Thursday, January 29, 2009

Putin Levels Michael Dell at Davos

At this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland - Vladimir Putin made two BOLD statements and flattened Michael Dell (CEO of Dell) in the process. We will discuss this on the weekend podcast.

He cited Russia's failed experiment, "communism" and warned the West against state intervention in their lagging economies. Then regarding Mr. Dell's question on how IT Companies [he means Dell] could help Russia develop its IT infrastructure: "We don't need help. We are not invalids. We don't have limited mental capacity," Putin replied.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Looming Iraqi Refugee Crisis

American policy makers start taking notes. C.Eduardo Vargas, a specialist in the Iraqi refugee crisis who has traveled the region, speaks about the developing crisis involving over 5,000,000 Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people. He presents American foreign policy makers with clear and strong actions to address this humanitarian and political challenge.

Download Podcast - Iraqi Refugees 01.24.09

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Podcast - India and Pakistani relations following the Mumbai attacks

On November 26th 2008, ten armed attackers struck at the heart of India's financial and entertainment capital, throwing relations between India and Pakistan into crisis mode. In this podcast, Mr. Zeeshan Suhail, a Pakistani with experience working for two major international organizations, discusses the current state of diplomacy in South Asia and examines the motives of Lashkar e Taiba, the organization blamed by India for the attacks. U.S. foreign assistance to Pakistan is also examined and whether past aid has been properly spent.

Download Podcast - India and Pakistan Relations 01.17.09

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Podcast - U.S. and EU Environmental Policy in 2009

With a new administration, the United States is expected to take a major redirection in its environmental policies. Freedom-Kai Phillips, an international affairs and law specialist discussed the expectations for the Obama administration and successful environmental initiatives of the European Union, of which Washington should take note. The role of the U.S. Congress and China are also discussed in this 32 minute conversation.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Evidence in Mumbai Terror Case

The holiday season and a new Israeli-Palestinian conflict has taken prominence in the headlines, but analysts are still keenly focused on the fallout of the Mumbai terror attacks. By all accounts the follow-up investigation has been swift and comprehensive, identifying links between the 10 perpetrators and supervisory backers based in Pakistan.

Somini Senguta for the New York Times reported the delivery of evidence to Pakistani authorities by India on Jan. 8th. Diplomats of selected allies have also conducted an initial review of the 69 page report which outlines the evidence. They say the dossier is quite problematic for the government of Pakistan. Telephone records, audio transcripts, gun labels and boat parts match-up to Pakistani manufacturers and supplies left in the boats used by the terrorists point to an outlawed terrorist group in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba. India has demanded full cooperation by Pakistan in the investigation and a list of subjects to be turned over to Indian authorities for trial.

While India has officially not suggested any concrete link between the terrorists and Pakistan's government agencies, every Indian Parliamentarian and Minister are openly talking about the connection as a fait accompli.  The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh even spoke publicly about the necessity for official assistance for the 25ish year old attackers to have been able to pull it off.

Let's see how cooperative Pakistan is - in public and in private. Watch closely.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Israel's Ground Incursion

Israel's ground forces began their sweep into the Gaza strip while world news outlets and leaders observed the spiraling violence from afar.  The U.S. is without a President for 17 more days and European governments are having a hard time speaking with a unified voice.  Short of fully occupying the entire Gaza strip, how can Israeli forces guarantee that more rockets will not be launched by Hamas fighters? (See Map)

France and Great Britain would like to be able to be able to give the impression of real leadership at this time, but most analysts believe Israel has 2 more weeks of unhindered operations before President-elect Obama is sworn in.  

Lastly, careful observers of the press coverage that Hamas is getting in english media should take a second to question the accuracy of the translations and certainly the mental state of the Hamas spokesmen.  Their proclamations sound like the stuff of desperate Hollywood screenwriters, whose attempts to make the evil villain character appear cutthroat have fallen fall flat.

Hamas has vowed to "fight to the death", and to the Israeli troops "Gaza will be your cemetery", and "Palestinian children will pick over your bones in the morning".  Are these guys running a government or fright fest?