Thanks to the recent global financial crisis, we’ve heard much talk about the coming “de-globalization,” defined by some as the reversal of the now decades-long push to further integrate trade among national economies by disintegrating production and spreading its means across the planet to the cheapest sources. In the past, all forms of growing supply chain connectivity could be justified on price, buttressed by just-in-time delivery capacity. But the market woes of the last year-and-a-half supposedly threw all that logic into question. Price risk is one thing, supply risk quite another. Specialization depends on supply: the greater the specialization, the […]

The chaos in Copenhagen offered a powerful, and sobering, illustration of how far the world’s governments are from negotiating an accord to bring climate change under control. Those who believe that a robust and binding climate framework is essential have been left depressed and demoralized. Many now fear that a global governance system that is unable to respond to one of the toughest threats the world faces must, in fact, be broken. History suggests (.pdf) that the climate change priesthood will soldier on, insisting that a deal needs just one more push. Meanwhile, they’ll bury the process ever further in […]

ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatian voters face a stark choice this Sunday when they go to the polls to elect a new president, between the Social Democrat, Ivo Josipovic, and the former Social Democrat and Zagreb’s mayor, Milan Bandic. The outcome of the election will serve as a litmus test of the country’s European aspirations, and could have an impact on regional stability. Although the president’s constitutional powers were much curtailed under incumbent, Stipe Mesic, the office still carries considerable weight, according to Josip Kregar, an independent member of the Zagreb city council. “Croatia is a young democracy and the personality […]

In this new weekly series, “From the WPR Archives,” published on Fridays, we aim to highlight articles published in World Politics Review in the past that shed light on issues currently in the headlines. The articles cited in “From the WPR Archives” require a World Politics Review subscription to read in full. To try a subscription free for 30 days, with no further obligation, sign up here. Last week, Yemen was all over the news as it came to light that the Nigerian man who attempted to detonate an explosive aboard a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Dec. 25 […]

A year ago, Christian Brose penned a provocative article for Foreign Policy entitled “George W. Obama.” In it, the former speechwriter for Condoleezza Rice asserted that “Obama ran against a caricature of Bush’s first term” during the 2008 election, rather than the Bush foreign policy of the second term. Moreover, of the latter, he predicted that Obama would “largely continue it.” In large measure, Brose has turned out to be right. Despite the rhetoric of “change we can believe in,” there has been a high degree of continuity between the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Take the most […]

Last month, the West officially lost the new “Great Game.” The 20-year competition for natural resources and influence in Central Asia between the United States (supported by the European Union), Russia and China has, for now, come to an end, with the outcome in favor of the latter two. Western defeat was already becoming clear with the slow progress of the Nabucco pipeline and the strategic reorientation of some Central Asian republics toward Russia and China. Two recent events, however, confirmed it. On Dec. 14, Chinese President Hu Jintao and the heads of state of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan personally […]

Chile’s left-wing ConcertaciĆ³n coalition might very well lose the presidency for the first time since the country’s return to democracy in 1990. But don’t blame outgoing President Michelle Bachelet. With record-high approval ratings, Bachelet would be a shoe-in for a second term, if not for the constitutional prohibition on consecutive re-election. Instead, as the country’s first woman president and, before that, its first woman defense minister, Bachelet will undoubtedly be remembered for breaking the gender barrier to Chile’s most powerful positions. She also appointed equal numbers of men and women to her cabinet when she took office in 2005. Subsequent […]

President Barack Obama tried his best to avoid it, but the moment has now arrived when he has no choice but to impose new sanctions on Iran. The challenge now is to find the formula that will prove effective in pressuring the regime without undermining Iranian protesters who have risked their lives to demand change. Obama’s commitment to use diplomacy in dealing with Iran became a cornerstone of the foreign policy approach he constructed during his presidential campaign. He vowed to use fair-minded negotiations, a respectful tone, and reasonable arguments to convince the Islamic Republic to stop enriching uranium in […]

This WPR Special Report compiles news, analysis and opinion from WPR’s pages to provide insight into the Mexican government’s war against the criminal enterprises that control the country’s drug trade. The report includes expert analysis on the war on the ground, the local and federal response to the problem, and the future of Mexican politics and policy. Below are links to each article, which subscribers can read in full. Subscribers can also download a pdf version of the report. Not a subscriber? Subscribe now, or try our subscription service for free. The Pre-2009 Environment ‘Merida Initiative’ Would Provide Counter-Drug Aid […]

