WPR Articles July 7 — July 13
The U.S.-led coalition’s squeeze on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has led to bloodletting elsewhere, with terrorist violence on an unprecedented scale. The coalition’s hard-fought campaign, which has slowly rolled back the Islamic State, hasn’t quelled the perception that the group is winning.
In a landmark ruling Tuesday, an international tribunal in The Hague rejected China’s extensive claims to sovereignty over the waters of the South China Sea, saying they had no legal basis. WPR is making available essential background reading on the South China Sea disputes, free for non-subscribers.
State capitalism has grown over the past two decades, with implications for governance, political freedom and the global economy. Particularly in the developing world, many governments are increasing their intervention in their economies. But there are major risks inherent to this trend.
Can anyone save South Sudan? The country, which collapsed into civil war in 2013, is stumbling into a new cycle of violence. Clashes in Juba have claimed over 200 lives in recent days. The fighting poses an especially serious dilemma for a reluctant power with significant interests at stake: China.
The Middle East has a long history of authoritarianism, and the legacy of that history is illustrated in contrasting ways by two key states in the region: Turkey and Iraq. The U.S. has some leverage to push both states to strike the right balance between too little or too much power at the top.
World powers and Middle East regional players continue to strain without success in efforts to wind down the war in Syria and contain its expanding terrorist spillover. But Syrian Kurdish political leaders are moving ahead with state-building plans of their own, undeterred by their critics.
Australia’s recent national elections have still yet to be decided. But the fact that Australia might have its second minority government in a decade hints at an underlying trend that is reshaping politics in ways that are less obvious than Donald Trump or Brexit, but potentially just as profound.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and Kurdish rebels from the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran clashed late last month along Iran’s mountainous border with Iraq. In an email interview, Denise Natali discusses the relationship between the Iranian government and the Iranian Kurdish minority.
Last month, officials from Indonesia and Australia agreed to increase counterterrorism cooperation and information-sharing in response to the growing threat from the so-called Islamic State. In an email interview, Greta Nabbs-Keller discusses the current state of Australia-Indonesia relations.
Recent high-level resignations in the European External Action Service prompted rumors that all is not well at the EU’s diplomatic service. But a closer look shows that EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is gaining confidence in her role and finally taking charge of the foreign service.
NATO leaders meet for their summit in Warsaw buffeted by crises and conflicts on all sides. Many of them could have been averted. Much of the current instability stems from the failure to adequately respond to human rights violations, especially if other political or economic interests are at stake.
In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the challenges of building sustainable peace in former conflict zones. For the Report, Ilan Noy joins us to talk about new approaches to preparing for and recovering from natural disasters.
However sound the U.S.-led coalition’s strategy has been in rolling back the Islamic State’s expansion, the past few months have shown that the group is adapting rather than collapsing. To defeat it, the U.S. and its partners must in turn adapt their approach, by anticipating how the group will evolve.
Amid the turbulence of Brexit, less attention has been paid to its geopolitical effects. But on the key issues of Russia, Syria, China and trade, Brexit will have direct and significant impacts. Getting the geopolitics right may be the most important priority for Prime Minister David Cameron’s successor.
In November, Nicaraguans will head to the polls, and President Daniel Ortega is predicted to win his fourth term in office. Though his candidacy comes as no surprise, two recent controversies have revived debates about Ortega’s stewardship and the status of democracy in Nicaragua.
Researchers at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University have developed technology that will help collect space junk, which they hope to have operational in 2017. In an email interview, Keith Gottschaik, a founding member of the South African Space Association, discusses South Africa’s space program.
The tenor of NATO’s summit in Warsaw late last week focused overwhelmingly on deterring Russia’s military adventurism. While it was a positive turn for members of the alliance’s eastern flank, longstanding NATO aspirants like Georgia are unlikely to see any relief from their extended membership limbo.
Israel’s deal to restore ties with Turkey comes at a moment when the country’s strategic outlook, internationally, domestically and in terms of the Palestinian conflict, is evolving. While prospects for stability in the region seem increasingly far off, the implications for Israel itself are less alarming.
President Barack Obama’s announcement to slow the final stages of the drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan should come as no surprise: The Obama White House has never had a clear strategy for Afghanistan other than to continue to put military pressure on the Taliban and muddle through.