College students enter the main gate of Peking University in Beijing, July 13, 2018 (Photo by Su Weizhong for Imaginechina via AP Images).

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. On Monday, Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations suspended two exchange programs with Beijing-based Renmin University after students there were punished for their labor rights activism. According to the Financial Times, it is the first case in years of a foreign university suspending ties with a Chinese counterpart due to concerns over academic freedom. Renmin students faced various forms of punishment—including surveillance and threats of suspension—after they participated in labor protests this […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, right, and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Oct. 26, 2018 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

The atmosphere during Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s rare visit to China last week, the first by a Japanese leader since 2011, was loaded with historical meaning. Oct. 23, two days before Abe arrived in Beijing, was the 40th anniversary of the two countries’ Treaty of Peace and Friendship coming into effect. That agreement formally ended their state of war. The anniversary has now become a convenient touchstone for two countries seeking to normalize relations following a multi-year chill, mainly over disputed islands in the East China Sea and sensitive historical issues. And in the 1970s, as in 2018, it was […]

Protesters against the law on associations and non-governmental organizations march towards the National Assembly, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, July 13, 2015 (AP photo by Heng Sinith).

International NGOs can promote global policies that have far-reaching benefits. But will a growing political backlash limit their effectiveness? Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are an essential feature of global governance, participating in international summits and institutions as stakeholders and watchdogs. Yet, as fashionable as it is to assert the importance of these organizations in world politics, there isn’t anything new about the influence of NGOs. The International Committee of the Red Cross lobbied major governments to adopt the first Geneva Convention in 1864, leading to the development of international humanitarian law. And contrary to popular belief, the origins of the Internet […]

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, center, and Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, second right, attend the Future Investment Initiative conference, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Criticism of Saudi Arabia is easy to come by these days. As the kingdom has struggled to get its story straight on the killing earlier this month of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Riyadh has encountered a chorus of condemnation from Berlin, Brussels, London, Ottawa and many voices in Washington. Even U.S. President Donald Trump seemed to turn on his Saudi allies this week, referring to their shifting statements on the murder as “the worst cover-up ever.” From Africa, however, the […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, right, during the Uzbekistan-Russia Interregional Cooperation Forum, Toshkent, Uzbekistan, Oct. 19, 2018 (Photo by Aleksey Nikolskyi for Sputnik via AP Images).

On Oct. 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Uzbekistan for the first meeting of the newly established Uzbekistan-Russia Interregional Cooperation Forum. Putin attended the symbolic groundbreaking ceremony of a new $11 billion nuclear power plant, signing investment deals totaling $25 billion, mostly in the energy sector. The visit was a clear illustration of how significantly Uzbekistan has changed since the death in August 2016 of Islam Karimov, the country’s first post-Soviet president who ruled for 27 years. Under Karimov, Uzbekistan pursued a path of outward isolation and inward repression. His successor, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has slowly opened Uzbekistan up […]

U.S. Lt. Col. William Clark, second from left, talks with Gen. Abdul Raziq, a police commander in southern Afghanistan, on the outskirts of Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, Aug. 7, 2009 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

In one fell swoop last Thursday, a gunman eliminated two of the most powerful officials in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province and critically injured a third. The Taliban quickly claimed credit for the attack, which killed Gen. Abdul Raziq, who held the title of provincial police commander but was in reality a prominent 39-year-old warlord in an official uniform. In the past decade, the Taliban’s insurgency has grown to cover all corners of the country, swarming the non-Pashtun northern crescent and pushing to reclaim southern Afghanistan. The Taliban has made gains in Helmand and Uruzgan provinces, with advances more recently into neighboring […]

Migrants wait to be transported to a police station after being rescued in the Strait of Gibraltar, Algeciras, Spain, June 26, 2018 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

