Asymmetric oil: Fuel for conflict

By Francesco Caselli, Massimo Morelli, Dominic Rohner in

“These acts are tailored in a very systematic way by the Chinese side with the aim to turn undisputed areas into disputed areas”. Vietnamese spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga, following the 9 June 2011 incident where a Chinese fishing boat rammed the survey cables of the PetroVietnam ship. The sea border dispute in the South China […]

Newsletter – July 2013

By Allston Mitchell in

Welcome to The Global Dispatches This month we have a review of Jamil Ahmad’s excellent book ‘The Wandering Falcon’; François Godement, Professor of political science at Sciences Po in Paris explains the wide-ranging ramifications of the Edward Snowden-NSA case; Colin Conor recounts the fascinating and idyllic life of his grandfather, the owner and ‘King’ of […]

“The Wandering Falcon”

By Allston Mitchell in

Jamil Ahmad’s book “The Wandering Falcon” became a huge success when it was published in 2011, after having spent the better part of 40 years hidden away in a drawer. The book draws on his many years of experience as a Pakistani civil servant in the tribal areas on the Pakistan-Afghanistan borders. The book saw […]

The NSA and Snowden: the boomerang flies on

By François Godement in

The Snowden saga is now becoming the case of the NSA Papers – a reference to the famous Pentagon Papers leaked in 1971 by Daniel Ellsberg, a defence analyst turned Vietnam War opponent. Edward Snowden’s revelations are now rippling through the globe and creating boomerang effects. We already had a major loss of steam for […]

Frigate Island – My Island

By Colin Conor in

One of the granitic Inner Islands of the Seychelles, Frigate (or Frégate) Island is located fifty or so kilometres from Mahé and the capital Victoria. The French and British contested the ownership of this tropical archipelago for centuries until the Seychelles became a British colony in 1903. The island was named after the frigate-birds found there […]

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire

By Daphne Wysham in

Climate activists cheered President Barack Obama in a speech recently when he announced his plans to tackle carbon-intensive coal-fired power plants, both at home, via stronger EPA restrictions on CO2 emissions, and abroad, by ending public finance for coal. A new document leaked from within the World Bank reveals the Bank may echo the plans outlined […]

Turkey, Alcohol and Islam

By Sami Zubaida in

The current protests in Turkey are sparked by the increasingly authoritarian measures by the AKP government and its prime minister Tayip Erdogan. Part of it is the perceived creeping Islamisation of public life, notably the measures to prohibit the sale and serving of alcoholic drinks between 10 pm and 6am, effectively restricting night life and […]

Sub-Saharan Africa’s Subprime Borrowers

By Joseph E. Stiglitz - Hamid Rashid in

NEW YORK – In recent years, a growing number of African governments have issued Eurobonds, diversifying away from traditional sources of finance such as concessional debt and foreign direct investment. Taking the lead in October 2007, when it issued a $750 million Eurobond with an 8.5% coupon rate, Ghana earned the distinction of being the […]

The Meaning of Rouhani

By Abolghasem Bayyenat in

The landslide victory of Hassan Rouhani, a moderate and pro-reform cleric, in Iran’s recent presidential election came as a surprise to many observers within and outside of Iran. Although Rouhani’s win was a major gain for the moderate and reformist political groups in Iran—and consequently a major loss for the conservative groups—its implications are far […]

Brazil, a crisis of representation

By Arthur Ituassu in

It was, is, a political earthquake. Suddenly, on 17 June 2013, more than 150,000 people appeared on the streets to protest in eleven major Brazilian cities. The day will be remembered as the biggest political demonstration in the country since 1992, when the young cara pintadas (“painted-faces”) pushed for the impeachment of the president, Fernando […]

Unwinding QE

By Stephen Grenville in

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s prepared statement on 22 May was the epitome of even-handed non-committal drafting (Federal Reserve 2013b) but the mention of “stepping down” and “in the next few meetings” in the discussion sent a shiver through financial markets worldwide. Bond yields jumped just about everywhere; the Abenomics euphoria in Japan deflated; and capital […]

Europe’s Twin Sisters

By Igor Torbakov in

Several historical analogies have been advanced for the protests that have rocked Istanbul and other large Turkish cities over the past two weeks. Some commentators have been comparing them to the student unrest of 1968, others to the Arab Spring, and still others see them as part of a global wave of protests against the […]

Sierra Leone: From Swords into Ploughshares

By Tiago Faia in

“No Bio, no Salone!” shouted fervent supporters of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) as results were announced from the November 2012 presidential election. The party’s leader, Julius Maada Bio, had been defeated by incumbent President Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People’s Congress (APC). Salone, as locals affectionately call their homeland, returned temporarily to […]

June 2013 – Newsletter

By Allston Mitchell in

Welcome to this month’s edition of The Global Dispatches. We have the economist Nouriel Roubini on gold and where it is heading, our arts reviewer Bendicò on Masaccio’s masterpiece ‘The Holy Trinity’, Husain Abdulla, the founder and Director of Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain looks at the last two years since the […]

Masaccio’s “Holy Trinity”

By Bendicò in

“Everything done before him can be described as artificial, whereas he produces work that is living, realistic and natural.” Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists. 1550 Despite a career that spanned a mere seven years, Masaccio, the XV century Florentine artist, has been dubbed both the ‘Father of the Renaissance’ and a precursor of modern painting. […]

After the Gold Rush

By Nouriel Roubini in

VENICE – The run-up in gold prices in recent years – from $800 per ounce in early 2009 to above $1,900 in the fall of 2011 – had all the features of a bubble. And now, like all asset-price surges that are divorced from the fundamentals of supply and demand, the gold bubble is deflating. […]