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 […]
Israel’s minister of industry, trade and labor recently led a business delegation to Brazil, seeking to boost economic ties. In an email interview, Sean Goforth, a teacher of international political economy at Coastal Carolina University and a Latin American blogger for the Foreign Policy Association, discussed Brazil-Israel relations. WPR: What is the extent of the economic and political relationship between Israel and Brazil? Sean Goforth: The two countries have a history of friendly but rarely robust relations. Ambassadors have been regularly exchanged since the 1950s, while trade flows have been low. Bilateral trade totaled less than a billion dollars in […]
The International Monetary Fund is in an unexpected state of flux. The shocking sexual assault charges, arrest and subsequent resignation of former Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn have turned the institution’s leadership on its ear. As the surprise of last week’s events dissipates, the focus now becomes selecting Strauss-Kahn’s replacement. In the coming weeks, a highly political process will unfold behind the scenes as the Europeans wrangle with a group of emboldened emerging-market countries for the fund’s top slot. In the middle lie the Americans, who hold the key to the success of either group. If the U.S. is shrewd, it […]
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 […]
Voting was so evenly split over Ecuador’s 10-question referendum last weekend that it remains too close to say which, if any, of the reforms pushed by the country’s 39-year-old president, Rafael Correa, will be drafted into law. According to reports yesterday, “yes” votes were within a half percentage point of “no” votes on the more controversial proposals calling for the dissolution and overhaul of the country’s judiciary and the creation of a government panel to police the news media. Some observers are saying the high number of “no” votes indicates a growing wariness in Ecuador toward Correa’s broader ambition to […]
Last November, when the State Department learned that an outfit called WikiLeaks had acquired tens of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, the reaction in Washington bordered on panic. WikiLeaks had already released secret papers on the Afghanistan war, which the Pentagon said had gravely endangered many lives. Facing an impending torrent of classified documents covering U.S. interests on all continents, top American diplomats tried to brace the country for the harsh impact. They anxiously predicted the massive leak would be “harmful to our national security.” Five months after WikiLeaks broke the latch on its treasure trove and started scattering […]
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 April, the leaders of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru signed the Pacific Agreement, creating a new regional economic bloc. In an email interview, Augusto Varas, co-vice chair of the Advisory Board for the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, consultant for the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre and chairman of Fundación Equitas, discussed the Pacific Agreement. WPR: What was the driving force behind the Pacific Agreement? Augusto Varas: Latin American governments and the private sector have shown different levels of success in creating an enabling environment for business in the region, and, in some cases, […]
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.