Officials from Chad and Sudan are weighing a proposed treaty that would create a framework for joint patrols of their shared border, along and around Sudan’s Darfur province. If fully implemented, the security pact proposed in late-December could help lay the groundwork for peace talks with rebel groups, aimed at reducing cross-border violence that has claimed thousands of lives in Chad and Sudan since 2005. Central Africa’s arid deserts and lush forests are the scene of complex, overlapping conflicts over land, resources, ethnicity, religion and political power. Chad accuses Sudan of sponsoring rebel groups, based in Sudan, that threaten farmers […]

Last month, the Indian central government abruptly ended days of violent protests by carving out a federal state for the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. In an effort to end a five-decade-long internal conflict, the world’s largest democracy ceded a state for the greater good of stability and governance. India’s war-weary neighbor, Sri Lanka, would do well to take a page from New Delhi’s playbook as it looks to foster peaceful relations with its own minority Tamil population. The Sri Lankan government must take advantage of its recent military defeat of the Tamil Tigers insurgency (LTTE) by negotiating for political […]

Analysts have long wondered if the Chinese navy (PLAN) had a third island chain strategy, beyond the publicly declared strategies for the first island chain (centered on Taiwan) and second island chain (extending from Japan to Indonesia). Many American commentators believed that such a strategy would refer to the ability to project power capable of reaching America’s bases in Hawaii. However, China’s recent maritime activities — such as its extended counterpiracy patrols in the Horn of Africa and its involvement in a number of port development projects in Indian Ocean littorals (dubbed the “string of pearls”) — have raised the […]

The governments of the United States and its NATO allies routinely characterize Afghan President Hamid Karzai as corrupt and incompetent. These unjust accusations come after the West grossly mishandled Karzai for years, often placing damaging and contradictory pressures on him since he assumed the presidency in 2004. Karzai’s recent decision to expel two ministers tarnished by graft allegations is a positive sign of his efforts to improve the effectiveness and transparency of his administration, one that warrants recognition from the often-critical international community as a concrete example of good governance. The silence from the West following these firings speaks volumes […]

Immediately after President Barack Obama announced on Dec. 1 that he would deploy 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen declared that the alliance would also step up with a miniature surge of its own. While Rasmussen’s announcement may have been a deft political move, many of the 7,000 troops he cited were pledged well in advance of Obama’s West Point speech, with some of those forces already on the ground. Also, the figure does not take into account planned near-term withdrawals by frontline contributors like the Netherlands and Canada. Finally, although the specific country-by-country breakdown […]

Global Insights: China Tests Waters on First Overseas Naval Base

Over the New Year’s holiday, the Chinese government launched yet another trial balloon to test international reaction to its expanding military reach. The move came in the form of an interview reproduced by the Defense Ministry’s Web site, in which a retired admiral called for China to acquire its first permanent overseas naval base. Although the ministry quickly distanced itself from the proposal, we can expect to see further expressions of Chinese interest in acquiring naval bases in coming years. On Dec. 30, the Defense Ministry’s Web site posted the interview with Adm. Yin Zhuo, who often comments on China’s […]

Among the questions raised by Germany’s elections in September 2009 was the impact Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new coalition partners would have on Berlin’s foreign policy orientation. A number of developments since then have provided hints of areas of continuity, as well as others of potential change and even internal conflict. Among the areas of continuity is Germany’s approach to the internal politics of the European Union. In the recent race to secure the EU’s top post-Lisbon Treaty jobs, Berlin remained circumspect, preferring to leave the more powerful portfolios to other countries. The main struggle ended up being between London and […]

Political pundits across America seem committed to the notion that our just-concluded decade deserves the moniker “worst ever,” with the formulations ranging from Time’s demonic “decade from hell” to Paul Krugman’s self-flagellating “Big Zero.” But if Krugman could call it “a decade in which nothing good happened,” much of the planet might find our myopic bitterness a bit much — as if the entire world should stop spinning just because the Dow Jones Industrial Average forgot to exit the decade higher than when it entered. Why are we so convinced that the last 10 years, the decade of the Naughts, […]

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