Diplomacy and Politics Articles

Sweden No Longer Immune to Rise of Nationalist Populism

By Karl Lallerstedt
, , Briefing

Rising immigration, failed integration and the radicalization of a small minority of young Muslims have fueled the ascent of populist parties across Europe. Sweden is not immune. Of all the Nordic countries, Sweden has the highest proportion of immigrants, and yet it has registered the lowest level of support for nationalist parties. But that has begun to change with the rise of the nationalist Sweden Democrats. more

Strategic Horizons

U.S. Must Rethink Unsustainable Counterterrorism Strategy

By Steven Metz
, , Column

While the world's attention this week was focused on Gaza and Ukraine, security remained precarious in Iraq and Afghanistan, the two lynchpins of America's conflict with transnational terrorism. Iraq and Afghanistan remain stark reminders that America's counterterrorism strategy, developed by the Bush administration and largely adopted by the Obama administration, is increasingly ineffective and unsustainable. more

As Talks Stall, South Sudan Conflict Grinds to Stalemate

By Lesley Anne Warner
, , Briefing

Seven months after fighting broke out between the government of South Sudan and anti-government forces, the civil war is at a stalemate. Unlike its early days, when cities changed hands multiple times, the status quo has largely held since May. Despite several agreements signed by both sides, negotiations in neighboring Ethiopia have not led to a resolution of the conflict or a way out of the crisis. more

Without Chad, Central African Republic Peace Talks Unlikely to Succeed

By Celeste Hicks
, , Briefing

All sides in Central African Republic’s civil war are looking to a peace conference this week in neighboring Republic of Congo to yield a cease-fire agreement. But major questions linger about what the meeting can actually achieve. It’s unclear if the main rebel group Seleka will even attend, and Chad is not playing a leading role in talks. Any lasting peace in CAR is likely only to succeed with Chad’s support. more

Global Insights

Putin’s South American Trip Hides Russia’s Strategic Weaknesses

By Richard Weitz
, , Column

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to South America this month garnered considerable attention. In the U.S., some saw the trip as a tit-for-tat display of influence in Washington’s strategic backyard. However, it is best to keep Moscow’s machinations in perspective. Russia is presenting a number of challenges to important U.S. global interests, but its activities in South America are not among them. more

Strategic Posture Review: Israel

By Shai Feldman
, , Report

Israel’s threat environment has changed dramatically in recent years, especially when compared to that which Israel faced when its defense doctrine was first articulated and its force structure was first conceived. This report will discuss these changes, identify the new challenges Israel faces, characterize the domestic environment affecting defense allocations and attempt to ascertain the implications of these factors for Israeli strategy. The conclusion will elaborate on the debate now taking place within the country’s defense community about the future doctrine and force structure of the Israel Defense Forces. more

Global Insider

Argentina Looking to Cement Its Role as Nuclear Power

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Argentina signed a nuclear energy deal with Russia last week, the latest step in Argentina’s push to expand its nuclear industry. Irma Arguello, chair of the NPSGlobal Foundation, discussed Argentina’s nuclear energy policy in an email interview. more

Despite U.S. Efforts, Root Causes of Migration Crisis Prevail in Central America

By Michael Allison
, , Briefing

The United States, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are frantically trying to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding on both the U.S. border and in Central America. They have pursued several initiatives to combat violence, strengthen democracy and promote economic opportunity, to stem the sudden increase of young migrants heading north. But such efforts have not delivered their intended benefits. more

Diplomatic Fallout

West Needs New Rules to Contain Proxy Wars With Russia

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

The events of the past week in Ukraine have confirmed three painful facts about the state of international affairs. The first is that the West is trapped in a cycle of proxy wars with Russia, running from Libya through Syria to Ukraine. The second is that there is no real rulebook for managing these conflicts. The third is that these confrontations are liable to escalate with unnerving frequency. more

Why the Republic of Congo Has Sent Tens of Thousands of Migrants Back to DRC

By David Klion
, , Trend Lines

Over 130,000 migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been deported from or otherwise driven out of the neighboring Republic of Congo since April. The U.N. has declared these expulsions “an acute humanitarian crisis.” The deportations have shocked many observers, some of whom attribute the crackdown to the political needs of President Denis Sassou Nguesso, the strong man in Brazzaville. more

