In case you’re not in the practice of doing so, I highly recommend clicking through to WPR’s daily Media Roundup as a supplement to your regular news aggregator if you have one, or as an intelligent survey of the morning’s top news and commentary if you don’t. That’s where I ran across this Henry Kissinger op ed on the globalization backlash and what to do to keep it from gathering steam. The irony of the current wave of protectionist sentiment is that it’s coming from the “consumer” nations, and is accompanied by the growing sentiment that globalization poses not only […]
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that al-Qaida has managed to lose the battle for hearts and minds in the Arab world at a faster pace than we have. Indiscriminate bloodbaths are likely to do that, especially when it comes from what’s supposed to be the home team. More importantly, an operational philosophy that appeals predominantly to sociopaths will always have a hard time advancing a convincing societal program. Dan Drezner has got a useful rundown (complete with lengthy citations) of the emerging discussion. To the extent that the Iraq War provided al-Qaida with a broad playing field to employ […]
This from Democracy Arsenal’s Max Bergmann seems about right to me. Saying you want to save military action as a last resort, as John McCain does, is great. But if your first resort is to set unconditional demands that your adversaries have already rejected, you wind up getting to your last resort pretty quickly. To use the language of “Getting to Yes,” unless you want to settle for your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) right off the bat, you’ve got to actually explore the possibility of a negotiated agreement. Negotiating doesn’t mean being naive about your enemies and […]
Two views of John McCain’s address on nuclear proliferation. Nikolas Gvosdev, who examines it through a political lens and gives it a qualified approval, and the CSIS’ John Wolfsthal (guest posting at Democracy Arsenal), who examines it through a non-proliferation lens and gives it a once over with an aluminum baseball bat. Interestingly, Gvosdev found a parallel between McCain’s treatment of Russia and the rhetoric Brack Obama used in his speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs back in April 2007. Ironic, given the differences in how they’d actually deal with Russia.
Nouriel Roubini’s RGE Monitor Newsletter explains the outlook for oil prices. While it looks like rising prices may be beginning to affect demand in developed economies, that demand slowdown may take a long time, and emerging-market demand may offset it: There may be signs that high oil and product prices are having an effect though, at least in industrialized countries, which still account for the bulk of demand. U.S. imports of crude oil have been falling for several weeks and gasoline purchases are being watched closely for any decreases. Yet the recent output increase from Saudi Arabia is all bound […]
The U.K.’s Telegraph speculates that McCain’s consideration of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as a running mate is at least in part aimed at countering the “diversity” argument for Barack Obama as the first African-American president. Jindal would be the first Asian-American on a presidential ticket, the Telegraph points out, although the British paper’s assertion that Jindal might have some effect on African-American support for Obama seems a stretch. As World Politics Review contributor Turna Ray noted in February, however, a Jindal selection would no doubt please India. Ray noted then that the Times of India and other Indian papers had […]
WASHINGTON D.C. – Financial, FATA and fuel security concerns dominated Congressional foreign policy committee meetings this week – no surprise, given the dismal economic and political news simultaneously coming out of Wall Street and Islamabad. The House Committee on Foreign Affairs began the week with a hearing to determine the full impact of sovereign wealth funds and, according to Chairman Howard L. Berman, “the power that these massive funds may have over U.S. national security interests.” But contrary to Berman’s opening remarks, the experts seemed to agree that SWFs are symptomatic of U.S. economic downturn, if not a changing world […]
Two posts over at Fairer Globalization discuss the impact of ethics on consumer choices, and the role of principles in corporate practices. The latter identifies four explanations for a growing trend on the part of globalized businesses to “over comply” with ethical practices: privatization, globalization, NGO oversight/consumer activism, and the rise of socially responsible investing. All of those fit under the umbrella of increased public awareness, whether of the globally borne costs of development (ie. climate change) or of the local impact of particular companies’ practices. It’s another example of how globalization is inseparable from the information revolution that has […]
Nikolas Gvosdev has a provocative post, titled The Gamble, in which he suggests that there might be an “expectations gap” between what a new American administration is willing to offer and what the world is hoping for: . . .[W]hat I think might end up occurring is that a new U.S. administration might be prepared to offer something that would have been acceptable in 2002 or 2003 but that by 2009 may seem insufficient — so I do think that there is a clear “expectations gap”, certainly in the trans-Atlantic relationship. It bears watching, and it means that we need […]
The House Committte on Foreign Affairs held a hearing this morning on sovereign wealth funds. For an alarmist view, there’s Gal Luft here, for a benign view there’s Edwin Truman here, and for an informative view there’s Gerard Lyons here. I found it interesting that regardless of whether the goal was to alarm, to reassure or to inform, the testimony of all three witnesses converged on the same general recommendations: more transparency, a code of best practices, and continued vigilance. As an aside, the funds that grouped into the Low Transparency-Highly Strategic Investment Approach quadrant in one of Lyons’ charts […]
Steve Clemons from The Washington Note passed on a couple items of interest via a mass mailer. He’s hosting UK Foreign Minister David Milibrand for a presentation at the New America Foundation, and the live stream (10:30-11:30 am EST) can be found here. Then from noon to 1 pm EST, Steve’s live streaming a George Soros presentation to the London School of Economics here. Should be good stuff.
Are some among the leadership of Iran beginning to question that country’s support of Hezbollah and other extremist groups beyond Iran’s borders? Notably, the Committee on the Present Danger, among the most influential organizations pushing the neoconservative foreign policy agenda in recent years, suggests as much in its latest Iran Update: Ever since the 1979 revolution that created the Islamic Republic of Iran, its radical regime has worked hard to “export the revolution” – to promote Iran’s aggressive brand of Shi’a political Islam beyond its borders. . . . But now, a member of the regime’s inner circle apparently has […]
The House Armed Services Committee is concerned that the Defense Department’s nascent Africa Command plans to address itself to missions better suited to be managed by other U.S. agencies. From the committee’s report (warning: very large pdf file) on the Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2009, which was released Friday: The committee . . . understands that a stable Africa is in the national interests of the United States. Nevertheless, the committee finds that within the command’s mission statement, it has listed a variety of tasks that appear to depart from traditional Department of Defense (DOD) missions, including medical […]
In a speech in Columbus, Ohio, yesterday, John McCain looked into his crystal ball and described how he sees the state of the union in 2013, at the end of his first term as president. Here’s what he said about foreign affairs: By January 2013, America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure in her freedom. The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, although still suffering from the lingering effects of decades of tyranny and centuries of sectarian tension. Violence still occurs, but it […]
A Bush administration lobbying effort to stave off congressional opposition to the Merida initiative, counternarcotics aid to Mexico, appears to have been successful, as the money has made it into versions of an Iraq and Afghanistan war supplemental approved this week by the House and Senate approproations committees. As the Politico reported May 8, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made calls to lawmakers last week in an attempt to stave off cuts to the $500 million the Bush administration had requested for this year. Lawmakers objections to the Merida funding ranged from the procedural to the substantive. Some lawmakers […]
Via 2point6billion.com, The Hindu recaps the most significant concrete outcomes of the RIC foreign minister summit: In a joint communiqué, adopted at their eighth meeting, the Foreign Ministers of the countries “reaffirmed the commonality” in their views on the global situation and, for the first time, set out coordinated positions on Kosovo, Iran, Afghanistan and the Asia-Pacific region, as India displayed a greater readiness to go along with its partners in the triangle on these issues. Meanwhile, Nikolas Gvosdev reports that the “Southern Democracy-Eastern Autocracy” alignment he’s been positing seems to have held up during UN Security Council discussions over […]