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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

WPR Articles Feb. 28 — March 8

World Politics Review

Editor’s Note

This Weeks Free Article – Gender Equality for Women

100 years ago today, a gathering of women textile workers launched a demonstration in Saint Petersburg, then known as Petrograd, setting in motion the Russian Revolution. While the United Nations wouldn’t formally adopt the annual celebration honoring these women until 1975, the date, March 8, is now celebrated each year as International Women’s Day, honoring the social, political and economic achievements made by women in the face of oppression. Women have made great strides throughout the past 100 years, but as this day reminds us, there remains much work to be done if equal rights are ever to be achieved.

In her in-depth article from September 2015, Valerie M. Hudson took stock of the victories that women have won in the 21st century, and the deeply entrenched obstacles that persist, from maternal mortality rates and inequitable family laws to violence. “The evidence is plain and overwhelming that societies that respect women are better off on nearly every state outcome imaginable,” Hudson wrote. “But the challenges of making women’s empowerment a high priority are steep in a world structured around men holding the lion’s share of power and wealth—in a context where they are willing to use violence to maintain that prerogative.”

Read the full article.

A woman in Nepal, which has seen a decline in maternal mortality, holds her newborn granddaughter at a government maternity hospital, Katmandu, Nepal, Sept. 10, 2010 (AP photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe).

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WPR Articles Feb. 28 — March 8

Why Russia Is Returning to Afghanistan

By: Jeffrey Mankoff | Briefing
Russia has re-emerged as an important power broker in Afghanistan. Its willingness to work with the Taliban stems from a perception that the U.S.-led occupation is becoming less effective and could be further wound down under President Donald Trump, leaving the wider region to deal with the fallout.

Brazil’s Police Strike Crisis Highlights Security Reform Failures

By: The Editors | Trend Lines
The recent police strike and resulting deadly violence in Brazil’s southeastern state of Espirito Santo highlights the government’s inability to address problems crippling the security sector. In an email interview, Dennis Pauschinger discusses obstacles to reform and how the government might overcome them.

Tunisia’s Democratic Reforms Overshadowed by the Threat of Returning Jihadis

By: Karina Piser | Trend Lines
Praise for Tunisia’s new anti-corruption law has been overshadowed at home by the country’s muddled response to returning fighters from the Islamic State. Despite the group’s recent losses, the security threat facing Tunisia will not disappear unless the government comes up with a coordinated response.

South Korea’s Political Storm Swirls Ahead of Park Impeachment Ruling

By: J. Berkshire Miller | Briefing
South Korea’s Constitutional Court must rule by June on whether to uphold the impeachment of beleaguered President Park Geun-hye. The upheaval has resulted in a number of stunning developments in the political scene, from the race to succeed Park and jostling among the opposition to foreign policy.

Why Trump’s Emphasis on Hard Power Will Leave the U.S. With Less Power

By: Judah Grunstein | Column
President Donald Trump’s worldview projects contempt for soft power, as his plans for increased defense spending at the expense of foreign aid make clear. But hard and soft power are not as opposed as Trump seems to think. Soft power is deeply embedded in America’s role as the security provider of last resort.

Can Colombia and the FARC Stumble Their Way to Lasting Peace?

By: James Bargent, Camilo Mejia | Feature
A little over three months since the Colombian government reached a historic peace agreement with the FARC, visions of a post-conflict era are on the line as demobilization plans falter and other guerilla groups seek to fill the void. Is there still room to be optimistic about a postwar Colombia?

Demographic Concerns and Family Values Overshadow Equality for Russia’s Women

By: The Editors | Trend Lines
Russia recently passed a law to reduce the punishment for domestic violence, ostensibly to prevent the separation of families over false charges of abuse. Critics argue the move will lead to impunity for abusers. In an email interview, Ira Kosterina discusses women’s rights and gender equality in Russia.

Russia’s Calculus in Ukraine Is a Mix of Strategic Patience and Grim Resignation

By: Matthew Rojansky | Briefing
The conviction that Crimea is legitimately Russian land—never again to be lost, bartered or leased—has become a catechism among the elite in Moscow. As for the rest of Ukraine, Russians see a mix of a grim but acceptable status quo and developments that may gradually break in their favor.

Why Trump’s Bilateral Approach to Foreign Policy Is Necessary but Not Sufficient

By: Ellen Laipson | Column
U.S. President Donald Trump favors bilateral relations as the cornerstone of his foreign policy. Special ties to some key countries and leaders will always be important, but an approach that downplays multilateralism will fall short in protecting American interests in an age of transnational threats.

