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Fire kit contents. A sure-fire tinder is a tinder that will ignite by one or more of the above methods in any weather condition. The sure-fire tinder sources I’ve chosen for my kit are as follows.

Unemployment, youth ages

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The Institute of East Asian Studies organizes and sponsors research and public service programs related to the history, cultures and contemporary affairs of East Asia, at the University of California, Berkeley.

Environment - international agreements: This entry separates country participation in international environmental agreements into two levels - party to and signed, but not ratified. Agreements are listed in alphabetical order by the abbreviated form of the full name.

This entry includes miscellaneous geographic information of significance not included elsewhere. This entry gives an estimate from the US Bureau of the Census based on statistics from population censuses, vital statistics registration systems, or sample surveys pertaining to the recent past and on assumptions about future trends.

The total population presents one overall measure of the potential impact of the country on the world and within its region. Starting with the Factbook, demographic estimates for some countries mostly African have explicitly taken into account t. This entry provides the identifying terms for citizens - noun and adjective. This entry provides an ordered listing of ethnic groups starting with the largest and normally includes the percent of total population.

This entry provides a listing of languages spoken in each country and specifies any that are official national or regional languages.

When data is available, the languages spoken in each country are broken down according to the percent of the total population speaking each language as a first language. For those countries without available data, languages are listed in rank order based on prevalence, starting with the most-spoken language. This entry is an ordered listing of religions by adherents starting with the largest group and sometimes includes the percent of total population.

The core characteristics and beliefs of the world's major religions are described below. Baha'i - Founded by Mirza Husayn-Ali known as Baha'u'llah in Iran in , Baha'i faith emphasizes monotheism and believes in one eternal transcendent God.

Its guiding focus is to encourage the unity of all peoples on the earth so that justice and peace m. This entry provides the distribution of the population according to age. Information is included by sex and age group as follows: The age structure of a population affects a nation's key socioeconomic issues.

Countries with young populations high percentage under age 15 need to invest more in schools, while countries with older population. This is the population pyramid for India. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development.

The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top.

The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page under the References tab. Dependency ratios are a measure of the age structure of a population. They relate the number of individuals that are likely to be economically "dependent" on the support of others.

Changes in the dependency ratio provide an indication of potential social support requirements resulting from changes in population age structures. This entry is the age that divides a population into two numerically equal groups; that is, half the people are younger than this age and half are older. It is a single index that summarizes the age distribution of a population. Currently, the median age ranges from a low of about 15 in Niger and Uganda to 40 or more in several European countries and Japan.

See the entry for "Age structure" for the importance of a young versus an older age structure and, by implication, a low versus a high. The average annual percent change in the population, resulting from a surplus or deficit of births over deaths and the balance of migrants entering and leaving a country.

The rate may be positive or negative. The growth rate is a factor in determining how great a burden would be imposed on a country by the changing needs of its people for infrastructure e.

Rapid population growth can be seen as. This entry gives the average annual number of births during a year per 1, persons in the population at midyear; also known as crude birth rate.

The birth rate is usually the dominant factor in determining the rate of population growth. It depends on both the level of fertility and the age structure of the population. This entry gives the average annual number of deaths during a year per 1, population at midyear; also known as crude death rate. The death rate, while only a rough indicator of the mortality situation in a country, accurately indicates the current mortality impact on population growth.

This indicator is significantly affected by age distribution, and most countries will eventually show a rise in the overall death rate, in spite of continued decline in mortality at all ages, as declining. This entry includes the figure for the difference between the number of persons entering and leaving a country during the year per 1, persons based on midyear population.

An excess of persons entering the country is referred to as net immigration e. The net migration rate indicates the contribution of migration to the overall level of population chan. This entry provides two measures of the degree of urbanization of a population. The first, urban population, describes the percentage of the total population living in urban areas, as defined by the country. The second, rate of urbanization, describes the projected average rate of change of the size of the urban population over the given period of time.

Additionally, the World entry includes a list of the ten largest urban agglomerations. An urban agglomeration is defined as comprising th.

Major urban areas - population: This entry provides the population of the capital and up to six major cities defined as urban agglomerations with populations of at least , people. An urban agglomeration is defined as comprising the city or town proper and also the suburban fringe or thickly settled territory lying outside of, but adjacent to, the boundaries of the city.

For smaller countries, lacking urban centers of , or more, only the population of the capital is presented. This entry includes the number of males for each female in five age groups - at birth, under 15 years, years, 65 years and over, and for the total population. Sex ratio at birth has recently emerged as an indicator of certain kinds of sex discrimination in some countries. For instance, high sex ratios at birth in some Asian countries are now attributed to sex-selective abortion and infanticide due to a strong preference for sons.

