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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.
Libya Hurra. Free Libya. This was one of the main rallying cries for the Libyan opposition last year, which with NATO assistance, toppled the brutal 40-year reign of Muammar Gaddafi. But four and a half months after Gaddafi’s downfall, Libya under the leadership of the interim National Transitional Council (NTC) is facing the problem of reconciling the many different “free Libyas” envisioned by different publics, and addressing allegations of some “not-so-free” practices. The eastern region of Cyrenaica, with its capital at Benghazi (the heart of the anti-Gaddafi movement) has declared itself a semi-autonomous region, prompting major protests in both Benghazi and Tripoli. Despite recent successes by the central government, armed militias still roam the country, and the capacity of the government in Tripoli to keep them in check has been questioned. Indeed, the city of Misrata has been described as a virtual “armed city-state” in opposition to the central government. Furthermore, reports of human rights abuses committed against suspected Gaddafi sympathizers, including black African migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, abound.
But while the Libyan government currently seeks in earnest to address these conflicts, it may be less overtly political issues, such as climate change and water resource management, that hold the key to building unity. (more…)
A Marshall Plan to Combat Climate Change in the Asia-Pacific: The Missing Piece of the New U.S. Security Strategy
For the first time since the days of William Howard Taft, the United States is officially reorienting its security and defense strategy to the Asia-Pacific region, closing down military bases in Europe, redeploying soldiers to bases in Australia, and placing the region front and center in its strategic documents. As stated in the U.S. Department of Defense’s 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance note, “while the U.S. military will continue to contribute to security globally, we will of necessity re-balance toward the Asia-Pacific region.” But if this shift is to translate into leadership, the United States needs a complementary investment agenda for building the region’s resilience to key emerging threats – including climate change. (more…)
And what better post-break gift than a new report from the Center for a New American Security? “Cooperation from Strength: The United States, China and the South China Sea” is a good one. You should read the whole thing. But given our focus on climate and security, we’re going to briefly highlight the section on climate change in Will Rogers’ chapter “The Role of Natural Resources in the South China Sea.” (more…)