WPR Articles Jan. 6 — Jan. 13
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.
Venezuela’s crisis just became more complicated for the country’s political opposition and more unsettling for the U.S. On Jan. 4, President Nicolas Maduro named Tareck El Aissami as vice president, a man who has reportedly helped forge back-channel links for Caracas to terrorists and drug traffickers.
A parliamentary committee in Lebanon recently recommended striking down a law that allows rapists’ sentences to be reduced if they marry their victims, but it will take months for parliament to consider the recommendation. In an email interview, Zeina Zaatari discusses women’s rights in Lebanon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Venezuelans endured a particularly difficult year in 2016, from skyrocketing inflation to a plummeting currency. The year offered little respite for President Nicolas Maduro, too, at home and abroad. But the Venezuelan government is far from isolated, and Maduro can still rely on support from key partners.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has temporarily stopped work on the Dakota Access Pipeline that was planned to go through the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, but hundreds of protesters are still at the camp in North Dakota. In an email interview, Ron Whitener discusses Native American rights in the U.S.
Resource booms and busts are a sad reality for most commodity-based developing countries, and Trinidad and Tobago is no exception. The wealthiest of the Caribbean economies, thanks to its oil and gas resources, is currently mired in a severe recession after the collapse of world oil prices.
In the NIC’s latest long-term forecast, which catalogues an array of political, economic, demographic and technological trends, a single keyword occurs over and over: disruption. In a very broad sense, the futurists in the U.S. intelligence community believe the world has entered an age of disruption.
In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss President Barack Obama’s foreign policy legacy. For the Report, Patrick M. Stewart talks to Peter Dörrie about the prospects of the liberal world order and what might replace it.