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Invading Crimea Has Harmed Russia’s Economy

Crimea Russian Propaganda

The invasion of Crimea may have cost Russia a lot more than it expected: MOSCOW — Russia’s economy has been hit hard by the turmoil in neighboring Ukraine, Kremlin officials said Wednesday, as pro-Russia separatists battled to take over more territory in Ukraine’s east — and potentially add to Moscow’s economic burden. Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea […]

North Korea On The Verge Of Collapse? Don’t Count On It

North Korea Military Parade

Predicting the end of the DPRK is a fool’s errand.

NATO Plans New Deployments In Response To Russia


NATO seems intent on sending a signal to Vladmir Putin that there are limits to his patience.

Escobar’s Hippos


Via Worldcrunch:  Pablo Escobar’s Hippos Are Running Wild.

Talks in Venezuela


Via Reuters:  Venezuela’s Maduro meets opposition as death toll from protests rises Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro cautioned opposition leaders to keep their expectations modest on Thursday as he hosted them for mediated talks intended to stem two months of deadly political unrest. Maduro has held similar meetings previously but this was the first to include […]

More Rhetoric over the Falklands


Via the BBC:  UK Falklands military exercises ‘provoke’ Argentina Argentina has accused the UK of provocation over plans to hold military exercises in the Falkland Islands. It said drills by British forces would include missile launches and were part of a "pattern" of "hostile acts". The British ambassador in Buenos Aires has been summoned by […]

Confrontation Between Rio Police and Squatters


Via the BBC:  Clashes as police evict squatters in Rio de Janeiro A huge police operation to evict hundreds of families from abandoned buildings in Rio de Janeiro has ended with violent clashes and some injuries. More than 1,500 police officers had arrived at dawn to evict nearly 5,000 people from the site, belonging to […]

Status of Afghan Elections


Via the BBC:  Afghan poll: Abdullah slightly ahead as count continues Partial results from the Afghan presidential vote show former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah slightly ahead of Ashraf Ghani. With about 500,000 votes in 26 provinces counted, Dr Abdullah has 41.9% with Mr Ghani on 37.6%. [...] The partial results gave another main contender and […]

It’s Not Over in Ukraine


Via the BBC:  Nato alarm at east Ukraine violence. Lots of details, so just follow the link.

New President in Costa Rica


Via the BBC:  Leftist Luis Solis wins Costa Rican presidential poll Luis Guillermo Solis of the centre-left Citizen Action Party (PAC) has won the presidential election in Costa Rica. With almost all the votes counted, Mr Solis had 78%. He had been expected to win after his rival – governing party candidate Johnny Araya – […]

Nigeria’s GDP Largest in Africa


Via the BBC:  Nigeria becomes Africa’s biggest economy Nigeria has "rebased" its gross domestic product (GDP) data, which has pushed it above South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy. Nigerian GDP now includes previously uncounted industries like telecoms, information technology, music, online sales, airlines, and film production. GDP for 2013 totalled 80.3 trillion naira (£307.6bn: […]

Afghans to the Polls


Via the BBC:  Afghanistan election: Millions vote in presidential poll Eight candidates are seeking to succeed Hamid Karzai, who is barred by the constitution from seeking a third consecutive term as president. [...] Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) secretary Ziaul Haq Amarkhel said seven million people had voted by 17:00 local time, when the polls had […]

New Argentine Peso Features the Falklands


Via the BBC:  Argentina launches Falklands currency note to mark anniversary Argentina has launched a new 50-peso currency note featuring a map of the Falkland Islands to commemorate the 32nd anniversary of the invasion of the British archipelago. First, given the debacle that was the invasion of the Falklands/Las Islas Malvinas by the Argentine military, […]

Where Is Transnistria?


The future may hold a lot of vehement arguing over insignificant bits of territory.

Henry Kissinger’s Annoying Habit of Being Right


Benjamin Wallace-Wells wonders with some irritation “Why Henry Kissinger Never Goes Away.”

