Monday, April 20, 2009

World Ups and Downs of the week

World Ups and Downs, a view of the global movers and shakers for the past week.

For a further explanation, see the original post...

moving UP
CubaLooks like the American foreign policy establishment is removing its head from its a--, as American-Cuban relations are improving at a very quick pace. If the US can have relations with Belarus and the Sudan, we can with Cuba as well. As the fulcrum group of Cuban-American voters recedes in importance and number, the time may have come for us to give up on this last gasp of the Cold War.

BurundiThe Internet may not have enough room to detail the difficult, bloody history of Burundi: its role in the African World War, the fallout of the Rwandan genocide, and its own struggles. Rare is the central African country that isn't knotted in civil war, but this week the last significant group contesting government rule gave up its weapons, clearing the way for a hopeful future.

moving DOWN
It's sad that the second nation to achieve independence in the Americas has so many struggles, especially so close to the riches of the first independent nation. The endemic political instability gets even worse in a bad economy, American diplomatic visits notwithstanding.

Though a man calling himself Somali's prime minister is asking for help, the pleadings of a man with as much control over Somalia as you or I may fall on deaf ears. With pirate activity continuing unabated and threatening talk from the criminals, their time in the world's blind spot may be closing. If the world takes steps to stop this piracy, many of those steps may well impact all Somalis in a less than positive way.


Its economy has been quietly collapsing, its currency down 10% in this month relative to the US dollar. Heavily invested in mineral prices, Mongolia acutely feels the effects of the shrinking global demand for the raw materials of manufacturing. Although they may have stemmed the bleeding according to the World Bank, it may be doing so at the cost of falling into China's orbit. Such a move may offer temporary shelter, but in the long run the geopolitical repercussions may exact a higher price.

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