With Negotiations Extended, U.S. Ponders Future of Iran Sanctions

By Eric Auner
, , Trend Lines

The extension of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries includes allowing Iran to access $2.8 billion of its restricted assets. That has many in Washington debating the effect of previous sanctions relief and whether threatening or imposing future sanctions would improve the U.S. hand in negotiations. But analysis is mixed over the extent to which this relief has boosted Iran’s economy. more

Turkey’s Schizophrenic Opposition Unlikely to Defeat Erdogan and Unified AKP

By Aaron Stein
, , Briefing

As Turkey prepares for its first direct presidential election, its two main secular opposition parties have jointly nominated Ekmelledin Ihsanoglu, a religious conservative candidate, to run against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the heavy favorite. However, the parties’ political schizophrenia have prevented them from agreeing to a coherent political platform that could unseat the unified AKP. more

The Realist Prism

U.S. Watches From Sidelines as Global Leaders Gather in Brazil

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

The U.S. missed out on a rare geopolitical opportunity this past week. Vice President Joe Biden, who has emerged in Barack Obama’s second term as more of an alter ego for the president on the international stage, should have taken a short trip to Brazil for the World Cup final. Sure, the U.S. team had already been eliminated, but Biden still had good reasons to drop in at the close of the tournament. more

Downing of MH17 in Eastern Ukraine Underscores Risks of Arming Syrian Rebels

By David Klion
, , Trend Lines

In the downing of a Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine, all signs point to a surface-to-air missile launched by rebels who have been armed by Russia. There are sobering lessons here for the U.S. Part of the Obama administration’s hesitation to arm Syrian rebels was the fear that they would be unaccountable. If atrocities or accidents were committed with American weapons, the fallout could be disastrous. more

Global Insider

Diverse Shiite Militias Highlight Iraq Division

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

Since the Sunni militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) took control of Mosul last month, Iraq has also seen an increase in clashes between Shiite militias and Iraqi security forces. In an email interview, Phillip Smyth, a researcher at the University of Maryland, discussed the growing threat of Shiite militias in Iraq. more

Climate Refugee Threat in Tropics Rises, but International Action Lags

By Roxane Horton
, , Briefing

The Tropics will have to deal with increasing numbers of climate refugees as states disappear or become unlivable due to climate change, according to a recent report on the region. More droughts, rising sea levels and flooding could cause large migrations and destabilize fragile states in the region. The warning signs are already there, yet the international community has failed to respond with urgency. more

World Citizen

As U.S. Pivot Stalls, Developments in East Asia Speed Ahead

By Frida Ghitis
, , Column

Washington’s famed “Asia pivot” was postponed or at least slowed by the rash of crises in the Middle East over the past few years. But East Asia is not waiting for the U.S. Major countries in the region are actively jockeying for influence, assertively reassessing relations with their neighbors and generally stirring for what could become a significant realignment of power in the world’s fastest-growing region.

more

Migrant or Refugee? U.N. Joins Tense U.S. Immigration Debate

By Eric Auner
, , Trend Lines

The rapid influx of migrants from Central America, many of them children, into the United States from Mexico has created political and logistical turmoil in Washington. The United Nations and others have pushed for the United States to treat at least some of these children as refugees, given that many are fleeing violence and deprivation back home. That could have a major impact on U.S. immigration policy. more

Regional Security Role Shields Mauritania’s Aziz From Pressure to Reform

By Kal Ben Khalid
, , Briefing

Western governments welcomed the re-election of Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, last month. Yet they should not confuse Aziz, a vital counterterrorism partner, with the entire Mauritanian regime. His power has limits and depends on the backing of the military. Strengthening the military without monitoring delicate internal politics risks destabilizing an important regional security ally. more

The Realist Prism

Israel-Hamas Conflict Locked In by Both Sides’ Strategic Assumptions

By Steven Metz
, , Column

World attention is riveted by the ongoing violence between Israel and Hamas. The desperate enemies continue to pummel each other, seemingly seeking revenge rather than discernible political objectives. Whatever happens during the next few weeks will not be the finale of the two sides’ long conflict or even the beginning of the end. The reason lies with the strategic assumptions that drive the two antagonists. more

Global Insider

West African Ebola Outbreak Shows Difficulty of Coordinating Effective Response

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

An ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa, already the deadliest in the history of the disease, continues to spread, with 964 confirmed cases and 603 deaths. In an email interview, Jeremy Youde, associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota Duluth, discussed the international response to the disease, led by the World Health Organization, in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. more