Europe

Russia's intervention in Georgia is the latest, and most obvious, example of the peculiar role that Russia plays in the various so-called frozen conflicts in former republics of the USSR.  As international security expert Dov Lynch has put it, Russia can be thought of as a “mediator-cum-supporter-cum-combatant.”  Why has Russia undertaken such a foreign policy in Georgia and what, if anything,...

The frozen conflict over the Georgian separatist region South Ossetia has become a shooting war. On the first day of the Olympics, no less. According to CNN: "All day today, they've been bombing Georgia from numerous warplanes and specifically targeting (the) civilian population, and we have scores of wounded and dead among (the) civilian population all around the country," President Mikhail...

Last week, reflecting on the effusive welcome he received in Germany, Obama said the following to a group of House Democrats: It has become increasingly clear in my travel, the campaign, that the crowds, the enthusiasm, 200,000 people in Berlin, is not about me at all. It's about America. I have just become a symbol of the possibility of America returning...

I was struck by this piece tucked away in today's Washington Post, noting that Pat Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management at the State Department, had to remind diplomatic personnel in Germany that they were prohibited from attending Barack Obama's speech today in Berlin.  It is a mark of just how unprecedented Obama's current overseas visit is, mixing as it does official...

  I missed Bastille Day celebrations in Paris on Monday – got on a plane back to DC early in the morning.  But let me extend my best wishes on Bastille Day to all our French readers.  And everyone else, too.  My friend BP, a magazine editor in France, commented at dinner the other night that the thing about America and...

Financial intermediation is a dicey proposition these days, and 'asset securitization' a downright dirty word in a world in which securitization allowed the obfuscation of risk - purses from sows' ears, but actually just fancy looking sows' ears, it turns out, everywhere you looked. Nonetheless, one of the important longterm issues for microfinance (and for the whole, newly emerging...