WPR Articles July 22 — July 29
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump shocked the U.S. foreign policy establishment last week when he declared he might not defend NATO members from a Russian invasion if they hadn’t paid their dues. But when it comes to the Atlantic alliance, Trump’s misgivings go beyond dollars and cents.
An international tribunal’s ruling earlier this month in favor of the Philippines in its dispute with China over islands in the South China Sea has spurred a wealth of commentary, forecasts and questions. Three main narratives have emerged about China and the liberal order, but they don’t explain everything.
Since the eurozone crisis began in 2009, the European Union has faced a nonstop string of crises. Throughout each one, Germany has found itself leading the bloc to a response. But its leadership hasn’t always been welcome, and Germany’s own relationship with its role in Europe is complicated.
Despite a loss of territorial control since 2011, the militant group al-Shabab is the main obstacle to Somalia’s political transition and a terrorism threat to its neighbors. In fact, al-Shabab’s capability to mount conventional military operations and high-casualty terrorist attacks has arguably increased.
After a rollicking election, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski took office as Peru’s new president yesterday. To fulfill his broad economic pledges—mainly, to maintain market-friendly policies while reducing poverty—his administration will need to move quickly on several issues, especially the energy sector.
In late June, the Canadian government announced the lifting of visa requirements for Mexican visitors, one of several measures aimed to improve ties with Mexico. In an interview, Laura Macdonald, a professor at Carleton University, discussed Canada’s ties with Latin America.
Despite a historically unprecedented degree of national security, many Americans are worried about defeat at the hands of violent extremists, particularly the so-called Islamic State. This climate of fear is the product of an influential “fear industry” that plays into the hands of terrorists.
The African Union held its 27th summit in Kigali, Rwanda, earlier this week, where it had planned to elect a new chairperson of the African Union Commission, the executive office of the AU. But in Kigali, all three candidates fell far short of the two-thirds majority needed to secure the position.
In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the attempted coup in Turkey and political turmoil in Zimbabwe. For the Report, David Smilde discusses Venezuela’s ongoing crisis and its potential effect on the Colombia-FARC peace process.
While the world focuses on ISIS, the Nusra Front, the other main jihadi group in Syria—and the one still affiliated with al-Qaida—has been biding its time and extending its footprint. In response, the Obama administration is now moving to work more closely with Russia to attack it.
The race to replace Ban Ki-moon as U.N. secretary-general was jolted into life last Thursday by a Security Council straw poll on current candidates. The results are open to multiple interpretations. A likely but depressing one is that the U.S. and Russia are headed toward a showdown over the outcome.
Last month, China successfully recovered an experimental probe that had been launched from a next-generation rocket. The launch keeps China on target to put its second space station into orbit later this year. In an email interview, Vincent Sabathier discusses China’s space program.
A war between Russia and the U.S. is more likely today than at any time since the worst years of the Cold War. This may sound implausible. Yet increasing deployments by both sides, coupled with severely constrained direct dialogue, mean that dangerous incidents will become more likely and will be harder to defuse.
The next U.S. president will have a chance to revalidate or reposition America’s engagement in Afghanistan. The larger challenge is to shift the debate about the U.S. commitment to longer-term goals, building on the gradual achievements of state-building rather than the enduring security challenges.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sees development as the solution for afflictions in restive, Muslim-majority Kashmir. But as recent violence, the deadliest in years, makes clear, that remedy remains elusive. New Delhi needs to address some delicate yet critical questions about its Kashmir policy.
Morocco recently requested to rejoin the African Union, more than three decades after it withdrew over its controversial claims to Western Sahara. But while Rabat has made some progress in generating support for its position, the conflict in Western Sahara remains a stumbling block to its ambitions.
Hezbollah is facing its toughest challenge since its inception. While it remains the world’s most powerful substate militant actor, its involvement in Syria’s conflict has cost it significant manpower and vilified its image among Sunnis, with real risks for its domestic and regional standing.
Earlier this month, the U.N.’s special envoy on climate change accused Germany of going against the Paris climate agreement by subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. In an email interview, Daniel Klingenfeld of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research discusses Germany’s climate change policy.
South Korea has made enormous strides in women’s rights, from education to politics, yet misogyny remains widespread, as a few recent cases have made clear. While progress at the top is key, everyday social attitudes and perceptions cannot be legislated and remain woefully retrograde.
Newt Gingrich’s speech at the Republican national convention illustrates how fear-mongers use an exaggerated threat of terrorism as an effective political tool. The key is to take a kernel of truth and add it to terrifying “black swan” scenarios to make threats seem greater than they really are.
Though barely half over, 2016 has already turned into a bloody year of terrorism. What is concerning is not simply the extent of this violence but the ongoing mutation of terrorism into new forms. Attacks that are inspired but not directly controlled by terrorist networks are today’s growth industry.
Earlier this year, Indonesia called on the palm oil sector to play a larger role in the fight against climate change, including by stopping its slash-and-burn deforestation practices. In an email interview, T. Nirarta Samadhi of the World Resources Institute discusses Indonesia’s response to climate change.
On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced the expansion of a program to admit refugees from Central America into the United States. Observers had criticized it as inadequate amid an exodus of people, many of them children, fleeing violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the potential for conflict between the U.S and Russia, al-Shabab’s resilience, and unrest in Kashmir. For the Report, Nicholas Blanford talks about the effect of the Syria conflict on Hezbollah.