By Urmila Venugopalan, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Urmila Venugopalan is the South Asia manager at Oceans Beyond Piracy. You can follow her on Twitter @Urmila_V and @OBPiracySAsia. The views expressed are her own.
Maritime piracy has long been considered the scourge of commercial shipping in the Indian Ocean. Recently, however, a combination of government- and private sector-led action has seen the number of pirate attacks in the region plunge to their lowest levels in almost five years.
This year’s statistics are unusually encouraging: the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reported in July that Somali piracy activity fell by almost 60 percent, down from 163 incidents in the first half of 2011 to just 69 in the same period of this year. Somali pirates also hijacked only 13 ships, down from 21, according to the IMB.
Robust cooperation among international navies has certainly played a key role in driving this trend. Regular naval patrols – led by NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield, the EU’s Operation Atlanta, and Combined Task Force 151 – have undoubtedly disrupted several pirate attacks. China, India and Japan have also independently contributed to this effort – in a significant move at the start of this year, the three countries agreed to set aside their rivalries and coordinate their escort convoys in the Gulf of Aden.
By Stewart M. Patrick and Isabella Bennett, CFR
Stewart M. Patrick is director of the International Institutions and Global Governance Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Isabella Bennett is program coordinator. This entry of The Internationalist originally appeared here. The views expressed are solely those of Stewart M. Patrick and Isabella Bennett.
Guor Marial, a cross-country All-American athlete at Iowa State, ran two marathons in Olympic qualifying times. But with no passport and no country — and no coach nor a sponsor — he watched the Summer Games’ opening ceremony from Flagstaff, Arizona.
After fleeing from a Sudanese refugee camp at the age of 8, Marial had eventually escaped to Egypt and then the United States, where he lives as a permanent U.S. resident but without citizenship.
The day before the competition began, the International Olympic Committee finally granted Marial permission to run as an independent athlete. Marial, who works at night and trains by day, finished 47th in London. No medal, but a rare triumph for the world’s stateless.
As many as 15 million people worldwide cannot claim a state as their own, because they lack legal citizenship or formal documentation of their status. They are, in effect, “legal ghosts,” lacking even the “right to have rights.” And unlike Marial, many are not even considered refugees — placing them in a precarious legal limbo. They may be deprived of education, employment, housing, public health and welfare benefits, the right to vote, and access to legal justice.
By Bruce Stokes and Richard Wike, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Bruce Stokes is director of Global Economic Attitudes at the Pew Research Center. Richard Wike is associate director of the Pew Global Attitudes Project.
With less than three months to go in the U.S. presidential election, the candidates’ debate over America’s place in the world can only be expected to escalate. Republican contender Mitt Romney is likely to echo a theme he developed in the spring primary campaign: America’s stature on the world stage has suffered during President Barack Obama’s time in the White House. President Obama can be expected to counter that America isn’t in decline; in fact, during his tenure U.S. influence has rebounded.
This debate is broadly about American power. But power is a nuanced concept. It manifests itself both through military muscle and cultural influence. The candidates’ stump speeches rarely delineate this distinction. But global publics do. Recent opinion surveys suggest that people outside the United States question American hard power and increasingly embrace U.S. soft power.
Editor's note: Micah Zenko is a fellow for conflict prevention at the Council on Foreign Relations. The views expressed are his own. This article originally appeared at CFR.org.
“Oppressive Heat,” “Chimp Attacks,” “Sharks,” “Forest Fires,” “Africanized Bees,” “Death by Drowning.” These hard-hitting reports have been staples of the mainstream media since Publick Occurrences: Both Forreign and Domestick first hit the presses in September 1690. Today, news broadcasts and reality television depict harrowing tales of the enemy that Americans must collectively fear and face: nature.
Outside of our climate-controlled studio apartments, McMansions, and office cubicles, nature doesn’t simply exist, but happens to us: sharks choose to swim dangerously close to popular beaches, chimpanzees lure humans into their cages, and forest fires and raging floods dare to strike picturesque neighborhoods, and pools (or watery graves) rest in backyards, beckoning humans to dive in.
Editor's Note: Throughout the week, Ruchir Sharma will be posting thought-provoking questions with answers and explanations on CNN.com/GPS. Be sure to check out his excellent new book Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles.
By Ruchir Sharma - Special to CNN
Question: There are 15 members in the club of trillion-dollar economies. What are the next two countries that will join the club?
Editor’s Note: Dr Maha Hosain Aziz is a Professor of Politics (adjunct) in the MA Program at New York University, a Senior Analyst at geopolitical consultancy Wikistrat and an Asia Insight Columnist for Bloomberg Businessweek.