This will affect future marriage patterns and fertilit. The maternal mortality rate MMR is the annual number of female deaths per , live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management excluding accidental or incidental causes. The MMR includes deaths during pregnancy, childbirth, or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, for a specified year. This entry gives the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1, live births in the same year.

This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country. Life expectancy at birth: This entry contains the average number of years to be lived by a group of people born in the same year, if mortality at each age remains constant in the future.

Life expectancy at birth is also a measure of overall quality of life in a country and summarizes the mortality at all ages. It can also be thought of as indicating the potential return on investment in human capital and is necessary for the calculation of various actuarial measures. This entry gives a figure for the average number of children that would be born per woman if all women lived to the end of their childbearing years and bore children according to a given fertility rate at each age.

The total fertility rate TFR is a more direct measure of the level of fertility than the crude birth rate, since it refers to births per woman.

This indicator shows the potential for population change in the country. A rate of two children per woman is considered the replaceme. This field gives the percent of women of reproductive age who are married or in union and are using, or whose sexual partner is using, a method of contraception according to the date of the most recent available data.

It is also useful in understanding, past, present, and future fertility trends, especially in developing countries. This entry provides the total expenditure on health as a percentage of GDP.

This entry gives the number of medical doctors physicians , including generalist and specialist medical practitioners, per 1, of the population.

Medical doctors are defined as doctors that study, diagnose, treat, and prevent illness, disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans through the application of modern medicine. They also plan, supervise, and evaluate care and treatment plans by other health care providers.

The World Health Organization estimates that f. This entry provides the number of hospital beds per 1, people; it serves as a general measure of inpatient service availability. Hospital beds include inpatient beds available in public, private, general, and specialized hospitals and rehabilitation centers. In most cases, beds for both acute and chronic care are included. Because the level of inpatient services required for individual countries depends on several factors - such as demographic issues and the burden of disease - there is.

This entry provides information about access to improved or unimproved drinking water sources available to segments of the population of a country. Improved drinking water - use of any of the following sources: Unimproved drinking water - use of any of the following sources: This entry provides information about access to improved or unimproved sanitation facilities available to segments of the population of a country. Improved sanitation - use of any of the following facilities: Unimproved sanitation - use of any of the following facilities: This entry gives an estimate of all people adults and children alive at yearend with HIV infection, whether or not they have developed symptoms of AIDS.

This entry gives an estimate of the number of adults and children who died of AIDS during a given calendar year. This entry lists major infectious diseases likely to be encountered in countries where the risk of such diseases is assessed to be very high as compared to the United States. These infectious diseases represent risks to US government personnel traveling to the specified country for a period of less than three years.

The degree of risk is assessed by considering the foreign nature of these infectious diseases, their severity, and the probability of being affected by the diseases present. Obesity - adult prevalence rate: This entry gives the percent of a country's population considered to be obese.

BMI is calculated by taking a person's weight in kg and dividing it by the person's squared height in meters. Children under the age of 5 years underweight: This entry gives the percent of children under five considered to be underweight. Underweight means weight-for-age is approximately 2 kg below for standard at age one, 3 kg below standard for ages two and three, and 4 kg below standard for ages four and five. This statistic is an indicator of the nutritional status of a community.

This entry provides the public expenditure on education as a percent of GDP. This entry includes a definition of literacy and Census Bureau percentages for the total population, males, and females. There are no universal definitions and standards of literacy. Unless otherwise specified, all rates are based on the most common definition - the ability to read and write at a specified age. Detailing the standards that individual countries use to assess the ability to read and write is beyond the scope of the Factbook.

Information on literacy, while not a perfect measu. School life expectancy primary to tertiary education: School life expectancy SLE is the total number of years of schooling primary to tertiary that a child can expect to receive, assuming that the probability of his or her being enrolled in school at any particular future age is equal to the current enrollment ratio at that age.

Caution must be maintained when utilizing this indicator in international comparisons. For example, a year or grade completed in one country is not necessarily the same in terms of educational content or qualit. Unemployment, youth ages This entry gives the percent of the total labor force ages unemployed during a specified year. This entry includes all forms of the country's name approved by the US Board on Geographic Names Italy is used as an example: Also see the Terminology note.

This entry gives the basic form of government. Definitions of the major governmental terms are as follows. Note that for some countries more than one definition applies.

Absolute monarchy - a form of government where the monarch rules unhindered, i. Anarchy - a condition of lawlessness or political disorder brought about by the absence of governmental authority. Authoritarian - a form of government in whic. This entry gives the name of the seat of government, its geographic coordinates, the time difference relative to Coordinated Universal Time UTC and the time observed in Washington, DC, and, if applicable, information on daylight saving time DST.

