After seven long years, the Indian government has decided that the time has come to once again make its presence felt in Iraq by naming an envoy to the country. The previous ambassador to Iraq was withdrawn in 2004 as the security situation in the country spiraled out of control. Even after the situation in Iraq had stabilized, with largely peaceful elections last year and the U.S. decision to withdraw its forces completely by the end of this year, New Delhi took its time to come to terms with the rapidly changing realities on the ground. After all, when it […]

The rapidly spreading chaos in Libya should give the American people pause, and may end up giving the U.S. military another item to add to its endless to-do list. Setting the stage for what might be called the battle for Tripoli, anti-government forces and rebel military units are moving from the country’s apparently “liberated” east to face off against Moammar Gadhafi’s Praetorian Guard of tribal and regime loyalists. The New York Times described “clusters of heavily armed men in mismatched uniforms clutching machine guns,” “dozens of checkpoints operated by . . . plainclothes militiamen,” and “machine-gun toting foreign mercenaries” stalking […]

A lot of international relations theories are being stress-tested by events in the Arab world right now, with some emerging better than others. Two in particular that are worth mentioning are Ian Bremmer’s 2006 book, “The J Curve,” which predicts a dangerous dip into instability when closed, authoritarian states attempt to open up to the world; and Evgeny Morozov’s new book, “The Net Delusion,” which critiques the notion that Internet connectivity is inherently democratizing. (In the interests of transparency, I work as a consultant for Bremmer’s political risk consultancy, Eurasia Group, and penned a pre-publication blurb for Morozov’s book.) Both […]

article card

For all the talk about America’s declining global influence, it’s worth mentioning that the Oscar awards were front-page news in just about every English-language foreign daily that I scan each morning, as well as in both French-language dailies I read. Compare that to the French equivalent, the Césars, which, in case you missed it — and unless you’re a film buff, you probably did — took place earlier this week. As for the Césars, among the highlights were the honorary award given to Quentin Tarantino as well as the ceremony’s host, Jodie Foster. To be clear, this isn’t a value […]

article card

When she was first named foreign minister last November, I, like most observers, noted Michèle Alliot-Marie’s reputation as a professional, the kind of minister who could be counted on to take care of business and not make headlines. She arguably delivered on the first count, but was done in by her abject failure to deliver on the second, with the never-ending revelations from her ill-fated Christmas holiday in Tunisia fatally undermining her legitimacy as the face of France’s foreign policy. Nevertheless, it’s worth repeating that Alliot-Marie’s failings were a function of her professionalism — that is, they reflect the standard […]

article card

The U.S. and Pakistan are currently engaged in a diplomatic tussle over Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor held in Pakistan for allegedly killing two men in Lahore in January. The U.S. has called for Davis’ release, citing his diplomatic immunity. In an e-mail interview, Linda Frey, professor of European History at the University of Montana and Marsha Frey, professor of European History at Kansas State University, co-authors of “The History of Diplomatic Immunity,” discussed the history and operation of diplomatic immunity. WPR: What does diplomatic immunity cover and exclude, and who receives it? Linda Frey and Marsha Frey: As a […]

article card

The African Union recently announced its intention to develop an African naval force, which would fight illegal fishing, piracy and environmental problems in Africa’s collective exclusive economic zone (EEZ). In an e-mail interview, Johan Potgieter, a retired captain in the South African navy and a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies in South African, discussed the AU’s proposed naval force. WPR: What need does this proposal respond to? Johan Potgieter: Thirty-nine of the 54 countries in Africa are either coastal states or islands, with another five situated on the vast Great Lakes of central Africa. As a consequence, […]

Will the collapse of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime be the salvation of Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela? Even without a forcible overthrow of the “Brother Leader” and the uncertainty of a subsequent interregnum, a protracted Libyan civil war that damages the country’s energy infrastructure could drive energy prices back to 2008 levels. Joshua Schenyer, surveying the landscape, concluded grimly, “Regardless of what comes next in Libya’s lethal political standoff, the OPEC country’s oil sector is nearly certain to suffer, bringing long-lasting supply disruptions or even permanent damage. None of several potential outcomes is benign for Libya’s oil industry — the lifeblood […]

article card

If the debate about how the U.S. and the international community should respond to the carnage in Libya highlights one thing, it is that we still have not arrived at either a domestic or global consensus about when and why to intervene militarily in the affairs of a sovereign state. I include Iraq in the title of this post for three reasons. First, the pre-emptive nature of the Iraq invasion in many ways served to sidetrack the debate over humanitarian interventions. Second, the outcome of the Iraq War served to chasten the broad middle of the policy debate, if not […]

