Among the more than 20 top posts at the State Department that have yet to be filled is the director of foreign assistance. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice created the post in 2006 to consolidate responsibility for the country’s nearly $30 billion foreign aid budget. What follows is a letter to the still-to-be-named nominee. To the incoming director of foreign assistance, As you well know, for more than six decades, foreign aid has played an indispensable role in the conduct of the United States’ foreign affairs. Today, 154 countries benefit from some kind of financial assistance. Along with defense […]

Child Labor Supplies Popular Chocolate Brands

Earlier this month, Interpol publicized the results of a first-of-its-kind operation in West Africa aimed at freeing children trafficked to cocoa- and palm-plantation owners. The operation resulted in the arrests of eight people on charges of illegal recruitment of minors and the rescue of 54 children — aged 11-16 — from seven countries. “With Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire producing around three-quarters of the world’s cocoa, it is believed that hundreds of thousands of children are working illegally in the plantations across these two countries alone. The trafficking of children is often camouflaged by the cultural practice of placing young children […]

The U.S. Cyber-Consequences Unit has recently issued a report documenting how Russia supplemented its conventional war against Georgia last August with a massive, well-integrated and pre-planned information warfare campaign against Georgia’s Internet structure. The techniques were so successful that the unit has restricted distribution of the full report to U.S. government and certain other Internet security professionals. Only the executive summary (pdf) has been made available to the public. The U.S. Cyber-Consequences Unit is independent, non-profit research institute affiliated with the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. The report’s main author, John Bumgarner, directs research at the […]

When the global financial crisis struck roughly a year ago, the blogosphere was ablaze with all sorts of scary predictions of, and commentary regarding, ensuing conflict and wars — a rerun of the Great Depression leading to world war, as it were. Now, as global economic news brightens and recovery — surprisingly led by China and emerging markets — is the talk of the day, it’s interesting to look back over the past year and realize how globalization’s first truly worldwide recession has had virtually no impact whatsoever on the international security landscape. None of the more than three-dozen ongoing […]

In one of the most quoted aphorisms in international relations, the Prussian political philosopher Carl von Clausewitz said that “war is merely a continuation of politics.” In other words, for every war that has been waged, we can point to political aims underpinning its waging. Take some recent examples. In large part, the 1991 Persian Gulf war was about exerting power: It sought to prevent an invasion of Saudi Arabia and oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait. However, in Vietnam, the end goal was political influence: The war was fought to keep the south from falling to the communists. The examples […]

In his address during the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue late last month in Washington, President Barack Obama personally appealed to the visiting senior Chinese officials for assistance in achieving his nuclear nonproliferation agenda. Based on the speech Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made on Aug. 12 at the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament, it appears that his message was only partly received. Yang made clear that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) would provide only limited assistance with respect to several of the most important U.S. goals. President Obama stressed the need for concerted action with respect to curbing the […]

Editor’s Note: Click here to read all of the articles that are part of our “Back to the Future” feature. Sign up for a four-month free trialto gain access to other feature articles. The four-month trial offer willend Sept. 30.This free sample article will be available only for a limited time. Tolink to the permanent version of this article, use this URL. Upon taking office in January 2009, in addition to inheriting ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Barack Obama also inherited twin nuclear crises with North Korea and Iran. North Korea conducted its second nuclear test in May […]

Editor’s Note: Click here to read all of the articles that are part of our “Risk and Resilience in a Globalized Age” feature. Sign up for a four-month free trialto gain access to other feature articles. The four-month trial offer will end Sept. 30. This free sample article will be available only for a limited time. Tolink to the permanent version of this article, use this URL. In 1946, George Kennan keyed the famous “Long Telegram,” which identified the Soviet Union as an enemy of the United States. In 1947, the original telegram was reworked and published in Foreign Policy […]

Editor’s Note: Click here to read all of the articles that are part of our “Road to Zero” feature. Sign up for a four-month free trial to gain access to other feature articles. The four-month trial offer will end Sept. 30.This free sample article will be available for only a limited time. To link to the permanent version of this article, use this URL. An Alternative to Arms Control Every Washington wonk dreams that a new president will pick up his or her agenda. When it comes to advocates for nuclear arms control, that dream seems to be coming true. […]

