A long-time concern for Chinese Communist regime officials has been trying to maintain the export-driven model that has led to high-speed growth. That’s becoming more and more of a challenge, especially given decreased spending power and increased caution among overseas buyers.
Police in Brazil recently purchased several unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor environmental crimes such as deforestation and illegal fishing. In an email interview, Tyler Wall, a professor of criminal justice at Eastern Kentucky University, discussed the nonmilitary uses of drones. WPR: What are some of the potential nonmilitary applications of drones? Tyler Wall: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVS) are being deployed in a variety of nonmilitary spheres, albeit in limited capacities. Examples include the use of drones for domestic policing and border patrol; natural-disaster assistance; and monitoring wildlife, crops and the weather. WPR: To what degree are these potential uses being […]
The U.S. government’s efforts to reduce America’s budget deficit has put funding for nuclear nonproliferation programs, development aid and even defense spending on the chopping block. With advocacy groups and lobbyists in Washington now fighting tooth and nail to minimize the damage to their core interests, little attention has been given to an innovative way to achieve national and international security and development objectives amid financial austerity: leveraging the private sector. Advanced technology is fast becoming the 21st century antidote to a variety of global security challenges, and if properly applied, the same technologies can also represent a cost-effective strategy […]
The order that structured the Arab Middle East for the past several decades is now coming apart, giving way to a new power landscape in the region. The new topography of strength is still very much a work in progress, but it is not too early to ask which countries are emerging as the most powerful and influential. This is a matter of importance not only to the states in the region. For centuries the Arab world has been the epicenter of regional and global struggles, and the ongoing changes it is currently undergoing pose a vital question for actors […]
How much danger would Iranian nuclear weapons pose to the world? This question animates the debate over whether the threat of the Iranian nuclear program is worth robust sanctions or a preventive military attack. Nuclear weapons are by their nature alarming, and the Iranian regime says and does a lot of alarming things. But how useful are nuclear weapons, even to a state with bad intentions? How much do they change tactical and strategic behavior? For devices capable of destroying cities and killing millions, the answer is surprisingly murky. States sometimes have excellent reasons for developing nuclear weapons. Countries that […]
The absence of the European Union from the Sixth East Asia Summit (EAS), which will be held in Bali, Indonesia, on Nov. 18-19, is a sign that the EU may play only a secondary role in what many see as the unfolding “Asian century.” Though the EU is the longest-standing partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the lead organization for the EAS, EU leaders will be totally excluded from the summit, which will bring together leaders of the 10 ASEAN states, plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the U.S. This exclusion should […]
At a meeting of more than 2,000 tribal elders in Kabul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called for a security pact with the U.S. that respects full Afghan sovereignty. Karzai told delagates at the meeting that the Afghan-U.S. relationship should be one of two independent states.
U.S. President Barak Obama’s unveiling this week of plans for a deepened U.S. military alliance with Australia seems to fit naturally into the growing narrative of U.S. attempts to counter the rise of Chinese military power in Asia. But for Australia, where U.S. Marines will for the first time be stationed on a base in the northern city of Darwin, the development has caused quite a stir. While it won bipartisan political and widespread public support, Australian analysts are split on the development’s deeper significance as well as the question of whether the timing is right for their country to […]
Successive British governments have stressed strategic continuity, and there appears to be general political support for this among the electorate. But over the past 10 years, and particularly over the past two years, the U.K. has struggled to find the resources necessary to maintain the capabilities that would ensure strategic continuity. It has also found itself forced to reassess its position on a number of key international issues that determine how other powers respond to the U.K. as a global power. As a result, the United Kingdom’s position in the current international system is generally ambiguous. When the Conservative-Liberal coalition […]
In October, Turkey invoked the principle of hot pursuit to send hundreds of troops across its border with Iraq following an attack by Kurdish militants within Turkey. In an email interview, Geoffrey S. Corn, professor of law at South Texas College of Law, discussed the international norms of hot pursuit. WPR: What are the main international norms governing hot pursuit across international borders? Geoffrey S. Corn: Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter obligates states to respect the territorial integrity of other states and prohibits military interference with the sovereignty of other states. International law condemns violating this obligation as […]
Despite expectations, the 10th Meeting of the Prime Ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Nov. 7, 2011, did not announce the addition of any new full members or full observers. The SCO governments have repeatedly claimed that they need more time to establish the rules and procedures to govern new members. In reality, the existing members have proven unable to overcome their differences regarding which countries should receive membership or observer status. Indeed, some appear to fear that membership enlargement would weaken rather than strengthen the organization. Clearly the SCO remains stuck in […]
The successful launch this week of a Russian spacecraft carrying an American and two Russians to the International Space Station may have eased anxieties about the future of U.S. and Russian space programs. But the reprieve is likely temporary, since it followed two recent Russian space failures — the August crash of an unmanned cargo ship and the malfunction last week of an unmanned Mars probe — as well as a string of failed satellite launches. The failures are attracting mounting scrutiny, since the U.S., which scrapped its Space Shuttle program earlier this year, now depends on Russia to ferry […]
On Oct. 31, the global population was estimated to have reached the 7 billion mark. On the eve of that momentous day, Li Bin, director of China’s State Population and Family Planning Commission, announced that China would retain its one-child fertility policy to do its part to slow world population growth. This news will have come as a bitter disappointment to the Chinese demographers and policymakers who have been calling for a relaxation of the one-child policy for several years. Wang Yuqing, the deputy director of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Committee on Population, Natural Resources and the Environment, […]
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has faced growing criticism from the Iranian parliament regarding an ongoing banking scandal. In an email interview, Farideh Farhi, a researcher on Iran at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, discussed the Iranian banking scandal. WPR: What is the background of the ongoing Iranian banking scandal? Farideh Farhi: The background to the banking scandal is a combination of outright fraudulent activities, policies that have encouraged loose lending practices and speculation, and political cronyism that has allowed the use of borrowed money to gain control of recently privatized companies. The scandal came to light when it was […]
The International Atomic Energy Agency’s latest report on Iran’s nuclear program surprised no one, even as it created the usual flurry of op-eds championing preventative “next steps.” As I’ve been saying for the past half-decade, there are none. Once the U.S. went into both Iraq and Afghanistan, the question went from being, “How do we prevent Iran from getting the Bomb?” to “How do we handle Iran’s Bomb?” That shift represents neither defeatism nor appeasement. Rather, it reflects a realistic analysis of America’s strategic options. With that in mind, here are 20 reasons why Iran’s successful pursuit of the Bomb […]
Despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s campaign promise to engage rogue regimes, America’s relationship with North Korea has been frosty since he took office. A string of provocations by Pyongyang last year, including the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan and a missile attack on Yeonpeong Island, further dampened hopes for progress. But recent staff changes in the Obama administration and other signals suggest that ties may warm in the coming months. On Oct. 19, State Department spokesman Mark C. Toner announced in a press briefing that Stephen W. Bosworth, dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy would […]