All Briefings

To Rebound After Defeat, El Salvador’s ARENA Must Move Beyond Fear

By Michael Allison, Christine Wade
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El Salvador’s FMLN won the country’s presidential election in March by a razor-thin margin, despite polls that indicated the party would score an easy victory over the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA). Following ARENA’s relatively poor first-round performance, the party’s surge in the second round surprised many observers. Yet ARENA’s ability to reform and modernize remains in doubt. more

Australia’s Abbott Seeks to Balance Japan, South Korea and China on Asian Trip

By Roxane Horton
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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott came to power in 2013 declaring that Australia was “open for business” and promising to fast-track stalled free trade agreements with Japan, South Korea and China. Abbott pulled off an impressive feat in Asia last week as he embarked on a three-nation tour of those countries, forging free trade agreements and announcing closer security relations on each stop along the way. more

Pressure Mounts as Deadline for EU-Africa Trade Talks Looms

By Stephen R. Hurt
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The first EU-Africa summit since 2010 was held in Brussels this month. Much of the media focus leading up to the summit was on Robert Mugabe’s failed bid to instigate a boycott of the meeting by African leaders. Beyond these headlines, however, trade relations between the two parties continue to be one of pressing importance, with negotiations for Economic Partnership Agreements one of the most divisive issues. more

NSA Leaks Fallout Will Fade Faster Than Hit to U.S. Pride

By James Andrew Lewis
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Americans are having a hard time coming to terms with the effect of Snowden’s leaks and the damage they have done to America’s status in the world. In part, U.S. leaders do not want to admit that the leaks were merely the final straw for the growing discontent with American global leadership that predated Snowden and has many causes. The unipolar moment was never popular—the leaks confirm that it is over. more

U.S. Failure to Clarify Interests in Cyberspace Weakens Deterrence

By Eric Sterner
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Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee last month, Gen. Keith Alexander expressed misgivings about America’s deterrent posture in cyberspace, raising concerns about the lack of a threshold that, when crossed by cyberattackers, would prompt a U.S. response. Though the U.S. possesses deterrent capabilities and has used them in other domains, deterrence in cyberspace is more challenging. more

Hungary Risks Putinization, Isolation After Orban Re-Election

By Andrew MacDowall
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“The outcome of the elections is an obvious, unambiguous mandate for us to continue what we have begun.” So said Hungary’s populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban after his Fidesz party trounced the left-liberal opposition in an April poll that also saw the vote share of the far right top 20 percent. The continuation might entail more of Orban’s centralizing and nationalist policies, as well a tilt toward Russia. more

Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement Chooses Democracy Over China Trade Pact

By Joel Atkinson
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On March 19, students occupied Taiwan’s legislature to protest the KMT government’s handling of a services trade agreement with China. The movement ultimately won support for a compromise that would see the services pact, and any future agreements with China, undergo more thorough—and public—scrutiny. The dramatic events are forcing a rethink about the very nature of the China-Taiwan relationship. more

Renewed Push, Public Weariness Puts Closing Gitmo Within Obama’s Reach

By Ken Gude
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Advocates working to end a sad chapter in American history were given new hope last year when President Barack Obama renewed his push to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. The diminished risks of closing the prison, combined with public war-weariness, mean that what seemed a hopeless and nearly forgotten project for Obama a year ago—closing Guantanamo by the end of his administration—now seems achievable. more

Attacks on Rwanda’s Exiles Reveal Deeper Troubles for Kagame

By Jon Rosen
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Twenty years after Rwanda’s genocide, the killing in South Africa of one opponent of President Paul Kagame and a break-in at the South Africa residence of another fit a pattern of attacks against Rwandan exiles and have exposed a sense of unease within Kagame’s government. It’s possible that cracks in his inner circle could foment more broad-based opposition and threaten the country’s post-genocide rebirth. more

Central African Republic a Crisis Too Far for Chad’s Regional Security Ambitions

By Celeste Hicks
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With Chad’s April 3 announcement that it would pull its peacekeepers out of the CAR, the country finally seemed to be bending to widespread criticism of the actions of its soldiers. Things had deteriorated for Chad’s armed forces since last year, when their role in support of France’s Operation Serval in Mali was widely praised. The CAR may have forced Chad to recognize the limits of its regional ambitions. more