July 14, 2012 by David H. Shinn
China and the United States have surprisingly similar interests in Africa. Both rely increasingly on the continent for oil while China also imports large quantities of minerals. Both seek political support from Africa’s 54 countries, which constitute more than a quarter of the membership of the United Nations. Both see Africa as an increasingly attractive export market, although today the African countries collectively account for a tiny percentage of each country’s global trade.
China also wants to expand the “one China” principle throughout Africa; four African countries recognize Taiwan. This is not an American interest. For its part, the United States wants to minimize the impact in Africa of terrorism, narcotics trafficking, international crime, piracy and money laundering so they do not harm US interests in Africa or the homeland. While these are increasingly becoming Chinese interests, they have not yet reached the level of US interest. The United States also seeks to continue naval access to African ports and maintain the ability to overfly and land military aircraft. This is not yet an important interest for China.
July 14, 2012 by Sudhanshu Tripathi
The major donor’s conference on Afghanistan in Tokyo attempted to shore up a slew of issues in Afghanistan as the 2014 deadline approaches when coalition forces are scheduled to leave, ostensibly leaving Afghanistan’s nascent security forces on there own. The donor’s conference aimed at setting aid levels for the crucial post-2014 period. The “Tokyo Declaration” adopted at the end of the conference, pledged $16 billion for development projects over the next four years, when most NATO- led foreign combat troops will leave.
Japan, the second largest donor, after the United States says it will provide up to $3 billion through 2016, and Germany has announced it will keep its contribution level at current levels of $536 million a year, at least until 2016.
Similarly, India committed $2 billion including $500 million committed during Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kabul last year out of which a large portion of this assistance has been disbursed or is committed to ongoing projects.
July 14, 2012 by Conn M. Hallinan
Now that the talks with Iran on its nuclear program appear to be on the ropes, are we on the road to war? The Israelis threaten it almost weekly, and the Obama administration has reportedly drawn up an attack plan. But in a sense, we are already at war with Iran. Carl von Clausewitz, the great theoretician of modern warfare, defined war as the continuation of politics by other means. In the case of Iran, international politics has become a de-facto state of war.
July 14, 2012 by Scott Firsing
United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) peacekeepers have been busy assisting the Congolese brigades over the past week in the fight against rebels known as M23 based in Bunagana. This comes at a crucial time, as the provincial capital of Goma, a military stronghold, may be overrun.
This military cooperation between UN troops and the DRC military, also known under the French acronym of FARDC, has led to international media and NGOs raising concerns about UN peacekeepers and international law, with the biggest question posed being: “has the UN become a ‘party’ to a conflict?” If it has, it poses a serious problem. However, it is a difficult question to answer.