Alarmists have been predicting cataclysmic conflicts over scarce water supplies. But water has rarely, if ever, been the prime cause of any war. In fact, it seems that the element’s very nature lends itself to conflict resolution and cooperation, something governments and diplomats would do well to bear in mind.
That everyone should have access to safe and clean water is a given. But the debate about the best methods to use – whether private or public – in achieving this aim, risks bogging up the works.
As the importance of water management grows, governments need to recognize the economic opportunities and provide the necessary incentives for private investment in the sector, backed by the political will to solve the attendant problems.
As water becomes an increasingly precious commodity, even charitable organizations have joined to invest in water’s future.
The sun sets on the West’s defense
The United States is now following Europe’s precedent of cutting military spending in the name of shoring up its economy. While in the short run this may seem wise, the price to pay in the future could be incalculable.
As governments in NATO countries cut defense spending, they must seek to mitigate the inevitable loss of influence that military power enables by rethinking force distribution and cooperation with allies as well as seeking innovative technological solutions.
Strategic changes in the world are occurring faster than any institution can possibly deal with them. The OSCE is a model that could and should be tuned to work better than it does.
Pakistan is many things at once, and pigeonholing the place is a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Yet despite its recent embarrassment with Osama bin Laden, the country is still as important to the Central Asian power balance as ever.
Pakistan has no doubt been getting a bad rap, and it would be hard to argue that it isn’t deserved. But there are investors who despite the deluge of difficulties see huge potential for recovery in a “paradise waiting to happen.”
US combat troops will be leaving an Iraq that is in many respects a satellite of Iran. The complicated geostrategic situation confirms the view that the Iraq War is merely tapering off and morphing into another kind of conflict.
After years of turmoil that led to the collapse of its infrastructure, Iraq is finally beginning to live up to its oil-producing potential. The boon should also ease ethnic tensions with the Kurds.
For the time being, Libya is divided in two. This leaves the international community with a dilemma. Which Libya must it recognize and, more importantly, how is that recognition to be formulated in legal terms?
Greece’s slide toward default has been a long time in the making. Unsound institutions have been aided and abetted by Europe’s overoptimistic projections and a blind eye to endemic corruption.
The cost of bailing Greece out through the creation of new European debt instruments is minimal compared to the catastrophe that will ensue after markets lose confidence in the eurozone – or the US. But lack of political will may spell doom regardless.
Twenty years since the coup that terminated the USSR, Russia’s dynamic duo is gearing up for elections, and everyone is waiting to see if it will be Putin or Medvedev to run for president. Ultimately the situation on the ground will determine what suits Putin best.
As Fidel Castro lingers over the reforms his brother and successor Raúl implements, a new generation of leaders is positioning itself to take over the reins of an economic system that has been in shambles since the fall of the Soviet Union.
The US embargo on Cuba is still in effect, and few who count are clamoring for it to be lifted. Either it will wither away gradually, or the discovery of oil will expedite matters.
What does fear of darkness have to do with melting ice caps? For penguins, the combination may lead to extinction.