And the Winner is…



Rio de Janeiro! The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded Brazil the honor (and burden) of hosting the 2016 Olympics. Despite strong pitches from three heavyweight cities, Madrid, Chicago, and Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro won the bid. The Olympic Games will be held in South America for the first time in the long history of the games. While all of South America will celebrate this decision as a win for the entire continent, make no mistake, this is Brazil’s time to…

“Good Neighbors and Good Friends”



Today the “Three Amigos” wrapped up the annual two-day summit between Canada, Mexico, and the United States with a press conference in Guadalajara, Mexico. Expectations going into the summit were muted as the leaders mostly followed up on previously agreed upon measures rather than breakthrough negotiations over new issues. The three heads of state, President Calderon of Mexico, Prime Minister Harper of Canada, and President Obama, presented a happy trio at the press conference where they outlined the regional priorities…

China’s Self-Fulfilling Prophecy



Christina Larson, a new fellow at the New America Foundation, has written two great pieces this week (here and here) on the bloody clash between the Chinese government and the Uighur population in Xinjiang province. In The New Republic, Larson, who has traveled extensively in China – specifically among the Muslim villages of Xinjiang, offers an acute observation of the underlying problem between China and its Muslim minority. “Fundamentally, the Chinese Communist Party, which was founded on materialist principles and…

Update on Honduras



On Saturday the Organization of American States (OAS) withdrew Honduras’ participation rights citing their breach of the Inter-American Democratic Charter as the basis for this decision. The charter insists that all member nations abide by democratic principles and outlines repercussions for “unconstitutional interruption of the democratic order”. However, the charter also states that the permanent council undertake the “necessary diplomatic initiatives” to resolve the situation prior to suspending a nation’s rights. By this standard the OAS’ reaction has been hasty…

Showdown in Tegucigalpa



Recently ousted President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras has vowed to return to his country this weekend to reclaim his position as President of the Republic. Zelaya will be escorted by an unrivaled posse of regional leaders, including Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina and Jose Miguel Insulza of the Organization of American States (OAS), to ensure he is peacefully reinstated. Zelaya and his supporters are in for quite a showdown as hardened resolve awaits them in Tegucigalpa. Roberto Micheletti, the…

Honduras’ Military Coup Tests the Obama Administration



On Sunday the Honduran military ousted President Manuel Zelaya hours before the country was to vote on his referendum to extend presidential term limits. President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton were quick to speak, but slow to draw conclusions. Clinton’s carefully chosen words condemn the coup, but offer no specific support for President Zelaya, “As we move forward, all parties have a responsibility to address the underlying problems that led to yesterday’s events in a way that enhances democracy…

Iran: an Egyptian Perspective



Commentary on Iran’s election fallout from the greater Middle East has been eerily absent for the past eleven days. The wait-and-see posture has been adopted by the region’s leaders and civil groups alike; respectively they are nervous and hopeful. Just as Iran’s 1979 revolution reverberated throughout the region, a democratic one today would inspire students and activists in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. I reached out to an Egyptian friend and pro-democracy writer, Khalil Al-anani for his thoughts on…

Pakistan’s Refugee Crisis



Though there is an outright war going on between the central government of Pakistan and the Taliban, there is also a PR battle being waged to see who will win the devotion of the Pakistani majority. Recently the Taliban overplayed their hand with stepped up suicide bombings, kidnappings and morality checkpoints which severely weakened their public support in Pakistan. This dip in pro-Taliban sentiment granted the Pakistani government a window to act, which they did swiftly. The full force ground…

National Security According to Dick Cheney



Dick Cheney’s post-office media tour has reached an unprecedented level. Today the American Enterprise Institute hosted the suddenly chatty former vice-president for a speech on national security. This was conveniently scheduled to air immediately after President Obama’s national security speech at the Archives. While this face-off was interesting and clearly presented both sides of the complicated national security discussion, I’d give anything to see a real Cheney-Obama debate. But, of course, the President has more important things to do than…

The Obama Administration and Mexico



Today is a big day for Mexico City. President Obama’s overnight stay is the first visit from a U.S. President since Clinton’s two-day stopover in 1997. Really; it’s been twelve years since the President of the United States has visited the capital of Mexico. It’s no wonder the new administration has to work overtime to mend this special relationship. While I understand that President Bush was quite occupied with major events on the other side of the world, a neighborly…