article card

One could almost hear a collective gasp across the Middle East when Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri made a most astonishing statement earlier this month. After vehemently accusing Syria of orchestrating his father’s murder in 2005, after leading a revolt that pushed Syrian troops out of Lebanon on the strength of that accusation, after galvanizing what seemed an unstoppable political movement on the power of those charges, Hariri said it had all been just one big mistake. The reversal marked the passing of a short-lived era in Lebanese history and of Western influence in Lebanon, a country that serves as […]

Editor’s note: This will be David Axe’s final “War is Boring” column at World Politics Review. However, we look forward to featuring David’s reporting on our front page, including an upcoming series on sexual violence in eastern Congo. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for his contributions to WPR and to wish him success in all his many endeavors. DUNGU, Democratic Republic of Congo — When the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, attacked the town of Duru in eastern Congo two years ago, it took a convoy of U.N. peacekeepers and humanitarian workers 10 days […]

Last week, French Defense Minister Hervé Morin told an informal meeting of European Union defense ministers in Ghent that if they did not pool their defense capabilities more effectively, Europe risked becoming a protectorate. “Fifty years from now we’ll become a pawn in the balance between the new powers,” Morin said, “and we’ll be under a Sino-America condominium.” Morin’s provocative remarks were triggered by recent cuts in European defense budgets, which reinforce longstanding downward trends in military spending on the continent. The question facing the EU is whether the cuts will finally impel European governments to cooperate more closely in […]

According to virtually all global warming projections, humanity faces significantly more conflict in the decades ahead as we fight over dwindling resources in climate-stressed lands. However, those reports typically overlook one likely outcome that could counterbalance the more negative impacts of global warming — that of northern territories becoming significantly milder, more accessible, and, most intriguingly, more hospitable to immigration. This is the essential good news to be found in Laurence C. Smith’s fascinating new book, “The World in 2050.” The ambitious title is perhaps a bit misleading, for where Smith really delivers is on the subtitle: “Four Forces Shaping […]

article card

When Bob Woodward’s book, “Obama’s Wars,” is released on Monday, the denizens of Washington’s Beltway will eagerly skip to the index to see whether they are mentioned — and if not, who is. But as they digest the stories of infighting, rivalry and catty comments among the president’s national security team, excerpts of which have already begun to circulate, the larger question is whether the revelations in the latest Woodward tome will have an impact on the Obama administration’s Afghan policy. Woodward seems to confirm what many have suspected ever since President Barack Obama’s speech at West Point announcing the […]

Years ago, when world leaders started speaking out about the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program, one of the potential threats they cited was the possibility that it would spark a flurry of competing nuclear programs throughout the Middle East. Today, as international efforts to stop Iran’s uranium enrichment remain unsuccessful, the once-distant prospect of a Middle East crowded with nuclear plants has moved a long way toward becoming a reality. In recent days, Jordan signed a nuclear cooperation deal with Japan, setting the stage for the Hashemite kingdom to start receiving nuclear technology and nuclear materials. Japanese officials also inked […]

DUNGU, Democratic Republic of Congo — The report must have caused a furor when it reached the Kinshasa headquarters of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo: Last week, residents of Duru, a town of several thousand residents in Congo’s inaccessible northeast, told peacekeepers at a nearby U.N. base that the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group had just attacked and abducted several people. Indian army Lt. Gen. Chander Prakash, the new commander of the roughly 20,000-strong U.N. force, was apparently so disturbed that he personally led a reconnaissance mission to the affected community, flying a thousand miles across some of […]

The results of the Sept. 18 elections to the Wolesi Jirga, Afghanistan’s lower house of parliament, will not be known for weeks, but from the point of view of the international community, in many ways the process is more important than the outcome. The strategy adopted by the Obama administration, NATO, and the other key international players in Afghanistan depends for success on establishing Afghan political, economic, and military institutions that are strong and legitimate. Without an effective Afghan partner able to reduce the threat from the Taliban insurgents to manageable levels, the coalition’s counterinsurgency strategy will never succeed. But […]

