense Franz Josef Jung. Whereas the Sueddeutsche Zeitung described the tone of Gates’s letter as “unusually sharp,” unnamed “Ministry of Defense circles” […]

A New Basis for U.S. Foreign Policy: ‘Security First’

This week’s must-read piece on U.S. foreign policy is Jonathan Rauch’s “Export Security, Not Democracy” (link will expire Feb. 8) in the Feb. 1 issue of National Journal. Rauch takes a cue from Amitai Etzioni’s book “Security First” (he also cites Larry Diamond’s latest), in arguing that “basic security,” not democracy, should be at the center of U.S. foreign policy. Not only does basic security rest “on the deepest and most universal of moral foundations, respect for human life and repudiation of deadly violence,” but it also addresses a tragic irony of current U.S. foreign policy: that American-style democracy offends […]

WPR Contributors Writing Elsewhere

We like to do all we can to highlight the work of World Politics Review contributors — even when that work appears elsewhere. To that end, we’ll begin posting links to WPR contributors’ writings in other outlets in this space. If you’re a WPR contributor, email us with links for this feature: –Luke Hunt wrote about Vietnamese spy Pham Xuan An for World Politics Review shortly after An’s death in 2006. In the latest issue of The Correspondent, the monthly magazine of the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondent’s Club, Hunt reviews “Perfect Spy,” a book on An by Larry Berman. —Kelly […]

Whose BBC?

The present author well remembers a discussion that took place in a London home in 2005. The topic was bias in the British media and whether it could not perhaps affect the British public’s perception of international matters such as the Iraq War or the Middle East conflict. The conversation had already become somewhat heated when my host — a longtime Labor Party activist and advisor to the British government — suddenly exclaimed: “We have our BBC!” The objectivity of “our” BBC being apparently beyond doubt and my interlocutor, in a similarly proprietary spirit, having only shortly before reminded me […]

Ashura in Afghanistan

The Washington Post’s PostGlobal has just begun another video reporting project called “Islam’s Advance,” a (curiously named?) effort meant “to challenge our perceptions of Islam as a monolithic and extremist creed, and to look for answers to some of the most important questions facing the world today: how is Islam adapting to the demands of the 21st century? What can the religion do to reform from within? And how do those tensions play themselves out in the lives of ordinary Muslims?” The project is helmed by Jack Fairweather, who will travel in the Middle East and Central Asia as a […]

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