By Maha Hosain Aziz - Special to CNN
If you were a politician in 2011 in South Asia, there’s a good chance you might very well have been slapped. In both Nepal and India, a citizen so frustrated by political inertia physically lashed out at his local politician. If you were leader of a country with high youth unemployment in the Middle East or Western Europe, there’s no question you faced waves of anti-government protest. Even in Russia - usually immune to challenges to the state - you experienced some form of public discontent over the status quo.
In fact, on every continent last year, in major, middle and small states, citizens expressed bursts of frustration against their governments. Such sentiment has continued in 2012; recurrent protests indicate citizens’ lack of confidence in their political leaders and their conviction that there must be a better, more legitimate way to govern. FULL POST
Sunday on GPS, I interviewed Ruchir Sharma, author of the terrific new book Breakout Nations: In Pursuit of the Next Economic Miracles. The following is a web-extra portion of our interview where Sharma lays out three reasons he's still confident in America's growth. Here's the transcript:
Fareed Zakaria: You don't deal with America, but you're also saying that in this new landscape, you're pretty comfortable with the United States?
Ruchir Sharma: Yes. I think that the U.S., as I talk about here, has three things going for it.
One, I think, is the exchange rate, that a dollar today, when adjusted for all inflation against its trade-weighted partners, is the most competitive that it's ever been in history. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning in the US State Department (2009-2011), is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. For more from Slaughter, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Anne-Marie Slaughter.
By Anne-Marie Slaughter, Project Syndicate
The conventional wisdom last week on whether Syria would comply with former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s ceasefire plan was that it was up to Russia. We were reverting to Cold War politics, in which the West was unwilling to use force and Russia was willing to keep arming and supporting its client. Thus, Russia held the trump card: the choice of how much pressure it was willing to put on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to comply with the plan.
If this view were correct, Iran would surely be holding an equally powerful hand. Annan, after all, traveled to Tehran as well. Traditional balance-of-power geopolitics, it seems, is alive and well.
But this is, at best, a partial view that obscures as much as it reveals. In particular, it misses the crucial and growing importance of regional politics and institutions. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Robert Skidelsky, a member of the British House of Lords, is Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Warwick University. For more from Skidelsky, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter.
By Robert Skidelsky, Project Syndicate
Nearly four years after the start of the global financial crisis, many are wondering why economic recovery is taking so long. Indeed, its sluggishness has confounded even the experts. According to the International Monetary Fund, the world economy should have grown by 4.4% in 2011, and should grow by 4.5% in 2012. In fact, the latest figures from the World Bank indicate that growth reached just 2.7% in 2011, and will slow this year to 2.5% – a figure that may well need to be revised downwards.
There are two possible reasons for the discrepancy between forecast and outcome. Either the damage caused by the financial crisis was more serious than people realized, or the economic medicine prescribed was less efficacious than policymakers believed. FULL POST
Editor’s Note: Dr. Maha Hosain Aziz is a Professor of Politics (adjunct) in the Master’s Program at New York University, a Senior Analyst at geopolitical consultancy Wikistrat and an Asia Insight Columnist for Bloomberg Businessweek.
By Maha Hosain Aziz – Special to CNN
Occupy Wall Street has been about more than just corporate greed and income inequality. Occupy protesters around the globe may not realize it but, at various points in the past six months, many have been fighting for the same cause as the peasant communities of rural Vietnam during the 1930s - the moral economy.
Theorists have typically used moral economy rhetoric to explain rural movements where protesters felt their basic right to subsistence was being threatened. In the case of Vietnam, the onset of colonial capitalism in the Great Depression contributed to a food crisis for peasant farmers, prompting significant protests. In effect, an informal contract had been broken between the governing power and the governed involving the individual’s basic right to feed himself.
Today, a similar “contract” has been broken between governing powers and the governed.
Since its global launch in October 2011, the Occupy movement has effectively evolved to challenge governments for depriving citizens of their basic right to subsistence in the Great Recession (or its aftermath) - to work, afford basic goods, or in some cases keep their homes. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Tune in Sunday at 10a.m. or 1p.m. ET for Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN.
By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
It has now been four years since the start of the global financial crisis. This was a crisis that showcased a breakdown of markets - too much leverage, too little concern about risks and too much debt. So you'd imagine that any political backlash would involve a move towards the left.
Well, that's not what happened.
Instead, we saw a shift towards the political right in much of the industrialized world. Here in America, the Tea Party was born, pulling conservatives further towards the right. Consider that in the 2008 election, Mitt Romney was considered the conservative challenger to John McCain. In this election he is the moderate, outflanked on the right by every other candidate.
This dynamic seems afoot in Europe as well. Britain's Conservatives returned to power after 13 years. Germany's Merkel and France's Sarkozy cemented their positions. Spain has a new conservative government.
What happened to the left? Why was there no great surge in left-wing populism? FULL POST