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Apr 12, 2012

Analysis: Romney defines hawkish yet murky foreign policy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As he locks down the Republican nomination for U.S. president, Mitt Romney is framing what looks to be a decidedly hawkish foreign policy.

But should the former Massachusetts governor defeat Democratic President Barack Obama in November, it remains far from clear how he actually would tackle what his own website describes as a “bewildering array of threats and opportunities.”

Apr 3, 2012

Melting Arctic may redraw global geopolitical map

WASHINGTON, April 3 (Reuters) – This year’s frenzy of oil
and gas exploration in newly accessible Arctic waters could be
the harbinger of even starker changes to come.

If, as many scientists predict, currently inaccessible sea
lanes across the top of the world become navigable in the coming
decades, they could redraw global trading routes — and perhaps
geopolitics — forever.

Mar 23, 2012

Iran sanctions bring unintended, unwanted results

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) – Western sanctions have so far
failed to deter Iran from pursuing its nuclear programme and
their unexpected and unintended side-effects are producing a new
collection of challenges.

The expected loss of Iranian crude production has helped
push oil prices to levels seen threatening the global economy.

Mar 16, 2012

Syria e-mail hack points to new “information war”

LONDON (Reuters) – Whether Syrian rebels hacked President Bashar al-Assad’s e-mails themselves or with the help of Western spy agencies or “hactivists”, the release of dozens of revealing messages points to a new era of information warfare.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper began on Thursday to publish details from the material, which it said members of Syria’s opposition had secretly intercepted between June and February.

Mar 16, 2012

Turkey “safe haven” talk a game changer for Syria?

LONDON (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s suggested humanitarian “buffer zone” for refugees in Syria could prove a turning point in the conflict, opening the door to foreign intervention in the year-old uprising.

Turkey has been wary of raising the prospect of military action, but with the body count rising and growing numbers of refugees crossing its borders — some 15,000 so far, including 1,000 in the space of 24 hours on Thursday — it is seen being pushed ever closer. Memories of 500,000 flooding onto Turkish territory from Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War are still vivid.

Mar 14, 2012

Seen by millions, will Uganda Kony video matter?

LONDON, March 14 (Reuters) – A YouTube video gone viral has
propelled Joseph Kony, leader of Uganda’s rebel Lord’s
Resistance Army, back onto the agenda, entrenching his position
at the top of the list of the world’s most wanted men.

But how long the current spike of interest will last is far
from clear. Hits on the video appeared to have fallen sharply in
recent days, while the charity has also found itself on the
receiving end of a savage backlash.

Mar 9, 2012

Syria intervention calls rise, few good options

LONDON (Reuters) – As Syria’s death toll mounts, calls are growing for some form of outside intervention. But with few easy options, foreign powers who find themselves unable to halt the suffering could simply end up prolonging it.

Earlier this week, Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain called for US-led airstrikes to undermine the rule of President Bashar al-Assad. Government forces have been ruthlessly suppressing largely peaceful demonstrations since last year, in the last month pounding the city of Homs in some of the worst violence yet prompted by the “Arab Spring”.

Mar 8, 2012

“Anonymous” hurt by arrests but hard to kill

LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) – In turning one of its best-known
hackers into an informant and breaking open the highest profile
elements of the “Anonymous” movement, authorities have dealt a
serious blow to a group they found a growing irritant.

But as the broader “Anonymous” label — complete with its
iconic Guy Fawkes mask imagery — is used by ever more disparate
causes worldwide, it may be all but impossible to shut it down
for good.

Mar 7, 2012

Asia 2012 military spending to top Europe’s-report

LONDON, March 7 (Reuters) – Asian military spending will top
that of Europe in 2012 for the first time in centuries, a global
defence survey said on Wednesday, pointing to high regional
economic growth and an increasingly ambitious China.

The London-based International Institute for Strategic
Studies said U.S. military spending was also falling with
withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan – although Washington’s
$739 billion budget still dwarfs that of other nations.

Mar 2, 2012

Talk of Israel strike on Iran soars but is it bluff?

LONDON (Reuters) – As tension rises over Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, chatter indicating a potential Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear targets has never been higher.

But in the smoke-and-mirrors world of Middle East geopolitics, such talk can often be a diplomatic weapon in its own right and sometimes an alternative to genuine action.

    • About Peter

      "Peter Apps is Reuters global defence correspondent, currently on sabbatical as executive director of the Project for Study of the 21st Century (PS21):"
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