Where appropriate, a special note has been added to highlight those countries that have multiple time zones. This entry generally gives the numbers, designatory terms, and first-order administrative divisions as approved by the US Board on Geographic Names BGN. Changes that have been reported but not yet acted on by the BGN are noted. Geographic names conform to spellings approved by the BGN with the exception of the omission of diacritical marks and special characters.

For most countries, this entry gives the date that sovereignty was achieved and from which nation, empire, or trusteeship. For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, fundamental change in the form of government, or state succession.

For a number of countries, the establishment of statehood. This entry gives the primary national day of celebration - usually independence day. Republic Day, 26 January The history subfield includes the dates of previous constitutions and the main steps and dates in formulating and implementing the latest constitution. This entry provides the description of a country's legal system. A statement on judicial review of legislative acts is also included for a number of countries.

The legal systems of nearly all countries are generally modeled upon elements of five main types: International law organization participation: This entry provides information related to the acquisition and exercise of citizenship; it includes four subfields: This entry gives the age at enfranchisement and whether the right to vote is universal or restricted.

The highest court s subfield includes the name s of a country's highest level court s , the number and titles of the judges, and the types of cases heard by the court, which commonly are based on civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional law. A number of countries have separate constitutional courts.

The judge selection and term of office subfield includes the organizations and associated officials responsible for nominating and appointing j. Supreme Court the chief justice and 25 associate justices. This entry includes five subentries: Chief of state includes the name, title, and beginning date in office of the titular leader of the country who represents the state at official and ceremonial functions but may not be involved with the day-to-day activities of the government.

Head of government includes the name, title of the top executive designated to manage the executive branch of the government, a. Union Council of Ministers recommended by the prime minister, appointed by the president. This entry has three subfields. The description subfield provides the legislative structure unicameral — single house; bicameral — an upper and a lower house ; formal name s ; number of member seats; types of constituencies or voting districts single seat, multi-seat, nationwide ; electoral voting system s ; and member term of office.

The elections subfield includes the dates of the last election and next election. Council of States or Rajya Sabha seats; members indirectly elected by state and territorial assemblies by proportional representation vote and 12 members appointed by the president; members serve 6-year terms House of the People or Lok Sabha seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 2 appointed by the president; members serve 5-year terms.

Council of States - last held by state and territorial assemblies at various dates in House of the People - last held April-May in 9 phases; next must be held by May Political parties and leaders: This entry includes a listing of significant political parties, coalitions, and electoral lists as of each country's last legislative election, unless otherwise noted. India has dozens of national and regional political parties. This entry lists in alphabetical order by abbreviation those international organizations in which the subject country is a member or participates in some other way.

Diplomatic representation in the US: This entry includes the chief of mission, chancery address, telephone, FAX, consulate general locations, and consulate locations. Such ambassadors fulfill all diplomatic functions except meeting with or appearing at functions attended by the president until such time as they formally present their credentials at a White Hou.

Diplomatic representation from the US: This entry includes the chief of mission, embassy address, mailing address, telephone number, FAX number, branch office locations, consulate general locations, and consulate locations. Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi This entry provides a written flag description produced from actual flags or the best information available at the time the entry was written.

The flags of independent states are used by their dependencies unless there is an officially recognized local flag. Some disputed and other areas do not have flags. A national symbol is a faunal, floral, or other abstract representation - or some distinctive object - that over time has come to be closely identified with a country or entity.

Not all countries have national symbols; a few countries have more than one. A generally patriotic musical composition - usually in the form of a song or hymn of praise - that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, or struggles of a nation or its people.

National anthems can be officially recognized as a national song by a country's constitution or by an enacted law, or simply by tradition. Although most anthems contain lyrics, some do not. This entry briefly describes the type of economy, including the degree of market orientation, the level of economic development, the most important natural resources, and the unique areas of specialization.

It also characterizes major economic events and policy changes in the most recent 12 months and may include a statement about one or two key future macroeconomic trends.

GDP purchasing power parity: This entry gives the gross domestic product GDP or value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year. A nation's GDP at purchasing power parity PPP exchange rates is the sum value of all goods and services produced in the country valued at prices prevailing in the United States in the year noted.

This is the measure most economists prefer when looking at per-capita welfare and when comparing living conditions or use of resources across countries. GDP official exchange rate: The measure is simple to compute and gives a precise measure of the value of output.

Many economists prefer this measure when gauging the economic power an economy maintains vis-. GDP - real growth rate: This entry gives GDP growth on an annual basis adjusted for inflation and expressed as a percent.

The growth rates are year-over-year, and not compounded. This entry shows GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population as of 1 July for the same year. Gross national saving is derived by deducting final consumption expenditure household plus government from Gross national disposable income, and consists of personal saving, plus business saving the sum of the capital consumption allowance and retained business profits , plus government saving the excess of tax revenues over expenditures , but excludes foreign saving the excess of imports of goods and services over exports.

