More than four years after President Barack Obama’s 2009 Prague speech declared the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons worldwide, the nuclear landscape has become more complex and precarious and shows little sign of movement toward abolition. The so-called global zero initiative has arguably been overtaken by countervailing nuclear realities. Yet the administration remains mired in a Cold War paradigm, gearing up for more U.S.-Russia arms control. Instead, the Obama administration should focus on other components of its 2010 Nuclear Posture Review as priorities for advancing nonproliferation objectives. These include securing nuclear materials, institutionalizing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), capping […]

After a decade of gradual rapprochement anchored by booming bilateral energy ties and close coordination on combating Kurdish separatists, Iran and Turkey are struggling to maintain a veneer of mutual amity and cooperation. In recent months, Iran and Turkey have shown growing signs of estrangement. At the heart of their differences lie the Syrian crisis and Ankara’s gradual alignment with the West’s efforts to check Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The two neighbors continue to be bound, however, by a complex and deepening state of energy interdependence, which explains why both sides continue to exercise a measure of self-restraint in their engagements […]

With peace talks engaged for the first time in a decade, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) at its weakest point in history, Colombia’s once-stifled oil and mining sectors have taken off, enabling oil production to reach a record of 1 million barrels per day in late-December. Yet the extractive industry has found itself increasingly targeted by the FARC and other rebels who are seeking to force concessions from the government, putting foreign investment, now at all-time highs, at risk. The FARC are suspected in the bombing of a gas pipeline in La Guajira in Northeastern Colombia on […]

On Jan. 7, Cameroon’s gay rights community received a rare bit of good news. In what activists described as a breakthrough, the Court of Appeal in Yaoundé, the capital, overturned a ruling against two men found guilty of homosexuality in 2011. Jonas Singa Kimie, 19, and Franky Ndome Ndome, 25, were arrested in July 2011 by authorities who accused them of violating Article 347 of the penal code, which explicitly outlaws gay sex acts. The authorities had no proof of the alleged acts, but claimed the men’s clothing, manner of speaking and drink of choice proved they were gay. A […]

A sense of optimism is palpable in Japan as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe takes the country’s helm for a second time. Yet as his government promises to create more jobs and invest in emerging technologies to get the country back on its feet once and for all, the reality is that Japan cannot afford to spend its way out of lackluster growth. What the country really needs is sweeping social change that will tap into the power of women in the labor market and bold leadership to make painful cuts to welfare spending. The fact that Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party […]

Since assuming power in early 2011, Myanmar’s government, led by President Thein Sein, has focused its energies on the domestic agenda: rejuvenating the economy, liberalizing the political system and bringing an end to the decades-long ethnic conflicts along the country’s periphery. In tandem with these reforms, however, Naypyidaw has also endeavored to rebalance its foreign relations, with a particular emphasis on improving ties with the United States and members of the European Union, as well as important Asian neighbors such as Japan and India. China, which forged a close economic and political relationship with Myanmar during the 1990s and 2000s […]

The response to last week’s hostage crisis at the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria perfectly encapsulated the broader relationship between the European Union and Algeria. EU countries, notably France and the U.K., tried to encourage Algeria to consult with them on handling the dramatic events taking place on Algerian territory, but ultimately, the Algerian government acted on its own terms, on the basis of its better intelligence about the situation on the ground. In the end, European leaders acknowledged that, while they would have liked some advance notice, the Algerian army had responded swiftly and appropriately according to its […]

Germany’s reluctance to participate in the French intervention in Mali beyond providing logistical support and humanitarian assistance is hardly surprising. Europe’s “leading power” has been repeatedly absent from its partners’ past military efforts, the most notable recent example being its refusal in 2011 to take part in the operation against Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi. Although Germany now hopes to prove itself a reliable partner, it appears to be caught between its reservations about foreign military intervention and its responsibilities as an ally, neighbor and large European power. Despite every indication that the crisis in Mali is developing into a conflict with […]

Although it is difficult to predict the precise course of Venezuela’s current leadership transition, it is almost certain that President Hugo Chavez will pass away within the coming weeks or months. His departure will impact not only Venezuela, but also the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), the regional bloc that Chavez founded to promote his vision of Bolivarian socialism. While conventional wisdom assumes these impacts will be mostly negative, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, another outcome is possible: A rejuvenated ALBA could take shape, one centered on a new coalition of pragmatists and restructured around economic […]

