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Showing posts from June 2, 2014

Argentina Starts to Settle Its Debts

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (R) speaks in Buenos Aires as Economy Minister Axel Kicillof looks on Feb. 12.(DANIEL GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)


Argentina took one step closer to normalizing its financial relationship with the outside world May 29, when the government announced a deal that would settle outstanding debts with the Paris Club, a group of 19 public creditors including mostly European countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and Russia. After 13 years of default, Argentina has promised to pay back a total of $9.7 billion over the next five years, with the first payment of $1.15 billion to be paid in two installments in July 2014 and May 2015.

Resuming payments will open the door for these public creditors to once again lend money to Argentina. Thus, the deal is an important phase in the process of Argentina's regaining access to international credit markets, which Buenos Aires will need if it hopes to avoid an economic crisis. Argentina is …

The Non-Aligned Movement Finds New Purpose

Participants attend the two-day Ministerial Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement on May 28 in Algiers, Algeria.FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images


Foreign ministers from around the world gathered in Algiers on May 28-29 for the 17th Ministerial Conference of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries. With representatives from Africa, the Middle East and Asia present, the outcomes of the meetings barely made international headlines.

The Non-Aligned Movement, formed in Belgrade in 1961, was the brainchild of several national leaders who, like India's Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and Indonesia's Sukarno, were part of a new generation of political leadership brought to power as colonial regimes crumbled in the 1960s. Designed as an alternative to the competing U.S. and Soviet-led alliance structures of the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement has struggled to define itself since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The bloc has found new life in recent years,…

Imagine the World Cup: A Local's Perspective

A CORE police special forces officer searches for fugitives in Rio de Janeiro's Complexo do Alemao favela on May 13, 2014.(Mario Tama/Getty Images)


Editor's Note: This essay is drawn from the personal notes and recollections of Stratfor's Renato Whitaker, who currently lives and studies in Rio de Janeiro.

The boisterous man from one of the leased rooms in the house where I live bellowed for all to hear, "There's a shootout in State Hill!" OK, I thought, another shootout somewhere around here, but where? "They shut down Plaza Shopping!" Ah, well then, I know exactly where that is.

Here's a quick breakdown of some terminology: The term "periphery" is used here in Brazil as a sort of social-geographic buzzword. It sometimes denotes the disenfranchised people who live "in the periphery" of society. Often it is used as a synonym for favelas -- or slums -- and the people who live in them. These favelas can sometimes literally …

Borderlands: First Moves in Romania

By George Friedman

I arrived in Bucharest, Romania, the day after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will be here in a few weeks. The talk in Bucharest, not only among the leadership but also among the public, is about Ukraine. Concerns are palpable, and they are not only about the Russians. They are also about NATO, the European Union, the United States and whether they will all support Romania if it resists Russia. The other side of the equation, of course, is whether Romania will do the things it must do in order to make outside support effective. Biden left Romania with a sense that the United States is in the game. But this is not a region that trusts easily. The first step was easy. The rest become harder.

If this little Cold War becomes significant, there are two European countries that matter the most: Poland and Romania. Poland, which I visit next, stands between Germany and Russia on the long, flat North European plain. Its population is about…