Mexican City Test Drives Women-Only Taxi Service

The Mexican city of Puebla has joined the women-only taxi revolution in a bid to protect women from harassment. The move comes over the objections of women’s rights advocates, who charge the measure fails to address underlying problems plaguing women in Mexican society. A new fleet of 35 bright-pink taxis driven by women have hit the streets, serving only female clientele. Each car comes equipped with a tracking device and an alarm, as well as mirrors in the back to allow women to fix their makeup. Most Puebla women have responded positively to the new service, but doubts remain among […]

A bipartisan commission last week reiterated its warning that the U.S. government is responding inadequately to the threat of bioterrorism. Shortly before last fall’s national election, the U.S. Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism issued its major report (.pdf), “World at Risk.” It included detailed guidance to the next U.S. presidential administration about what steps to take to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction or their potential use by terrorists. The commission’s latest report (.pdf), affirms that, “Progress has been made, but the clock is ticking.” Like “World at Risk,” the October […]

This year, every country in the world has had to confront H1N1 influenza, also known as “swine flu.” The newly identified influenza virus caused great concern when it appeared unexpectedly in Mexico and the United States, before spreading quickly to all continents around the globe. But we are now breathing a collective sigh of relief after discovering that — so far, at least — the health impact of this virus has not been much greater than that of the “seasonal” influenza viruses we face every year. At first glance, the international community displayed an admirable level of cooperation and collective […]

Europe Leads World on Press Freedoms

As they have in previous years, European countries continue to dominate the Top 20 in the Reporters Without Borders 2009 Press Freedom Index, despite poor showings from countries like France, Italy, Romania and Slovakia. Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway and Sweden all received top marks in the report, which tracks media freedom around the world. Yet despite Northern Europe’s steadfast protection of freedom of speech and expression, protections in other European countries showed further declines from last year. France and Italy dropped down the list by 8 and 5 slots respectively, drawing fire for authorities’ meddling in the press and physical […]

This week, “The Thinkers 50” Web site named their 50 most influential business thinkers in the world. Atop its list stood the Indian-born, University of Michigan professor, C.K. Prahalad — a visionary whose analysis of the market opportunities to be found in the emerging global middle class is must reading for anyone seriously given to strategic thought in the age of globalization. Globalization is often described as a “race to the bottom,” whether to the lowest price or the least protection for workers and the environment. While relevant, these statements are untrue: High levels of globalization connectivity clearly correlates with […]

Clinton Says IAEA Needs Upgrade

Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton urged the international community to strengthen and focus non-proliferation efforts in a speech given at the U.S. Institute of Peace. She discussed the IAEA’s need for rights and resources upgrading. “All states with nuclear materials or technology have a responsibility to protect them against theft or illicit transfer,” she said.

The Call for a European Foreign Policy

David Miliband, U.K. Foreign Secretary, delivered a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies on the need to shape a strong european foreign policy. “A strong Europe is the best way to preserve and advance our interests in the modern world,” he said. In his speech, Miliband suggests that Britan be at the forefront of this new foreign policy as Europe risks becoming a spectator in a U.S.-China world.

Sakharov Prize Comes Full Circle

The European Parliament has awarded the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Russian human rights group, Memorial. The group, which lost one of its activists in an abduction-murder earlier this year, was awarded the prize in the name of all Russian rights defenders. Russia has seen a wave of kidnap-murders of prominent journalists, activists and lawyers over the last decade. Despite fierce criticism from human rights activists and Western politicians, as well as pressure on Russian authorities to do more to identify and prosecute the crimes, perpetrators continue to act with near impunity. In awarding this year’s […]

A decade after the U.S. Senate declined to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), President Barack Obama is preparing an effort to reverse that decision. But to secure Senate backing this time around, the Obama administration must first overcome residual concerns among some senators that the treaty will harm U.S. national security. The CTBT prohibits all nuclear explosions, whether for military or other purposes, in any environment. Its practical effect would be to extend test prohibitions contained in current treaties and agreements to include underground testing of all nuclear explosive devices, the last domain not formally prohibited by existing […]

