With President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that all U.S. troops will be out of Iraq by the end of this year, most Americans breathed a sigh of relief. Lost in those headlines was the collective shudder of national security experts and practitioners who know Washington’s dirty little secret: More than 10 years after the war against violent extremism began, the United States still lacks true deployable civilian power. The handover in Iraq from the Defense Department to the State Department at the end of this year will showcase this Achilles’ heel, one that will haunt U.S. foreign policy until […]

The battle to define the lessons of the Western intervention in Libya began almost as soon as the first Tomahawk missiles started hitting that country’s air defense network back in March. Many of the arguments have focused on the viability of the “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine of international humanitarian intervention and how it might apply to such countries as Bahrain or Syria. However, defense analysts also subjected the military character of the campaign to scrutiny, with some now suggesting the fight in Libya indicates that airpower has finally fulfilled its decisive promise, having matured to the extent that it can […]

Argentina’s Kirchner Wins Big, but How Long Can It Last?

A recent wave of economic prosperity in Argentina may have swept incumbent President Cristina Kirchner to a second term last weekend. But with the election now past, some observers are questioning how long Kirchner can maintain subsidy-heavy policies supporting her nation’s growth and, more importantly, how long she can hold onto the positive public opinion that has accompanied that growth. Argentina’s economic success of recent years, says Karen Hooper, a Latin America analyst with the private intelligence company STRATFOR, “has been strong because of strong stimulus policies from the government.” Such policies center largely on subsidies for energy and food, […]

The Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act, approved in the U.S. Senate last week by a majority of 63 to 35, risks damaging U.S.-China relations and further eroding Washington’s economic standing in the international community, and all for very little reward. The bill calls for retaliatory trade measures against countries that maintain an undervalued currency, and while it does not mention China by name, the United States’ largest trading partner is clearly its main target. The Chinese yuan is without doubt undervalued, but this is only one of a number of factors contributing to the U.S. trade deficit. Moreover, at […]

Global Insider: Paraguay’s Guerrilla Movements

Paraguay deployed troops into its northern provinces earlier this month in an attempt to contain an outbreak of guerrilla attacks. In an email interview, David Spencer, a professor at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at National Defense University, discussed Paraguay’s guerrillas. WPR: What is the background of the guerrilla movements in Paraguay? David Spencer: There is currently one group of guerrillas active in Paraguay, the Paraguayan Popular Army (EPP). The movement began in the historically neglected area around Concepcion in 1990, shortly after the fall of the Alfredo Stroessner government. Leftist opposition groups supporting land reform on behalf of […]

Chile Street Protesters Invade Senate

Student demonstrators in Chile took direct action in the nation’s Senate headquarters Thursday, forcing their way into the building in Santiago. They interrupted a committee meeting and broadcast their demonstration live over the internet by webcam, calling for more people to come and join them.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered an important policy address on what she called “economic statecraft.” In it, she announced that the United States will update its foreign policy priorities to include economic considerations, arguing that doing so will strengthen both our standing abroad and our economy at home. Among other measures, Clinton said that the State Department will do more to help U.S. companies compete for opportunities in emerging markets, including advocating for them and working to level the playing field between private companies operating on market principles and state-owned companies pursuing strategic goals. Clinton is […]

Kirchner Favorite in Argentine Poll

Since the Kirchner’s came to power in Argentina, the country has enjoyed one of its longest periods of economic growth. Incumbent President Christina Kirchner’s approval currently stands at about 60 percent and pre-election polls, ahead of the country’s presidential vote Sunday, suggest she could win by a landslide.