T-Shirt Activism


Via FP’s Passport:  Ukrainian Hipsters Say No to Sex with Russians.

1,000 Years Of European History In Under 4 Minutes


A reminder of just how much the borders of Europe have changed from the mid-12th Century to today:

Salvadoran Presidential Election Results Confirmed by Court


Via the BBC:  El Salvador ex-rebel’s presidential victory confirmed El Salvador’s electoral court has confirmed the victory of former left-wing rebel Salvador Sanchez Ceren in a tight presidential run-off election. It said Mr Sanchez Ceren won 50.11% of the votes in the 9 March poll, defeating conservative candidate Norman Quijano, who polled 49.89%. Mr Quijano […]

Thinking about the Opposition in Venezuela

Flag of venezuela

Some thoughts and links about the ongoing turmoil in Venezuela.

Air Canada Suspends Flights to Venezuela


Via the BBC:  Air Canada suspends Venezuela flights over ‘civil unrest’ Air Canada has suspended flights to and from Venezuela, citing concerns over security. [...] It operated three return flights between Toronto and Caracas per week. Other airlines are also reacting, although unrest is not the main motivator: Several international airlines have reduced operations in […]

Hamid Karzai Says Afghanistan Doesn’t Need U.S. Troops To Stay After 2014

Hamid Karzai

Afghanistan’s outgoing President says that his nation doesn’t need American troops to stay after the end of the year.

Crimeans Endorse Secession, Union With Russia. What’s Next?

Crimea Russian Propaganda

As everyone anticipated, the Crimean referendum came out in favor of secession from Ukraine and union with Russia. What happens next is another question entirely.

Some History of Separatist Referenda


See Alicia P. Q. Wittmeyer at FP’s Passport blog.

More Information on the Crimean Referendum Ballot


Via the BBC:  Crimea referendum: What does the ballot paper say? A quick note:  it should be understood that the option to revert to the Crimean Constitution of 1992 is not a vote for returning to the pre-crisis relationship to Ukraine, but is returning to a period in which Crimea was more autonomous.  Indeed, as […]

Foreign Policy Photo Caption: Ukraine Edition

Kerry Lavrov

This photograph of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov before their meeting in London over the Ukraine situation seems to speak volumes: I doubt we’ll be hearing much good news on the Ukraine front today. In the meantime, feel free to add a caption in the comments. H/T: Mashable

A Journey Through Maps of Crimea


Via the BBC:  Ukraine maps chart Crimea’s troubled past. (Plus a video).

Bachelet Sworn in


Earlier this week, Michele Bachelet was sworn in to start her second (non-consecutive) term as president of Chile.  Her first term was 2006-2010. Via the BBC:  Michelle Bachelet sworn in as Chile’s president Ms Bachelet is the first Chilean president in over half a century to return for a second term. [...] Ms Bachelet won […]

Photo-Finish in El Salvador’s Presidential Contest


(Pending a possible recount). Via the BBC:  Salvadorean ex-rebel Sanchez Ceren wins vote – officials Former left-wing rebel Salvador Sanchez Ceren has won a tight presidential run-off election, El-Salvador’s electoral tribunal has said. But his rival has the right to appeal and officials say a final declaration cannot yet be made. Conservative candidate Norman Quijano […]

More Deaths in Venezuela


Via the BBC:  Venezuela protests: Three killed in fresh unrest Three people have died in fresh protests in Venezuela, this time in the central city of Valencia. A policeman and two other men were shot dead in separate incidents. In Caracas, Venezuelan government supporters and opposition demonstrators took to the streets to hold rival marches. […]

On the Crimean Referendum


More on the pending referendum and some thoughts on elections in authoritarian contexts.

