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President Barack Obama recently returned from his tour of the Asia-Pacific to reaffirm the commitment of the United States to its “pivot to Asia” policy. An important stop along the way was a visit to long-time ally of the United States, the Philippines. During President Obama’s visit, the Philippines and the United States signed a 10-year defense agreement. According to Evan Medeiros, the National Security Council’s senior director for Asian affairs, “This is the most significant defense agreement that we have concluded with the Philippines in decades.” The Washington Post reported that in addition to helping to balance China’s claims to the South China Sea, the agreement “gives the United States greater flexibility to respond to threats and natural disasters in the region.” This was echoed in remarks by President Obama and President Benigno Aquino in a joint press conference. (more…)
The Stimson Center, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDIP) and the Observer Researcher Foundation have just released “Connecting the Drops: An Indus Basin Roadmap for Cross-Border Water Research, Data Sharing, and Policy Coordination.” This is the product of six months of dialogue and collaboration between an Indus Basin Working Group, comprised of twenty-five analysts and practitioners who sought to identify critical knowledge gaps, prioritize research questions, and formulate practical approaches for meeting needs. (more…)
Nigeria, the African continent’s most populous country, is by many accounts a security and humanitarian disaster. A corrupt and unstable government driven by oil revenues, an armed insurgency in the Niger Delta aimed at defying that government, a desperately poor population that sees little to none of the country’s oil wealth, deep post-colonial religious divisions in the center and north, which have led to dramatic and large-scale violence in recent years (see the Christmas Day bombing in 2011, for example), all conspire to make life in Nigeria hazardous, to say the very least. (more…)
Just dug up an interesting piece on India’s growing interest in the Arctic, which identifies three core rationales: a desire to study climate change, oil and gas exploration (India already participates in exploration off the coast of Russia’s Sakhalin island), and broader geo-strategic goals (India has aspirations to eventually join the Arctic Council). As Arctic ice continues to recede, expect a broader range of countries – many of whom one would not normally put in the same sentence as “Arctic” – to turn their attention northward.