The landscape for dissent in China is as
closed as ever, and the government’s tight policing of the internet
inhibits public awareness of its crackdown. Although social media has
empowered some activists, who have upped the volume on calls for reform,
an opening remains far off.
Sanctions following its annexation of
Crimea and declining energy revenues have put a huge financial burden on
Russia. But Moscow is waging a successful soft power campaign to expose
Europe’s weakness and influence the increasingly popular far-right
parties across the continent.
Today the United States is more receptive
to major change in its global strategy than it has been for decades.
Things unthinkable or relegated to the political fringe only a few years
ago are now on the table. This includes the reconfiguration of both
partnerships and adversarial relationships.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was
in Uganda, Kenya and Somalia last week to promote trade, tourism and
security ties. In an email interview, David Shinn, an adjunct professor
at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington
University, discussed Turkey’s outreach to East Africa.
Kenya’s national elections are more than a
year away, but political tensions are already rising. Recent protests
have been met with widespread police brutality, with three protesters
killed late last month. President Uhuru Kenyatta and the opposition are
talking, but more political clashes could come.
From the outset of its Syria intervention,
Russia tried to portray its campaign as a push against the
self-declared Islamic State. But Russia has leveraged the horrors of the
Islamic State for its own purposes, using the group’s dark reputation
to dress up the pursuit of its own strategic goals.
Last week, South Korean President Park
Geun-hye arrived in Ethiopia, the first stop on her week-long Africa
tour that also includes visits to Kenya and Uganda. In an email
interview, J. Berkshire Miller, a fellow on Japan for the Pacific Forum
CSIS, discussed South Korea’s ties in Africa.
Ahead of Sunday’s
second-round presidential election, many Peruvians will be thinking of
imprisoned former President Alberto Fujimori, who has a polemical but
powerful political legacy in the country. His daughter, Keiko, is the
front-runner, and her party already has a majority in Congress.
Diplomats and negotiators have been
praised for the success of last year’s COP 21 Paris climate agreement.
But to mitigate the worst effects of climate change by displacing fossil
fuels, countries must expand their clean energy infrastructure.
Fortunately, a number of developments are well underway.
In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s
Judah Grunstein and host Peter Dörrie discuss U.S. ties with Pakistan,
evolving U.S. strategic partnerships, and unrest in Kenya. For the
Report, Jan-Werner Müller joins us to talk about the role of populism in
Since taking office two years ago, El
Salvador’s leftist president, Salvador Sanchez Ceren, has continued his
right-wing predecessors’ hard-line, militarized policies on gangs. But
critics are increasingly wary of this so-called war on gangs, which has
been linked to state abuses and extrajudicial killings.
Last week’s conviction of Chad’s former
president, Hissene Habre, for crimes against humanity, war crimes and
torture is a significant victory for the civil society campaign that
fought tirelessly for more than 20 years to bring him to justice. But it
seems unlikely that there will be any immediate repeat.
When the U.N. Security Council tries to
micromanage a conflict, it is a pretty good bet that the situation will
very soon get worse. There is now a risk that Western council members
may make similar mistakes in Syria as were made in the Balkans before
that conflict was finally brought to an end.
Since ascending to the Saudi throne in
January 2015, King Salman has launched a range of reform initiatives.
One of the more radical, but least sign-posted, is a drive for greater
accountability and transparency in public life, spearheaded by his
powerful son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The diverse countries of the Mediterranean
basin share the contradictory trends toward separation and integration.
Each has its appeal, but neither represents a panacea. Over time, the
Mediterranean will continue to teach us about these trends as parts of a
natural cycle for states and societies.
Last month, Indonesia, Malaysia and the
Philippines agreed to begin coordinated patrols to improve maritime
security after an increase in kidnappings at sea by the Filipino
militant group Abu Sayyaf. In an email interview, Collin Koh discussed
maritime security cooperation in Southeast Asia.
Sixteen months after its rumbling
political crisis erupted with allegations of wire-tapping and government
abuses, Macedonia remains in limbo. Its predicament has raised concerns
about a new Balkan conflagration, and revealed the shortcomings of the
European Union’s approach to the region.
In addition to trashing Donald Trump in a
foreign policy speech last week, Hillary Clinton did something else that
may end up being pretty important: She made a convincing case for a
liberal internationalist foreign policy. For all of Clinton’s
identification as a hawk, she sounded downright dovish.