World Politics Review will be taking a publishing hiatus during thelast two weeks in August. Our columnists will still write new columnseach day during these two weeks, but there will be no new briefingsor features until Monday, Aug. 31. Until then, we plan to showcasevarious parts of the site for readers that are interested in diggingdeeper into what we offer. For starters, we’re offering an “August special” to highlight our feature articles, making one article freely available from each of the last three feature themes we have published — “Keeping Ploughshares, Building Swords” by James Carafano, from “The Road to […]

We hear a lot of talk nowadays about the structural imbalance in global trade: namely, the West needs to spend less and export more (Germany excluded) and the East needs to export less and spend more (China especially). What we don’t talk about much are the structural deficits that currently stand in the way of rising Asia’s collective ascension to the role of established third pillar of global order. Instead, we place too much hope on China’s unique abilities to scale that mountain on its own, while simultaneously fearing that Beijing’s resulting ambitions will ultimately prove globally destabilizing. Ever since […]

UNESCO Vacancy a Political Battleground

In September, UNESCO, the Paris-based educational, scientific and cultural subsidiary of the United Nations, will elect a new director general for the next four years; but what started as almost a foregone conclusion has become another typical battle over a hotly contested senior U.N. post. The original front runner to succeed outgoing UNESCO head Koichiro Matsuura was Farouk Hosni, Egypt’s culture minister. According to informal U.N. rules of regional power sharing, the new director should come from the Arab world. But Hosni became a controversial figure following a statement last year that he would “burn Israeli books in Egyptian libraries” […]

For a variety of reasons, over the last several months the issue of cyber security has been prominently covered in the U.S. news media. But for more than a decade, the vulnerability of networked computer systems has been considered by policymakers, with worst-case scenarios running from “Electronic Pearl Harbor” to the more recent rhetorical refresh of “Cyber Katrina.” The Obama Administration and a number of congressional leaders have made preliminary moves to craft a strategy for defending the country’s computer networks, but policymaking interest may outpace technical reality. As a nation, we want to be prepared for cyberwar, but we […]

Thomas P.M. Barnett on BBC Radio

WPR columnist Thomas P.M. Barnett appeared on the BBC radio program “World Have Your Say” Monday. The subject was the U.S. military presence in countries around the world, a subject that Barnett touched on in his latest column. To listen to the program, click here, or right click on that link to download the audio to your computer. Barnett’s portion of the program begins about 11:30. He does his best to bring a little measure of reality to an audience that seems overwhelmingly cynical about and hostile to the U.S. military presence around the world.

U.S. plans to expand its military presence in Colombia have elicited predictable condemnations from anti-American elements in South America, but also concern from friends who see them as encroachment from our ongoing “war on drugs.” Similarly, in another part of the world, Africa Command boss Gen. “Kip” Ward’s repeated assurances that the United States isn’t interested in setting up bases on the continent remains a tough sell, given the new regional combatant command’s explicit mission to expand U.S. military cooperation there. Critics are quick to call every new American boot on the ground “imperial overstretch,” or “empire.” But as often […]

August Vacation

This is my last post before I leave Sunday for a two-week vacation. It’s the dog days of August, Paris is deserted, and my batteries are in need of some recharging. I’m looking forward to a couple weeks of no internet and no e-mail, and the time to dive into the stack of books I’ve gathered for the trip. I’ve been fighting off the urge all week to get started early on Man Gone Down, by Michael Thomas, which had me the first time I saw the title. I also grabbed Jonathan Lethem’s latest novel, You Don’t Love Me Yet, […]

WPR Feature Issue: The Road to Zero

I’d like to say that when we scheduled this week’s feature issue on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, it was with the anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in mind. But the truth is that it was a total coincidence. I remember as a kid, at the Red Diaper Baby summer camp I attended for several years, waking early and dressing in white on Hiroshima Day, taking the “peace crane” origami that each of us had folded the previous afternoon while listening to histories of the attack, and filing down the dirt road with the rest of the campers […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 231 2 Last