Diplomacy and Politics Articles

World Citizen: In India Election, Both Gandhi, Modi Weighed Down by Past

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

The sheer magnitude of the elections taking place in India make them historic and worthy of international attention. But even if the contest had more familiar proportions it would still constitute a major event in world affairs. The choice of India’s next leader is sending nervous chills down some people’s spines. The next government in New Delhi will have the power to shake up the world’s largest democracy. more

Marked by Strong Opposition, India’s Election Brings No Guarantee of Change

By Prashanth Parameswaran
, on , Briefing

Over the next few weeks, more than 800 million Indians will vote in a general election in the world’s largest democracy. Early signs are that opposition candidate Narendra Modi will beat the ruling Congress party’s Rahul Gandhi. While this is testament to Congress’ poor performance during its decade in power, the election outcome—whatever that may be—could in fact bring more continuity than change for India. more

Modi Win in India Could Endanger Nepal’s Secular Transition

By Vishal Arora
, on , Briefing

Nepal is keenly watching India’s ongoing parliamentary elections, where the presumed victory of Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi is raising questions about the future of the Himalayan nation’s transition from a Hindu monarchy to a secular democracy. With opinion polls pointing to a BJP victory in India, royalist parties in Nepal could find regional support for their calls to return Nepal to its Hindu identity. more

Syrian Chemical Weapons Destruction Proceeding Slowly

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

One of the Obama administration’s biggest foreign policy gambles, the agreement to rid Syria of its chemical weapons in the midst of that country’s civil war, is behind schedule but still making progress. Despite tensions over Ukraine and the outcome of the Syrian civil war itself, the United States, Russia and others appear to be maintaining cooperation on the issue. more

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

By Michael Allison, Christine Wade
, on , Briefing

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

Expanded Military Ties With China May Be of Limited Utility for U.S.

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

On a 10-day trip through Asia, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel sought to build military ties with allies and partners involved in the U.S. rebalance to the region. He also reached out to China, the presumptive main U.S. competitor in the region, and announced the need for a “new model” of military-to-military relations between the two nations. more

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

By Roxane Horton
, on , Briefing

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

Turkey’s Rule of Law Eroding as Erdogan, Courts Clash

By Maria Savel
, on , Trend Lines

At a parliamentary group meeting today, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed his country’s courts for acting as part of a parallel state undermining his government. With the dispute showing no signs of flagging, WPR spoke with Michael Koplow, a Turkey analyst who blogs at Ottomans and Zionists, via email to review the latest developments and what they mean for the rule of law in Turkey. more

Pressure Mounts as Deadline for EU-Africa Trade Talks Looms

By Stephen R. Hurt
, on , Briefing

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

Full-Spectrum Diplomacy: Restoring Trust in CIA Key After Senate Torture Report

By Heather Hurlburt
, on , Column

Of all the choices America made and all the things that went wrong in the years after 9/11, Americans have been more united in wanting to close the book on torture than on anything else—both in wanting it stopped, but also in wanting it forgotten. The Obama administration has done its best to oblige on both counts. It turns out, however, that torture has a hold on the imagination that doesn’t go away so easily. more

Global Insider: Iran-Pakistan Border a Major Concern in Bilateral Relationship

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

This month, four Iranian border guards were freed two months after being kidnapped and allegedly taken into Pakistan by an Iran-based Sunni militant group. In an email interview, Isaac Kfir, a senior researcher at Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism and a visiting assistant professor of law and international relations, explained the state of Iran-Pakistan relations. more

The Realist Prism: West’s Tactical Blunders on Ukraine Go Unquestioned

By Nikolas Gvosdev
, on , Column

A Communist Party deputy who was attacked earlier this week as he addressed Ukraine’s parliament raised some uncomfortable points that Western policymakers need to consider about their response to the crisis in Ukraine. By driving Ukraine’s elected president out of office, protesters created the conditions for other aggrieved parties in Ukraine—and Russia—to use similar tactics to advance their own interests. more

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

By James Andrew Lewis
, on , Briefing

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
, on , Briefing

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

Appearance of Partisan Tensions Masks Broad Agreement on Missile Defense

By Eric Auner
, on , Trend Lines

Russian actions in Ukraine have injected new urgency, and partisan vitriol, into the debate over U.S. plans to deploy ballistic missile defense systems in Europe. But beneath the surface, many of the most fundamental issues relating to U.S. missile defense plans seem to be politically uncontroversial, even as technical experts continue to question whether U.S. systems will actually perform as designed. more

U.S. Struggles to Build Coherent Response to Ugandan Anti-Gay Law

By Matt Peterson
, on , Trend Lines

A panel discussion on Thursday organized by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at the NYU School of Law discussed options for U.S. policy toward Uganda, after relations were ruffled by a new Ugandan law signed in February that imposes harsh legal penalties, including life sentences, for homosexual acts. The question is whether the Obama administration can produce an effective response to the new law. more

World Citizen: For Israel-Palestine, a Weak Peace Process is Better Than None

By Frida Ghitis
, on , Column

From the start of John Kerry’s push for a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for success were dim. Kerry declared confidently he expected a comprehensive deal within nine months. Everyone else responded to his optimism with little more than a benign smile. Eight months later, what the parties have reached instead of an agreement is a deep impasse. The inevitable question arises: What’s next? more

Global Insider: With Air Force Arrests, Venezuela’s Maduro Puts Focus on Civil-Military Relations

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

Late last month, Venezuela’s government arrested three generals of the country’s air force, accusing them of plotting a coup. In an email interview, Harold Trinkunas, senior fellow and director of the Latin America Initiative in the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy program, explained the state of Venezuela’s civil-military relations. more

Global Insider: Cooperation with Pacific Island Countries Fundamental to Australian Maritime Security Strategy

By The Editors
, on , Trend Lines

Australia has provided ships to the international search effort for missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which is taking place in part in Australia’s vast maritime domain. In an email interview, Sam Bateman, professorial research fellow at the Australian National Center for Ocean Resources at the University of Wollongong in Australia and senior fellow in the Maritime Security Programme at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, explained how Australia secures these waters. more

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

By Ken Gude
, on , Briefing

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

Global Insights: With Election, Afghanistan Strengthens Democratic Credentials

By Richard Weitz
, on , Column

The first round of Afghanistan's presidential election saw the country's political institutions perform much better than during the 2009 ballot, while the Afghan National Security Forces provided a relatively safe and secure electoral environment. The winners may not be clear until May, and a second round is likely. But already the results offer hope for Afghanistan's status as a functioning democracy. more