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I didn’t get to enjoy a full-fledged media fast during the three weeks I was away, as I managed to do last summer. But I did limit myself to urgent e-mails, the occasional online news item, and some print magazine reading. And I consider that kind of break from the information onslaught a vital exercise for the way it allows you to focus back in on the big stories that are sometimes obscured by the radio static of day-to-day international news and debate. Not that the latter is unimportant, just that the former is essential. The first thing that struck […]

JOHANNESBURG — The divisions that have time and again beset South Africa’s tripartite alliance — consisting of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) — have returned to haunt the union and further threaten its existence. This time, the rifts are playing themselves out in a devastating public-service strike that pits South Africa’s president and head of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, on one side and the leftist allies that propelled him to power within his party and the country on the other. No sooner had Zuma […]

JUBA, Sudan — In an exclusive interview, Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit told World Politics Review that he doesn’t think “there is any point where southerners will declare a unilateral independence.” The semi-autonomous region of Southern Sudan will hold a referendum in January 2011 on whether to secede from the North. The vote is one of the final steps of a comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) signed in 2005 that ended the country’s two-decade long civil war. At a Congressional hearing (.pdf) last year, former U.S. envoy to Sudan Roger Winter said the South’s ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation […]

At the end of last month, the National Research Council (NRC) released a report warning that U.S. nuclear forensics capacity — or the ability to determine the origin of material used in a nuclear explosion or for nuclear terrorism — was dangerously eroding, despite renewed government efforts to bolster it. “Although U.S. nuclear forensics capabilities are substantial and can be improved, right now they are fragile, under-resourced and, in some respects, deteriorating,” the report concluded. “Without strong leadership, careful planning and additional funds, these capabilities will decline.” The public document, entitled “Nuclear Forensics: A Capability at Risk,” summarized a classified […]

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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy met at a summit in Brasilia in July to discuss the development of bilateral and regional ties. In an e-mail interview, Dr. Mahrukh Doctor, lecturer in political economy at the University of Hull and visiting associate professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, discusses Brazil-EU relations. WPR: What issues are driving the current relationship between Brazil and EU? Mahrukh Doctor: The key drivers of Brazil and EU relations are trade and investment. Brazil is the largest […]

While the world doesn’t yet face a food crisis on par with the summer of 2008, it’s clear that the drought currently affecting the Black Sea trio of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan — all big-time global exporters of wheat and barley — has suddenly made food inflation a primary threat to the somewhat fragile and decidedly uneven global economic recovery. At the very least, it reminds us just how tight global food markets are, due to the contradictory combination of rising middle-class demand and the enduring commitment by brittle governments around the world to keep prices low — at whatever […]

DENPASAR, Indonesia — In the tussle for influence in Southeast Asia, the United States and China have long been competing for Indonesia’s affections. The strategically positioned, resource-rich archipelago is a prized partner in an era of fuel shortages and the global war on terror. But Washington and Beijing have lately expanded their courtship of Jakarta from the traditional areas of trade agreements, foreign direct investment, market access and technical assistance, to increasingly include offers of military hardware and military cooperation. This three-way dance began in 2005, when China and Indonesia announced their “Strategic Partnership.” At the same time, the U.S. […]

World Politics Review is on a publishing hiatus through Aug. 30. But during this time, we’ll be opening up some of our subscription-only content to non-subscribers. Today we feature an article that was part of our May 4, 2010, feature, “Leaving Iraq: What Comes Next?“ In “Debating Obama’s Withdrawal Timeline,” Gregg Carlstrom wrote that despite President Barack Obama’s insistence on sticking to his withdrawal timetable in Iraq, the debate in Washington over the advisability of that course continued. Even today, as Operation Iraqi Freedom officially ends and the last combat troops leave Iraq, the debate goes on. Carlstrom’s article provides […]

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Trend Lines will return on August 30th. During this publishing hiatus, we will be taking time to think of new ways that we can better serve and inform our readers and perform routine site maintenance. Is there something you’d like us to discuss more on Trend Lines? Want to give us feedback? E-mail our Assistant Editor, Kari Lipschutz, at Kari@worldpoliticsreview.com. Check back in at http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com throughout the hiatus for limited time only content.