The figures are presented as a percent of GDP. GDP - composition, by end use: This entry shows who does the spending in an economy: The distribution gives the percentage contribution to total GDP of household consumption, government consumption, investment in fixed capital, investment in inventories, exports of goods and services, and imports of goods and services, and will total percent of GDP if the data are complete.

GDP - composition, by sector of origin: This entry shows where production takes place in an economy. The distribution gives the percentage contribution of agriculture, industry, and services to total GDP, and will total percent of GDP if the data are complete. Agriculture includes farming, fishing, and forestry. Industry includes mining, manufacturing, energy production, and construction. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other private economic activities that do not prod.

This entry is an ordered listing of major crops and products starting with the most important. This entry provides a rank ordering of industries starting with the largest by value of annual output. Industrial production growth rate: This entry gives the annual percentage increase in industrial production includes manufacturing, mining, and construction.

This entry contains the total labor force figure. Labor force - by occupation: This entry lists the percentage distribution of the labor force by sector of occupation. Services cover government activities, communications, transportation, finance, and all other economic activities that do not produce material goods. The distribution will total less than percent if the data are incomplete and may range from percent due to rounding. This entry contains the percent of the labor force that is without jobs.

Substantial underemployment might be noted. Population below poverty line: National estimates of the percentage of the population falling below the poverty line are based on surveys of sub-groups, with the results weighted by the number of people in each group.

Definitions of poverty vary considerably among nations. For example, rich nations generally employ more generous standards of poverty than poor nations. Household income or consumption by percentage share: Data on household income or consumption come from household surveys, the results adjusted for household size.

Nations use different standards and procedures in collecting and adjusting the data. Surveys based on income will normally show a more unequal distribution than surveys based on consumption. The quality of surveys is improving with time, yet caution is still necessary in making inter-country comparisons.

Distribution of family income - Gini index: This index measures the degree of inequality in the distribution of family income in a country. The index is calculated from the Lorenz curve, in which cumulative family income is plotted against the number of families arranged from the poorest to the richest.

The index is the ratio of a the area between a country's Lorenz curve and the 45 degree helping line to b the entire triangular area under the 45 degree line. The more nearly equal a country's income distribution, the closer its. This entry includes revenues, expenditures, and capital expenditures. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis, i. Taxes and other revenues: This entry records total taxes and other revenues received by the national government during the time period indicated, expressed as a percent of GDP.

Taxes include personal and corporate income taxes, value added taxes, excise taxes, and tariffs. Other revenues include social contributions - such as payments for social security and hospital insurance - grants, and net revenues from public enterprises. Normalizing the data, by dividing total revenues by GDP, enables easy comparisons acr.

This entry records the difference between national government revenues and expenditures, expressed as a percent of GDP. Normalizing the data, by dividing the budget balance by GDP, enables easy comparisons across countries and indicates whether a national government saves or borrows money.

Countries with high budget deficits relat. This entry records the cumulative total of all government borrowings less repayments that are denominated in a country's home currency. Public debt should not be confused with external debt, which reflects the foreign currency liabilities of both the private and public sector and must be financed out of foreign exchange earnings.

This entry identifies the beginning and ending months for a country's accounting period of 12 months, which often is the calendar year but which may begin in any month.

All yearly references are for the calendar year CY unless indicated as a noncalendar fiscal year FY. Inflation rate consumer prices: This entry furnishes the annual percent change in consumer prices compared with the previous year's consumer prices. Ending with a Teddy Roosevelt quote was a nice touch.

The 6th grade English teacher in me liked the crisp and coherent organization of this essay. The foreign policy wonk was either bored or uncertain whether Lieberman knew what he was talking about. Exactly how is the Belgian Army going to be of use in fighting Al Qaeda?

Then there's this goal: Lieberman deserves some credit for discussing his legislative proposals on democracy promotion and economic liberalization. He seems to get the fact that foreign policy isn't just about guns and bombs.

He's unclear on the environment -- read the essay and see if he's advocating rejoining the Kyoto Protocol or not, because I'm still not sure. This FT story on the emergence of realpolitik in China's foreign policy is so ahistorical that it just looks silly. As Colin Powell, US secretary of state, holds talks with Chinese leaders today, the importance of Beijing's new-found pragmatism may be on display. Chinese leaders are not expected to stand in the way of Washington's desire to attack Iraq, nor are the two sides likely to hit an impasse over North Korea, analysts said The unstated implication -- that in recent years China has not acted to advance its own interests -- is ridiculous.

