Columnists

Just Plain Stupidity Or A Failure By Design?

March 4, 2012 by

The explosion of national anger in Afghanistan after the revelation that U.S. soldiers dumped and burned copies of the Quran in an incineration pit has an uncanny familiarity with the history of previous foreign occupations of the country. Despite the ceaseless official media campaign through the decade of the U.S.-led war to convince us how well things were going for NATO, the battle for the hearts and minds in Afghanistan has not been won.

Post-Fukushima Japan’s Energy Market

February 28, 2012 by

In a few weeks it will be the one year anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster, which had all but soured the Japanese public’s appetite for nuclear energy. What once supplied 25% of the country’s energy needs, nuclear power plants are being decommissioned one by one. As of February 2011, only two of the country’s 54 commercial reactors remained functioning.

Cold War in Warm Waters: US-China’s Dangerous Contest for Asia-Pacific

February 22, 2012 by

On two occasions in my life I found myself living close to the South China Sea. The sea became my escape from life’s pressing responsibilities. But there is no escaping the fact that the deceptively serene waters are now also grounds for a nascent but real new cold war. China takes the name of the sea very seriously.

When Netanyahu Crossed the Line…

February 19, 2012 by

The bombing of an Israeli embassy car in Delhi threatens India’s diplomatic maneuvers between Israel and Iran, and has put India’s discreetly nurtured ties with Israel since 1992 through a severe test. Those who are attracted to Israel’s depiction of Iran as a terrorist threat to world peace would do well to read historian Mark Perry’s account, revealing that Israel is recruiting, and collaborating with, terrorist groups in a secret war with Iran. That low-level conflict is spreading. Israel’s latest reaction should be seen in the light of Perry’s revelations.

The American Revolution for Energy Independence

February 17, 2012 by

You wouldn’t know it, but according to recent reports the United States is on the road to energy independence. That’s the same “energy independence” that American political leaders have been promising the electorate for years, lambasting America’s addiction to foreign oil. And thanks to a relatively unknown sedimentary rock called shale, it seems that true energy independence may very well be within arms reach.

Revealing the Obvious

February 12, 2012 by

The conflict in Syria continues to take lives on both sides in what increasingly looks like a civil war. The bloodshed in Homs has captured most attention in recent days, but we should not forget violence in the capital Damascus and other Syrian towns, under government control, where lives have been lost and a climate of fear prevails. Twenty-four hour news coverage means unlimited hunger for detail, factual, exaggerated or invented.

Arlington and Shenzhen: A Tale of Globalization, Innovation, and Technology

February 8, 2012 by

Seven thousand miles separate Arlington, Virginia and Shenzhen, China. Two continents apart, these two cities could not be more different. Yet they are similar, geopolitically and globally. The characteristics of today’s globalization have united and connected cities like Arlington and Shenzhen.

Seoul’s “New” Political Parties

February 5, 2012 by

With the April National Assembly elections just a few months off, the two main South Korean political parties have undergone major face-lifts, or at least they’ve been trying to and for good reason. Just this past week, the ruling conservative Grand National Party (GNP), under the chairmanship of one of South Korea’s most influential female politician Park Geun-hye, reemerged as the Saenuri Party (meaning the “New World” Party).

The Peace Corps, Drugs and US Foreign Policy

January 29, 2012 by

A few months ago, President Barack Obama was celebrating the “profound” relationship between the United States and Honduras. This happened in spite of the fact that current President Porfirio Lobo’s rise to power was aided by a June 2009 coup. Even though Obama publicly denounced the coup, the administration’s response was timid. It did not take the Obama administration long to warm up to the ouster of democratically elected Manuel Zelaya.

On Capitalism and Responsibility

January 29, 2012 by

A few days before the annual gathering of business and political elites at the World Economic Forum at Davos, British prime minister David Cameron set out his vision of capitalism that is popular and responsible. At a time of acute crisis, Cameron put up a staunch defense of capitalism. He asserted his belief that open markets and free enterprise were the best imaginable force for improving human wealth and happiness.

The Kremlin’s Version of Russia Without Fools

January 26, 2012 by

It’s a new website that seems befitting of the angry mood amongst Russians over the last month’s Duma elections and the coming March Presidential elections, which have all but promised the return of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin. Called “Russia Without Fools” (Rossia bez durakov), the website begins with the following words: Friends, everyday we are faced with stupid standards and laws, decisions far from elementary logic, and complex regulations and unexplainable restrictions…And so we personally offer to you a real opportunity to find and destroy specific stupidities.

The Symbolism of the Keystone XL Pipeline

January 20, 2012 by

The Obama administration has rejected the application from TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline—but without fanfare. If President Obama continues to quiet the issue when so many others are raising its volume level, he will miss a grand political opportunity for his reelection campaign and the U.S. environmental movement. Public policy concerns of such inherent symbolism come once in a generation.

On Exceptionalism and Deviance

January 15, 2012 by

The Wall Street Journal recently carried a speculative article by Ian Tally suggesting a link between the International Monetary Fund’s bailout loans to the European Union’s worst hit economies and sanctions against Iran. In essence, the article said that the Obama administration would likely support bailout loans to Greece, Italy and Spain in exchange for the EU agreeing to an embargo on Iran’s oil.

China, South Korean Energy Competition

January 13, 2012 by

South Korean conglomerate and energy giant, the SK Group, in the past few days has made moves to gain a stronger foothold in China’s energy transportation market, in particular in China Gas Holdings. China Gas Holdings is a major player in China’s natural gas pipeline and infrastructure industry and is especially active in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) markets.

The Food Piracy of Monsanto in India

January 12, 2012 by

The Somali pirates terrorize the Gulf of Aden. In India, Monsanto terrorizes one of basic sources of human survival – food. But this may change. After years of cajoling with Monsanto, the Indian government finally threw in the towel. In 2010, it banned commercial approval of GM seeds “indefinitely” to prevent Monsanto from “frankencroping” basic crops like brinjal.

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