Here at WPR, we don’t spend much time thinking about which of thearticles we publish will be most popular. But eyeballs are easier to quantifythan other more important measures. And we’d risk insulting our readersif we put no stock whatsoever in what they read most often. By the same token, it is an irony of online publishing that masses of first-time readers, clicking through from occasional links on heavily trafficked sites, can do more to shape statistics pertaining to popularity than that smaller group of core, loyal readers that it is the primary job of a publication like WPR to […]

Susan Burk Anticipates Collaboration at NPT Conference

US Special Representative of the President for NuclearNon-Proliferation Susan Burk discusses the May 2010 Review Conferenceof the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The question on Burk’smind is, “How can we best work together?” She says that she andPresident Obama believe that finding areas on which member countriescan agree will help make the conference a success.

Copenhagen Leaves Question Marks

NewsHour’s Ray Suarez looks back on the climate change conference inCopenhagen, trying to make sense of a two-week-long struggle resulting in aninconclusive finish. Suarez says that the conference left the “new kidson the block” like Brazil and China sitting at the table with Obama inthe end and slighted European nations’ concerns.

It has become an article of faith that American counterterrorism policy — especially as practiced in Afghanistan — is a failure, and that as a consequence a new approach is required. This perception served as a major justification for the escalation of the conflict in Afghanistan by the Obama administration, while the associated elevated sense of risk explains much of the resistance to closing the detention center in Guantanamo and holding terrorist trials in federal courts. Fortunately for the United States, the real story is quite different, as the American Security Project’s latest annual report (.pdf) on terrorism trends documents. […]

If you thought the neocons were vanquished, disappearing along with theBush-Cheney administration, better think again. Their mindset stillanimates most of what the GOP offers in opposition to President BarackObama’s magical apology tour. For while the president won a Nobel PeacePrize for his heartfelt mea maxima culpa, Charles Krauthammer & Co. see no reason to surrender America’s two-decades-and-counting “era ofmaximum dominance” to the Chinese simply because Beijing holds the pinkslip on our national economy. First, some details. Atthe heart of this struggle lie two diametrically opposed views oftoday’s world: one that accepts globalization as the all-powerfulshaper of human destiny, and one […]

This Week’s WPR Video Highlights

Here are a few of this week’s highlights from WPR’s video section: – U.S. Military drones have been hacked by militants. WSJ’s Siobhan Gorman talks about the implications and possible threats this breach may cause. – This Al-Jazeera videoreports on the Kurdish struggle for representation in Turkey after acourt decision banned the pro-Kurdish party from parliament, linkingthem to the PKK. – The delicate relationship between Afghan and U.S. security forces isoften strained as they work together to secure Afghanistan. This VOA video discusses some of the obstacles. Our video sectionis updated daily. I’ll highlight videos we post there from time […]

In discussing my proposal last week for a Sino-Indian Convention that would define 21st century spheres of influence in Central Asia, a colleague suggested that it was an idea that Otto von Bismarck would have been proud of. They didn’t mean it as a compliment. We think of Bismarck as a caricature of the old European warlord, peering through a monocled eye while croaking about decisions forged in “blood and iron.” Most of all, we see him as someone whose policies were designed for personal and imperial aggrandizement, not the betterment of the people. We distrust his approach to the […]

One aspect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy that has provoked condemnation across the political spectrum is its approach to human rights around the world. Critics have pointed to a visible tendency to relegate human rights to the background in dealing with offending nations, as Washington keeps its focus on what it deems more important objectives. With the volume of criticism rising, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a detailed presentation of her — and presumably the administration’s — approach to human rights. Her speech at Georgetown University last Sunday offered a fascinating view inside the administration’s evolving philosophy. In […]

‘The Limits of Control’ as Globalization Parable

I just saw the latest Jim Jarmusch movie, “The Limits of Control,” last night. And though I can understand why it seems to have been poorly received, I found it to be a visually beautiful film with a masterful use of tension, even if it suffered from a failure of nerve in the climactic scene. There are a lot of subthemes in the movie, including art (the reflection) vs. reality (the thing being reflected), the screen as canvas (both the museum subplot, but also the way in which crucial scenes played out in front of train windows looking out over […]

When President Barack Obama accepts his Nobel Peace Prize this week in Oslo, it will likely amplify the grumbling of those who think he is being rewarded for circumscribing American power. Obama’s diplomatic efforts to date have elicited complaints that he is “starry eyed” and “weak,” too solicitous of foreign leaders, and even “accommodating” of America’s enemies. These criticisms miss the point. Barack Obama isn’t weak. He just helms a superpower whose power and influence is on the wane. Even as it remains the most powerful nation in the world, the United States is becoming, as the Bush-era National Intelligence […]

Conservative voices are being raised against what defense hawks consider to be the Democrats’ ulterior motive in addressing health care in America: a none-too-subtle long-term plot to curtail U.S. defense spending and thus render our military forces as strategically impotent as those of our NATO allies. This charge is at once hypocritical and correct, but not for the dark reasons ascribed to the Obama administration. Instead, the Democrats’ implied plot to rebalance domestic versus foreign spending merely responds to America’s demographic trends, while revealing — quite uncomfortably, for defense hawks — the shifting correlation of forces across the global security […]

Trichet: Strong Dollar is Good for the Euro

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet says that a strongU.S. dollar is good for a bilateral relationship with the Euro. In aDow Jones Newswire interview, Trichet stressed that the independence ofall central banks of major economies, such as the Fed, is of extremeimportance for confidence — the key factor he believes has beenlacking since the financial crisis. For more on the global impact of the dollar, read this piece from WPR contributor Daniel McDowell.

Canada Mining Companies Blasted over Rights Abuses

Canadian mining companies continue to face pressure from politicians and human rights advocates to address persistent claims of rights abuses associated with their operations around the world. Allegations of abuse have been swirling around Canadian mining companies’ operations, which account for 43 percent of all the world’s exploration efforts, for more than a decade. Complaints about environmental degradation, health issues and rights abuses have come from communities in over two dozen countries — including Romania, Bolivia, Tanzania, and India — according to MiningWatch Canada. A United Nations report (.pdf) on a 2004 incident in which 73 people were killed in […]

Low interest rates have become something of a staple at the U.S. Federal Reserve in recent years. However, early last month, the U.S. central bank took its “cheap dollar” policy to another level by committing to near-zero interest rates for the foreseeable future. The Fed’s decision has its roots in domestic economic goals: With American unemployment hovering above 10 percent, low rates are seen as a way to jump-start bank lending to businesses — a necessary first step in getting these firms to increase staffing. Low rates also make it cheaper to buy a home and should help the U.S. […]