Sam Crane makes the same point even more concisely in this LA Times op-ed. The North Korea crisis has been percolating for almost six months now, and the principal Chinese reaction has been to insist it will do nothing. This might be pragmatism in the form of buckpassing. Or it might be a sign of paralysis. You'd never know from the FT. Wednesday, February 19, Blogging will be intermittent for the next couple of days. I'll be participating in a conference at Duke on "rethinking international relations theory.

The International Herald Tribune reports the first effort by Chirac to back away from his tantrum: Given South Korea's extreme reluctance to confront North Korea , willingness to ignore recent North Korean provocations , and borderline-delusional faith in Pyongyang's ability to reform , I'd been trying to figure out what the South Korean position was on Iraq.

Somewhat to my surprise, this Reuters report suggests they are staunchly pro-U. Christopher Buckley makes the comparison between last weekend's antiwar protests and the nuclear freeze movement of the early 's. Go check it out. For my day job, I've recently had to read some stuff on power law distributions. Read the whole article, but the basic point is relatively intuitive: It's not impossible to launch a good new blog and become widely read, but it's harder than it was last year, and it will be harder still next year.

This would be preceded or followed by soothing words from key cabinet officials. Boy was I wrong. Here are her -- pardon the pun -- galling comments: A blocking referendum could be called at any time in any EU member state before then, she noted.

In the interest of these countries themselves, I say take care that there will not be a reaction from citizens, saying these countries do not want peace inside the European family. Outsiders should never pour oil on the fire.

The French managed it in one fit of temper. Little noticed in the wake of Chirac's comments has been the tacit support he's received from the chief Eurocrat. According to this report , "But he [Chirac] won some support from European Commission President Romano Prodi, who said the candidates had to realize the EU was a political union and not just an economic club, but he was sure they would get used to it.

To be fair, other EU officials who oppose the U. They are actually joining 'a club for equals and everyone has to be listened to,' Patten said. Günter Verheugen, the commissioner responsible for EU expansion, also criticized Chirac.

Tuesday, February 18, I might disagree with Fareed Zakaria about how to build democracies, but he's dead right about Donald Rumsfeld: He brings to mind another famously impolitic American diplomat, John Foster Dulles. To much of the world his jabs convey an arrogance that speaks not of leadership but domination. Every time Rumsfeld opens his mouth, I think, 'There goes another ally!

One of the critiques of the administration's Iraq policy is that going to war will divert scarce resources from the ongoing war against terrorism. I've said before this is a bogus argument , because a U. To quote myself, "Gee, I thought great powers were capable of doing more than one thing at a time. That's why they're called great powers. Great powers can implement different policies in different parts of the globe because they have copious material resources.

However, even great powers have difficulty crafting different policies at the same time. The same people need to approve all of these policy responses, and there are only so many hours in the day. Therefore, one significant cost to the continued confrontation over Iraq is that the administration will, consciously or not, deal with other policy problems with an unintended posture of benign neglect.

Both Andrew Sullivan and Brad Delong make this argument with regard to fiscal policy. More acute is the difficulty the administration is having juggling foreign policy crises. Michael Gordon's NYT-online essay does a nice job of capturing this problem. But the North Korean nuclear breakout is sending the opposite signal to the W.

But if the Bush administration has a better idea to stop North Korea from churning out more plutonium, it has yet to share it. When lawmakers asked Mr. Tenet how the administration would respond if Pyongyang reprocessed plutonium, he said the matter was still under discussion.

The administration, it seems, does not have a policy; it has a policy review. With its eye on Iraq, the administration has also sought to downplay the North Korea issue and dispel the sense of crisis.

Time is on North Korea's side; each day increases North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities, enhancing its military strength and bargaining leverage -- while narrowing our options to respond. The North Korean regime will ultimately follow other dictatorships into oblivion, but this will not happen soon enough to spare us the terrible consequences of its acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.

Indeed, if North Korea builds up its nuclear arsenal while it sees the United States diverted by Iraq, it may enhance its ability to survive that much longer and inflict that much more harm. I'd counter that such a course of action would actually keep Iraq on the front-burner indefinitely, since the alternative of containment requires constant high-level effort to ensure against backsliding by the UN Security Council.

Attacking Iraq sooner rather than later removes the issue from the principals' table, allowing them to focus on the rest of the world. But Bush's critics are correct to point out that the longer Iraq stays in the headlines, the more that other crises will fester from the lack of attention.

More than a third of the questions dealt with whether Kagan was a "chicken hawk. I was 14 when the Vietnam War ended, and I didn't choose the military as my career path. I vehemently disagree with the chicken hawk logic, but I can sort of understand the point being made about elites avoiding military service during Vietnam.

The thing is, once the military switched to an all-volunteer force, the question becomes somewhat moot -- either you chose the military as a career or you did not. Kagan did nothing dishonorable or duplicitous -- and yet he has to explain why we shouldn't be living in a Starship Troopers -kind of society.

