WPR Articles Oct. 27, 2014 - Oct. 31, 2014
How the major powers navigate the political challenges they will face this winter will have a profound impact in shaping global politics in the years to come. The decisions that are taken, or deferred, will determine whether the international order is solidified or discarded.
After several weeks of back-and-forth, France and Italy have submitted revised national budgets for 2015 to the European Commission that meet EU budgetary rules. But the revisions are more fiscal sleight of hand that allows all sides to save face than real economic reform.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani faces high expectations to turn his country’s war-torn economy around. But his real challenge will be nurturing Afghanistan’s fragile minerals sector while managing domestic and international expectations of its ability to be an immediate driver of growth.
A court in Bahrain this week suspended the activities of the country’s main Shiite opposition group ahead of elections. The suspension is another move by America’s Gulf allies to drop any pretense of domestic reform as a quid pro quo for joining the U.S. coalition against the Islamic State.
Tunisia’s parliamentary elections confirm the erosion of trust over the past three years in the Islamist party Ennahda. Two issues played a key role in the party’s slide: the lack of overall economic growth and the party’s hesitancy in tackling growing security problems and Islamic militancy.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Norway in mid-October was a signal of India’s rising profile in the Arctic. After signing 13 agreements with Norway, Mukherjee concluded 19 more deals with Finland—maneuvers designed to gain a foothold in the Arctic through partnerships with Scandinavia.
While Iran is normally seen as a regional power, its influence extends beyond the Middle East. In an email interview, Jeffrey Lefebvre, associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut, discussed Iran’s relations with countries in the Horn of Africa.
At a meeting of the U.S. and South Korean foreign and defense ministers last week, the two sides reaffirmed their global partnership and made progress on some issues. However, they have yet to overcome differences on missile defense and how to counter North Korea’s new missile capabilities.
Though President Enrique Pena Nieto has celebrated his reform agenda, teachers in Mexico’s impoverished southern states still oppose changes to the education system. The long-term success of Pena Nieto’s unfinished education reform will define how far his economic agenda goes.
Iran has long had one of the world’s biggest drug addiction problems, but the government’s attitude toward the drug war remains rife with contradiction. To understand its current approach, one must look at decades of shifting policies, as the battle against drug addiction has seen many phases.
Earlier this month, Australian, U.S. and Chinese troops took part in a survival training exercise in northern Australia. In an email interview, Benjamin Schreer, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, discussed Australia’s military and strategic partnerships.
Criticisms by Vladimir Putin and Samantha Power of the international system last week are illustrations of a well-established paradox: While many countries believe the U.S. wields too much influence, American policymakers are repeatedly frustrated by the system’s failure to deliver in major crises.
Droughts and torrential rains have ruined the harvests of hundreds of thousands of impoverished farmers in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua. Ill-prepared governments and climate change have put food security in the region permanently at risk; the next famine may start early next year.
Years have now passed since one could use the term “Arab Spring” without deliberate irony, or at least quotation marks. And yet there is one country where the hopes of the once-euphoric revolutionaries did not turn out to have been misplaced. Yes, the Arab Spring has bloomed in Tunisia.
Supporting the Syrian rebels is a key component of President Barack Obama’s strategy against the so-called Islamic State, but it entails many tradeoffs. Backing the rebels makes little sense from a purely military standpoint, but it does make sense from a broader policy perspective.