Editor’s note: This article is the first in a new series on food security around the world. One year has passed since the most recent wave of Rohingya refugees streamed into Bangladesh, fleeing a brutal and indiscriminate security crackdown in their home state of Rakhine, in western Myanmar. On Monday, a United Nations commission recommended the investigation and prosecution of senior leaders in Myanmar’s security forces for “the gravest crimes under international law.” Almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees now reside in a network of camps in southern Bangladesh, largely reliant on external assistance for their basic daily needs. Food insecurity is […]
Aid and Development Archive
Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. Journalists in Belarus have experienced a wave of harassment, intimidation and criminal prosecution from state authorities in recent months. The crackdown has been severe even by the standards of a country that is routinely cited by watchdogs as one of the worst violators of press freedoms. Conditions are only expected to worsen as new restrictions on web-based communication come into effect later this year. In an email interview with WPR, Andrei Bastunets, chair of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, […]
How America’s Two-Track Foreign Policy Under Trump Is Playing Out in South America
America’s foreign policy under President Donald Trump can be confusing. That is true in Latin America just as it is in Russia, Asia or Europe. One moment the president boasts of his great relationship with Russia; days later the U.S. imposes new sanctions. One day Trump heaps praise on North Korea’s leader; days later Pyongyang accuses the U.S. government of behaving like the mafia. The explanation, as I’ve written, is that America today has two foreign policy tracks, often contradictory and at times in conflict with each other. One is Trump’s, the other is the rest of the government’s. That […]
Trump’s ‘Deal of the Century’ Will Doom Peace Between Israelis and Palestinians
Despite repeatedly announcing his intention to present a bold, sweeping plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to keep everyone waiting. If he ever does present his plan, it is set to backfire, for several reasons. For one thing, the Trump administration has been shunned by Palestinians since it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December. Palestinians were angered by the move, arguing that the U.S. government violated its role as mediator and sponsor of the peace process by adopting Israel’s position on Jerusalem. Palestinian leaders have taken the unprecedented step of halting all […]
Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR’s newsletter and engagement editor, Benjamin Wilhelm, curates the top news and analysis from China written by the experts who follow it. A new chapter in the trade war between the United States and China begins today as officials from both sides meet in Washington, though analysts have low expectations for the talks. In light of President Donald Trump’s relentless tariff threats and reported grumblings in China over how Beijing has responded, where does the situation stand 48 days into the trade war? Press reports indicate that Chinese leaders have reframed their outlook on Trump’s tariffs, […]
Kofi Annan’s career was inextricably entangled with power politics. The former United Nations secretary-general, who died on Saturday, spent decades grappling with tensions between the organization’s members over crises from the Balkans to Syria. At times, he managed the turbulence masterfully. At others, he had little or no control over events. Win or lose, Annan occupied a very rare place in the international political firmament as a mediator able to parlay with the biggest powers. There have already been many tributes to Annan, emphasizing his commitment to a better world and his personal charisma. He will almost certainly rank as […]
Is Duterte’s Green Light for Autonomy in the Southern Philippines a Path to Peace?
