Americas Articles

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Citizen politics was clearly on display in the 2008 presidential primaries. Two dozen states had record high turnout levels, and more than two million Americans donated money to a candidate. The Internet—its social networks, web sites, and bloggers—helped drive the upsurge. As Janette Kenner Muir (“Closing the Gap,” Spring 2008) observes, the communication “gap” is closing. Citizen-based communication is rising up to challenge the influence of the traditional media.

By Thomas E. Patterson  |  September 28, 2008
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In May 2005, I wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled “Israel’s Lawyer,” making what I considered an incontestable point: if America wants to help reach an agreement between Arabs and Israelis, it must be an advocate for both sides.

By Aaron David Miller  |  September 28, 2008
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Brazil is making splashes across the world as the emerging leader of the biofuel industry. The significance of this nascent industry is rapidly growing as oil prices rise and awareness of environmental concerns increase. But the Brazilian dominance of the biofuel market may have significance beyond the environmental ramifications of ethanol. Brazil’s leadership in this industry has brought about positive shifts in developmental patterns, facilitating the diversification of Latin American industries and the South-South exchange of technology between Africa and South America.

By Yuna Han  |  September 28, 2008
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Since its establishment five years ago, the Department of Homeland Security has played a pivotal role in mobilizing the efforts of the United States government to prevent and deter terrorists and other dangerous people from attacking the country. These efforts have yielded positive results: By any fair measure, the United States is safer and more secure today. Yet it would be a mistake to conclude that the threat posed by terrorism has entirely disappeared or has ceased to be of critical concern.

By Michael Chertoff  |  September 28, 2008
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A new age is dawning for the world. We stand on the threshold of an era in which the political, social, and economic organization will be different from anything we have known so far. In the next few decades, people from all over the world will expect the leaders of their countries to recognize the changing system and provide an appropriate collective response.

 

What is this new system? The economic, political, and historical data points to the emergence of a more diverse multi-polar power structure, featuring the emergence of the developing world and the consequent reordering of the international system.

 

By Michelle Bachelet  |  September 28, 2008
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Dan Sarewitz, professor of science and society at Arizona State University, argues that we should fully expect politicians to politicize scientific information because “that is their job...and this—like the second law of thermodynamics—is not something to be regretted, but something to be lived with.” Sarewitz’s assertion flies in the face of many recent discussions on science and politics, focusing predominantly on the actions of President George W. Bush, which are characterized in ample portions by both blame and regret.

By Roger Pielke, Jr.  |  September 28, 2008
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The year 2007 was a special one for many international environmental organizations, as well as for the wider climate change scientific community. This was so thanks, in particular, to the successful approval of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) co-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, which clearly categorized climate change as “unequivocal.” Thanks also to the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC and Al Gore in clear recognition of the fact that climate change is an issue with potential implications for world peace. If unabated, climate change will markedly increase the risk of conflicts over prime resources such as water, food, and energy.

By Alexander I. Bedritsky  |  September 28, 2008
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Upon taking office, the new US president will immediately face major decisions on domestic and international climate policy. The United States and the rest of the international community have set December 2009 as the deadline for concluding a new global climate agreement. The controversial 1997 Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, and new international arrangements are urgently needed. This new round of climate negotiations provides a real chance to ensure strong, equitable action by all major economies, including the United States, China, and India, which in the past have resisted obligations to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions.

By Nigel Purvis  |  September 28, 2008
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On October 5, 2001, the Tampa Tribune published a short article regarding a flight that “the federal government says…never took place.” The flight left Tampa at 4:37 p.m. on September 13, 2001, two days after the 9/11 attacks. On board were three young Saudis (some FBI documents say four) that probably included the son of Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, now Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. In a chartered eight-passenger Learjet the youths left for Lexington, Kentucky, where they were met by security and escorted to a hotel to join relatives awaiting departure.

By Frank Graziano  |  July 27, 2008
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When the "Three Amigos"- more formally known as US President George Bush, Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin-met in Waco, Texas in 2005, they aimed to expand integration beyond 1994's landmark NAFTA. But such optimism met with hostility from constituents, many of whom increasingly view economic liberalization as a raw deal.

By Kelly Diep  |  July 12, 2008