April 23, 2014
Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power grab of Ukraine’s Crimea region and intend to sign the treaty to establish his ambitious Eurasian Economic Union next month, but the Kremlin’s bad behavior is causing some consternation among its allies. With even Europe’s last dictator, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, breaking ranks with his buddies in the Kremlin over Ukraine, Putin’s Eurasian dream is unlikely to become the united rival to the European Union he desperately wants to create.
Putin’s Ukraine Moves Rattle His Eurasian Union Allies
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, right, arrive at a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council at the Kremlin in Moscow on Dec. 24, 2013. (Alexei Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images)
Congress Questions Aid to Once Steady Pakistan
April 23, 2014
As the U.S. presence in Afghanistan winds down, a reliable regional partner in the war on terror becomes paramount. Yet Pakistan, which had enjoyed a strong relationship with Washington under President George W. Bush, is quickly moving to the back burner with the current White House. Islamabad must now convince skeptics that it will use its remaining aid to tamp down the Taliban next door or neutralize them politically.
Sheiks Keep the Peace by Blowing Billions on Gas Subsidies
April 23, 2014
Many oil-rich countries use their natural resource wealth to provide domestic subsidies for gasoline, a boon their citizens have come to view as a right. Yet rising regional demand for oil in the Middle East and North Africa is second only to China, suggesting that governments cannot long afford to provide gasoline more cheaply than water.
Obama to Face Policy Challenges at Every Stop on Asian Tour
April 22, 2014
President Barack Obama’s weeklong trip to Asia comes at a critical time for U.S. foreign policy as all eyes are focused on Russian aggression in Ukraine while Asian politics are in turmoil. The trip was intended to demonstrate the president’s commitment to his 2011 “Asia pivot” policy initiative, but events in Europe as well as declining defense budgets, underscore what many critics depict as another hollow element in a growing list of policy stumbles.
Justice Delayed: IRA Bombing Trial Typifies Terror Cases
April 22, 2014
The prime suspect in the single worst atrocity in the 30-year-bombing campaign of the Provisional Irish Republican Army finally faced justice April 9 after a decade and a half. Irishman Seamus Daly,43, was charged with 29 murders in Omagh, Northern Ireland, on Aug. 15, 1998.
Russia Taps Arctic Oil, Leaving Rivals in Its Wake
April 22, 2014
As Western nations struggle to appease environmentalists, Russia is moving fast to tap huge oil and gas deposits in the Arctic Circle, making its first oil shipment from an offshore drilling platform in the Arctic Ocean on April 18. Moscow is likely now to attempt to fortify its dominant position in the icy region in a bid to protect its interests.
Yemen: Al-Qaeda’s Rise Threatens Already Weak Regime
April 21, 2014
As Yemen moves toward a new constitution, the local al-Qaeda branch seeks to destabilize the country while a weak central government faces the unsettling menace of additional armed groups all over the map. The result is a climate of insecurity that threatens to undermine the progress of the past two years and leave the Middle East’s poorest country exposed to further deadly unrest.
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