Diplomacy and Politics Articles

Mexico’s Scaled-Backed Gendarmerie Force No Security Panacea

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto entered office promising to introduce a new 40,000-member police force called the Gendarmeria. However, the force has since been downgraded to a less ambitious 5,000-member unit. Instead of working to build a new heavy-duty force, Mexico is now trying to recalibrate its existing security programs and improve security coordination between federal, state and local government. more

The Realist Prism

Syria, Ukraine May Force Obama to Learn to Love Coalitions of the Willing

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

Democrats often mocked the George W. Bush administration's invocation of "coalitions of the willing" to legitimize U.S. action abroad. Once back in power, they argued, Democrats would be able to generate genuine multilateral support to back U.S. initiatives. Although the Obama administration initially seemed to fulfill those predictions, two crises now threaten to derail the Obama approach to multilateralism. more

Indonesia’s Jokowi Must Balance Between Non-Alignment and U.S. Overtures

By Eric Auner
, , Trend Lines

Last week, Joko Widodo was declared the winner of Indonesia’s presidential election over Prabowo Subianto, a former general. Although Indonesia is officially a non-aligned country, it has shown a willingness to engage with the United States, which welcomed Widodo’s election. Washington wants to strengthen U.S. ties with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Indonesia is a key member. more

World Citizen

In South Korea, Ferry Disaster Still Claiming Victims

By Frida Ghitis
, , Column

Last week, South Korea marked 100 days since the ferry disaster that left 304 people dead, most of them young high school students. The sinking of the Sewol, as the ship was named, has grown into much more than a heartbreaking tragedy. It has become a landmark event in the country’s history. More than anything, the Sewol has transformed the relationship between South Korean citizens and their government. more

Cambodia Power-Sharing Deal Could Usher In Wider Democratic Reform

By Kheang Un
, , Briefing

Last week, Cambodia’s ruling and opposition parties agreed to a power-sharing deal, ending a political crisis dating back to last year’s elections. The standoff included an opposition boycott of parliament and mass protests that recently culminated in violent clashes and the arrest of seven opposition lawmakers-elect. Although uncertainty remains, the deal could help move Cambodia toward a more meaningful democracy. more

EU Carving Out Its Role in Asia: An Interview With Dr. Javier Solana

By Maria Savel
, , Trend Lines

World Politics Review’s Maria Savel had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Javier Solana regarding the European Union’s relations with China, ASEAN and Asia as a whole. Dr. Solana is president of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics and previously served as the European Union high representative for the common foreign and security policy, NATO secretary-general and Spanish foreign minister. The following is a condensed version of their conversation. more

New Agenda Reflects Growing Energy Role for Lusophone Bloc

By Francisco Galamas
, , Briefing

Last week, the 10th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, held in East Timor, accepted a new member: Equatorial Guinea, the third-largest oil exporter in sub-Saharan Africa. With Equatorial Guinea, the CPLP is collectively now the fourth-largest oil exporter in the world, demonstrating its shifting focus from political and cultural issues to economic ones. more

Strategic Horizons

Rethinking War Colleges and the Education of U.S. Military Leaders

By Steven Metz
, , Column

Recent reports that Sen. David Walsh may have committed plagiarism while a student at the U.S. Army War College brought unaccustomed attention to the military's senior schools. Discussion of the issue showed that despite the long history of America's war colleges, they are not widely understood. It also suggested that there is a need for wider debate on how the United States educates its senior military leaders. more

Global Insider

U.N. Resolution Unlikely to Lead to Better Aid Distribution in Syria

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

In mid-July, the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to allow humanitarian aid delivery to Syrians in rebel-held areas without Syrian government consent, through four border crossings from Turkey, Iraq and Jordan. In an email interview, Dr. Hannah Vaughan-Lee, a humanitarian practitioner and academic, discussed the challenges ahead for the cross-border aid operation. more

The Challenge of Protecting Civilian Health in War

By David P. Fidler
, , Feature

For human health, war is hell. Armed conflicts kill, injure and traumatize people; wreck health infrastructure and services; and expose populations to diseases. Powerful ideas and beliefs inform the responses to health crises spawned by war, but they are challenged by the realities in armed conflict. These challenges do not negate the imperative to protect health during armed conflict, but they reveal complexities in the war-health relationship that deserve exploration.

