Delegations from India and Brazil toured South Africa’s defense industry in November to explore possibilities for defense cooperation among the three IBSA countries. In an email interview, Daniel Flemes, a researcher in the Institute of Latin American Studies at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies, discussed IBSA defense cooperation. WPR: What is the recent history of defense cooperation within IBSA in terms of defense industry collaboration and military-to-military cooperation? Daniel Flemes: As yet, most of IBSA’s ambitious agenda for defense cooperation has not been put into action. Increasing military personnel exchanges and joint exercises have been the most […]

Among the challenges facing whoever succeeds Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in the second-term Obama administration, any number of potential international crises could easily top the list. Indeed, there are already plenty of volcanoes prepared to erupt, from the continuing aftershocks of the Arab Spring to the unresolved territorial disputes in the South and East China seas. But in addition to these tests, the incoming secretary of state will face another, perhaps even bigger challenge: how to sell the worth and value of U.S. diplomacy to an increasingly skeptical Congress. Case in point: Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate […]

U.S. President Barack Obama’s trip to Cambodia in mid-November was portrayed as a success by the media, marking the first time since the Vietnam War-era bombings in the 1970s that an American president landed in Phnom Penh. However, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s smiles for the camera hid the reality of a tense private meeting in which Obama pressed Hun Sen on human rights concerns. It didn’t help that during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit meeting preceding Obama’s visit, Cambodia undermined ASEAN’s often-claimed political unity for the second time this year by blocking a joint position on […]

MANILA — Earlier this year, the Philippines and China teetered on the brink of direct military confrontation over the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea, precipitating a series of high-stakes diplomatic exchanges that prevented open conflict but left the underlying dispute unresolved. Although the episode jolted the Filipino leadership into recognizing the perils of armed brinkmanship with China, Manila’s subsequent diplomatic approach to the conflict has achieved little. After almost seven months of intensive diplomatic engagement with China and the states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), regional maritime tensions are still on the rise. Now, facing […]

When Venezuelans went to the polls for regional elections last weekend, they knew the future of the country, as they’ve come to know it, was hanging on a fraying thread. President Hugo Chávez, the man with the outsize personality who has dominated Venezuelan politics since before the turn of the 21st century, had just had his fourth cancer surgery, and the outlook for a full recovery looked rather grim. Chávez was not on the ballot, but his condition was the overarching concern for millions of voters. By his own dramatic, emotional admission, Chávez may not be able to return to […]

At the end of November, the European Union approved the launch of free trade talks with Morocco as part of an effort to upgrade existing agreements with southern Mediterranean countries. In an email interview, Susi Dennison, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, discussed the EU’s economic relationship with its southern neighbors. WPR: What is driving the EU to seek upgraded free trade agreements with Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia and Egypt? Susi Dennison: After the revolutions in North Africa in early 2011, and the ensuing criticism of the EU’s failure to challenge the previous autocratic regimes, the EU […]

For 14 years, President Hugo Chávez has been a powerful unifying force in Venezuela, galvanizing his diverse supporters behind his lead, and uniting his opponents in their aversion to his policies and persona. Now, with the presidential inauguration still weeks away and Chávez apparently gravely ill, these centrifugal forces will be much harder to hold together, and many observers have predicted political instability, debilitating infighting within both camps and even violence. Nevertheless, three dynamics could help to prevent Venezuela from spinning out of control. First, Chávez began last week to prepare for a possible transition by warning Venezuelans of the […]

Park Geun-hye, the daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee, was elected president of South Korea on Wednesday, defeating her liberal opponent, Moon Jae-in, and becoming the first female leader of the country. While the campaigns of Park, of the conservative ruling Saenuri Party, and Moon, of the progressive opposition Democratic Unity Party, focused mainly on the slowing economy and other domestic economic issues, the candidates took significantly different lines on foreign policy, particularly when it came to North Korea. “The main foreign policy difference that came out of the campaign was the pace and conceptual approach in dealing with North […]

