Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Elephants in the Room

By Stephen McGlinchey

The Iranian President is a rare gift to journalists and analysts of foreign policy. He talks, a lot. Often candidly, in a way that few politicians at his level do; at least in the ultra-polished and spun Western world. In a true to form display of such candour, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad noted in late 2009 that America under President Barack Obama had not changed from the America of George W. Bush in its foreign policy application in the Middle East. 


Ascencion to Democracy: Bhutan

By Sille Larsen Nielsen

Democracy is tough to achieve. These words remind us of the people currently risking their lives for a chance of democracy in Yemen, Libya and Syria. In comparison, there is a small nation on the other side of the world which seldom appears in western media: Bhutan. This country holds an extraordinary and quite unique story that deserves our attention. It represents a remarkable and peaceful attempt of transitioning into democracy wherein the democratic challenges facing this nation have been quite the opposite of what we are currently witnessing in North Africa and the Middle East.

War On Drugs

A War to End All Wars on Drugs

By Antonio Sampaio

There is nothing like a pile of heads to show that there is something wrong with global policies towards drugs - the so-called war on drugs. The macabre finding was made in the northern Guatemalan province of Petén, near the Mexican border. When local farmers refused to cooperate with a group of men from one of the largest Mexican drug cartels, they were killed with axes and decapitated (27 victims in total and one survivor, who played dead and emerged from the pile of bodies to find the grim message left by the cartel members). A total of 40,000 people are estimated to have died in Mexico since President Felipe Calderón increased the armed response to the drug cartels in 2006. Now the war is going south. 

AP Photo/Oleg Stjepanovic

What Ratko Mladić’s Arrest Means for Serbia

By Sara Sudetic

"Thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers' eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson”. Judge Fouad Riad described these heinous acts at General Ratko Mladić’s indictment in absentia just a couple of months following the Srebrenica genocide, the greatest act of violence in Europe since the end of the Second World War. Richard Goldstone, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at the time, predicted the dawning of a very different world, in which “impunity had really been withdrawn from war criminals”.

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

America and Britain: The Solid Relationship

By Andrew Gawthorpe

Middle Eastern television audiences and the residents of Abbottabad can attest that there has been no shortage of the theatrical in Barack Obama’s foreign policy. His first television interview, given to Al-Arabiya in the first month of his tenure, was an attempt to use his own background and charisma to make an appeal to Muslim publics, while the raid to kill Osama bin Laden combined dramatic theatre on a global stage with an effective use of American power to achieve concrete goals. These events have captured the imagination. 

AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Can the Euro Survive?

By Roland Bensted

When Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip marked his country’s adoption of the Euro on 1 January 2011, by withdrawing cash from a specially installed ATM in Tallinn, not all of his compatriots shared his enthusiasm. Many people, both within Estonia and further afield, question why the Baltic state would wish to join the troubled single European currency and, indeed, whether the Euro can even survive.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Taming the Dragon

By Jacob Hershey

The Third Annual US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), a round of bilateral talks that are meant to improve relations and cooperation between the two largest economies in the world, was held on 9-10 May 2011 in Washington, DC. For as much lip service as has been given to China as the nation to restore bipolarity to the world order, it seems more and more that the two countries are far too economically co-dependent to truly be opposite forces outside of their own bilateral relations. What was most interesting about this year’s round of talks was China’s open concern for its significant investment in the US Treasury, and how willing it is now to use its influence.