As part of my informal series of updates about countries that are too big to fail, here's the latest on Indonesia. Both this New York Times article and this Financial Times op-ed indicate that the country has taken aggressive and productive steps to eliminate terrorism. The police have also increased security at the American Embassy and at residences of American diplomats, as the United States has been demanding.

Boyce, said in a letter last week to American diplomats. While Americans at home have been warned to buy duct tape and bottled water to prepare for terrorist attacks, Mr. Boyce wrote that 'there has been no new credible threat information against the official American community' in Indonesia for nearly two months.

With international support, its police force has caught almost all of the Jemaah Islamiah members responsible for terrorist acts carried out over the past three years. In doing so it has gained self-respect and public confidence, and is now going after Indonesia's other terrorist groups, forcing them on to the defensive. Debilitating local conflicts have been overcome in central Kalimantan, south Sulawesi Poso and the Moluccas.

In Aceh, which has endured a separatist insurgency for the past 20 years, a road map for peace has been agreed between the government and the rebels with the assistance of the Henri Dunant Centre in Geneva. This outlines a process for ending hostilities and allowing the rebels to participate in the political process. And at last Jakarta is granting greater autonomy to Papua, after long years of neglect. On the economic front, too, the indicators have improved: But this is still an improving picture.

The reaction against French bullying continues on the continent. Then, Chirac has to suffer the indignity of other European leaders calling him on France's hypocrisy. Then Chirac gets mad and says something stupid about EU candidate members from central and eastern Europe. This produces the expected reaction from those countries. Remember, though, according to Josh Marshall , any transatlantic rift is the fault of the Bush administration. No, Marshall is correct about Donald Rumsfeld, whose plan for punishing 'Old Europe' sounds like it was devised by a year old in the middle of a temper tantrum.

Even the International Herald Tribune thinks Chirac went too far. The first line of their piece sounds vaguely familiar , though. How dare they borrow from my Monday, February 17, Last week I tried to explain why I wouldn't bother to rebut anti-war protestors.

However, the sentiments in Stephen Pollard's Times essay convey something close to my visceral reaction, so here's that link. This peace blog that Glenn Reynolds links to is either an intentional or unintentional parody of the antiwar movement. If it's intentional, it's too smarmy and obvious to be funny; if it's unintentional, then it's both hilarious and appalling at the same time.

It always freaks me out a little when someone else independently has the exact same response to an essay as I. Easterbrook's Week in Review essay on the the genuine and overblown threats to U. Sound of me idly whistling. Don't you feel calmer now? There are still scary things that could happen, but this is the sort of message we need from a Homeland Security Director. I would suggest that Easterbrook take a government position, but that would mean he would have to give up his most important job, which is being ESPN's Tuesday Morning Quarterback during football season.

Surely, a wise government could devise a position for Mr. Easterbrook for the other eight months of the year, n'est pas? Generally, the media picture of Pakistan is a country ready to collapse into an orgy of Islamic fundamentalism. So its worthwhile to point out contradictory evidence, as this Washington Post article highlights.

Tax revenue is up, interest rates are down and government debt is slowly shrinking. In perhaps the best indicator of the bullish sentiment that pervades financial circles in Pakistan, the Karachi stock market last year shot up by percent The country's improving financial picture is in many respects a reflection of fiscal austerity measures, such as cuts in food subsidies, imposed by the military government of President Pervez Musharraf, according to economists with international lending agencies.

The turnaround also reflects financial assistance provided by the West in return for Pakistan's support in the war on terrorism, as well as several unanticipated benefits of that war. For example, because of a global crackdown on the informal hawala system of money transfers, which has been linked to money-laundering by suspected terrorists, Pakistanis working abroad are now sending their money home by conventional banking routes, financial experts say.

Sunday, February 16, This InstaPundit-linked story suggests the extent to which France may be suffering some blowback from its obstructionist policy on Iraq. In a delicious irony, France's aversion to genuine multilateralism is about to sabotage its faux multilateralism: While diplomats said that there was now no prospect of ending French opposition to military support from Nato for Turkey's defences, they believe that Germany and Belgium, which have so far backed France, may be wavering.

The countries have faced fierce criticism from Nato's 16 other members and have also come under fire from the seven nations recently invited to join the alliance, who accuse them of a "breach of faith" for refusing to grant Turkey's request for help. Last week the French ambassador to Sofia warned Bulgaria that its pro-American stance could jeopardise its efforts to join the European Union. They could have prevented so much,' he said.

Jonah Goldberg has a nice piece in the Los Angeles Times link via OxBlog about the French that makes some of these points [ But it also uses that meme you don't like--ed.

