With last year’s swine flu scare already a distant memory, the risk of a new epidemic is spreading across Europe. This time the fears have to do not with the H1N1 virus, but with the debt contagion facing Europe’s PIIGS: Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain. With each of these countries carrying high debt-to-GDP ratios, financial markets are growing increasingly skeptical that Greece’s debt crisis will be successfully quarantined within its borders. The last two weeks have seen downgrades in Greek, Portuguese, and Spanish bonds, tumbling stock markets, and flight from the euro to the safe haven of the dollar. […]

MANILA, Philippines — Whoever wins the Philippines’ upcoming presidential election on May 10, it is likely that the special ties that bind the country to the U.S. will remain largely unaffected. In Manila, however, those ties are considered a necessity, not a choice, and some perceptible changes in attitude have emerged. The shift is aided by China’s inroads into what has historically been considered “the United States’ backyard.” Segments of Filipino civil society have long opposed what they perceive as Washington’s interference in the country’s internal affairs, as well as the U.S. military’s presence during lengthy training exercises. Politicians, including […]

The rigid-hull inflatable boat with 10 U.S. Navy sailors aboard pulled up alongside the blue-and-white dhow on the choppy, sapphire waters of the Gulf of Aden. The dhow’s six occupants, dressed in sandals, loose pants and t-shirts, stood to meet the heavily armed Americans. Seeing the sailors’ assault rifles, some of the dhow crewmen raised their hands to show they were unarmed. So began an encounter last December between suspected pirates and the men and women tasked with hunting them. With their hulking, gray home vessel, the destroyer USS Donald Cook, looming in the background, the sailors tried to initiate […]

This World Politics Review special report is a compilation of World Politics Review’s top articles on the global nuclear agenda from July 2009 through April 2010. The report includes articles on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. 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. Disarmament Movement Needs Youth Involvement to Counter Cynicism By Johan Bergen√§sJuly 30, 2009Moving Past STARTBy Richard WeitzAugust 4, 2009Obama’s Challenging NPT AgendaBy Miles A. PomperAugust 4, 2009Keeping Swords, Building PlowsharesBy […]

In recent weeks, the members of the Obama administration have developed a comprehensive strategy for the Eighth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which began yesterday. The administration’s declared position is to use the conference and other opportunities to strengthen all three of the treaty’s core objectives or “pillars”: disarmament, nonproliferation, and peaceful uses of nuclear energy. U.S. officials have stressed their support for the fundamental trilateral bargain behind the NPT: Countries with nuclear weapons will move towards eliminating them; states without nuclear weapons will not seek to obtain them; and all countries will enjoy access to peaceful […]

When President Barack Obama first announced his plan in early 2009 for withdrawal from Iraq, it initiated a debate within U.S. national security circles: Would Shiite insurgents operating in the country stage a final attack on U.S. troops as they withdrew? Initially it was believed that such an attack would happen in the summer of 2009, as Coalition Forces consolidated to bases removed from local population centers, as per Obama’s plan. But 2009 passed without incident, leaving analysts slightly reassured about the impact of relentless Coalition Force operations targeting three key Shiite insurgent groups — Kata’ib Hezbollah, Jaysh al-Mahdi, and […]

As Iraq’s political leaders crisscrossed the region holding meetings in various neighboring capitals in the run-up to and aftermath of the March 7 parliamentary elections, they provided a running display of the country’s continued vulnerability to the actions, both benign and malign, of its regional neighbors. While these cordial meetings were described as friendly consultations and information-sharing exercises, they reflect a stark reality: Iraq’s future is not solely in its own hands, and due to its weakness, the country’s future course will be shaped by both the actions and interference of its neighbors. Less clear is Iraq’s contribution to the […]

Over the space of the next 5-10 years, Iraq’s political leaders must grapple with a series of deeply contentious issues that cut to the core of the design of the Iraqi state. Many of these divisive issues — such as the division of powers between the central government and the regions, control over the oil and gas sector, and the future status of disputed territories in northern Iraq — are intertwined, and relate in one way or another to the current and future status of the Kurds in Iraq. In the broadest sense, then, the “big picture” question facing Iraq […]

On March 7, President Barack Obama made a brief appearance in the Rose Garden to comment on Iraq’s just-completed parliamentary election. Obama hailed the vote as a success and condemned the insurgents who carried out a few scattered attacks in Baghdad. Then he returned to what is for him a familiar theme, casting the ballot as yet another milestone on the road to ending the seven-year-old Iraq War. “The Iraqi people must know that the United States will fulfill its obligations,” Obama said. “We will continue with the responsible removal of United States forces from Iraq.” Perhaps the framing was […]

Beginning last October, when an earthquake registering 4.0 Mw on the Richter Scale struck the city, Tehran’s residents have been barraged by prognostications of an earthquake reducing their metropolis to rubble. Iranian newspapers run stories almost daily detailing possible outcomes. More recently, Tehran’s acting prayer leader, Hojatoleslam Kazem Sadeqi, became the object of worldwide ridicule when he claimed, “Women who do not dress modestly . . . spread adultery in society, which increases [the occurrence of] earthquakes.” But what’s really at the root of Tehran’s earthquake scare? President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered a hint on April 6, when he urged Tehran’s […]

The recent global financial crisis has birthed a slew of books proclaiming the superiority of state capitalism — or, alternatively, authoritarian capitalism — over free markets. China, we are led to believe, will not merely own this century, but will also likely win the bulk of the world over to its “unique” and “unprecedented” model of development. Stunningly, even though no serious thinker still believes in the efficacy of command economies, we are now encouraged to quake before state-directed economies, as if a bunch of power-fixated politicos sitting around a table will somehow manage to outsmart, out-predict, and outperform the […]

President Barack Obama’s multipronged approach to minimizing nuclear risks — embodied in the simultaneous roll out of the Nuclear Posture Review, the START follow-on treaty with Russia, and the Nuclear Security Summit — is nothing if not ambitious. Taken together, these steps mark a potential turning-point for U.S. nuclear strategy by reducing the role of nuclear weapons and by prioritizing efforts to lock down weapons-usable material, clamping down on nuclear terrorism, and strengthening international rules against proliferation. As the Nuclear Posture Review puts it, “Changes in the nuclear threat environment have altered the hierarchy of our nuclear concerns and strategic […]

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