The surprise announcement by President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro of an agreement to pursue the normalization of relations has significant positive implications for Cuba’s risk profile. However, policy changes unveiled by Obama in mid-December 2014 do not include a near-term lifting of the trade embargo that has been in place for more than five decades, which will require congressional approval.
The Founding Fathers of the United States warned against the perils of dynastic succession in American politics. In 1786, Thomas Jefferson wrote to George Washington that "... a hereditary aristocracy will change the form of our Government from the best to the worst in the world." At that time, he called ancestral political rule a "scourge" that had condemned the overwhelming majority of France to a "cursed existence."
China’s gradual political, economic and military rise continues to be a primary focus among many decision making bodies throughout Asia and beyond. But often lost in the discussion is India, its strategic objectives, its political influence in Asia and the world. As India continues to gain its footing on the global stage, it continues to revise the manner in which it approaches bilateral, regional and international relations.
On March 2nd, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. In simple terms, the case is about who has the authority to control political redistricting in the states — the state legislature or an independent commission. In even simpler terms, the case is about legislative entitlement — in this case, the entitlement to gerrymander.
A snap parliamentary election will be held on March 17, triggered by the collapse of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ideologically eclectic coalition less than halfway through its four-year mandate. The political marriage in which Netanyahu’s center-right Likud teamed up with both moderate nationalists and staunch right-wingers was troubled from the start by disagreements over budget issues, and was left weakened in the aftermath of a 50-day military operation in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Tip O’Neill, former politician and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 through 1987, coined the phrase “all politics is local.” This belief, which encapsulates the principle that a politician's success is directly tied to his or her ability to satisfy the needs of local constituents, is still repeated in the halls of the U.S. Capitol. But politics may be the only thing that’s still local.
With gas prices at the pump hovering near $2 a gallon, many Americans are reveling in the belief that this represents a long-term shift to an oversupply of domestic gasoline resources. While it's hard to predict how long we will enjoy these lower prices, we all know how volatile the energy market can be. We are just a world crisis away from oil prices soaring again.
After languishing for eight years under the congressional leadership of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, prospects for trade liberalization are once again promising in 2015. With Republicans taking control of the Senate and increasing their majority in the House, President Obama can expect greater receptivity to his trade initiatives on Capitol Hill. But an important question lingers: Does the president actually support his own trade agenda?
A steep fall in global oil prices has reinforced strong downward pressure on the ruble. This was triggered in 2014 by massive outflows of foreign capital in response to sanctions imposed by the U.S., the EU, and other western countries to punish Russia for the annexation of Crimea and hostile actions in eastern Ukraine.
Russia's new agreement to sell Nigeria arms to combat Boko Haram (BH) is evidence of its desire to expand its global geopolitical influence as well as enhance its reputation for being willing to step in where the West will not. At issue is not simply a common desire on the part of both governments to extinguish extremist movements such as BH, but an interest in finding alternative ways to bypass the conventional arms trade.
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