Yes, but his own magazine's blog agrees with me. The French are certainly willing to trade blood for oil, just so long as it's not their own. And if it's true to say that America helped 'create' Hussein, it's doubly accurate to say it of the country that sold him a nuclear reactor.

The only difference between the two countries is that America is eager to correct its mistakes while France is entirely at peace with letting Hussein continue murdering and terrorizing his subjects and neighbors.

It's true, the phrase 'cheese-eating surrender monkeys' isn't particularly accurate here. The French aren't being cowards: They're more like cheese-eating appeasement monkeys, willing to negotiate with evil for short-term advantage. If that makes them heroes to the antiwar movement, so be it. But it doesn't make them principled -- and it certainly doesn't make them our friends.

Friday, February 14, The IPCC describes itself as follows: The IPCC does not carry out research nor does it monitor climate related data or other relevant parameters. They were the ones who concluded in January , based on a plethora of different projections, that "globally averaged mean surface temperature is projected to increase by 1. The Economist reports that two distinguished statisticians Ian Castles, former President of the International Association of Official Statistics, and David Henderson, formerly the OECD's chief economist have judged the IPCC report to be "technically unsound," which is social-sciencese for "your methodology sucks eggs.

To see the actual critiques, click here , here , here , and here. No, that would take too long -- let me sum up: In calculating the relative distribution and growth of global output, the IPCC relied on market exchange rates rather than purchasing power parity PPP rates. Now, in doing this, the IPCC drastically underestimated the actual size of developing country economies by a factor of three.

Why does this matter? By underestimating third world GDP, the panel vastly overestimated the energy intensity of these economies. Since these economies are in fact more efficient -- three to four times more efficient -- than estimated, they generate CO2 emissions at a much lower rate than the IPCC thinks. To quote the statisticians involved, "The practice of using [market] exchange rate conversion is especially inappropriate in relation to projections of physical phenomena such as emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols.

The IPCC vastly overestimated past growth rates and in their extrapolation to the future estimate wildly unrealistic growth figures for the next century. In the IPCC's most environment-friendly scenario , i. In fact America's per capita income will then have been surpassed not only by South Africa's, but also by that of other emerging economic powerhouses, including Algeria, Argentina, Libya, Turkey and North Korea.

I'll just quote one of the documents here: The most widely quoted estimate of the actual increase for the nine-year period that published by the US Department of Energy-sponsored Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre is 0. On average, therefore, the four unadjusted marker scenarios appear to have overstated actual growth in fossil CO2 emissions in the s by a factor of about 2: For the rest of us, it appears that the primary estimates for global warming have been grossly exaggerated.

I was contemplating posting something mushy about the day. It hold some actual significance for me, as seven years ago today I proposed to my now-wife. Her first response was "When did you get the ring?

She said yes soon afterwards. That wasn't my original intention. Why it turned out that way is a long story that I have no intention of spilling on the Internet. So anyway, I was thinking of posting something mushy, when I read Kieran Healy's blog-ode to his mighty fine sweetie, and had to concede that there was no way it could be topped with conventional measures.

All of the recent Al Qaeda--"bin Laden" pronouncements seem to be getting Old Media into a very jittery state. And it's doing wonders for America's hardware stores and duct tape sector.

I ask the question not because of any morbid curiosity, but because an attack on Iraq throws the gauntlet down for Al Qaeda, and unless they respond quickly, they will look enfeebled and irrelevant. The fact is, it's extremely difficult to measure success in the war on terror. A stretch of months without a bombing could be due to improved counterterror tactics or because Al Qaeda is biding its time. However, these pronouncements, combined with the likelihood of war with Iraq, combined with skeptics claiming that such an attack will weaken our war on terror, provides what social scientists call a "crucial case" in testing the disparate hypotheses.

However, it would partially undercut the contention that Al Qaeda's strength is waning. Same message as above regarding homeland defense, but a clear refutation of the "weakening Al Qaeda" hypothesis. It would certainly demonstrate Al Qaeda's potency. This report suggests that perhaps the proximate threat from Al Qaeda has been exaggerated. Thursday, February 13, Saying that the U. One obvious source of that hegemony is our military might, but there are others, as Josef Joffe pointed out a few years ago: Now, many are fretting that as the U.

They argue that, contra Benjamin Barber, that demand for indigenous culture is increasing, making U. Kapur who was the director of Elizabeth concludes: But it's a non-issue. What happens when countries like India and China become the biggest subscribers to cable TV? What will CNN do? Ultimately the only reason you will get a western point of view is if you are western-owned. But your advertising is not going to be western any more. Television is governed by advertising. Why is it always Indians who win Miss World competitions?

