WPR Articles 23 Apr 2011 - 29 Apr 2011
Current U.S. policy toward Bahrain neglects the potential adverse consequences on U.S. interests in Iraq. If Iran were the only country outraged by the suppression of the Bahraini protests, it would have made sense for the United States to focus on preserving its strategic relations with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. But the crackdown has infuriated Shiites in Iraq, where they dominate the central government.
The joint statement produced by the one-day leaders summit of the BRICS grouping represents an attempt by the emerging powers to coordinate their efforts on the global stage, in order to fill the void left by Washington's increasing preoccupation with domestic troubles. But great-power politics is a murky business, and for all the bonhomie at the Hainan summit, there remain serious differences among the BRICS.
What do policymakers have to read in order to be "informed" on international affairs? The question is more than just a theoretical exercise, as every summer the Patterson School assigns a reading list to its students. The list has a twofold purpose: to familiarize students with important issues in international affairs, and to ground them in the most important recent books on international politics.
Colombian authorities have decided to extradite Venezuelan national Walid Makled to Venezuela to face murder and drug-trafficking charges in his native country, rather than in the U.S., where he is also wanted on drug-trafficking charges. Though the decision appears to be final, the political implications of his extradition from Colombia have just begun to ripple around the region and in Washington.
The Saudi intervention in Bahrain has upped the ante in the Saudi-Iranian cold war, crystallizing it into a wider Sunni-Shiite schism in the Muslim world. Saudi Arabia has reportedly invoked a treaty with Sunni-dominated Pakistan to secure troops to stabilize Bahrain and its own eastern provinces. Riyadh has also asked Turkey to make it clear to Iran that interference in the Gulf states will not be tolerated.
Afghanistan is a natural crossroads that nonetheless remains a place where all the transcontinental railroads seem to end. It is bounded on all sides by up-and-coming powers that are highly incentivized to see it stabilized. So why is the U.S. so convinced that it is the only great power that can take ownership of this situation, especially when there are so many other more important relationships to manage?
Currently, the most urgent issue in relations between the United States and Iraq is how many American troops will remain in that country after the end of this year and what roles they will perform. In an effort to galvanize progress on this issue, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Iraq on April 22 bearing a warning: Decision time is now.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Kazakhstan marked an important step forward in ties between the two nations. Relations have gained momentum since January 2009, when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was the chief guest at India's Republic Day celebrations. Although trade between the two countries is disappointing at best, ties with Kazakhstan have taken on crucial importance for India.
The worsening crisis in Syria threatens the regime of President Bashar al-Assad as well as the balance of power in the Middle East, with damaging results for Iran and conceivably disastrous consequences for its allies. Given the magnitude of the stakes for these players, one can argue that it would make strategic sense from their perspective to try to lure Israel into a more intense armed conflict.
On first glance, the border clashes between Cambodia and Thailand appear to be yet another manifestation of a deeply rooted disagreement between the two neighbors. But some analysts say the conflict reflects Thailand's domestic political turmoil. Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva finds himself increasingly beholden to the demands of the military, which maintains hawkish designs on Preah Vihear.
Canada's May 2 parliamentary elections were expected to be a dull affair, with the only question being whether Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper would achieve his long-coveted majority. But a late surge by the left-wing New Democratic Party -- Canada's perennial third party -- now threatens to push the opposition Liberals into a humiliating third-place finish and reconfigure Canadian politics.
The run-up to the Libya operation created a great deal of buzz in the foreign policy community about the emergence of a new "Obama Doctrine," one that provides a rationale for the use of U.S. military force to achieve humanitarian ends. But President Barack Obama himself recognizes that he cannot completely dispense with the old Obama Doctrine, which he articulated when he was a candidate for office.