Brazil has a serious problem: Its economy is growing too fast. No kidding. In today’s global environment of sluggish growth and fears of a recessionary “double dip,” word of this peculiar challenge facing Brazilian policymakers might sound like the setup for a joke. But don’t wait for the punch line. Brazil, like much of Latin America, is showing astonishing resilience in the face of a daunting economic environment that cuts across borders. The region that popularized words such as junta and caudillo, and the countries that for decades served as the inspiration for caricatures of tin-pot dictators — not to […]
At the 2008 summer Olympic Games in Beijing, the New York Times columnist Tom Friedman observed something intriguing about the powerful American team, which won the overall medal count for the games. After wandering through the athletes’ village, he noted, “The Russian team all looks Russian; the African teams all look African; the Chinese team all looks Chinese; and the American team looks like all of them.” The United States, Friedman said, is the clearest example of a nation whose “strength comes from diversity.” The most powerful nations in history have all followed a similar formula. In “Day of Empire,” […]
There’s no question that globalization, in its modern American form of expanding free trade, just went through its worst crisis to date. But while economists debate whether or not we in the West are collectively heading toward a 1938-like “second dip,” it’s important to realize just how myopic our fears are about the future of a world economy that America went out of its way to create, defend, and grow these past seven decades. First, no matter how severe any second dip becomes, comparing our current plight to the Great Depression of the 1930s is an exercise in profound hyperbole, […]
Although Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez are often lumped together in the same Latin American “populist left” basket, the fact that Correa is involved in mediating the latest manufactured crisis between Venezuela and Colombia underscores the difference between the two. It also suggests that power in the emerging geopolitical landscape will increasingly relocate toward the connecting states that manage to bridge differences between various feuding nodes. Clearly, Turkey is the most visible example of how that will work, but Qatar is another. And a detail from this NY Times article on the impact of sanctions on […]
Though foreign aid to earthquake-stricken Haiti is reaching the government at a sluggish rate, waves of assistance to international aid organizations working there continue to flow. The Haitian government has received just $90 million of the $5.3 billion promised by the March U.N. donor conference for the first 18 months post-earthquake, according to Alice Blanchet, special adviser to Haiti’s Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. By contrast, Doctors Without Borders has received donations of $112 million following the quake, while the Red Cross has brought in $468 million. Oxfam International, which is providing aid to 440,000 people, or 20 percent of the […]
The Washington Post is rolling out a two-year investigation of the infrastructure of the United States intelligence community post 9/11 terrorist attacks in a three-part series. NewsHour’s Margaret Warner interviews Washington Post reporter Dana Priest on her findings. Priest found that redundancies in tasks and lack of communication among branches of the intelligence infrastructure have caused major oversights and large gaps in collective information gathering. Trouble viewing this video? Click here.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Two years ago, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso led the call for a “paradigm shift” (.pdf) in the country’s drug policy. Instead of squelching supply through policing, Cardoso advocated for reducing demand by treating drug abuse as a public health issue. Cardoso’s appeal won plaudits from analysts who have grown impatient with a U.S.-led anti-drug policy that many argue has increased violence without significantly stemming drug abuse. But now it appears that Brazil not only remains committed to treating drugs as a problem for the police, it is also in the process of becoming the […]
India and Canada signed a civil nuclear cooperation agreement on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Toronto late last month. In an e-mail interview, Ernie Regehr, a Centre for International Governance Innovation fellow, co-founder of Project Ploughshares, and adjunct associate professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Conrad Grebel University College, explains broader India-Canada relations. WPR: How would you characterize India-Canada bilateral relations, historically? Ernie Regehr: India-Canada relations are remarkably modest considering the rather compelling circumstances that surround them. They share membership in the British Commonwealth. They are both politically resilient democracies. There are more than a million people […]
When the global economic crisis struck, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez gloated. The woes of capitalism, he believed, would give a boost to his brand, helping spread Chavismo throughout Latin America. Chávez, the designer of that unique ad hoc blend of personality-driven socialism and nervously semi-free markets, prophesied the imminent collapse of capitalism. He confidently promised his followers that, under his leadership, Venezuela would remain “armor plated” against recession. Today, capitalism appears to be limping back to life thanks to generous infusions of government funding. The news for Chávez and his followers, on the other hand, looks rather dismal. Not only […]
In light of Cuba’s announcement that it will release more than 50 political prisoners, NewsHour’s Margaret Warner talks to Jorge Dominguez, a professor of government at Harvard University and Vanessa Lopez, a research associate at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami. Dominguez and Lopez discuss the government’s decision in the context of renewed relations with the Catholic Church and Fidel Castro’s relevance in Cuban politics today. Trouble viewing this video? Click here.
Russia and the United States are about to learn how much international goodwill their renewed progress toward nuclear arms control, as manifested by the New START Treaty, will buy them in other WMD nonproliferation arenas. The two countries have recently confirmed that they will miss their already extended deadlines for eliminating their stockpiles of chemical weapons, as required by the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). In principle, this failure could lead to bitter denunciations as well as concrete sanctions imposed by other countries. At present, though, it looks like Moscow and Washington will escape punishment, perhaps in part due to the […]
A growing population had long been considered a prime determinant of national strength — at least until the “population bomb” crowd commandeered the dialogue almost a half-century ago and declared such growth to be a threat to human existence. But since then, with globalization’s rapid expansion encompassing the bulk of the developing world — and specifically demographic behemoths India and China — we’ve seen industrialization and urbanization work their usual magic on female fertility. As a result, humanity is now projected to top out as a species sometime mid-century and likely decline thereafter. To the amazement of many from my […]
With all of the comparisons being drawn between the presidencies of Barack Obama and Franklin D. Roosevelt, it is surprising that one of FDR’s most famous programs has not emerged as a possible model for U.S. policy today: Lend-Lease. That’s not to suggest that the United States should plunge the rest of the planet into world war as a strategy for domestic economic recovery. But consider the following: First, global security challenges are on the rise. The dark side of globalization means that technologies and capabilities that previously were the prerogatives of states have increasingly filtered down to non-state actors […]
At the end of May, the Senate confirmed Army Gen. Keith Alexander as commander of U.S. Cyber Command. The command’s creation had already been controversial, and as a result, the Senate Armed Services Committee delayed Alexander’s confirmation due to questions over roles and missions, authorities and restrictions. After his confirmation, Alexander specified that the new command is responsible for directing the day-to-day operations and defense of Department of Defense information networks, as well as for the “planning, integration, and synchronization of cyber activities, and when directed . . . for conducting full-spectrum military cyberspace operation[s]” to ensure freedom of action […]
“Other states indicate themselves in their deputies . . . . but the genius of the United States is not best or most in its executives or legislatures, nor in its ambassadors or authors or colleges or churches or parlors, nor even in its newspapers or inventors . . . but always most in the common people. Their manners speech dress friendships — the freshness and candor of their physiognomy — the picturesque looseness of their carriage . . . their deathless attachment to freedom — their aversion to anything indecorous or soft or mean — the practical acknowledgment of […]
The United States and the European Union have signed a bank data-transfer agreement that will give U.S. authorities access to EU bank transfer data, under EU supervision, in an effort to combat terrorism. In an e-mail interview, Kurt Volker, a former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and managing director of the Center on Transatlantic Relations at Johns Hopkins University, explains the importance of a U.S.-EU bank-data transfer agreement. WPR: What is the background of the current dispute? Kurt Volker: In the days and years after Sept. 11, 2001, the United States and Europe worked together to track terrorist financing, in order […]