With the United States and Europe behind the curve on so many fronts — from the economic meltdown to the Arab Spring — observers have noted that U.S. President Barack Obama hoped his trip to Europe this week would inspire a new era of U.S.-European cohesion toward solving the world’s problems. “There are a whole variety of issues that he’s probably not going to solve on this trip, but he’s got to lay the groundwork that we need a united front,” says James Joyner, managing editor of the Atlantic Council in Washington. “At a minimum, he needs to overcome a […]
Honduran President Porfirio Lobo signed a deal Sunday in Cartagena, Colombia, with the country’s ex-President Manuel Zelaya, clearing the way for Zelaya’s return to Honduras from exile. That the agreement was brokered by the governments of Colombia and Venezuela — two countries from opposite ends of Latin America’s political spectrum — and apparently without any involvement by the United States is raising some eyebrows. “A deeper reading of this has to do with the fact that Latin America has become more autonomous from the United States,” says Kevin Casas-Zamora, a senior fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution in […]
The debate over whether President Barack Obama violated the 1973 War Powers Resolution by committing U.S. forces to Operation Odyssey Dawn, including the drama of outraged legislators condemning yet another president for disregarding this curious law, was predictable. This most recent effort, like others before it, will probably come to nothing. But the legislation itself is dangerous, and the attempts to invoke it should stop. Republicans and Democrats now have an opportunity to remove the War Powers Resolution from our national life, and they should seize it. There is an unavoidable tension in the Constitution between the president’s role as […]
Libyans in Benghazi welcomed U.S. President Barack Obama’s speech to the Arab world as he addressed U.S. Middle East policy. Like many Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, Libyans were glued to television sets on Thursday watching Obama’s much-anticipated “Arab spring” speech.
The Stuxnet computer worm, WikiLeaks and the social-media-facilitated revolutions of the Arab Spring have already provided ample reason for a high-level U.S. policy on cyber issues. Now the killing of Osama bin Laden has provided an opening for a broader strategic dialogue in Washington, one that includes cyberspace in its proper context. This policy discussion has been a long time coming, and it has now arrived in the form of the Obama administration’s “International Strategy for Cyberspace” (.pdf), which presents concepts and ideals on a cluster of diplomatic, commercial and security issues related to the global information space that the […]
Last weekend I attended a seminar on “Liberty and Responsibility in the Major Works of Samuel P. Huntington.” The participants included former Huntington students, such as myself, as well as academics and independent scholars interested in his writings. Though it operated under Chatham House rules, meaning that participants’ contributions were off the record, the seminar served as a useful reminder of Huntington’s prolific genius and of the continued relevance of his work. Like many Harvard professors, Huntington was active in both real world politics and academia. He was an early New Deal supporter, advised several Democratic presidents and became a […]
Major protests in Mexico this month highlighted mounting frustration among many Mexicans toward violence that has claimed some 36,000 lives in the country since President Felipe Calderón declared war on drug cartels five years ago. Some are now questioning the implications such public dissatisfaction may carry for the United States, which for the past several years has pursued a policy of supporting Calderón’s fight against the cartels. “The big question is what will happen in Mexico’s 2012 presidential election,” says Hal Brands, a historian at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and a World Politics Review contributor. With Calderón’s […]
Driven in part by a recent article in Proceedings, the magazine of the United States Naval Institute, the debate over the nature and utility of aircraft carriers has once again erupted between naval analysts. In “Twilight of the $uperflous Carrier,” Capt. Henry J. Hendrix of the U.S. Navy and retired Lt. Col. J. Noel Williams of the U.S. Marine Corps argue that modern supercarriers are simply too expensive and too vulnerable to be usable weapons of war. They contend that the era of the supercarrier has come to an end, and that the future of naval power resides in warships […]
The U.S.-China relationship may have reached its strongest footing of the Obama presidency, judging from high-level talks that came to a close in Washington yesterday. But some observers noted a palpable gap in focus between the two powers, with the U.S. addressing a broad agenda — ranging from concerns over the value of the yuan to human rights — and China more narrowly concentrated on issues pertaining to its sovereignty. The core of China’s agenda going into the Strategic and Economic Dialogue was a strategy of maintaining control “over their territory and their waters, and frankly their cyberspace,” says Patrick […]
In the lead-up to next week’s U.S. China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has vowed to oppose trade barriers imposed by the Chinese regime on US companies, if he is confirmed as the next ambassador to China.
A new regional cooperation bloc to include every country in the Americas except Canada and the United Sates has received almost no coverage in the English-language media. Some observers, however, believe the Community of Latin American and Carribean States — CELAC for its Spanish acronym — represents the first step in a historic geopolitical shift away from an era dominated by pro-U.S. policies. “It’s a regional grouping for a new era really, which is no longer about free trade and neoliberalism,” says Alexander Main at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. Foreign ministers from several of CELAC’s […]
An unmanned aerial combat drone developed by Boeing has successfully completed its first flight at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Called the Boeing Phantom Ray, the aircraft is designed to support several potential missions including surveillance and attack.
As details of the successful raid against Osama bin Laden’s Abbotabad compound come to light, it is becoming clear that the assault was the most important, and probably the most successful, operation in the history of U.S. special operations forces. Instead of Air Force bombs or Navy missiles, President Barack Obama opted for the special skills and capabilities of a Navy SEAL team to eliminate the al-Qaida leader. The reason is simple: A bomb or missile might have more easily killed bin Laden, but only special forces could confirm his death, recover his body and capture a trove of materials […]
The U.S. Export-Import Bank recently approved a nearly $3 billion loan guarantee to a Colombian oil refinery, one of many recent moves by the bank. In an email interview, Gary Hufbauer, Reginald Jones Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, discussed the operations of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. WPR: What is the core mission of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and what are its principal activities? Gary Hufbauer: The core mission of the U.S. Export-Import Bank should be to promote U.S. exports of goods and services in circumstances where financing conditions make a difference. The bank carries out its […]
The United States and Pakistan have sustained a decades-old partnership on the strength of a Cold War alliance and a set of narrow but shared vital interests. However, the relationship has undergone profound changes as a result of the Afghan War, which on one hand has forced the two countries into an awkward but necessary embrace, and on the other exposed deep and potentially irreconcilable differences. At the core of this rift is Pakistan’s duplicitous regional strategy, whereby Islamabad provides critical logistics and intelligence support to America while aiding or turning a blind eye to its extremist enemies. For years […]