On Dec. 3, 2010, with only 28 days left in office, Brazil’s then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva officially recognized the independent state of Palestine along Israel’s pre-1967 borders. A spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry responded with a pointed reminder that Brazil had “never made any contribution” to the peace process, and called such unilateral declarations counterproductive. But that didn’t keep Argentina from following suit within a matter of days, and Bolivia and Ecuador had joined the ranks by Christmas. Uruguay waited until the New Year to make a formal declaration, while Chile did so on Jan. 12. And on […]
When street protests succeeded in putting an end to the 23-year dictatorship of Tunisia’s President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the world watched in astonishment. Practically no one had anticipated such a rapid turn of events. To be sure, the expectation that despotic Arab regimes will ultimately fall is widespread. But Tunisia, circa 2011, seemed hardly the place or the time for such a dramatic and transformative uprising. If it could happen in Tunisia, the cry went up throughout the Arab world, why not in our countries? Tunisia’s breathtaking Jasmine Revolution brought to mind the collapse of communism in Eastern […]
The South American Common Market, known as Mercosur, is in the process of expanding its membership to include Venezuela. In an e-mail interview, Joao Augusto de Castro Neves, founding partner of CAC Political Consultancy and Ph.D. student at University of Sao Paulo, and Carlos Pereira, visiting fellow in the Brookings Institution Latin America Initiative and professor of political economy at the Getulio Vargas Foundation, discussed Mercosur expansion. WPR: What is the current Mercosur membership, and what are the group’s internal trade dynamics? Joao Augusto de Castro Neves and Carlos Pereira: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay are full members of Mercosur, […]
Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series on the Philippines peace process. Part I examines talks between the Philippine government and Maoist insurgents. Part II will examine negotiations between Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Upholding an electoral promise, Philippine President Benigno Aquino has pushed for the reopening of peace talks with the Maoist rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Islamic rebels of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The prospects for the two peace tracks are beset with difficulties, although for different reasons, with the NPA talks in particular presenting daunting challenges. […]
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Six months after the hotly contested signing of a controversial cross-strait trade pact, Taiwan may be beginning to accept talks with China as business as usual. Only a few dozen desultory protesters could be seen waving signs around in the bitter winter air in Taipei during the latest round of cross-strait negotiations last month. Police officers assigned to preserve the peace appeared more relaxed than during past talks, perhaps confident they wouldn’t need to exert themselves pulling apart mobs around Chinese envoy Chen Yunlin’s hotel. Flash back to June 2010, in the sweltering last few weeks leading […]
Iran has successfully test-fired an upgraded surface-to-air missile authorities say is aimed at protecting the counry’s most sensitive areas. The test was carried out near a nuclear facility in the central part of Iran. This video, from Russia’s government-owned English-language television station, features an interview with Victor Mizin, a political analyst at the Moscow State Institute for International Relations.
News broke Sunday night that Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier had returned to Haiti after an absence of 25 years. The dictator’s return capped off a difficult year for Haiti, as the island continues to recover from an earthquake, a hurricane, a cholera outbreak, and a contested presidential election. Many worried that Duvalier intended to take advantage of the chaos and suffering that still plagues the country in order to regain influence. Though Duvalier has now been charged with corruption dating from his time in power and may instead face trial, the alarm triggered by his arrival is a reminder that, […]
From the moment the first cell-phone videos of balaclava-clad young men sprinting away from police gunfire began to travel across cyberspace a few weeks ago, the mounting social unrest in Tunisia has caught many by surprise. Even longtime observers have had difficulty explaining how one of North Africa’s most prosperous and, arguably, most socially stable countries became a powder keg of political, economic and social fury. “I thought it could happen, but I didn’t believe it would happen so suddenly,” said Abdelwahab Hechiche, a political scientist at the University of South Florida who engaged in political activism for Tunisian independence […]
The Obama administration still says it will begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan in six months. But a recent visit to Afghanistan by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden raised questions about how long the U.S. military will actually stay there and some analysts say there are benchmarks that Washington and NATO should consider in determining the length of their mission.
JODHPUR, India — In China, one often hears that it is impossible to govern a population of more than a billion using democracy. The country’s phenomenal rise over the past 30 years certainly testifies to the success of its “Leninist corporatism.” However, while concerns mount over the sustainability and fairness of this model, India’s greater tolerance and openness may become a source of considerable comparative advantage in the quest for regional leadership in the “Asian Century.” The fundamental differences in the two emerging behemoths’ social and political attitudes are reflected in their respective approaches to the past. In China, the […]
On Jan. 14, two of the world’s oil giants, Russia’s Rosneft and BP, announced an unprecedented “strategic global alliance,” in which they will be exchanging shares and expanding their joint ventures, including launching a new Arctic oil-drilling project. Both companies bring important assets to their new alliance, but the deal has alarmed foreign governments and environmentalist organizations due to its potential commercial, security, and ecological implications. The arrangement also raises interesting questions related to the Russian government’s economic modernization program. Through the deal, Rosneft will acquire 5 percent of BP’s shares, while BP will obtain an additional 9.5 percent share […]
Well, it seems like I picked a bad week to minimize the effectiveness of social media as tools for organizing political protest against authoritarian regimes. In all fairness to both sides of the discussion, very few observers are arguing that social media alone can topple tyrants, and I was not saying that social media can not help in that effort. But proponents of social media as primary news and information sources during such events are likely to take comfort from the week’s events in Tunisia. Pending more thorough analysis, I still think that would be premature, not only because it’s […]
“The world is beating a path to your door,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron when visiting India last July. Cameron’s words were not mere rhetorical flourish: During the second half of 2010, the leaders of all the permanent U.N. Security Council members passed through New Delhi, underscoring India’s increasing importance in the global system. Significantly, all the visiting dignitaries either affirmed support for India’s claim to a permanent seat on the council or, in the case of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, made a statement “supporting India’s aspirations for a greater role in global affairs.” Indeed, the reordering of global […]
President Barack Obama came into office promising a new sort of bilateral relationship with China. It was not meant to be. Washington hasn’t changed any of its long list of demands regarding China, and Beijing, true to historical form, has gone out of its way to flex its muscles as a rising power. With the recent series of revelations concerning Chinese military developments, the inside-the-Beltway hyping of the Chinese threat has reached fever pitch, matching the average American’s growing fears of China’s economic strength. Of course, the world’s established No. 1 power always greets the challenge from a rising No. […]
Last year is on record as the bloodiest year yet in Mexico’s war against organised crime, with drug-related deaths jumps to a record high. More than 15,000 people lost their lives in Mexico’s drug war last year. And it has already been a violent start to 2011, with the cartels blamed for more murders.
Most expats have a love/hate relationship with the N.Y. Times, with the love consisting of that moment of eager anticipation upon seeing that the paper of record has deigned to cover one’s adoptive country, and the hate consisting of apoplectic exasperation at the trivial “color” pieces it generally runs or how far off the mark its more serious coverage is. Like drivers, the vast majority of whom rate themselves as above average, expats universally consider themselves more qualified than their local Times reporter. As if to put that notion to rest, the Times magazine ran not one, but two solid […]
In pursuit of Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s concept of strategic depth, Turkey has been reaching out to rising powers in Asia while at the same time offering itself as a mediator in disputes in its near abroad. As part of this approach, Turkey is leveraging its longstanding ties with Pakistan and its stature as one of the few industrialized countries in the Muslim world to create a diplomatic role for itself in Afghanistan. But in a sign that Ankara’s geopolitical outreach cannot transcend regional fault lines, Turkey kept India out of the January 2010 tripartite summit on Afghanistan at Pakistan’s […]