When the finance ministers of the G-20 nations met on the sidelines of the annual IMF-World Bank meetings in Washington last weekend, it marked the sixth time they had convened since the fall of 2008. When the G-20 leaders meet this summer in Toronto, the total number of summits held since the global financial crisis erupted will hit double digits. And yet, despite early cooperation that addressed the global liquidity shortfall, little substantial progress has been made in the area of international financial regulation. Given the trauma that the entire world economy has suffered, in part due to a lack […]

Despite fist fights and smoke bombs within the parliament building as well as protests outside the Supreme Rada, Ukrainian legislators yesterday ratified the controversial Russian-Ukraine base-for-gas agreement. According to the deal’s provisions, in exchange for Moscow accepting lower prices for Ukraine’s gas purchases, the Russian Navy can remain at its Sevastopol base in the Crimea for another 25 years after the current lease expires in 2017. Ukrainian protesters attacked the new government under President Viktor Yanukovych for allegedly “trading sovereignty for gas.” While the precise amount of revenues that Russia will forego by subsidizing gas sales to Ukraine will depend […]

At a meeting last week in Tallinn, Estonia, the foreign ministers of NATO’s member states began addressing the question of what to do about the estimated 200 U.S. tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Turkey. The missiles’ controversial presence is shaping up to be the most important issue facing the alliance’s heads of state during their November 2010 summit in Lisbon. Many critics argue that these weapons have no plausible military purpose. In a World Politics Review briefing early last month, Johan Bergenäs offered a variety of reasons why the Obama administration should unilaterally withdraw […]

It has been a devastating few weeks for the global mining community. In late March, a flood in a coal mine in northern Shanxi province in China resulted in the deaths of more than 30 workers. Then last week, in West Virginia, an explosion at a coal mine killed nearly 30 miners. Both accidents revealed some of the safety hazards associated with mining. Meanwhile, as the United States was coping with its worst mining disaster in years, two nations in Latin America were dealing with mining tragedies of their own. Those tragedies, however, had little to do with the dangerous […]

Taking A Look at the NPR

As the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review is released, NewsHour’s Jeffrey Brown talks to Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation that promotes a nuclear-free world and Stephen Rademaker who has served in the administrations of both George H.W. and George W. Bush, focusing on arms control and proliferation issues. Cirincione says this NPR is “night and day” in comparison to the similar report conducted under the Bush administration that expanded the role of nuclear weapons in military operations. Conversely, Rademaker says that the most recent report is more verbiage than substance, with enough wiggle room to still use […]

To what extent does the ownership and management of a nation’s information infrastructure represent a question of national security? This question is all the more important because of recent changes in the models by which IT infrastructures are currently deployed, owned, and used. In general, we use the term “protected industry” to refer to an industry or economic segment protected from external competition or influences (e.g., ownership likely to export production and jobs). Barriers to importation are raised to protect domestic industry from foreign competition, while foreign investment and ownership are blocked or restricted in some instances, both to protect […]

In reflecting on the results of his first-ever visit to Venezuela, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin estimated on Monday that Venezuelan orders for Russian weapons “could exceed $5 billion.” The resulting headlines are somewhat misleading, and may overlook developments that will have a larger impact on the bilateral relationship in coming years. The $5 billion figure appears to include Russian arms still being supplied under existing contracts, including four MI-17 multirole combat helicopters whose delivery coincided with Putin’s visit. These were the last in a contract for 38 of the helicopters signed in 2006. No new arms deals were announced […]

The system we have in place today to ensure the nation’s security from terrorism can be overwhelmingly complex, reflecting a broad diversity of major players and dozens of strategic objectives. This complexity is due, in part, to successive administrations redefining an increasingly intricate web of relationships, roles, and responsibilities, often without rescinding — or fully integrating with — direction established by their predecessors. As a result, the nation’s counterterrorism system has evolved largely in a piecemeal, ad hoc fashion, without the benefit of an overarching strategy or blueprint for how best to organize for success. Over five years ago, the […]