On July 26, President Rodrigo Duterte signed a law paving the way for the long-awaited creation of a new self-governing region encompassing Muslim-majority areas on the Philippines’ conflict-wracked southern island of Mindanao. Known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law, it had been fiercely debated by lawmakers and rebel leaders amid political wrangling and ongoing violence. It aims to end a bloody separatist conflict that began in the early 1970s and has claimed thousands of civilian lives. The bill’s passage is the culmination of four years of talks between the government and the 30,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has been fighting […]
AMSTERDAM—Just as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fulminates against the United States again, blaming Washington for his country’s worsening economic troubles, a small controversy has erupted in the Netherlands over Turkish influence in the country. It came to light earlier this week that Turkey is planning to fund special Dutch schools to teach residents of Turkish origin about their heritage. The idea has sparked alarm among some Dutch politicians and their followers on both the left and the right, who worry about what, exactly, Erdogan’s government intends to teach in these schools, which would operate on weekends across the Netherlands. […]
After Zimbabwe’s elections late last month, the first without Robert Mugabe on the ballot, it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite pre-poll speculation that the vote might usher in an era of change and renewal after 38 years under the ruling ZANU-PF party—and two decades of steep political and economic decline—a new dawn stubbornly failed to arrive. Zimbabwe has a largely unchanged political landscape, still dominated by ZANU-PF. Emmerson Mnangagwa retained the presidency with 50.8 percent of the vote over Nelson Chamisa of the opposition MDC Alliance, who got 44.3 percent. ZANU-PF has […]
Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR’s newsletter and engagement editor, Benjamin Wilhelm, curates the top news and analysis from China written by the experts who follow it. The repression of China’s Uighur ethnic minority has been Beijing’s worst-kept secret for years. There have been plenty of reports of crackdowns in the Xinjiang region of northwestern China, with this 2012 briefing from WPR just one example. More recently, details of an emerging surveillance state in Xinjiang have been filling Western media outlets. But despite the available information, China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims has largely remained off the international agenda. It remains to […]
While the U.S.-China trade war has been getting the headlines, investors from China are running into resistance in countries around the world, including the United States. Typically, governments welcome foreign investment, especially local governments, as a mechanism to create—or save—jobs, reinvigorate their economies and gain access to new technologies. Growing investment outflows from China, however, are pushing some national governments to take a more skeptical look at Chinese money. In a measure aimed primarily at China, Congress strengthened the ability of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, to review and block transactions that might […]
No stranger to political controversy, the International Monetary Fund may soon find itself embroiled in one that pits China’s interests against those of the United States. Beijing’s hugely ambitious international development project, known as the Belt and Road Initiative, is raising fears of debt crises in the developing world, and the IMF may be called in to clean up the mess. The U.S. is poised to oppose any IMF deal providing funds that would ultimately go to pay off Belt and Road-related tabs. How the IMF handles this situation could give clues about how the institution will deal with competing […]
With the 10th anniversary of the Global Financial Crisis just around the corner, the media will spend much of the rest of 2018 rehashing the story of the 2008 economic meltdown and its implications for the world today. There will be a surge of opinion pieces pegged to the demise of Lehman Brothers, the pivotal moment in the crisis, in the middle of September. Analysts will chart the near collapse of the global economy and speculate about how this paved the way for the rise of Donald Trump, Brexit and a grab-bag of other global ills. Fewer pundits will emphasize […]
U.S. Policy on Egypt Is a Vestige of a Bygone Era, but Will It Ever Change?
“Over whatever number of years we have put about $80 billion into Egypt. Most of the time, this is the kind of government they had—almost all of the time. And the reality is, no matter how much I wish it was different, it ain’t going to be different tomorrow.” These words, spoken by former Secretary of State John Kerry to The New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick, are unfortunately all too accurate. Egypt is in the depths of a resurgent authoritarianism that has thoroughly crushed any possibility for political opening or reform, no matter how incremental. Kerry was correct in his […]
Are ‘Whisperings’ in China the Beginning of a Backlash Against the Cult of Xi?
Editor’s Note: China Note is WPR’s new China newsletter. Every week, WPR’s newsletter and engagement editor, Benjamin Wilhelm, curates the top news and analysis from China written by the experts who follow it. In China, anyone who strays from the Communist Party line assumes a precarious position. Take rights activist and retired economics professor Sun Wenguang. Last Wednesday, the noted critic of the Chinese government appeared on Issues & Opinions, a Mandarin-language program for Voice of America, to do a telephone interview. His segment, however, featured several surprise guests when Chinese security officials broke into Sun’s house in Jinan, in […]
Judging from the political priorities in Berlin, Rome or any other European capital these days, you’d think that migration control and border management are the only important issues facing policymakers. Everywhere you look, more and more policy tools are being used to “fight” or solve problems related to migration, with some repurposed for the task. The same has been true for the European Union in recent years. In Brussels, this trend can be traced back to the summer of 2016, when the EU published its updated doctrine for defense and security policy, called the European Union Global Strategy. The doctrine […]
Ending wars means working with bad people. You cannot forge a cease-fire or hammer out a peace deal without talking to leaders who are directly responsible for death and brutality. Some of these leaders may be genuinely honorable individuals. A lot won’t be. This is a hard truth that professional peacemakers admit in private but tend to avoid mentioning in public. Analysts and officials working on conflict resolution have developed a blandly bloodless technical vocabulary for discussing their field. Political agreements should be “locally owned.” Peace should be “sustainable.” Peace operations should be “people-centered,” and so on. Every profession has […]