Burkina Faso Looks to Its Neighbors for Help in Battling a Domestic Jihadi Threat

By: Ernest Harsch | Briefing
A new Islamist insurgent group has emerged in Burkina Faso’s far north, heightening security concerns following earlier attacks from across the border with Mali. As his government’s security efforts face criticism, President Roch Marc Christian Kabore is looking to the region for help.

Turkey’s Nationalists Could Hold The Future of the Country in Their Hands

By: Iyad Dakka | Briefing
On April 16, Turkey will vote on constitutional reforms that would abolish the parliamentary system of government in favor of a strong executive. If they pass, the only politician who stands to gain more than President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is Davlet Bahceli, head of the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party.

Can Trump Crack the Middle East Conundrum With an Arab-Israeli Alliance?

By: Frida Ghitis | Column
Ever since Donald Trump became the U.S. president, the Middle East has been abuzz with speculation about what he plans to do in the region. According to a number of reports, Trump intends to forge a new security alliance among the Arab countries, the U.S. and, in a groundbreaking development, Israel.

As the Islamic State Disperses, the United States Must Adapt

By: Steven Metz | Column
Though it has been tough, bloody work, the Iraqi military and local militias, backed by U.S. forces, are slowly driving the self-styled Islamic State out of its “caliphate” in northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Unfortunately, this will simply drive the group to other locations. The U.S. will have to adapt.

How Early Missteps Could Jeopardize Colombia’s Peace Deal With the FARC

By: The Editors | Trend Lines
In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the relative merits and uses of America’s hard and soft power. For the Report, James Bargent talks with Peter Dörrie about early stumbles in the implementation of Colombia’s peace accords.

Out of Benefactors From Abroad, Cuba Turns to Its Caribbean Neighbors

By: Robert Looney | Briefing
Just when the U.S. seems to be retreating from global markets, and possibly even NAFTA, socialist Cuba is moving in the opposite direction. With a new trade agreement with the 15-member Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, Cuba is looking to capitalize on trade and economic links with its neighbors.

Can a New Court Deliver Long-Awaited Justice in the Central African Republic?

By: Robbie Corey-Boulet | Trend Lines
The naming of a top prosecutor for the Central African Republic’s new Special Criminal Court could jump-start efforts to prosecute those responsible for the country’s recent turmoil. The court represents a novel approach to trying atrocity crimes, but it will have to overcome persistent instability and other challenges.

The Limits to Belarus Butting Heads With Its ‘Big Brother’ in Moscow

By: Dan Peleschuk | Briefing
Economic disputes, trade restrictions and public tirades are not usually the stuff of strong, bilateral partnerships. But that’s the nature of relations between Russia and Belarus these days, two geopolitical partners who have experienced an unusually bitter falling-out in recent months.

Why Reforms to the International Order Didn’t Survive the Global Financial Crisis

By: Richard Gowan | Column
Though there are lots of reasons to worry about the global system today, the threat posed by the 2009 global financial crisis was more acute. But the financial crisis inspired a strong sense of common purpose to defend the international system, in part by reforming it. That’s no longer the case.

How Orban Redrew Hungary’s Media Map to Solidify His Power

By: Zselyke Csaky | Feature
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has set out to swallow the country’s media landscape and deploy the press as a propaganda outlet for his party, Fidesz. This worrying trend, underway for over a decade, might be emerging in other Central European countries. Media-freedom advocates should prepare for a bitter and long fight.

In Asia, Many See Opportunities—and Some Risks—in Trump’s Foreign Policy

By: Ellen Laipson | Column
For some Asian foreign policy thinkers, Donald Trump’s worldview offers a chance to expand Asian ownership of the regional agenda, and a break from U.S. preaching about democracy and human rights. The downsides are Trump’s views on trade and the possibility of being left alone to deal with an assertive China.

Why Congo’s Election Tug-of-War Just Got Even More Complicated

By: William Clowes | Briefing
Many Congolese entered 2017 especially unsure of where their country stands. At the heart of their uncertainty is the continuing refusal of President Joseph Kabila to clarify whether he plans to hold onto power. But the death of a longtime opposition leader last month has only added to the confusion.

Is France’s Chaotic Presidential Election Just the Prelude to Political Instability?

By: Judah Grunstein | Column
All the likely scenarios for France’s presidential election suggest that a period of radical restructuring is ahead for the French party system, and the possibility of a hung parliament cannot be ruled out. The implications of the resulting power vacuum would be dramatic not just for France, but for Europe.

Romania’s Protests Revealed Both Democratic Strength and Institutional Weakness

By: Andrew MacDowall | Briefing
Romania’s biggest protests since the fall of communism have been hailed as a victory for people power and civic activism against a corrupt elite. But long-term questions remain about democracy in Romania, where street protests have become increasingly frequent as people lose faith in their political parties.

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