September 2003 Country Archive
PUBLISHERS OVERVIEW SEPTEMBER 03
With NORTH KOREA vying with IRAN as the next target of the Pentagon hawks, it is useful to follow the monthly updates on both countries to reach a balanced analysis on what is actually happening.
Similarly IRAQ, with no shortage of media shock-horror stories - this sober analysis updated monthly is a useful corrective. Meanwhile, Warlord armies are beginning to shape up in Iraq's chaos, absolutely the worst problem that confronts AFGHANISTAN!
Europe's last dictatorship, BELARUS is facing constitutional changes to allow Lukashenka to stay forever..... SERBIA having disposed of its dictator and then had its elected President assassinated, has offered 1000 troops to help the USA in Iraq - an offer unlikely to be accepted.
AZERBAIJAN and UZBEKISTAN both with their former communist autocrats failing in health, are making sucession plans - in both cases they are likely to remain as family businesses.
TAJIKISTAN about as remote as can be possible in Eurasia is experiencing a decisive shift of influence and power from Moscow to Washington DC - specifically the Pentagon. The post-Taleban upsurge in opium production in AFGHANISTAN is finding its outlet through this FSU mountain state into the wider world.
SOUTH AFRICA has ended its long and illogical hostility to retro-viral drugs in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Already, one in nine South Africans are infected (4.7 million). The long delay can hardly be forgiveable.
VIETNAM has done badly in the recent Transparency International "Perceptions of Corruption" index. But there are signs of growing confidence and even some independence by the new National Assembly, unprecedented in this communist state. Meanwhile more than half a billion USD of new foreign investment has taken place from January to July this year with 64% of Japanese companies here saying they plan to expand their Vietnam operations.
In RUSSIA with Putin's anticipated re-election next year, the country's newsworthy and detested oligarchs are getting ready to jump since they have been earmarked as political targets. There are early signs of capital flight, which could be an immense blow to the Russian economy, that has been doing rather well.