Despite some incendiary remarks, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's attendance at the U.N. General Assembly in New York was marked by a low-key tone, reflecting the impact of Iran's domestic politics. Increasingly, Ahmadinejad's real battle is at home, against the mullahs who brought him to power. And in that struggle, he and his allies are increasingly embracing a nationalist tradition that predates Iran's theocracy.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision announced a new agreement, informally referred to as Basel III, that represents the most significant set of international financial regulations to emerge since the onset of the global financial crisis. Yet, to succeed, Basel III depends entirely on national governments voluntarily following through on the new standards, threatening the nascent agreement's prospects.
For at least the past half-century, the crucial information that informed the decisions made by U.S. leaders has very often come from secret intelligence. One of the least-appreciated implications of the emerging security agenda is that the products of our existing intelligence community are no longer as useful as they once were. But our intelligence agencies, and too many national security professionals, still behave as if they were.
DUNGU, Democratic Republic of Congo -- A contingent of Indonesian army engineers are hacking their way slowly through the Congolese tropical forest, while miles away, their Nepalese counterparts advance at a similar pace. Sometime in the next couple months, the road segments will meet, allowing U.N. soldiers and aid workers to speed between two major eastern towns without resorting to costly air transport.
The July 2011 deadline for a drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan has raised concerns among Central Asian analysts, who worry that links between the Taliban, al-Qaida and Islamist militants in Central Asia could result in a negative spillover effect. But urgent predictions of the imminent spread of Islamic extremism across Central Asia are not new -- and so far, none have been borne out.http://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/
The New Rules: Global Warming Shifts Focus to the Friendly North By: Thomas P.M. Barnett | Column
According to most global warming projections, humanity faces more conflict in the decades ahead as we fight over dwindling resources in climate-stressed lands. However, those reports typically overlook one likely outcome that could counterbalance the more negative impacts of global warming -- that of northern territories becoming significantly milder, more accessible, and more hospitable to immigration.
Global Insights: EU Ponders Defense Irrelevance By: Richard Weitz | Column
Last week, French Defense Minister Hervé Morin told an informal meeting of European Union defense ministers in Ghent that if they did not pool their defense capabilities more effectively, Europe risked becoming a protectorate. Morin's provocative remarks were triggered by recent cuts in European defense budgets. But while most agree that more cooperation is urgently needed, progress remains sluggish.
Global Cybersecurity and Intelligence: A Challenge We Can't Avoid By: Samuel S. Visner | Feature
Government interest in cybersecurity has evolved swiftly in recent years. Concern previously focused on the security of military, intelligence and civil government systems on which military, national security and sovereign government operations depend. However, the government now understands that the cybersecurity of information systems crucial to critical infrastructure owned and operated by the private sector, as well as those by the public sector itself, are also of vital concern. More needs to be done, though, and it needs to be done in three dimensions.
Information-Sharing and the Long Road to Intelligence Reform By: Richard Weitz | Feature
Among the many elements of intelligence reform, the issue of information-sharing and the associated issue of security clearances remain especially prominent. The 9/11 Commission, along with other studies, urged the U.S. government to move away from the Cold War emphasis on limiting intelligence-sharing by transitioning from a "need-to-know" to a "need-to-share" policy. But as a series of recent near-miss incidents have demonstrated, progress has been slow and limited.
Dispute over U.N. Tribunal Puts Lebanon at a Crossroads By: James M. Dorsey | Briefing
An increasingly vicious battle between pro- and anti-Syrian factions in Lebanon is likely to determine the country's ability to resist Syrian interference in its internal politics. Also at stake is the future of a United Nations investigation into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The dispute leaves Prime Minister Saad Hariri on the horns of a dilemma, and Lebanon at a crossroads.
World Citizen: Did Obama Lose Lebanon? By: Frida Ghitis | Column
When Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri recently retracted his previous accusations that Syria had orchestrated the murder of his father in 2005, it represented a startling turning point. The reversal marked the passing of a short-lived era in Lebanese history and of Western influence in a country that serves as a microcosm of the entire Middle East, showcasing ongoing conflicts and often presaging the ones to come.
The Realist Prism: GOP House Could Hem Obama In
By: Nikolas Gvosdev | Column
Most U.S. political analysts are now predicting that the Republicans will take back control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections. This might not lead to any immediate revolution in how the administration conducts foreign affairs on the big issues of the day. It is in the areas that don't garner the daily headlines, however, that a Republican-dominated Congress will probably have more impact.
Looking Southeast, India Offers an Alternative to China By: Trefor Moss | Briefing
It has become commonplace to hear Indian charges of encroachment and encirclement -- sometimes fair, sometimes overblown -- directed China's way. In this context, India's courtship of Laos and Cambodia, two countries usually regarded as China's turf, challenges the prevailing view of the Sino-Indian rivalry as one-sided, with Beijing cast as the bully. In Southeast Asia, India is pushing back.