In a metaphor that the traditionally nomadic Somalis would undoubtedly appreciate, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Last Thursday, Somali pirates seized the Ukrainian-owned, Belizean-registered freighter Faina as it neared the Kenyan port of Mombasa. It was at least the sixtieth such attack for ransom this year in the waters surrounding the Horn of Africa and the pirates currently hold more than 200 hostages and approximately a dozen ships, mainly around Eyl, on the Gulf of Aden. 

Read More

The recent uncovering of tainted Sanlu baby formula powder from China which has killed at least three infants and sickened tens of thousands more, is a tragic event but one that needs to be viewed with some perspective.

Read More

Since Russia’s August invasion and occupation of Georgia, the short and long term implications have been much debated.  Is Russia reasserting itself in an attempt to become the global power that its predecessor the USSR was?  What’s going on inside Putin’s head?  Is Russia a “rational actor?”  What should NATO do about Ukraine?

Read More

John McCain and Barack Obama are expected to talk this evening about foreign policy and national security in the first of three Presidential debates scheduled in the run-up to the election. In a 90-minute segment broadcast to tens of millions of people, the two candidates will each deliver a vision for the future of U.S. foreign policy and its ramifications for the rest of the world. With recent polls suggesting that the race for the White House is extremely close, the debate on foreign policy will prove to be one of the major deciding factors for the American electorate.

Read More

French and EU President Nicolas Sarkozy issued a call from the floor of the UN yesterday to expand the Security Council and G8.    Declaring that, "The 21st century world cannot be governed with the institutions of the 20th century," he argued that inclusion of today's emerging powers is not just "a matter fairness" but a necessary condition for "being able to act effectively."  "We cannot wait any longer to enlarge the Security Council. We cannot wait any longer to turn the G8 into the G13 or G14 and to bring in China, India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil," said Sarkozy.

Read More

The massive bombing of the Islamabad Marriott has deeply shaken Pakistan, offering the newly elected civilian leadership a strategic opportunity to aggressively pursue the Islamic militants that threaten the country’s viability and territorial integrity. After alienating Pakistanis with counterproductive military action against militants on the Pakistani side of the Durand line, Washington must now play a different game if it wishes to help its besieged ally. Islamabad is showing signs of a newfound resolve to decisively defeat the militants, but the government will only succeed in maintaining public support for this difficult task if the US offers Pakistan political space to take ownership of the fight and a concrete improvement in its counterinsurgency capacity.

Read More

The current crisis in China over tainted milk products, including the furious public reaction inside the country, reminds us how hard it is to govern 1.3 billion. It is clearly against the law in China to put dangerous additives into food products. The problem in China has been and remains how  extraordinarily difficult it is for the government to enforce such laws, whether it’s product safety or environmental regulations. At the same time large numbers of Chinese demand such enforcement and seek ways to make their wishes known, difficult in a political system with few outlets for expressing the public will.  

Read More

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has staked his and his country’s future on Ukraine’s integration into Euroatlantic institutions, even going so far as to say, at an Atlantic Council luncheon on September 23, that Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity can be preserved only with “international guarantees.”

Read More

Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko sees numerous similarities between his country's situation and that of neighboring Georgia and believes his nation's sovereignty and territorial integrity are at stake, he told an Atlantic Council luncheon in New York.

Read More

Sitting in Bogota, I didn’t expect to see Colombian television coverage of the four-ship Russian squadron departing Severmorsk. After all, Colombia is very much focused on consolidating its recent gains against the narcoterrorist group FARC. There is now tremendous optimism in Colombia with a series of successes that began with a spring operation that killed the FARC deputy Raul Reyes and a summer operation that recovered three American hostages, Ingrid Betancourt, and eleven others. It was strange to me that the Caucasus should matter in Colombia, but to overuse a phrase, the world is interconnected now.

Read More