With the United States currently fighting two wars abroad and facing a health care crisis and an economy on life-support at home, Pentagon officials are hoping to meet a looming threat to America’s future global dominance — not to mention national security — by boosting capacity in elementary school classrooms across the nation. In January, the Pentagon approved a proposal by their risk-taking research agency, DARPA, to invest $45 million into efforts to increase enrollment in computing, science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs (CS-STEM). To do so, DARPA wants to develop extracurricular initiatives to target and engage elementary aged kids, […]

For U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Carol Pottenger, Haiti was a wake-up call. In the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and left millions homeless on the island nation, the U.S. military deployed tens of thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen to help with aid efforts. Pottenger, commander of the Navy’s nearly four-year-old Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), which oversees coastal forces, realized that almost all her 10 divisions had sent people to Haiti. “Every one of my capabilities has a piece of the action down there,” Pottenger told World Politics Review. […]

The Beginning of (True) Diplomacy

In some ways it’s good that it took me a few weeks to get around to discussing Aaron David Miller’s piece in Foreign Policy from earlier this month, titled “The End of Diplomacy,” because I found less to dislike about it on second reading. But even though I usually find Miller pretty convincing, I’ve still got some misgivings about this one. The article essentially casts the by-now familiar trope of the “Rise of the Rest” as the failure of American diplomacy — surprising, since Miller himself states that he’s not a “declinist.” Here’s the heart of the his argument: America […]

Nativism & IR, Redux: Food Wars

In a comment to my post on culinary nativism, Art Goldhammer calls attention to the recent flap in France over plans by a fast-food burger chain to offer Halal burgers as a menu option. The move was condemned in some quarters as another “concession” to France’s Muslims — who in the context of this discourse function generally as “Other” and particularly as “immigrants,” regardless of whether a given individual is either. Goldhammer points out the irony of a McDonald’s knock-off joint becoming the rallying cry for French food nativists. Indeed. Since posting that one, I’d also thought of the Israel-Lebanon […]

Nativism & IR: The Foodie Edition

Matthew Yglesias responded with typical cleverness to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s claim that liberals look down on anyone who doesn’t like “brie and Chablis.” As Yglesias makes clear, the choice of brie and Chablis to conjure sophistication and condescension is a curious one, given their widespread acceptance into American eating habits. But Yglesias overlooks both the general nativist subtext to the attack, as well as its more particular nativist subtext. Whether or not they are now produced and/or widely consumed in the U.S., brie and Chablis clearly function here as imported tastes. They also function as tastes imported from France, […]

Biden: The Path to Nuclear Security

Vice President Joe Biden speaks at National Defense University on the White House’s nuclear security agenda. From budget requests to foreign policy, Biden takes students through the Obama administration’s nonproliferation program, emphasizing the importance of the NPT and technological advances.

WPR on France 24: The World Last Week

I had the pleasure of participating in France 24’s week-in-review program, The World This Week, on Friday, along with the IHT’s Tom Redburn and France 24’s Armen Georgian. Topics included the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the military coup in Niger and U.S.-China relations. Part one can be seen here. Part two can be seen here.

We Americans tend to have an overly inflated sense of our place in this world. If there is an enemy, we must defeat it. If a global challenge looms, we must lead the way forward. When somebody reaches for a weapon, we must strike before they can use it (against us, naturally). And should we fail to do so, we would be to blame for whatever tragedy might result. That’s not to say that our sense of global responsibility doesn’t have deep and logical roots. Armed with the world’s largest gun after World War II, we set about creating an […]

Journalists Increasingly Under Fire

If it seems like journalists around the world are increasingly under fire, in jail or dying for doing their jobs, that’s because they are. From China to Egypt, to Somalia and the Philippines, more journalists died in 2009 than in any year since the Committee to Protect Journalists began tracking numbers. Seventy-one journalists worldwide lost their lives, according to the CPJ, with the Philippines, Somalia, Iraq and Pakistan seeing the most journalists killed on their soil in 2009. A further 136 journalists are currently imprisoned around the world, with China and Iran holding the highest number behind bars. The CPJ […]

A large-scale deployment of clean energy technology is gaining speed on the global stage, causing shifts of significant geopolitical consequence. As clean energy moves from margin to mainstream, it is set to alter the balance of energy security and energy power among key regions of the world. Nations will redraw the energy map, both by assessing access to renewable resources and evaluating their traditional alliances. The degree to which frameworks are established so that clean energy drives not just competition, but also cooperation, will be key to determining the impact it ultimately has on international relations. Energy transitions take time. […]

The UAE raised quite a few eyebrows last December when it announced a $40 billion contract for setting up four nuclear power stations in its territory. But what surprised analysts even more than the size of the contract was who won it: a South Korean consortium led by Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO), with Toshiba Westinghouse as a minor partner. KEPCO managed to beat out heavyweight rivals, including a consortium led by French major Areva and the U.S.-Japanese alliance of GE-Hitachi, to walk away with the deal. Pundits have talked quite a bit of late about the shift from West […]

Biofuels were hailed in the first half of the last decade as a green solution to reliance on imported petroleum, and a savior to farmers seeking higher prices for commodities in surplus. But in the second half of the decade, biofuels emerged as real and imminent threats to both environmental quality and food security, while being a costly and ill-conceived response to energy concerns. Agriculture and energy ministers met at a high-level conference at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome in June 2008, and essentially glossed over these issues in endorsing continued government subsidies to the biofuels question. […]

World Citizen: After Iran Failure, Obama Moves on to Plan B

When Iran announced this week that it would start enriching its uranium stockpiles to 20 percent — a level much closer to that needed for nuclear weapons production — it closed the first chapter in the history of the Obama administration’s foreign policy. That chapter has ended in failure. Now the administration’s push to get started on Chapter Two is already visible, presumably adopting a more muscular American posture to confront international challenges in Iran and beyond. In his first year, President Barack Obama tried a radically different approach from the confrontational policies practiced by his predecessor, George W. Bush. […]

Is the CTBT D.O.A.?

“The CTBT is in big, big trouble,” said Stephen Rademaker at an East West Institute roundtable on the ever-stalled Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty last Friday. The remark represented a rare area of consensus on what is otherwise a highly divisive issue. The EWI discussion of the CTBT and its likelihood of ratification by Congress came as a complement to a recently published report by the institute on the subject. With Rademaker, former U.S. assistant secretary of state (2002-2006) and currently senior counsel for BGR Group’s Government Affairs division, and Ambassador Robert T. Grey, Jr., director of the Bipartisan Security […]

Arctic Security and Russia

At the Halifax International Security Forum in November of last year, maritime experts came together to discuss Arctic security. Though traditionally portrayed as a threat, the panel of experts heralded Russia as leading innovators in the region, saying that cooperation, not competition should be stressed.

Thawfare in the Arctic

After “lawfare,” it’s time to add “thawfare” to the lexicon of how to pursue politics by other means (especially since a quick Google scan indicates that I have indeed coined this neologism): Russia will invest some 1.5 billion rubles ($49.7 million) indefining the extent of its continental shelf in the Arctic in 2010, inorder to prove its right to more of the Arctic floor, the country’sNatural Resources Ministry has said. “These funds will be spent on additional hydrographic andgeophysical research in the Arctic Ocean,” the ministry said in astatement. For more background on what’s at stake in the Arctic as […]

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