As West falters, Asia Pacific region emerging as new global economic engine

As West falters, Asia Pacific region emerging as new global economic engine

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — Despite the persistent economic headwinds which are expected to slow economic expansion this year, “growth in the Asia and the Pacific area remains better than in any other region; continuing as an anchor of stability and a new growth pole for the world economy.” That’s the guardedly optimistic prognosis […]

France’s pendulum swing to the left jolts a continent’s fault lines

France’s pendulum swing to the left jolts a continent’s fault lines

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — Tone, tenor, and style separate Nicolas Sarkozy from Francois Hollande as much as clear political ideology divided the two contenders for the French presidency. But sentiments like voter discontent, backlash and anti-austerity describe the mood French voters were in when they elected the Socialist candidate. Francois Hollande’s victory with […]

Missile fizzle: Fitting symbol of a bizarre failure in top-down government

Missile fizzle: Fitting symbol of a bizarre failure in top-down government

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — In the bizarre ritual of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a recent rocket launch was intended to put the icing on the dynastic cake of the centennial birthday celebrations of the late dictator Kim Il-Sung. The world press had been invited to the reclusive neo-Stalinist state, and the […]

Terror in France and the chilling prospect of sleeper cells also in the USA

Terror in France and the chilling prospect of sleeper cells also in the USA

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — A spate of seven seemingly unexplained serial killings has shocked France with the uncomfortable realization that the specter of terrorism has not vanished. But the shootings of three soldiers and later, the calculated cold- blooded rampage at a Jewish school killing a rabbi and three children, turned the tragedy […]

Falklands redux: Where there’s oil, Hugo Chavez and Sean Penn, will there be fire?

Falklands redux: Where there’s oil, Hugo Chavez and Sean Penn, will there be fire?

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — Rhetorical gales from Argentina are again battering the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. And while the presumably noble sentiments of Argentine sovereignty blows over the windswept islands, just under the adjacent waters may sit massive petroleum deposits which would change the geopolitical calculations both for Britain and Argentina. […]

What reset? What Arab Spring? Veto of Syria resolution reminds world of its Russia-China problem

What reset? What Arab Spring? Veto of Syria resolution reminds world of its Russia-China problem

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have lambasted Russia’s veto of a Security Council resolution on Syria, calling it a “travesty,” but did she really think for a moment that Moscow was going to ditch an old political ally? Did Hillary moreover really believe that Beijing was going to […]

Loud and clear signals from Egypt: Rules of its game with West have changed

Loud and clear signals from Egypt: Rules of its game with West have changed

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — When the government of erstwhile U.S. ally Egypt shut down seventeen Western pro-democracy groups, trashed their Cairo offices, and slapped travel bans on some of their staff, political relations between Washington and Cairo hit a new and unexpected low. Just a year after a tumultuous political uprising topped the […]

In region of its birth, Christianity is under increasing assault

In region of its birth, Christianity is under increasing assault

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — Though it’s the birthplace of Christianity in ancient times, the modern Middle East is increasingly hostile to Christianity as civil conflict, Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism grow in scope and strength. Although most regional states have a small but successful Christian minority ranging from Egypt to Iraq, only Lebanon, Israel […]

2012: What a year and it’s just starting!

2012: What a year and it’s just starting!

John J. Metzler NEW YORK — It’s once again time to peer into the foggy crystal ball and try to decipher the future political trends and events. Indeed, after the roller-coaster year of 2011, it’s hard to imagine that 2012 could hold some equally disquieting social, political and economic turmoil. But few predicted the sweeping […]

New Burma Road: Watch for the geopolitical landmines

New Burma Road: Watch for the geopolitical landmines

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — With the historic visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Burma, the highest profile American diplomatic contact in fifty years, the United States has entered a high stakes geopolitical chess game in Southeast Asia. Burma, a political pariah state has long been courted by China, coveted by India, […]