Obama's World
February 17, 2010

Let’s face it. America’s foreign policy is hardly healthier than its economy. Of course, jobs and taxes still dominate the politics of the day. Republicans will likely be running election campaigns on those matters. But, as foreign policy comes into focus more and more, Democrats may seek refuge from Barack Obama’s grand strategy and its consequences--or lack thereof. For, right now, Obama’s frustrated foreign policy is little more than aimlessness. His biggest decision to date has been Afghanistan.

Bombs Away
February 09, 2010

As President Obama begins a push to impose harsher economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, his success will be determined largely by the answer to a single question: Will China and Russia get on board?

Are We Really In An Energy Race With China?
February 08, 2010

Nowadays, it seems like every third Thomas Friedman column is about how the United States is engaged in a green-tech competition with China—one that, much to his chagrin, we seem to be losing handily. His argument's not totally groundless. China really has put more effort (and money) into developing cleaner energy technologies than we have. So have plenty of countries, like Germany and Denmark.

Proxy War
January 30, 2010

When President Obama launched a massive humanitarian-aid response to Haiti's earthquake last month, not everyone took his magnanimity at face value. Hugo Chavez, for example, accused him of "occupying Haiti undercover" and then upped the ante by saying the earthquake had been caused by an American "tectonic weapon." A minister from France, Haiti's former colonial ruler, complained that the U.S.

China Fact Of The Day
January 20, 2010

How dirty are China's cities? Here's one way of looking at it: Even in China’s most polluting city, Daqing, per household [carbon-dioxide] emissions are just one-fifth of those in San Diego, the greenest city in the US. Of course, there's more to bad air than just carbon-dioxide. China easily beats us on the more immediately noticeable pollutants like sulfur dioxide or particulates, as any smoggy photo of Beijing will show. But I was surprised to hear that San Diego is America's "greenest" city.

The Foreign Policy Awards
December 29, 2009

BIGGEST TACTICAL BLUNDER: Pushing the Israeli-Arab peace process too hard. Obama took office looking for bold strokes at a time when peace seemed as far away as ever: Israel had just finished its punishing military campaign in Gaza last winter, and the Arab world was inflamed, and deeply uninterested in making offerings to Israel. Obama's squeeze on Israeli settlements, meanwhile, managed to a) tick off a backlash in Israel that enabled the Netanyahu government to stand its ground, without b) shaking loose meaningful Arab support.

Demonstrations Are Forbidden In Iran. But The Grand Ayatollah Montazeri Took Care Of That By Dying.
December 23, 2009

I believe that the Iranian regime is trembling, trembling from fear of its own people. Not all of its people, of course. But those whose minds are on the future rather than those whose souls are in the past. That is a history-making majority whether the Basiji beat the crap out of demonstrators or not. Look at this dignified demonstration, a manifestation of courage and of hope. Maybe it has somehow eluded me.

Is The U.S.-China Dispute Overblown?
December 15, 2009

The United States and China appear to be at an impasse in climate discussions. At least, that's what The New York Times suggested today, reporting that the two countries are bickering over how, exactly, to monitor and verify China's new goal of reducing "carbon intensity" 40 percent by 2020. The United States wants some sort of international scrutiny—indeed, two weeks ago, a group of nine Senate Democrats wrote a letter to Obama saying they won't support a climate bill without it. China, meanwhile, insists it can monitor itself. So how big a deal is this dispute?

Quick Hits: More Climategate, Smart Meter Revolts, and The Platypus Conundrum
December 14, 2009

So much news, so little time. A few interesting enviro links from around the Web today: * Not sick of Climategate yet? Five AP science reporters sat down to comb through all 1,073 of the leaked East Anglia e-mails.

5 Things You Don’t Know About North Korean Soccer
December 08, 2009

The World Cup is only six months away, and adding to the list of South Africa’s many hosting challenges is accommodating one of the world’s most peculiar teams: North Korea, who will be competing for the first time since 1966. When the team merely qualified in June of this year, they were greeted back home as heroes, with hoards of fans welcoming them at the airport with pink and red pom-poms while showering them with flags and leis. Last week, the team found out their first opponent will be international powerhouse Brazil.