Asia/Africa update: January 8 2018

ASIA MYANMAR The trial of two Reuters journalists accused of revealing state secrets under a colonial-era law is set to begin this week. The use of regressive laws to stifle the press is not going over well with activists: Critics and rights groups say that in some respects, press freedom in Myanmar is more restrictive… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: January 8 2018

World update: January 3 2018

ASIA AFGHANISTAN Indiana University’s Nazif Shahrani argues that one of Afghanistan’s problems is that the office of the president, regardless of who holds it, is too powerful: The 2004 Afghan constitution invests the president with more powers than former Afghan kings had before the republican period. Among them is the power to appoint all government officials,… Continue reading World update: January 3 2018

World update: October 19 2017

Happy Diwali to those who are celebrating! I confess to knowing little about Hinduism and even less about Diwali, so if somebody wants to educate the rest of the class in the comments please feel free. (As an aside, though there’s usually not much activity in the comments around here, be aware that I have… Continue reading World update: October 19 2017

World update: October 16 2017

MIDDLE EAST IRAQ This is obviously the day’s big story. Last night’s Iraqi advance into Kirkuk province appears in the light of day to have ended with Baghdad in control of pretty much all of its targets–oil fields, the K1 military base, and even the city of Kirkuk itself. Aside from a few small skirmishes… Continue reading World update: October 16 2017

Asia/Africa update: August 9 2017

NORTH KOREA If you’re concerned that it’s become impossible to tell the difference between the rhetoric coming from Donald Trump and that coming from Kim Jong-un RE: nuclear war, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is here to tell you it’s all OK: “I think Americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: August 9 2017

Asia/Africa update: August 8 2017

NORTH KOREA Tensions continue to escalate between the US and North Korea thanks largely to, and I have to be perfectly frank here, some monumentally irresponsible rhetoric coming out of Pyongyang. A couple of days ago, in response to new UN Security Council sanctions, the North Koreans threatened to turn the US into “an unimaginable… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: August 8 2017

Europe/Americas update: July 7-9 2017

NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT On Friday, 122 nations voted in the UN General Assembly in favor of a treaty banning nuclear weapons. None of those 122 countries actually possesses nukes–the nine nuclear nations, plus Japan, the NATO states, and a few other countries, all boycotted even the debate over the measure–so the vote is meaningless even by… Continue reading Europe/Americas update: July 7-9 2017