Global Insider: China-Mexico Trade Relations

Mexico’s economy minister sent China a formal letter last month expressing concern over unfair trade practices used by certain Chinese firms to avoid customs duties. In an email interview, Rhys Jenkins, a specialist in China’s trade relations with Latin America at the University of East Anglia, discussed the trade relationship between China and Mexico. WPR: What is the history of China-Mexico trade ties? Rhys Jenkins: Trade between Mexico and China has grown spectacularly over the past decade from a little more than $3 billion in 2000 to almost $50 billion in 2010. The trade balance, however, has been massively in […]

Global Insider: Brazil’s Peacekeeping Operations

Earlier this month, Brazil sent 300 troops to join UNIFIL, the U.N. peacekeeping force in Lebanon. In an email interview, Kai Michael Kenkel, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, discussed Brazil’s peacekeeping operations. WPR: What is the history of Brazil’s involvement in international peacekeeping missions? Kai Michael Kenkel: Brazil is a strong supporter of the U.N. and started participating very early in U.N. peace operations, notably the U.N. Special Committee on the Balkans in 1947 and the U.N. Emergency Force (UNEF) in 1956 following the Suez crisis, which was […]

In her WPR column yesterday, Frida Ghitis noted that the global chessboard is being “reset” as countries re-examine longstanding partnerships and alliances, both formal and informal, in the face of broad geopolitical changes taking place today. “As a result,” wrote Ghitis, “the coming months and years will bring about a recasting of important strategic links, some of which have been part of the global landscape for decades.” The evidence of this transformation can be found across the Middle East and South Asia, as a result of the Arab uprisings, but also due to the Afghanistan War, which has strained U.S. […]

Computer Virus Exposes Drone Vulnerabilities

The recent revelation that a computer virus had infected the digital cockpits of Predator and Reaper drones at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada raises the question of whether America’s pre-eminent tool in the war on terror could become a victim of cyber-espionage. The fact of the matter, says Noah Shachtman, who broke the story for Wired last Friday, is that “the more we rely on computers and robots to wage our wars, the more vulnerable we become to viruses and worms and trojans.” However, in speaking with Trend Lines, Shachtman stressed how little is actually known about the current […]

One of the subjects dominating discussions of Latin American politics this year has been the June 30 revelation that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is being treated for cancer. Very little is known about his illness, other than the not-so-encouraging news that he has received four, possibly five, chemotherapy treatments, most them in an undisclosed location in Cuba. A bombshell accompanied by such secrecy has raised speculation about the future of Venezuelan politics. It seems that all scenarios, ranging from Chávez’s death to his full recovery, are possible, which makes the presidential election scheduled for October 2012 one of the most […]

Recent developments in South America have upended the United States’ historical — and often misguided — tendency to lump the region into a one-size-fits-all policy. A politically and economically muscular Brazil, the rise of an anti-American bloc of countries led by Venezuela, and the emergence of economic and even political extraregional rivals in the hemisphere have created a more diverse, independent and contentious region for the United States. At the same time, the looming shadow of a double-dip U.S. recession and the spectacle of partisan intransigence leaving Washington paralyzed have led to an overwhelming impression across the region that the […]

When Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, Patricia Espinosa, recently acknowledged that Brazil is dragging its feet on the free trade deal the two countries agreed to hash out last November, it was not the lament of an aggrieved party. After all, Mexico, Latin America’s second-largest economy, is hardly a victim in its trade relations with Brazil, the region’s largest. To the contrary: In the first seven months of 2011, Mexico registered a $478 million trade surplus with Brazil, a 24-fold increase over the $19 million registered during the same period in 2010. That might explain Brazil’s lack of enthusiasm for […]

In June 2011, Ollanta Humala was elected president of Peru after campaigning on a platform of change. Significant for Peru, but also for South America more broadly, Humala advocated for moderate, not revolutionary, change — calling for a better and fairer distribution of the fruits of Peru’s impressive economic growth and for lower levels of corruption and crime. That kind of program won’t entail upending the prevailing system. It will, however, require serious institutional reform. The Peruvian case dramatically illustrates wider trends in South America, where sustained economic growth and sound macroeconomic policymaking in recent years have coexisted with continuing […]

Global Insider: Israel-South America Relations

A free trade agreement between Israel and Mercosur entered into force in September, following Argentinian approval of the deal in August. In an email interview, Arie M. Kacowicz, a professor of international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, discussed Israel-South American relations. WPR: What is the recent history of Israel’s diplomatic relations with South America? Arie M. Kacowicz: Israel has managed to maintain cordial diplomatic relations with most of the countries of South America, with the exception of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, with which relations deteriorated following the Second Lebanon War of 2006 and the war in Gaza of […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 231 2 Last