As more sickening details emerge of what actually happened to CBS reporter Lara Logan in Tahrir Square on Feb. 13, the partisan rhetoric shows no signs of abating. Some claim that it was “pro-Mubarak” thugs who sexually assaulted and almost killed the 39-year-old mother of two, while others point the finger at “pro-liberation” hooligans. Still others have used the incident to demonize Muslims in general. Such distinctions, however, have nothing to do with why Logan was attacked and, in fact, obscure the real issue. Like many millions of women, girls and young boys around the world, Logan was not a […]

Much analysis of the wave of unrest sweeping the Middle East has identified economic hardship as a crucial motivation for the uprisings. Many Middle East experts pointed to unemployment and the rising price of food in Tunisia to explain that country’s uprising. The same experts pointed to unemployment and mass poverty to explain the subsequent Egyptian uprising. But after Egyptians successfully ousted Hosni Mubarak, unrest subsequently spread to Libya, Algeria, Iran, Bahrain, Yemen and Jordan, countries with very diverse economic conditions. Standards of living in Bahrain and Libya, for example, are much higher than in Egypt and Yemen. Furthermore, the […]

article card

The East African Community, comprising Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, recently launched a $300 million infrastructure program aimed at reducing the cost of doing business in the region. In an e-mail interview, Andrew Roberts, senior operations officer in the World Bank’s Africa Regional Integration Department, discussed infrastructure and development in the East African Community. WPR: What are the major areas of underdeveloped infrastructure within the East African Community? Andrew Roberts: Electricity access in the countries in the subregion is very low, ranging from 5 percent in Burundi and Rwanda to 30 percent in Sudan in 2008. Because demand is […]

article card

One of the major points of speculation about the impact of the Egyptian uprising is over how a democratic government in Cairo will affect Egypt’s foreign policy, in particular regarding Israel. A just-released Ifop poll of French opinion on the Afghanistan War (via Jean-Dominique Merchet) highlights a point I’ve been meaning to make: Democracies are not immune to unpopular foreign policy. According to the Ipof poll, 72 percent of French people oppose the country’s involvement in the Afghanistan War. That’s slightly higher than the two-thirds who opposed the war at the time that French President Nicolas Sarkozy decided to deploy […]

BEIJING — Following a period of considerable success and strategic evolution, China’s foreign policy has been marked by a less coherent and less constructive approach to international relations over the past year. Nowhere has this shift been more pronounced than on the Asian littoral, a key arena in the country’s international rise, where China’s opaque naval expansion and increasingly abrasive behavior have begun to undermine previous strategic gains. China’s naval modernization is part of an ongoing force-wide attempt to enhance national military capabilities, particularly in nonconventional warfare and peacetime operations. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) also has a stated […]

For players of the decades-old parlor game of divining succession in despotic Arab regimes, one rule never varied: The current dictator would personally choose his successor, almost always selecting one of his sons to head the regime after his death. Until this week, that dynastic pattern seemed certain to apply to Libya’s Col. Moammar Gadhafi, whose sons have spent years seeking their flamboyant father’s favor and jockeying for position within that most peculiar of regimes. The eccentric, histrionic and often-buffoonish Gadhafi has provided four decades of outrage, disbelief and even entertainment for outside observers. For those living under his rule, […]

article card

Niger held a first-round presidential election in January that will go a to runoff between the two leading candidates March 12. The vote is expected to bring an end to military rule in the West African country, following a February 2010 coup. In an e-mail interview, Alex Thurston, a doctoral candidate in the Religion Department at Northwestern University and author of the Sahel Blog, discussed Niger’s election. WPR: What are the ethnic, political and institutional fault lines in Niger, and which of the main candidates represents them? Alex Thurston: News reports have emphasized political fault lines in the presidential election, […]

article card

This report by the Pentagon Channel, the U.S. Defense Department’s TV news service, on the killing of four Americans by pirates on February 22, includes an interview with U.S. Navy Vice Admiral Mark Fox, commander of U.S. Navy Forces Central Command, who describes the events after U.S. forces boarded the pirated vessel Quest off the coast of East Africa.

Showing 1 - 17 of 811 2 3 5 Last