When Europe ran the world, trade followed the flag, meaning that globalization in its initial expression — otherwise known as colonialism — grew out of the barrel of a gun, to paraphrase Mao Zedong. On this subject, Franklin Roosevelt and Vladimir Lenin agreed, even if that conclusion led them to embrace diametrically opposed strategies: FDR’s realization that “the colonial system means war” drove him to erect an international liberal trade order following World War II that doomed the vast colonial systems of his closest European allies. Roosevelt’s success not only enabled America to contain and ultimately defeat the soul-crushing Soviet […]

A great deal of ink has been spilled on the domestic trajectory of the “Tea Party” movement, which is demonstrating its growing clout within the ranks of the Republican party and could end up playing a decisive factor in the 2010 midterm congressional elections. But less attention has been given to the foreign policy implications of the Tea Party’s possible ascendancy. Even if the Republicans take back control of both houses of Congress this fall, the Tea Party is unlikely to play a major role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. However, its perspective will shape popular perception, and its counsel […]

With little more than 50 days left until elections on Nov. 7, tensions are rising noticeably in Burma — the country renamed Myanmar by its military rulers. The junta that keeps the country in its steely grip is trying to make sure the election goes off exactly as planned — which is to say, without triggering a new revolt, let alone a full-fledged revolution, and without producing an electoral outcome that would embarrass the regime or weaken its hold on power. The regime is so nervous that it recently ordered the temporary suspension of the magazine Modern Times as punishment […]

KINSHASA, Congo — The local residents had been waiting for hours, and there was no guarantee they’d get in to the poorly lit room where administrators from the Forces Armées de la République Democratique du Congo (FARDC) were busy filling out paperwork. The U.S. Army and the FARDC were trying to register the Congolese civilians for a free health clinic that would take place the following week. The clinic, administered by military medical personnel from both countries, would be one of the culminating events of a two-week, U.S.-led exercise meant to improve the FARDC’s medical capabilities — all part of […]

When Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov meets with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the Pentagon tomorrow, they will have a lot to discuss. Although Serdyukov has been defense minister since 2007, this will be his first official visit to the Pentagon. That’s primarily because he has focused his attention back home, implementing the most comprehensive reform of the Russian military in almost a century. Indeed, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell noted last week that Gates and Serdyukov “are both taking on very bold, very ambitious reform initiatives within their respective militaries, and I think they want to talk about […]

If America could be magically granted its ideal Muslim strategic partner, what would we ask for? Would we want a country that fell in line with every U.S. foreign policy stance? Not if the regime was to have any credibility with the Islamic world. No, ideally, the government would be just Islamist enough to be seen as preserving the nation’s religious and cultural identity, even as it aggressively modernized its society and connected its economy to the larger world. It would have an activist foreign policy that emphasized diplomacy, multilateralism and regional stability, while also maintaining sufficient independence from America […]

In U.S. domestic politics, which demands that presidential administrations pursue policies with near-instantaneous results, the biblical adage, “One sows, another reaps,” is anathema. As a result, President Barack Obama is not only under growing pressure to demonstrate results to a skeptical American electorate months before the 2010 midterm elections, he also needs to chalk up a series of successes to buoy his 2012 re-election campaign. Fortunately, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pithily noted during her last visit to Georgia, the United States is able to walk and chew gum at the same time. This logic also applies to the […]

VAVUNIYA, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities would like the world to think of their country as an idyllic retreat, or as the writer Anton Chekhov described it during his 1890 visit, a “Paradise on Earth — an exotic fairy tale setting.” That’s why the ever-present military checkpoints and machine-gun-toting soldiers that dot the capital never make it into the television commercials urging Europeans to visit this beautiful Indian Ocean island. The advertisements also steer clear of the island’s northern region and this town, Vavuniya. It is the gateway to the area formerly controlled by the separatist Liberation Tigers […]

The Iraqi insurgents moved fast. Piling into the back of a civilian pick-up truck, they weaved through the western Iraqi city of Ramadi until they were within a few miles of the local American base. The truck halted, and the insurgents spilled out. In just seconds, they set up a mortar and fired at least one shell toward the base. Seconds later they were speeding to safety, their vehicle hidden in the city’s traffic. The round arced over the earthen wall surrounding the U.S. base and struck Capt. Eric Allton, a 34-year-old from Idaho. Allton died instantly. Hundreds of Americans […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 221 2 Last