Plan B: Restraint vs. Weakness

It seems to me that Stephen Walt’s “Plan B” for President Barack Obama’s foreign policy basically amounts to shrugging off the inability to achieve desired outcomes and lowering expectations moving forward. I’m not saying Walt’s necessarily wrong on the merits, but it doesn’t strike me as a winning second-term agenda, which was the point of the exercise. I can’t find the exact post, but Nikolas Gvosdev has been developing the theme that eventually, Obama is going to have to make it clear just what the costs are for crossing him, both to friends, rivals and enemies. So far, there haven’t […]

When Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin invited Western energy companies to help develop natural gas fields in Siberia’s Yamal Peninsula in late September, many Western observers viewed it as an admission of defeat. After years of increasing state involvement in the upstream of the Russian hydrocarbon sector, a collapse in the price of oil had pushed Moscow to reconsider its adversarial relations with private investors — foreign and domestic alike. While there is some truth to this interpretation, it ignores a more important narrative that emerged from the meeting at the Siberian frontier town of Salekhard about Russia’s shifting attention […]

Obama’s Diwali Message

Diwali is a significant holiday in religious traditions of Hinduism,Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, and U.S. President Obama used theoccasion to continue his personal engagement in U.S. public diplomacy, which hasbeen marked by a number of foreign speeches, as well as several similarvideo messages. Diwali is “a time when members of some of the world’s great faithscelebrate the triumph of good over evil,” Obama said. He also said itis a time “when we remember those who are less fortunate. Those who maynot be eating as heartily or celebrating as festively; those who don’tenjoy the same rights to speak and worship freely, […]

An iPhone with Twitter, Facebook and other apps, in Washington, May 21, 2013 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. On Sept. 1, 2009, the new U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael E. Ranneberger, a career foreign service officer with deep experience on the African continent, started a Twitter feed. The seven or so tweets he posted between then and Sept. 29 were lauded as another example of "Twitter Diplomacy." Shashank Bengali, blogging for McClatchy, declared that the ambassador came out "swinging" with highly charged comments about Kenyan presidential appointees and in support […]

Over time we have come to realize that culture is the obstacle, and that culture is the best way to change culture. — Alyse Nelson, President, Vital Voices The word “culture” conveys multiple meanings. Alyse Nelson, president of the non-governmental organization Vital Voices, which promotes women’s empowerment globally, notes that “culture” in the anthropological sense is often evoked as a rationale for limiting women’s roles in society, while “culture,” meaning creative expression, can present a vision of an attractive alternative lifestyle or solution that can break the stranglehold of tradition. When Vital Voices works with local partners in different parts […]

Power and Influence in a World of Insecurity With the dismal record of the Bush administration fresh in mind, assessing the first nine months of the Obama administration’s international relations performance evokes a mixture of admiration and trepidation. The substantive signals have been important, but arguably less so than the tone and the carefully choreographed style, which seem painstakingly designed to offer something for everyone. Special envoys have been appointed, thorny issues broached, executive orders signed and new directions mooted. Guantanamo Bay is closing, Europe is opening, missile defense is being reprofiled and overtures have been made to Egypt, Iran, […]

America awoke last Friday to the stunning news that its young president, Barack Obama, had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Naturally, in these hyper-partisan times, the award has elicited wild praise and unbalanced scorn back home, with darn near everybody trying to figure out why Obama was tapped for such a high honor just months into his first term. But as with all such awards, more was revealed about the selectors than the selected. So if the choice of Obama is inarguably premature, then what signal was Norway, one of America’s oldest and most sensible friends, trying to send? […]

Obama Reacts to News of his Nobel Prize

President Barack Obama reacted to the news that he had won the NobelPeace Prize with a statement at the White House. “I am both surprisedand deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel committee,” Obama said.”To be honest I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of somany of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize.” Related WPR blog post: Obama Peace Prize?!?

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