April 18, 2014
by James Robbins

The four-power deal regarding Ukraine concluded Thursday in Geneva gave hope to some for a de-escalation of the crisis and resolution of the outstanding issues. However, the deal did nothing to change the facts on the ground or to alter Moscow’s strategy to force Ukraine either to acquiesce to losing its eastern regions or face Russian military intervention masked as humanitarian assistance.
Putin Moving Toward Checkmate in Eastern Ukraine
Pro-Russian separatists guard a seized government building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk on April 18, 2014. The rebels maintained control of government buildings they have seized a day after Kiev struck a deal with Russia and the West aimed at easing the crisis in Ukraine. (Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)
Coup Rumors Fly as 3-Way Power Struggle Consumes Pakistan
April 1, 2014
With the trial of former President Pervez Musharraf providing background noise, a three-way struggle is unfolding in Pakistan, the final outcome of which will be of great significance for both South Asia and the Middle East. The government of President Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani army, and the Pakistani Taliban are locked in a violent, complex dance that is spilling over into India, Afghanistan, and Iran.
Competing Projects Race to Establish Global Internet Access
April 1, 2014

High-flying balloons, fixed satellites and circling drones are just some of the methods developers are trying to extend Internet access to the two-thirds of the world that cannot get online. Keeping the cost low, even free, is a key goal of several competing projects, including efforts by Silicon Valley giants Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB).
The Paradox of Financial Repression
April 1, 2014
Special Economic Analysis
By Peter Warburton, PhD

In 2013, the governments of North America and Western Europe had a wake-up call as the real rate of interest on benchmark bonds lurched back into positive territory. This unwanted monetary tightening is antagonistic to the expansionary aims of central bank policies and poses a threat to debt servicing costs in countries with persistently large government budget deficits and short debt maturities.

Canada Moves to Take North American Energy Crown
March 31, 2014
Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper’s decision to appoint Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver — a leading proponent of TransCanada Corp.’s (NYSE: TRP) $5.4 billion Keystone XL pipeline — to head the finance ministry is likely to recommit the Conservative government to development of the country’s vast oil deposits and economic growth. As the administration attempts to project a sense of continuity, Oliver will likely ensure Canada remains on track to inherit a $5.8 billion budget surplus in 2015.
Environmental Concerns Imperil Syrian CW Destruction Effort
March 31, 2014
Backers of the deal to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons have long wondered if Damascus would fully comply and meet the ambitious June 30 deadline. Experts overseeing the process now report that more than half of the stockpile has been removed from Syria, yet a new obstacle has emerged: mass protests in Greece, Malta and Italy over the process by which chemicals are released into Mediterranean waters that meet their tourist-filled beaches.
Obama’s Personal Diplomacy Fails to Sway Key Allies
March 31, 2014
Against the backdrop of the Russian annexation of Crimea and mass troop movements by Moscow, President Barack Obama’s recent, lengthy trip to Europe and the Middle East was billed as an opportunity to shore up fragile relations with key allies. Instead, Obama broke no new ground and there was little indication the president’s overall mission was successful.
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