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Safeguarding Cultural Heritage in Times of War

By Craig Forrest
, , Feature

How far have we come in protecting cultural heritage from the devastating effects of war? Over the past century, surprisingly far, and at the same time not quite far enough. International law to protect cultural heritage has developed reactively, responding to conflict and destruction after the fact in the hope that it will not be repeated. An understanding of this law, its strengths and its shortcomings, requires its contextualization within the conflicts of the past century. more

Bahrain’s Ongoing Political Impasse Imperils U.S. Interests

By Kristian Coates Ulrichsen
, , Briefing

The fallout from Bahrain’s expulsion of a senior U.S. diplomat illustrates the continuing political impasse in this deeply polarized Persian Gulf ally. While the danger to the ruling Al Khalifa family posed by the 2011 uprising has passed, positions on all sides have hardened, with little prospect of any political settlement to Bahrain’s deep-rooted inequalities. That has three troubling implications for the U.S. more

Global Insights

China Advances on Missile Defense, With Eye on Dissuading Rivals

By Richard Weitz
, , Column

On July 23, China conducted its third declared ballistic missile defense test in the past four years, with the Ministry of Defense announcing afterward that the test “achieved the desired objectives.” But it would be premature to conclude that Beijing now embraces BMD. Instead, the recent tests are designed primarily to overcome adversary missile defenses as well as to develop China’s anti-satellite systems. more

An Integrated Approach to Conflict and the Environment

By Talia Hagerty, Jurgen Brauer
, , Feature

For the better part of their existence, the global anti-war and the environmentalist movements have typically lived side by side, each pursuing noble but separate aims. Today, however, a new trend has become apparent: the mutually reinforcing interaction between human violence and planetary change. No longer can peace and the environment be seen as separate issues. Consequently, no longer can the two movements merely work side by side; they must work as one. more

Anti-Semitic Violence in France Part of Broader Political Unraveling

By Judah Grunstein
, , Trend Lines

The recent attacks against synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses on the margins of pro-Palestinian demonstrations in France have shocked many, despite being only the latest in a string of anti-Semitic incidents and violence in the country over the past few years. But to focus only on the anti-Semitic nature of the violence is to make the mistake of paying attention only to the tip of the iceberg. more

In Need of Investment, Peru Rolls Back Environmental Standards

By Paul Shortell
, , Briefing

President Ollanta Humala recently unveiled reforms intended to stabilize Peru’s slowing economy and shore up investor confidence. Controversially, the new laws will roll back pollution standards and fast-track environmental licensing for new energy and mining projects. Such deregulation threatens to reverse positive environmental protections and will not alleviate broader challenges facing Peru’s economy. more

Diplomatic Fallout

Lacking Security Strategy, EU Counts on Nearby Crises to Absorb Threats

By Richard Gowan
, , Column

The EU’s security may actually benefit from ongoing crises in cases such as Ukraine, Mali and even Syria. The longer these conflicts absorb the efforts of potential foes, the less likely they are to menace the EU directly. EU members have no appetite to get involved in these wars, leading critics to grumble that it refuses to fight for its interests. But it may be in its interests to let others keep fighting. more

Global Insider

Election Loss by Senegal’s Ruling Party Signals Dissatisfaction With Rate of Change

By The Editors
, , Trend Lines

In early July, Senegalese President Macky Sall named his third prime minister after his ruling Alliance for the Republic party lost last month’s local elections. In an email interview, Paul Melly, associate fellow in the Africa Program at Chatham House, discussed Senegalese politics, the party’s future and the effectiveness of Sall’s reform program. more

The Realist Prism

On Iran and Russia, Obama Gambling for More Time

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, , Column

Though it is axiomatic that almost any foreign policy action taken by President Barack Obama will be reflexively criticized by the Republican opposition, in recent months congressional Democrats have been more willing to publicly voice critiques of the president’s performance. But Obama appears to be willing to swallow his pride and suffer domestic political attacks if it buys him time and maneuvering room.

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International Law Solutions Fall Short for Israelis, Palestinians in Gaza Conflict

By Lolita Brayman
, , Briefing

As the death toll in Gaza rises, legal definitions of what is permissible in war have been bitterly contested. International law defines war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute, but in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the classifications are difficult to apply. Through the grey areas of international law, both sides have found new ways to blame each other. more

U.S. Aims to Boost India, Asia Ties with Malabar Naval Exercise

By Eric Auner
, , Trend Lines

Yesterday India and the U.S. kicked off the 2014 Malabar naval exercise, the latest in a series of joint exercises going back over two decades, with Japan participating as well. This serves as an opportunity for the U.S. to demonstrate its commitment to naval engagement in the region, to reassure nervous allies in the face of an expansionist China and to refocus the U.S.-India relationship, which is widely seen as off track. more