Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Headlines: Serbia, India, Zimbabwe, Chavez

A number of "breaking" news items that deserve comment ...

Radovan Karadzic was captured--what this demonstrates is that both political will (to undertake the operation) but also good and sustained intelligence is needed. A fugitive does not need the protection of a state to hide; just a good and effective network--and something "out of the ordinary." Perhaps there are some lessons in our ongoing search for Osama bin Laden--and I'd also shy away from comments that say that it should be "easy" to find the other Bosnian Serb fugitive, Ratko Mladic.

We will see whether Prime Minister Singh's government will survive the no-confidence vote and stay in office; if his government falls, I predict it is the end of the U.S.-India nuclear deal. (By the way, the allegations that members of the Lok Sabha were being bribed not to vote in favor of the no confidence resolution doesn't help matters).

South Africa may feel that it was "not on the wrong side of history"--the characterization by U.S. officials last week after its no vote on Zimbabwe sanctions resolutions--as all sides in Zimbabwe have agreed to begin power sharing talks in South Africa. Perhaps the South Africans feel that they have sufficient influence to guide a settlement and perhaps even an eventual retirement for Mugabe, and that this approach may be more effective. We will have to see.

Hugo Chavez is visiting Russia. Moscow is happy to expand economic and business ties--including new energy and mining projects and arms sales--and may now be cautiously moving toward greater endorsement of Chavez's political stance, especially as Russia mulls resumption of use of Cuba as a staging ground for bomber flights, to "counteract" U.S. plans for missile defense.

Nick--Singh survived!
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