All the advertising comes from India: Indian cricketers are now the highest paid in the world: You have to get an Indian into Formula One racing now, to get the sponsorship from the tobacco companies. Where are the big tobacco markets? Will it give an Asian viewpoint? If it doesn't, some Asian channels will come up and destroy it. In 15 years from now, we won't be discussing the domination of the western media but the domination of the Chinese media, or the Asian media.

Soon we will find that in order to make a hugely successful film, you have to match Tom Cruise with an Indian or a Chinese actor. What you're seeing now with films such as The Guru is just the tip of the iceberg. In this case, however, I will confess that I'm just not sure. I think the above arguments are exaggerations, in part because the U. But I can't deny they've got some good arguments. And I automatically tend to sympathize with any argument that proves that Jihad vs. McWorld is a load of dingo's kidneys.

Let me know what you think and I'll be sure to post the best responses. Josh Marshall has been pretty consistent in blaming the U. Yes, but that's not what this post is about. Critics of the U. France and Germany have tried to restore their co-leadership of the EU. They've blocked agricultural reforms, propsed reforms to the European Commission that would weaken the influence of small republics, and generally been prancing around convinced that their bilateral comity would cause the rest of Europe to march behind them.

Well, they screwed up. As the Economist points out, "The [pro-U. Marshall's railing about the fraying of NATO, but neglects to point out that this isn't a case of the U. France, Germany and Belgium. No wonder a German analyst was paraphrased in the New York Times stating, "the debate over Iraq has left in shambles Europe's own supposedly growing unity on the most basic matters of foreign policy and defense.

Romano Prodi, European Commission president, warned that the "total lack of a European common foreign policy" was a disaster in the making. France and Germany started this latest row, and they now stand to lose the most if these disputes continue. No one disputes that Japan has had thirteen years of economic stagnation since the 's property bubble burst. A key source of Japan's malaise has been its inability to clear up it's mostly insolvent banking sector.

There is no doubt that such a step would be politically painful, which is why there's been such an unsatisfactory status quo. What's weird about this is while Japanese PM Junichiro Koizumi has essentially given up tackling the economic problem, he has been willing to expend political capital to alter Japan's status quo on foreign policy, as this Chicago Tribune story makes clear: In the first significant breakthrough, a Japanese destroyer is cruising the Indian Ocean in support of the war on terrorism.

In another, Japan's foreign minister has suggested allowing Japanese troops to join future United Nations peacekeeping missions. For any other nation these would seem very modest actions. But for Japan to even suggest using the threat of force -- particularly if it conjures up images of Japanese soldiers patrolling foreign soil, as the foreign minister's suggestion does -- is extraordinarily sensitive because of the constitutional restraints and because memories of Japan's past aggressions are still raw in other Asian nations, such as South Korea and China.

One answer is that it's always easier for an executive to deal with foreign policy issues than domestic economic ones. An extension of that answer is that if Koizumi can't or won't get any political credit for fixing the economy, at least he'll receive a boost from making Japan a more active player in world politics. Is the current administration: Here's more proof that the Japanese are serious about changing their foreign policy doctrine.

Wednesday, February 12, According to the British paper: Diplomatic sources said that those experts determined that the al-Samoud 2 exceeded the km range, but that the capability of the al-Fatah remained an 'open question'.

The experts also judged Iraq to be in violation of UN rules for repairing banned casting chambers for making illegal missiles and for building a new test stand that can test missile engines five times above the permitted thrust.

Now, if the reports are true, there are going to be some tough litmus tests for both anti-U. Their immediate fall-back defense will be that Blix's report is not evidence of material breach, but rather that the inspections are working, since the discovery came from some of the new information contained in Iraq's December report never mind that Powell's speech proved otherwise. However, will even these countries will have to concede that unless Iraq hand over the banned weapons, they must be declared in material breach?

If yes, then the hot potato shifts to Iraq; if no, then these countries will win the Best Foreign Policy Self-Immolation Award for The Russian rsponse is to claim that the violation is a technicality, but I don't think that's going to fly. The UN is going to ask them to hand over the weapons.

And here is where the Rumsfeldian rhetoric will pay dividends -- there is no chance they will comply. Hussein is probably convinced at this point that Bush will invade no matter what the Security Council decides, so why fight with only one arm? The only possible gambit they could employ would be a quid pro quo offer of handing over weapons in exchange for a general withdrawal of U.

That, however, is not unconditional compliance, and probably won't fly. Can Negroponte and Powell avoid looking smug when they watch the aforementioned countries try to squirm their way out of these logical traps? Patrick Ruffini has a pretty funny sketch of a West Wing -style show written from a Republican perspective.

The Brothers Judd has a funny if slightly unfair exploration of Tom Friedman vs. I'm a monthly contributor to The New Republic Online , and have kept this weblog since September What do you know? I can claim some genuine expertise on the utility of economic statecraft, the political economy of globalization, U.