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Southeast Asia

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Curbing Ivory Trade Requires Curbing of Foreign Demand

Effectively reducing the killing of African elephants and rhinoceroses depends more on curbing the foreign demand for tusks and horn than on localized national endeavors to combat poachers. Although approaches from both angles are essential, it is the consumer appetite for elephant ivory and rhino horn that propels illegal attacks on innocent herbivorous mammals across … Continue reading

The Little Understood Connection between Terror and Drug Profits

Terrorists are in it as much for the loot as for the ideology. The Islamic State, or ISIS, could hardly exist, whatever its Islamist fervor, without hard cash from sales of pilfered petroleum, taxes on its subject population and kidnappings for ransom. Likewise ISIS- and al-Qaida-linked groups in Africa prosper by trafficking drugs across the … Continue reading

Confronting Drugs, Crime, and Warfare in Africa

Drug smuggling and its profits help significantly to fuel Africa’s wars as criminal enterprises. Terrorists frequently build drug-driven hybrid organizations to finance their operations and to reap illicit rents. In Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia, conflict is strongly tied to drug trafficking by syndicates allied to al-Qaeda–associated insurgents. The … Continue reading

China’s Ivory Trade

China’s decision last month to suspend the import of carved ivory products from Africa could become another strong blow against the slaughter of African elephants for their tusks. In the last three years alone, as many as 100,000 of Africa’s approximately 500,000 remaining elephants have been killed, many by Chinese-financed poachers. The import suspension was … Continue reading

Drugs, Crime, and Terror in Africa

The wars of Africa are fueled by narcotics. That is an exaggerated over-simplification, but what is less well known than it should be is that many of the internal conflicts of today’s Africa are driven in part, sometimes  a substantial part, by profits being made from the trafficking of hard drugs and precursor chemicals. The … Continue reading

Is Africa’s Meteoric Economic Rise Sustainable?

Sub-Saharan Africa is indeed rising. Thanks to Chinese demand for raw materials, especially petroleum and iron ore, much of Africa is growing (as measured by GDP per capita) at nearly 6 per cent per annum. Many of the globe’s fastest advancing countries are in Africa. But is this meteoric economic rise sustainable? Will African economies … Continue reading

Crushing Ivory and Crushing Poaching

China’s crushing of 6.1 metric tons of illegal ivory early in January may do more to reduce poaching in Africa than almost any other conceivable law enforcement or investigative initiative now available in either Africa or Asia. By far the world’s largest market for the tusks of African elephants – ivory – and for rhinoceros … Continue reading

Will Rule of Law Survive in Sri Lanka?

Nations are well-governed when the executive respects the independence of the judiciary and permits judges to render opinions without fear or favor. In much of the developing world, unfortunately, freedom to follow the law and not the president or prime minister is a rare privilege. In Zimbabwe, in 1999 and since, President Robert G. Mugabe … Continue reading

Nurturing Responsible and Effective Political Leadership

In those developing world nations where positive human agency has led to good governance and a democratic political culture, institutions have grown and now rein in and check leaders, as in such places as Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mauritius, Singapore, South Africa, and Taiwan. Indeed, the tide of accomplishment has recently turned. Much … Continue reading

Aung San Suu Kyi for Burma’s Foreign Minister

  “We hope that this will be the beginning of a new era,” said Nobel Laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi after her National League for Democracy (NLD) won forty-three of forty-five contested parliamentary by-elections earlier this week. She also called on “all parties” – that is, the military junta and President Thein Sein who … Continue reading