Protests Continue in Venezuela


Via the BBC:  Venezuela opposition holds anti-Maduro rally in Caracas Thousands of Venezuelan students and opposition supporters have joined an anti-government rally in the capital, Caracas. The government deployed hundreds of government security forces to prevent a crowd banging pots and pans from marching towards the food ministry. There were similar marches in at least […]

Divisions in Crimea


Crimea is more divided than Russia would have the world believe. Plus: the Crimean government has no legitimacy at the moment.

Carterization of Obama


Barack Obama is no Jimmy Carter.

Overselling the Stakes in Crimea


My first piece for The Hill, “Crimea is not Armageddon,” posted this morning.

Crimea to Join Russia?


Via the BBC:  Ukraine crisis: Crimea parliament asks to join Russia MPs in Crimea have asked Moscow to allow the southern Ukrainian region to become part of the Russian Federation. Parliament said if its request was granted, Crimean citizens could give their view in a referendum on 16 March. Because, of course, nothing screams legitimate […]

Obama: No Country Has Right to Send Troops to Another Country Unprovoked


CNN Breaking: President Barack Obama said today that Russia’s military moves in Crimea violated international law, adding that “no country has a right to send in troops to another country unprovoked.” He said the United States is examining a series of economic and diplomatic steps to “isolate Russia,” and he called on Congress to work with […]

Western ‘Security Guarantees’ to Ukraine Don’t Say What Commentators Think


The Budapest Memorandums pertain solely to nuclear attacks.

Ukraine, NATO, and the EU


The West owes Ukraine nothing.

More Ukrainian Maps


Supplementing the maps regarding the political, ethnic, and economic context of the current situation in Ukraine, Talking Points Memo has an interesting post up showing the evolution of the borders in what is presently called Ukraine going back the 15th Century and a time when Russia as we know it today barely existed. There’s not […]

Preliminary Thoughts on the Ukraine Situation


Russian invasion or legitimate secessionist movement? And does it matter?

Sochi Mascots Ride Tank


Russian militarism in Ukraine has undone any public relations benefits of the Sochi Olympics.

Only Nixon Could Go to China–Because Nobody Else Wanted To


The opening to China was entirely Richard Nixon’s idea. Henry Kissinger opposed it vehemently.

Ugandan President Signs Anti-Gay Bill That U.S. Evangelicals Helped Write Into Law


The President of Uganda has signed into law a bill that places severe criminal penalties on homosexuals: LONDON — Brushing aside Western threats and outrage, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda significantly strengthened Africa’s antigay movement on Monday, signing into law a bill imposing harsh sentences for homosexual acts, including life imprisonment in some cases, according […]

An Overview of the Venezuelan Economic Situation


Via CNBC:  Venezuela after Chavez: An economy on the verge. The short version:  not good.

Maduro isn’t Chavez

Flag of venezuela

One thing is clear: Maduro lacks Chavez’s political skills.

Questions about Venezuela?


Since I figure most folks only have a passing knowledge of Venezuela, I was curious if there were any specific questions about that I could attempt to answer.  I cannot guarantee that I can provide the answers, as I am not a country-expert on this topic, but ask away and we will see. 

Yanukovych Out in Ukraine?


Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has been forced out of Kyiv—and possibly out of power entirely.

One Illustration Regarding Venezuela


Despite good intentions, I have not had time to devote to a story that is quite important and is not receiving enough attention:  the events unfolding in Venezuela.  I hope to address some of the relevant issues over the weekend, but instead of trying to do it all in one mega-post, I will also draw […]

Paper Covers Rock!


Sorry, that was what immediately came to mind upon seeing this photo in a piece in The Atlantic:   Pictured:  the late President Hugo Chávez (Ven), President Dilma Rousseff (Brazil), President José Mujica (Uruguay), and  President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Arg).

The More Things Change… (Argentine Debt Edition)


Via the BBC:  Argentina tries to delay $1.3bn repayment to creditors Argentina will on Tuesday petition the US courts to try to stall a $1.3bn repayment to its creditors. If the petition to the Supreme Court is not successful, the country risks triggering a default and debt crisis. [...] Argentina has already defaulted on its […]

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