Roughly 300 people will wade into the shallow water off the coast of Libya today, moving under the cover of night and according to the shouted instructions of their smugglers. Most will have come from sub-Saharan nations like Nigeria and Eritrea, having traveled for months along a route plagued by armed gangs and predatory police for the opportunity to climb into a rubber raft and float toward a future in Europe and beyond. In 2016 and 2017, nearly 8,000 migrants drowned while attempting this dangerous Mediterranean crossing. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly late last month, U.S. […]

Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa rides on an open car during an anti-government protest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sept. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

Thousands of Sri Lankan demonstrators marched in the capital, Colombo, last month, protesting poor economic conditions and the government’s decision to delay local elections. The protests were led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose return to political prominence poses a major threat to the ruling United National Front coalition, or UNF. In an interview with WPR, Stanley Samarasinghe, a professor at Tulane University who writes extensively on the poltical economy of Sri Lanka, discusses the widespread discontent with the government and what might be in store for Sri Lanka’s political future. World Politics Review: What are the main political issues […]

Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., greets South Sudanese officials on her arrival in Juba, South Sudan, Oct.25, 2017 (AP photo. )

Will the next American ambassador to the United Nations know anything about Africa? The U.N. is embroiled in crises from the Middle East to North Korea. But roughly half of the Security Council’s resolutions and statements focus on African issues, and 80 percent of U.N. peacekeepers are deployed on the continent. Any ambassador to the U.N. should, therefore, have at least a passing interest in Africa. Both of the Obama administration’s representatives in New York, Susan Rice and Samantha Power, were established authorities on African affairs. Rice devoted a good part of her time at the U.N. to facilitating South […]

Liberia’s President George Weah addresses the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit in the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 24, 2018 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

In Liberia, one of the surest signs that a news story has captured the attention of the general public is when someone starts singing about it on the radio. In August 2014, the Auto-Tune-heavy hit “Ebola in Town,” by Samuel “Shadow” Morgan and Edwin “D-12” Tweh, caught fire right around the time the World Health Organization began describing the West African epidemic as an international emergency. During the most recent presidential campaigns, in 2011 and 2017, the candidates’ catchiest theme songs saturated the airwaves as Election Day approached. Recently, to the consternation of President George Weah, a new topical jam […]

A portion of President Donald Trump’s first proposed budget, focusing on the Department of State, USAID and Treasury International Programs, Washington, March 15, 2017 (AP photo by Jon Elswick).

As American power wanes in absolute and relative terms, the earnest officials who have designed and led U.S. foreign assistance programs are working hard to sustain and even strengthen this key component of America’s international engagement. It’s a daunting task, given the pressures to reduce funding, stop nation-building and comply with a commander-in-chief who devalues their work and has cut across the bow to eliminate categories of countries where needs and U.S. interests may be greatest. In June, officials from the Defense and State Departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, released their first-ever interagency Stabilization Assistance […]

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, New York, Sept. 25, 2018 (Photo by Anthony Behar for Sipa USA via AP).

Was Donald Trump nasty or nice at the United Nations last week? The answer may depend on whether you listened to his comments from Beijing or Tehran. Diplomatic observers expected the American president to look tough at the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. Many predicted that he would strike an especially aggressive tone toward Iran. He didn’t disappoint them, using his U.N. appearance to celebrate his withdrawal from the “horrible” Iranian nuclear deal and attack Tehran’s “agenda of aggression and expansion” in the Middle East. Yet there was something formulaic about his rhetoric, and he made no startlingly […]

Haiti’s new Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant, left, poses for a picture with Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise during his ratification ceremony at the national palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sept. 17, 2018 (AP photo by Dieu Nalio Chery).

Months after deadly riots in Port-au-Prince forced the resignation of Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant, a new government is finally in place. But newly sworn-in Prime Minister Henry Ceant faces a slew of roadblocks, including a major corruption scandal and a yawning budget deficit. Ceant also lacks previous administrative experience and is viewed with suspicion by much of the Haitian political elite. In an email interview with WPR, Francois Pierre-Louis, a former Haitian government official who is now a professor of political science at Queens College, the City University of New York, explains why the new government in Port-au-Prince […]