The Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer recently signed a deal with China’s state-owned AVIC International Leasing to finance the sale of $1.5 billion worth of aircraft over the next five years. In an e-mail interview, Daniel Vertesy, Ph.D. fellow in the Innovation Studies and Development program at UNU-MERIT, discussed Brazil’s aerospace sector. WPR: What is the current state of Brazil’s aerospace sector? Daniel Vertesy: The aerospace industry is once again growing in Brazil. Over the past three decades, Brazil has secured a place among the top 10 global producers, owing to the regional-scale aircraft-maker, Embraer. The financial crisis hit the sector […]
As federal deficits rise, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is looking to cut spending by close to $100 billion in the next five years, a sign that even the Pentagon’s massive budget is subject to government-wide belt tightening. Gates discusses the new budgetary measures, his China trip and “don’t ask, don’t tell” with Jim Lehrer. A transcript of the interview can be found here.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled his much-anticipated budget cuts last Thursday, signaling the beginning of the end of the decade-long splurge in military spending triggered by Sept. 11. Gates presented the package of cuts as being the biggest possible given the current international security landscape, warning that any deeper reductions could prove “potentially calamitous.” Frankly, I find that statement hard to swallow. How can America basically match the rest of the world’s defense spending combined, and then describe anything less as “potentially calamitous”? Clearly, given the “nation’s grim financial outlook,” as Gates himself put it, we’re going to have […]
The Middle East and North Africa welcomed the New Year with a rare phenomenon: protests in an arc stretching from Algeria to Kuwait, directed against repressive regimes at home rather than a foreign power. The protests are a rare outpouring of pent-up frustration and anger at discrimination and failed economic and social policies as well as corruption in a region that is governed by authoritarian governments intolerant of public criticism. It is too early to conclude that the protests signal a milestone after which Middle Eastern population groups no longer quietly endure repression and economic deprivation and instead increasingly and […]
This is Part IV in a four-part series. Part I examined the follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. Part II examined the REDD+ agreement. Part III examined financial assistance. And Part IV examines technology transfers and adaptation. CANCÚN, Mexico — In the past 10 years, technology developments in the environmental sector have progressed significantly. Solar panels now have the capacity to power entire regions of Germany. Wind turbines provide small to medium-sized cities across the world with their energy needs. Geothermal heating is a functional reality, while methane captured from modest-sized landfills can offer electricity to thousands of nearby homes. […]
Almost three years after its declaration of independence, backed by the U.S. and many of its allies, Kosovo is the object of increasing concern for the international community. On Dec. 12, the Democratic Party of Kosovo (PDK), led by incumbent Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, won a plurality in Kosovo’s first post-independence general elections. Only days later, Thaci, a Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) leader, was accused of being the head of a mafia organization involved in murder, human-rights abuses, organ harvesting and heroin smuggling, among other offenses, in a report for the Council of Europe leaked to the U.K.’s Guardian […]
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the changing nature of power in the emerging geostrategic landscape, and one theme that I find myself returning to repeatedly is that of hub states. The idea being that in an increasingly integrated world, the best way to advance strategic interests is to maximize connectedness. But although connectedness is in itself valuable, some kinds of connectedness are more strategically valuable than others. So the key is to be a node that is highly integrated not just within the network, but within the right parts of the network. Now, like the old gag about […]
As Russia begins its countdown to elections for the Duma at the end of this year as well as the presidential ballot in early 2012, two predictions are making the rounds. The first is that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will reclaim the presidency, which the constitution required him to vacate in 2008. (Article 81.3 prohibits anyone from holding the office for more than two consecutive terms.) The second is that the “tandem” formed by Putin and current President Dmitry Medvedev, Putin’s former chief of staff, is not sustainable and that an open break between the two will occur sooner or […]
The recent release of Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi could produce, as a ripple effect, a shift in the relationship between Burma and the U.S. Suu Kyi has stated that she intends to pursue reconciliation with the junta. This, in turn, could suit Washington’s softening stance toward the regime and the Obama administration’s stated preference for alternative policies in dealing with Burma. Suu Kyi’s decision is dictated by the reality on the ground. Her National League for Democracy party (NLD), which won 1990 elections that were never recognized domestically, was disbanded after it boycotted the November 2010 parliamentary […]
John Mearsheimer’s National Interest piece titled, “Imperial by Design,” has been getting a bit of attention, although less than I assumed it would judging from the attractiveness of its thesis in war-weary times. Although I agree in principle with the prescription, I found the diagnosis poorly argued. Mearsheimer declares that the U.S. has pursued a grand strategy of global dominance since the end of the Cold War, culminating in the Bush administration’s decision to remake the Middle East in its own image. He argues instead for a strategy of offshore balancing intended to economize American power and resources without abandoning […]
The holiday season has now ended, but not without leaving behind a trail of devastation and a rising sense of anguish among Christian communities in the Middle East. A series of deadly assaults and ominous threats — most dramatically the New Year’s church massacre in Alexandria, Egypt, and a threat from al-Qaida in Iraq to “open the doors of destruction and rivers of blood” upon Christians — have raised fears that Christianity may not survive in the region of its birth. The depth of the anxiety comes through in the words of Lebanon’s former-President Amin Gemayel, who declared, “What is […]
The consensus has it that the big winner of the Iraq War was Iran, in that the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime removed the major barrier containing Iran’s regional ambitions. Certainly the Shiite-dominated and Iran-friendly government in Baghdad has freed up Tehran’s hand across the region — even if, as I’ve argued before, the inherently volatile nature of Iraqi politics means that Iran has inherited some time- and energy-consuming responsibilities in Iraq along with its increased influence. But I’d argue that the fears among Middle Eastern Arab states of Iran’s growing regional reach have more to do with their […]
This is Part III in a four-part series. Part I examined the follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. Part II examined the REDD+ agreement. Part III examines financial assistance. And Part IV will examine technology transfers and adaptation. CANCÚN, Mexico — The great paradox confronting international climate change talks like December’s Cancún conference is simple: The countries who have contributed least to global emissions of greenhouse gases will bear the greatest brunt of the changing weather patterns that result from them. Conference participants and observers agree that the solution is also simple: Those who have polluted the most should fix […]
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, a South Korean shipbuilder, recently submitted a $3.5-billion bid for a Brazilian warship contract. In an e-mail interview, Mingi Hyun, research fellow at the Korea Institute for Maritime Strategy (KIMS), discussed South Korea’s naval shipbuilding sector. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of KIMS. WPR: What is the current state of the South Korean military shipbuilding sector? Mingi Hyun: Korea possesses a capable naval shipbuilding sector, composed of four government-designated naval shipbuilders: Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction (HHIC) and STX Offshore & […]
Late last month, the Federal Reserve announced that it was authorizing the extension of temporary credit lines, or “currency swaps,” with major foreign central banks through August. While five economies are included in the extension, it is the Fed’s credit line to the European Central Bank (ECB) that is the most significant in light of Europe’s continued debt woes. The decision to extend the currency swaps, which were initially scheduled to expire in January, suggests that the Fed isn’t counting on 2011 to be free of international financial distress, and that it remains prepared to throw its resources behind any […]
The Greek government has announced plans to build a fence along part of its border with Turkey to try to stop illegal immigrants from crossing into the country. Authorities are struggling to cope with the more than 100,000 migrants who crossed into Greece illegally last year alone.