WPR Articles Sept. 30 — Oct. 7
Should the United States use military means to try to stop Syrian and Russian forces from massacring the civilian population of Aleppo? If the answer to that question is no, then what level of atrocity is the U.S., and the world, willing to tolerate in Syria—and elsewhere—before intervening?
In August, reports emerged that South Sudanese soldiers had attacked foreign aid workers during a July rampage in Juba, raping several women. The attack reflected the systemic failure to safeguard foreign aid workers who seem to have followed every single security protocol, yet were left unprotected.
In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, European leaders have stressed the need for greater EU defense cooperation, which could reduce inefficiencies and improve defense coordination. But critics of the plan accuse the EU of competing with NATO and say the bloc is trying to become a “superstate.”
Brazil’s left-wing Workers’ Party was confronted with a new political reality when it was soundly defeated in local elections earlier this week. While local politics are not always a bellwether for national politics in Brazil, the vote still highlighted two new trends from a shift in voter behavior.
The race to be the new U.N. secretary-general is almost over. The eventual winner may end up envying the losers, and find that success tastes very bitter: The selection process to succeed Ban Ki-moon is culminating during the worst institutional crisis the Security Council has seen since the Iraq war.
Earlier this month, Guinea-Bissau’s political factions agreed to a six-point roadmap to form a consensus government and end more than a year of deadlock. But the ambitious deal is unlikely to overcome the deep divisions within Guinea-Bissau’s parliament or address the fundamental drivers of instability.
In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss discrimination against women, politics in Guinea-Bissau, and Syrian refugees’ right to work. For the Report, Ernest Nti Acheampong joins us to talk about young entrepreneurs in Africa.
Since the collapse last week of a short-lived cease-fire that was brokered by the United States and Russia, the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russian jets, have attempted to retake the rebel-controlled eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo with unusually brutal force, even for this war.
The Dutch parliament voted last week to cut the Netherlands’ greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030, a move that requires closing the country’s five remaining coal-fired power plants. In an email interview, Pier Vellinga discusses the Netherland’s climate change policy.
America’s conflict with violent Islamic extremism will require a multigenerational effort. One initiative could help steel national will for that fight, reinforce a sense of shared national purpose, and shrink the pool of young Americans willing to become terrorists: universal national service.
Last month, China launched the world’s first quantum satellite, which is designed to establish “hack-proof” communications between space and the ground, with major implications for security and defense policy. In an email interview, Taylor Owen and Robert Gorwa discuss quantum technology.
Good economic news out of the Caribbean has been few and far-between in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Yet now Jamaica is unexpectedly transitioning into a pattern of solid, sustainable growth, thanks to deeper reforms imposed by the International Monetary Fund, rather than foreign aid.
On Sunday, Colombians narrowly rejected in a referendum a peace deal with leftist FARC rebels, raising questions about what the future holds for a country that has been fighting the guerrilla movement for 52 years. Both sides’ ongoing commitment to peace is a good sign, but the next steps are unknown.
Morocco is the only Arab country with regular, competitive elections and where the success of an Islamist party, the PJD, has not stoked instability. But the monarchy’s commitment to political reform, on display in Friday’s parliamentary elections, is balanced by fears of the PJD’s rising power.
Germany continues to face challenges as it copes with a massive influx of refugees. Asylum-seekers, often living in temporary housing or poor conditions, are at the mercy of overwhelmed authorities. As they languish in limbo, some have become nostalgic for the war zone they fled. Germany can do better.
A “less is more” approach seems to be emerging over how to improve the outcomes of international interventions. It reflects the disappointing track record of past efforts. But it’s also an expression of the crisis of confidence in Western countries about their ability to make the world a better place.
A recent report by Human Rights Watch criticized Nepal’s record on child marriage. Thirty-seven percent of girls marry before age 18, and while the government has pledged to end child marriage, it has taken few steps to achieve this goal. In an email interview, Claire Naylor discusses women’s right in Nepal.
Montenegro goes to the polls Oct. 16, when Milo Djukanovic will almost certainly be re-elected for a seventh term as prime minister. The country is expected to join NATO next year and is in pole position to become the EU’s next member. But are both blocs ignoring Montenegro’s domestic problems?
Last month, the Seychelles’ president, James Michel, resigned after his political party, Parti Lepep, lost parliamentary elections. Vice President Danny Faure will be sworn in later this month to complete the remainder of Michel’s five-year term. In an email interview, Yolanda Sadie discussed politics in the Seychelles.
The international community celebrated the peace agreement between Colombia and the FARC insurgency before it was a done deal. It is now making the same mistake again, grieving the death of peace after Sunday’s failed referendum. In fact, the chances for a peace deal in Colombia still look promising.
In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the cost of U.S. inaction in Aleppo, the attack on aid workers in South Sudan, and Germany’s struggle to integrate refugees. For the Report, Richard Gowan talks about the challenges facing the U.N.
One of the mantras of the U.S. Marine Corps is that every Marine is first and foremost a rifleman, regardless of their actual occupational specialty. This idea “warrior mindset” has become so deeply ingrained in the American military that it is seldom discussed or analyzed. But it should be.
Since Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines earlier this year, he has staked out a drastically different approach to Manila’s relations with the U.S.—or at least, he appears to have, based on his bombastic rhetoric. But from courting China to buying Russian arms, what does he really plan to do?
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was in Vietnam this week as part of a three-nation tour of Southeast Asia. Rouhani and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang agreed to work toward the goal of boosting trade to $2 billion. In an email interview, John Calabrese discusses Iran’s outreach to Southeast Asia.
In late August, Turkey launched Euphrates Shield, a cross-border military operation into northern Syria, which so far has achieved its initial goals, including pushing ISIS away from the Turkish border. But questions remain about Turkey’s longer-term exit strategy and plans for territory taken from ISIS.