During most of history, only those unlucky enough to be on the battlefield or in a sacked city experienced war. To understand armed conflict, the broader public relied on official pronouncements, soldiers’ stories and mythical narratives — none very reliable. With the spread of literacy and expansion of the popular press, this began to change. A new breed of journalists, war correspondents, followed armies to the very edge of battle. By the time of the American Civil War, stories from the front were often embellished with drawings and engravings. Photography, which had first been used to film military scenes in […]

As much as any country, the Democratic Republic of Congo has reason to blame its woes on outsiders. From the plunder of its rubber and ivory by Belgium’s King Leopold II to the West’s Cold War coziness with the notorious dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, the history of sub-Saharan Africa’s third-most-populous state is largely a tale of abuse by foreign powers. Today, the most relevant outside actor is arguably neighboring Rwanda, which has sponsored several rebellions on Congolese soil since it engineered Mobutu’s overthrow in the aftermath of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It’s no surprise, then, that after the M23 rebel […]

The State Department announced on Friday that the U.S. global AIDS coordinator, Ambassador Eric Goosby, will lead the new Office of Global Health Diplomacy while continuing to head the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The appointment follows up on a plan announced earlier this year, when the administration shut down its Global Health Initiative (GHI), a program launched only in 2009. The global health community has had mixed reactions to the creation of the Office of Global Health Diplomacy, which is tasked with providing diplomatic support for the implementation of global health objectives and principles. “This is not […]

A wise and experienced Israeli friend still quite active in Israel’s public life once quipped that an Israeli politician can be just dead, or dead and buried. The former allows for rehabilitation and even rebirth — see Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon. The latter suggests a more permanent demise, such as Ehud Barak’s ambitions to become prime minister again. Nowhere is this notion, and the differentiation it allows, more apt than in considering the fate of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Of all the prospective outcomes to the knotty problem of the much-too-promised land, the idea of two […]

Although social diversity is the norm, rather than the exception, in the world today, there are few societies that are as diverse and fractious as Israel’s. Israeli society appears to be a hodgepodge of different groups constantly bickering with each other. Israelis disagree on almost every conceivable issue from the most momentous, such as the location of the country’s final borders and the relationship between religion and the state, to the most mundane, such as what days of the week the weekend should fall on and when clocks should be changed from summertime to wintertime. Israeli politics is hostage to […]

As Operation Pillar of Defense, Israel’s recent eight-day campaign in Gaza, drew to a close, it seemed to many Israelis that their worst fears about the Arab uprisings had come to pass. An emboldened Hamas and its allies in Gaza launched an unprecedented number of mortars and missiles farther than ever before, putting more than half of Israel under fire. Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi and other Arab officials openly proclaimed solidarity with Israel’s enemy. While the final tally of Israeli casualties was fairly limited — six dead and more than 240 wounded — the panic was not. The cease-fire declaration, […]

On Dec. 16, the Japanese public delivered Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda a predictable, but nonetheless crushing defeat in parliamentary elections. The magnitude of the public’s rejection of the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) trumped poll predictions and resulted in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), led by Shinzo Abe, wresting total control of the Lower House. The LDP along with its ally, the Komeito Party, won 325 seats in the election, giving it a “supermajority” of two-thirds of the total representatives. This will effectively allow Abe to override any vetoes from the Upper House of the Japanese Diet, which is […]

Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series on the policy priorities and initial reforms of China’s new leadership. Part I examined domestic policy. Part II examines foreign policy. While signs indicate that China’s new leadership will continue with its agenda of gradual reforms to domestic policy, in the foreign policy sphere, initial signals have been less encouraging. The external challenges facing senior officials in Beijing involve assuaging the concerns of a far greater range of constituents than on domestic issues. Here, so far, the evidence is consistent with the analysis that China’s foreign policy is becoming more […]

This weekend’s parliamentary elections have returned Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its leader, former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to power after several years of rule by the centrist Democratic Party of Japan (DJP), led by outgoing Prime Minister Yoshita Noda. The LDP is projected to have increased its total to around 300 seats in the 480-seat lower house. Combined with its long-time partner New Komeito, the LDP’s right-wing coalition government might enjoy a two-thirds majority, which is required to amend Japan’s constitution. Though the DJP, which assumed power in 2009, was unable to overcome many of its early domestic […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 551 2 3 4 Last