World Politics Review is not publishing the last two weeks in August. We will resume publishing again on Aug. 30. But during this time, we’ll be opening up some of our subscription-only content to non-subscribers. Today we feature an article that was part of our July 13 feature, “Rethinking the Post-American World.” In “A Second Tour Through the ‘Second World,’” Parag Khanna says that the insights generated from geopolitical schools of thought give us enormous foresight into global trends. And for better or worse, he argues, they support the argument that the global power structure continues to rapidly diffuse away […]

Global Insider is an ongoing World Politics Review interview series that examines developing trends in geopolitics. From maritime disputes and arms sales, to free trade agreements and evolving bilateral relations, Global Insider explores the foundations and implications of new developments in international affairs through the voices of preeminent experts that hail from government, academia and research institutions. Global Insider is published multiple times per week at worldpoliticsreview.com/trend-lines. On this page, and in a pdf document that is available for download by subscribers in our document center, we have collected every Global Insider interview conducted since the series began in April […]

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South Korea and Indonesia will jointly develop a 4.5-generation fighter, according to a memorandum of understanding signed last month. In an e-mail interview, Stephanie Neuman, an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a senior research scholar the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, discusses the advantages and obstacles of an Indonesia-South Korea joint fighter project. WPR: What is the history of this joint fighter project? Stephanie Neuman: Beginning in 1980, development of domestic defense industries was encouraged by the Indonesian government and by the early 1990s various domestic companies were capable of producing […]

At the beginning of this year, I made the following observation: The novelty of the Obama presidency has worn off. What remains will be a long, hard slog of rebuilding America’s global position. And while the fancy rhetoric of 2009 convinced many to give Washington a second chance, 2010 needs to be the year of delivery. If not, Obama will discover, as Bush did before him, that America cannot lead if others will not follow. More than halfway through 2010, the Obama administration has made some progress on a number of the foreign policy challenges facing the United States. There […]

Graz, Austria — The recent advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice, that Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February 2008 was legal, was a defeat for Serbia. But it also offered an opportunity for Serbia to start maneuvering out of the impasse into which its intransigence led. There are signs it is taking this chance. Days after the ICJ pronouncement, Serbia’s President Boris Tadic warned parliament that Serbia “must have the best possible relations with the most powerful states of the world, because everything else would lead the state straight to ruin, and its citizens into poverty.” The parliament […]

After the Obama administration shifted gears in its strategy to stop Iran’s nuclear program, moving from diplomacy to sanctions, a sense of skepticism about its chances for success emanated from all corners. From top American generals saying they did not think the sanctions would work, to a wide variety of politicians, analysts and journalists — including your humble correspondent — a growing consensus emerged that the weak United Nations sanctions obtained by Washington with enormous difficulties would simply fail to deter Iran’s defiant push in pursuit of nuclear know-how and, most likely, nuclear weapons. Since the latest resolution’s passage, however, […]

A recent rocket attack on the twin Red Sea resorts of Eilat in Israel and Aqaba in Jordan raises the specter of renewed Bedouin violence in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where security forces are struggling to fight crime, illegal immigration and terrorist threats, as well as to protect oil and gas pipelines. In the wake of the attacks, an Egyptian security operation aimed at uprooting militant Palestinian and Bedouin groups as well as jihadist elements confirmed Israeli and Jordanian claims that the rockets had been launched from Sinai. It was the second such attack in four months. Security forces discovered evidence […]

The indefinite postponement of Saudi King Abdullah’s scheduled visit to the French capital last month does not bode well for France’s efforts to considerably raise its profile in the Gulf Cooperation Council, and it could well dampen the supposed gains made by French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s two visits to the desert kingdom last year. Reports suggest that King Abdullah, who was to open an exhibition of Saudi antiquities at the Louvre museum in Paris during his proposed July 12 visit, canceled his trip in the wake of a controversy generated by an article that appeared on the Web site of […]

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