WPR Articles Jan. 3 — Jan. 11
Donald Trump’s election imperils the liberal world order that the U.S. has championed since World War II. That vision was already under strain, challenged by rivals and upheaval abroad. Can the liberal order survive this convergence of foreign and domestic assaults? If not, what will take its place?
On the last day of 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a televised address on his controversial demonetization plan, which he said will rid India of its crippling corruption and bring more economic growth. Whether or not that is true will be one of the important questions facing India in 2017.
The battlefield defeat of the self-styled Islamic State is far from certain but increasingly likely. Seeing the group driven out of Syria and Iraq would be good news in the U.S. and Europe but would not represent a decisive victory. U.S. policymakers must be sensitive to this as they craft a way forward.
The growing number of tourists in Cuba is dramatically increasing the demand for food and leaving ordinary Cubans without many basic staples. In a phone interview, William LeoGrande, a professor of government at American University, discusses the positive and negative effects of tourism in Cuba.
Talk of the Islamic State dominated much of the debate on counterterrorism issues during the U.S. presidential campaign. Yet as concerning as recent news about the Islamic State’s presence in Somalia is, the incoming Trump administration should not be distracted from the primary threat in Somalia, al-Shabab.
There is no doubt that Turkey and the U.S. do not see eye to eye on Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has successfully turned a military defeat in Aleppo into a diplomatic pressure tactic against Washington, which Erdogan wants to back down on supporting Syrian Kurds in the fight against ISIS.
Twenty-five years since it emerged from Soviet rule, Latvia struggles to forge a national identity—a task made more complex by its sizeable and unintegrated Russian community. Now a NATO and EU member, the Baltic country is bracing itself for a potential attack by an increasingly belligerent Russia.
The drama and disruptions of the past year fill some with dread for 2017. Without sounding too naïve, it’s possible to imagine outcomes that are not the worst-case scenarios for three of the world’s enduring problems: the European refugee crisis, the Syrian civil war and the Israel-Palestine conflict.
In late December, Nigeria’s top Muslim cleric called on lawmakers to reject a bill currently under debate that would allow women the right to inherit family wealth and property, saying it goes against the teachings of the Quran. In an email interview, Ngozi Odiaka discusses women’s rights in Nigeria.
If there is only one certainty about Syria’s civil war, it is that any ultimate resolution at this point will be horribly unsatisfying. But the current tenuous peace process negotiated and overseen by Russia, Turkey and Iran, despite all its many flaws, represents a lesser evil than continued fighting.
In 2000, the wealthiest 1 percent of Turks owned 38 percent of Turkey’s total wealth. Today, despite a decade and a half of solid economic growth, the top 1 percent controls around 55 percent of total wealth. In an email interview, Aysen Candas discusses the problem of income inequality in Turkey.
For decades, Swedes have taken pride in providing a safe haven to the world’s huddled masses, and their country took in 163,000 refugees in 2015 alone. But times have changed. Like neighboring Denmark, Sweden now finds itself at the bottom of the European Union when it comes to welcoming refugees.
Last month, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom was denied an official visit to Israel, and Israeli officials refused to meet with her; a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry said there were “scheduling problems.” In an email interview, Per Jönsson discusses Sweden’s ties with Israel.
The governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador in Central America’s so-called Northern Triangle have been under considerable domestic and international pressure to address rampant corruption since high-ranking officials were exposed in 2015. How did they fare in 2016, and what could 2017 hold?
In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the major priorities on the global agenda for 2017. For the Report, Matthew Luxmoore talks with Peter Dörrie about how the perceived threat from Russia is fueling tensions in Latvia.
President-elect Donald Trump’s current defense priority—“to crush and destroy” ISIS—plays right into Russian and Iranian machinations in the Middle East, with selective definitions of terrorism and scorched-earth tactics. Under the rubric of fighting terrorism, it could spark more repression and violence.
Honduras is the most unequal country in Latin America and the sixth most unequal in the world, according to World Bank statistics. More than 64 percent of Hondurans live in poverty, and 42 percent live in extreme poverty. In an email interview, Jake Johnston discusses income inequality in Honduras.
Antonio Guterres is off to a strong start as the new U.N. secretary-general. Yet, while U.N. officials are keen to see their boss succeed, all are conscious that his chances of leading the U.N. effectively over the next five years may be shaped by how he handles Donald Trump in the next few months.
On Jan. 7, opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo took office as the president of Ghana, a month after defeating incumbent President John Mahama in a smooth election that boosted Ghana’s democratic reputation. December’s vote represented an exception at a time of electoral turmoil in other parts of Africa.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was in Argentina last month, where she gave her support to Argentina joining the Pacific Alliance. It was her first visit to Argentina since President Mauricio Macri assumed office in 2015. In an interview, Peter M. Siavelis discusses relations between Chile and Argentina.
This week, the NIC released its quadrennial report about global trends, and it’s a sober read. Governance is getting harder, and the nature of power is changing. Resilience will be key: Countries that invest in infrastructure, innovation and relationships will fare better in this unstable future.
In November, barely a month after the ruling Georgian Dream party’s win in parliamentary elections, Georgia’s defense minister outlined an ambitious reform program that captured headlines for reintroducing the draft. The reforms represent a technocratic turn for the often politically charged Defense Ministry.
The question that legitimately arises for defenders of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy of restraint is whether, in seeking to conserve American power, he has dangerously squandered the credibility upon which it is based. The question that arises for his critics is whether he had any choice.