Domestic Politics Articles

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

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

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 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

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

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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World Citizen

In Israel, Pragmatism Could Trump Ideology After the Fighting

By Frida Ghitis
, , Column

The domestic political repercussions of a military conflict don’t become clear until the fighting stops. But political tremors don’t wait for a cease-fire. In Israel, the current confrontation with Hamas has fractured a major political alliance and caused one high-level personnel change. But so far there is no indication that Israel’s political landscape will be dramatically transformed by the conflict. more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Insights

For Afghanistan Election, After Kerry Deal Comes the Hard Part

By Richard Weitz
, , Column

John Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy paved the way to resolving Afghanistan’s current election crisis, while helping to establish a potential framework to address its more-enduring problems. In so doing, Kerry’s effort fortified Afghanistan’s ability to overcome future political challenges with less U.S. intervention. Despite the successful deal-making, however, Afghanistan continues to face major challenges. more

China's Post-Mao Generation Still a Political Wild Card

By Teresa Wright
, , Feature

In some respects, the political attitudes and behavior of China’s post-Mao generation diverge from those of their predecessors. They are more skeptical about China’s current political system, more supportive of liberal democratic ideals and more likely to engage in contentious collective actions. Yet in many other ways, their attitudes and behavior parallel those of older Chinese: They generally accept, and to a surprising degree even support, the political status quo led by the Chinese Communist Party. more

China’s Post-1980s Generation, Between the Nation and the World

By Stanley Rosen
, , Feature

China’s post-1980s generation—around 240 million people born between 1980 and 1990—has received greater media coverage in China than any previous generation; moreover, assessments of this generation have varied widely. Often called the “me generation,” they have also received high praise for their selflessness and altruism. Such a diversity of perceptions is not surprising since this generation clearly holds values that are far more contradictory than earlier generations. more