Last week, outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta came to Europe to say “goodbye and good luck.” The U.S. is switching its strategic focus to the Pacific; in the future, Europeans will have to do more fending for themselves. The coincidental eruption of the Mali crisis underlined Panetta’s point. The U.S. found itself legally precluded from intervening because of the overthrow of the democratic government by the Malian army in March. So in this North African crisis, the U.S. would not even “lead from behind” as it had in Libya. Any intervention in Mali was strictly up to the Europeans. […]

American and Russian leaders cannot agree on much these days. Yet pressing problems such as Syria’s civil war, Iran’s nuclear program and post-withdrawal Afghanistan demand U.S.-Russia cooperation. Liberals in both countries attribute the relationship’s difficulties to the erosion of democracy in Russia, their logic being that a convergence on basic political values would enable greater cooperation. Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama’s “reset” policy toward Moscow proceeds from a different premise, namely that America and Russia can find areas for cooperation despite disagreements on democracy and human rights because, on some issues, self-interest unites them. Thus the reset involves better communication, […]

Since the election of reformist President Benigno Aquino, the Philippine economy has been on an unprecedented upswing, defying almost all earlier forecasts. Today, the country is among the fastest-growing economies in the world, expected to grow by up to 8 percent this year. No wonder the Philippines is seen as the next Asian tiger economy and is expected to attain a much-coveted “investment grade” rating this year. The emerging consensus among experts is that the increasingly positive economic outlook is a result, first, of the Aquino administration’s good governance agenda focused on tough anti-corruption reforms and, second, of the larger […]

In a recent WPR feature essay on economic integration and security competition in Asia, Amitav Acharya used our article in Foreign Policy, “A Tale of Two Asias,” as a conceptual framework for thinking about the future of this dynamic and important region. But his piece, “Why Two Asias May be Better Than None,” misunderstands or fails to address many of our key arguments. On some points, we agree with Acharya. For example, he notes that Japan “started the process” of economic integration in Asia, or what we call “Economic Asia,” and “still plays a vital role in it.” We made […]

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — On Wednesday evening, hours before she flew to Havana to symbolically visit regional ally Hugo Chávez, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner was in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires province, to celebrate the return of the naval ship Libertad. The ship had been impounded in Ghana at the request of NML Capital — an unpaid creditor from Argentina’s $100 billion default in 2002. The frigate’s homecoming, facilitated by an international maritime court ruling, was a victory for Kirchner’s self-proclaimed “national and popular” project. Her government refuses to pay so-called vulture funds such as NML, which bought up debt […]

On Dec. 5, the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia heard testimony from American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Michael Rubin on Iran’s influence in the South Caucasus. While Rubin detailed Iran’s close ties to Armenia and contrasted them to Iran’s uneasy relationship with Azerbaijan, he closed his testimony with unexpected warnings of a potential Georgian alignment with Iran (pdf). “The victory of [Prime Minister] Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream party in October 2012 elections threatens to radically reorient the Republic of Georgia, which, under President Mikheil Saakashvili, has been reliably pro-Western,” cautioned Rubin, adding that Ivanishvili’s pledge to […]

In the most direct admission by a high-ranking Iranian government official that international sanctions are imposing a heavy burden on the economy, Iranian Minister of Industry Mehdi Ghazanfari called the latest round of sanctions “crippling” at a gathering of provincial governors on Jan. 10. His remarks were a clear break from his previous statements, in which he downplayed the impact of sanctions. Ghazanfari said the latest round of sanctions have been far more costly than previous ones, pointing in particular to three new sets of sanctions imposed in 2012: financial sanctions, especially those targeting Iran’s central bank; oil export restrictions; […]

In 2010, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave an important speech condemning government censorship, calling for greater Internet freedom and reiterating that freedom of expression was a vital U.S. value. But during the past two weeks, as issues of press censorship in China have become front-page news, the State Department has remained noticeably silent, even as that censorship has impacted the U.S. media. On Dec. 31, 2012, the New York Times announced that the Chinese government had failed to process the journalist visa of one of its Beijing correspondents, Chris Buckley, before his old visa expired. Without a valid […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 261 2 Last