Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Aug. 25, 2014 (AP photo by Diego Azubel).

Chinese investment and engagement now touches almost every aspect of Africa’s economy, including infrastructure, transport and logistics, trade, manufacture, agriculture, telecommunications and, of course, resource extraction. Because of the vastness of this engagement, commentators frequently fall back on catchall concepts, including an assumption that Africa is essentially passive in this relationship. The reality is much more complicated. Instead of simply imposing Chinese approaches on African realities, Chinese actors frequently try to attain their goals by partially adapting to specific African systems, with varying degrees of success. This article provides examples of this process by looking at China’s relationships with three […]

Displaced South Sudanese women leave a makeshift camp in the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) base in the town of Bentiu, South Sudan, Sept. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Matthew Abbott).

JUBA, South Sudan—South Sudan is in crisis. Following the outbreak of a civil war almost a year ago, the country has been devastated by widespread violence that is both politically and ethnically motivated. The international community’s ability to stop the violence rests in large part on the shoulders of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), a peacekeeping operation with a mandate to use force to protect civilians. In order to protect people under the threat of violence, UNMISS needs to be perceived as neutral so that it does not become a target itself. The stakes could not be […]

Smoke rises from burning garbage as an Indian woman looks for recyclable material at a dumping site on the outskirts of Gauhati, India, Nov. 14, 2014 (AP photo by Anupam Nath).

The United States and China surprised other G-20 members when they announced a new agreement last week on curbing greenhouse gas emissions just a few days prior to the group’s summit in Australia. But the G-20 member who perhaps noted this development more than others is India, currently the world’s fourth-largest greenhouse gas emitter. India was taken off guard by what amounts to China’s first step back from its previous ironclad refusal to make any binding commitments on limiting overall emissions. New Delhi is now preparing to fend off greater pressure directed its way to make similar pledges in the […]

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Myanmar President Thein Sein, Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Nov. 13, 2014 (AP photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe).

Yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Myanmar, where he will attend the East Asia Summit and the U.S.-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit as well as meet with national leaders. The visit comes less than two years after Obama’s first to the Southeast Asian nation, which was also the first ever by a sitting U.S. president. Obama’s 2012 Myanmar trip was “a symbolic visit to reinforce the message that reform needs to be consolidated. It is a mark of appreciation, a reward if you like, and at the same time it is a measure to press for further […]

Moroccan King Mohammed VI waves to the crowd as he stands in a limousine during a ceremony of allegiance, at the king’s palace in Rabat, Morocco, July 31, 2014 (AP photo by Abdeljalil Bounhar).

Last week, Morocco announced that it would increase intelligence and military support to the United Arab Emirates, ramping up its involvement in the coalition against the so-called Islamic State (IS). This should come as no surprise, as Morocco has been the target of threats by IS, and is also keen to maintain its position as a reliable Arab partner and funding recipient for the United States and Gulf powers against terrorism. Morocco is technically part of the 60-nation U.S.-led coalition against IS, but is listed with the likes of Tunisia, Portugal, Mexico and others as having an unspecified commitment. Beyond […]

Supporters of the Alliance of Independent Social Democrats (SNSD) attend the party's final pre-election rally in western Bosnian town of Banja Luka, Oct. 8, 2014 (AP photo by Radivoje Pavicic).

Almost a month after its general elections, with negotiations intensifying over potential ruling coalitions, Bosnia is confronted with two possible scenarios. If the political will for compromise prevails, the election results could enable the relatively swift establishment of stable governments at both the national and local levels. But if Bosnia’s irresponsible, hard-line and self-serving “politics as usual” lead to new deadlocks and delays in forming governments at the different administrative levels, it could further damage Bosnia’s already weak economic and social base and stoke new ethnic and social tensions. Which scenario emerges in the coming weeks and months will also […]