- J Brooks Spector
As America’s two problematic land wars in Asia are – finally – on course to recede into history, the US is now moving forward on the basis of an earlier budget agreement poised to make significant cuts in the military budget for the coming decade. On the other side of the Pacific, the 21st century’s rising power, China, has just announced double digit increases in its own defence spending. Meanwhile, Russia’s unexpected military moves into the Crimea Peninsula represent a new and disquieting variable in the international strategic picture. Where is all this leading? J. BROOKS SPECTOR tries to unscramble it.
President Barack Obama on Thursday ordered sanctions on people responsible for Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine, including travel bans and freezing of their U.S. assets, and said a referendum by the Crimea region to join Russia would violate international law. By Steve Holland and Jeff Mason.
Economist Joseph Stiglitz seems a politician’s economist. Unlike those economists that President Harry Truman had so famously railed against with his cry, “For God’s sake, will someone please send me a one-handed economist!” after he had heard one too many of those “well, on the one hand, but on the other hand” formulations, Joseph Stiglitz seems never to have been afraid to say exactly what he thinks about things – and his presentation at the Discovery Leadership Summit in Johannesburg was no exception. J. BROOKS SPECTOR listened to the lecture and then spoke with him afterwards.
After the brutal knife massacre in a Chinese train station on Saturday, Chinese authorities have promised to go after the “terrorists” with everything they’ve got. But it’s not the terrorists they’re really worried about: the real concern is the great crack in the foundation of China’s economic and social development that the attack has revealed. By SIMON ALLISON.
As Russia tightens its grip on the Crimean Peninsula, western nations continue to puzzle out how best to respond to this, the most difficult crisis to erupt in the post-Cold War era in Europe. Fears are growing that there is no easy endgame, and there are important economic aspects that must be examined more closely as well. However, it is just possible that in his desire to consolidate Russia’s new influence on Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin may be overreaching. J. BROOKS SPECTOR takes a closer look.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Ukraine and Crimea are now at the centre of the international landscape in a way that has not been so since the Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill met at the Crimean resort of Yalta, just before the end of World War II in Europe, to set out the continent’s future. The overthrow of a Ukrainian president Yanukovych has made the ancient fault-line between ethnic Russians and Ukrainians a key element of the conflict in Ukraine. J. BROOKS SPECTOR tries to untangle it all.
The American southwestern state of Arizona narrowly missed being lumped together with Uganda, Nigeria and Russia, among other places as co-capitals of the homophobic world. On Wednesday, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have allowed any restaurant owner or shopkeeper to ban gay citizens from their premises, if serving them would have violated the proprietor’s religious precepts. The bill had passed both houses of the state’s legislature before being vetoed. What is going on out there anyway? J. BROOKS SPECTOR looks more closely at developments and the larger social context.
In March 2013, Dr Patrobas Mufubenga, a malaria expert, was unanimously appointed a member of the Developing Country NGO Delegation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria for a two-year renewable term. It is a key position at arguably the most important health funding mechanism in the world. By GROUNDUP STAFF.
There was a time not so long ago that America’s federal financial ‘uber-menschen’ really were widely regarded as the masters of the universe – able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, and by sheer dint of their abundant grey matter, unscramble financial calamities almost before they happened. Then, in 2008, such financial wizards were revealed for what they were – some really smart people caught up in fast-moving events quickly spinning beyond their control. J. BROOKS SPECTOR contemplates those newly released transcripts from the US’ Federal Reserve Bank’s Open Money Committee, just as the apocalypse seemed to be at hand.
News that the Chinese army is facing its biggest crisis ever has been greeted with not a few guffaws and smiles. No, it is not coming from a powerful enemy on one of its long borders with fractious neighbours or from the threat of an invasion by sea from some far off naval power. Instead, it is the new and weighty problem that its soldiers are getting too big to squeeze into the army’s tanks and their arms are now so long they can’t use their rifles properly. J. BROOKS SPECTOR tries to make a meal out of this weighty question.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich said late on Wednesday that he had agreed a "truce" with opposition leaders after 26 people were killed in street clashes, ahead of meetings with EU foreign ministers who are threatening to impose sanctions for the violence. By Richard Balmforth and Natalia Zinets.