When South Sudan formally declared its independence from the Republic of Sudan in July 2011, jubilant celebrations in the world’s newest country were almost equally matched by gloomy predictions about a failed state in the making. The past two years have done little to dispel the dire predictions that institutions in the South would not be able to cope with the enormous challenges of building a viable state. While not formally ranked in the 2012 Fund for Peace Failed States Index, the available data suggest that only three countries in the world score worse on indicators of state failure. This […]

In a visit this month to Central America by Chinese President Xi Jinping, China extended a $900 million line of credit to Costa Rica, the only Central American country that recognizes Beijing and not Taipei as the government of China. In an email interview, Cynthia Watson, professor of security at the National War College of National Defense University, explained China’s expanding contacts in Central America, and why most Central American countries maintain diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Her comments are personal analysis, not official U.S. government policy. WPR: What have been China’s recent efforts to expand ties with Central America, and […]

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During a visit to Myanmar late last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe extended new aid to the country and canceled Myanmar’s debt with Japan. In an email interview, Sean Turnell, an associate professor in the economics department at Australia’s Macquarie University specializing in Myanmar, explained the recent trajectory of Japan’s ties with the country. WPR: What has Japan’s approach been to Myanmar over the past decade, and how has that changed since the end of military rule in Myanmar? Sean Turnell: For most of the past decade, Japan’s strategy toward Myanmar has been one of “watching and waiting.” Responding […]