The foucs of economic policy in the Kyrgyz Republic should be economic growth. The main tasks should be to expand exports, primarily by opening up the Kazakh market, and stimulating supply through further reforms in governance and taxation.
Most of Russia's aging nuclear submarines still have their nuclear fuel and nuclear waste on board, and many are tied up at docks that are at best lightly guarded. These submarines contain the raw materials for nuclear terrorism and need to be urgently dismantled and disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.
43 of 48 sub-Saharan African countries have held multiparty elections, but this superficially rosy picture hides a much starker reality. In most of these countries democracy is a sham. In Africa today, stemming state decay is a more urgent task than building democracy.
Even as snow continues to fall in the Himalayan passes of Kashmir, there is an unexpected spring thaw in relations between South Asia's nuclear rivals. On May 18, Indian soldiers released by Pakistan after two years of imprisonment returned to their families. The emotional scenes illustrated renewed hopes for the region as confidence-building steps continued in South Asia. New Delhi and Islamabad are exchanging ambassadors and resuming travel links. In his latest visit to the region, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said he was "cautiously optimistic" that Prime Minister Vajpayee's diplomatic opening "could possibly lead to a step-by-step process that would eventually resolve all issues."
Coming out of the war in Iraq, however, the Bush team appears to be in danger of losing a workable balance between the security and democracy imperatives. The administration's recent scramble to reconfigure U.S. policy on free trade agreements is a case in point.
The Russian Duma ratified the Strategic Offensive ReductionsTreaty (SORT) on May 14, which calls for both the U.S. and Russia to reduce their alert strategic nuclear weapons to between 1,700-2,200 over the next ten years. The move follows the U.S. Senate's March approval of the pact and clears the way for the U.S. and Russian presidents to mark the entry into force of this agreement at their upcoming summit in St. Petersburg. While the adoption of the agreement is a political victory for both presidents, it is not clear that the treaty makes a major improvement in the security of either country or for the world as a whole.
The Pentagon's proposal to sell missiles to Taiwan must rank in a league of most ill-considered policy initiatives by itself. Obviously, the timing for pressuring Taiwan to purchase these systems is awkward. The US should seek all the diplomatic and strategic help it can get from China, and clearly it is no time to slap Beijing in the face.
Cooperative threat reduction in Russia today needs to be addressed on three platforms: what has been accomplished so far and why it is not enough; prospects for the G-8; and what needs to be done to speed up progress.
One of the important lessons to learn from trade and environment linkages is that integrating environment into trade agreements is not a "one size fits all" task. Each negotiation involves countries at different levels of development and requires individually tailored responses.
The most important question now facing the world is the use the Bush Administration will make of its military dominance, especially in the Middle East. The next question is when and in what form resistance to US domination over the Middle East will arise. That there will be resistance is certain.
If the United States, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia can reach a basic understanding on how to handle North Korea, the effort to convince Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program and accept a reasonable "more-for-more" agreement, while not easy, should enjoy a reasonable chance of success.
The news that Iran is building a uranium enrichment facility has increased previously existing concerns over Iran's nuclear intentions. Information about the full extent of Iran's current and future capabilities is not known, but enough information has been publicly discussed to provide some background.