A poster for the Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei on a high-rise building in Warsaw, Poland, May 23, 2018 (Photo by Natalie Skrzypczak for dpa via AP Images).

The high-profile arrests last month of a former Polish intelligence official and a Huawei executive in Poland have stoked an ongoing policy debate in Warsaw over how to calibrate its relationship with China. The 16+1 framework, which Beijing introduced in 2012 to promote engagement with Central and Eastern Europe, raised expectations among Polish officials for increased Chinese investment and trade ties. But those hopes have been slow to materialize, and in the meantime, national security concerns, primarily over espionage and Beijing’s long-term goals in the region, have grown. In an interview with WPR, Patrycja Pendrakowska, president of the board at […]

Chinese students listen to a speech at Chongqing University, Dec. 20, 2007 (Photo by Andrew Parsons for Press Association via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Two incidents at Canadian universities earlier this month have renewed concerns that Chinese students based overseas are being used as tools in Beijing’s soft-power influence campaign. On Feb. 11, a group of Chinese students at McMaster University in Ontario documented an on-campus presentation about China’s mass internment of Uighurs and reported it to the Chinese Consulate in Toronto. The presentation was given by Uighur-Canadian activist Rukiye Turdush, who later said a Chinese student “ostentatiously recorded the entire presentation” and […]

A woman works in a weaving factory in Jinjiang, in southeast China’s Fujian province, Nov. 22, 2018 (Chinatopix photo via AP Images).

The World Trade Organization now has more than 160 members, ranging from the United States to tiny Burundi, the poorest country in the world, according to the World Bank. Afghanistan and Liberia are the WTO’s newest members, joining in 2016, and they are similarly poor and underdeveloped. Under WTO rules, developing countries receive “special and differential treatment” in recognition of their higher levels of poverty and lower levels of capacity to implement certain trade obligations. Yet the WTO has no objective criteria that define the difference between “developed” and “developing” member states. Rather, countries can “self-declare” as a developing country, […]

Peacekeepers from the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in Bentiu, South Sudan, June 18, 2017 (AP photo by Sam Mednick).

Did the U.N. Security Council squander a chance to strengthen peacekeeping in December? 2018 was meant to be a big year for intergovernmental talks on how to improve U.N. operations. Yet Russia and the U.S. joined forces to torpedo a council resolution on potential reforms as the year ended. Why? Technical issues like reforming peace operations might already appear less pressing, given the council’s torrid start in 2019. Its permanent members are split over how to respond to the escalating crisis in Venezuela. Headaches from Iran to North Korea are likely to dominate the agenda this year. Nonetheless, a new […]

United Nations peacekeepers from Senegal attend the ceremony marking the end of operations in Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Oct. 5, 2017 (AP photo by Dieu Nalio Chery).

With U.N. peacekeeping open to attacks by those who call it “unproductive” and push for further cuts to its already diminished budget, peacekeeping must make a case for its own utility, using data already at its fingertips. Does international peacekeeping protect civilians caught up in civil wars? Do the 16,000 United Nations peacekeepers deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo actually save lives, and if so how many? Did the 9,000 patrols conducted by the U.N. Mission in South Sudan in the past three months protect civilians there? [marketing]blockbuster[/marketing] The answer is a dissatisfying “maybe.” Without a convincing story […]

Protesters try to stick photos of missing booksellers, one of which shows Gui Minhai, during a protest outside the Liaison of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong, Jan. 3, 2016 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Sweden’s ambassador to China was recalled to Stockholm last Thursday and is under investigation for allegedly brokering a meeting between two mysterious businessmen and Angela Gui, the daughter of a Hong Kong-based Swedish bookseller who has been in Chinese custody for three years. It is the latest in a string of puzzling episodes involving foreign diplomats in China. The story can be traced back to 2015, when Gui’s father, who published politically sensitive books about top Communist Party leaders, […]

A poster of Fidel Castro and Raul Castro in Havana, Cuba, April 18, 2018 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

After a return of tension to U.S.-Cuba relations, will a new Cuban leader be able to revive the brief thaw? Find out more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). Just three months after Miguel Diaz-Canel took over the presidency of Cuba from Raul Castro, his government unveiled the draft of a new constitution and sweeping new regulations on the island’s emergent private sector. While the changes announced represent continuity with the basic reform program Raul Castro laid out during his tenure, they are nevertheless significant milestones along the road to a more market-oriented socialist system. For the economy, […]

A man walks past a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo, Syria, Dec. 24, 2018 (Photo by Mikhail Voskresenskiy for Sputnik via AP).

As the Syrian civil war grinds to an end, the government in Damascus, propped up by Iran and Russia, is regaining its footing, with important implications for the balance of power in the Middle East. Syria’s neighbors and powers outside the region are now attempting to determine the appropriate level of engagement, if any, to have with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. While Assad’s main foreign patrons will no doubt continue to deepen their military, political and economic ties, it is countries that stood against him over the past seven years that now have the most difficult decisions to make. If […]

Uighurs living in Turkey protest against China’s oppression of Muslim Uighurs in far-western Xinjiang province, in Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

Earlier this month, Turkey broke a long period of silence on China’s policy of forcibly incarcerating over 1 million Uighur Muslims, calling it a “great shame for humanity.” The statement, which prompted an indignant response from Beijing, represented a shift for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pursued deeper economic ties with China but has also come under increasing political pressure to speak out against repressive Chinese policies toward its Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, in western China. In an interview with WPR, Selçuk Çolakoglu, director of the Turkish Center for Asia-Pacific Studies in Ankara, discusses what led Erdogan’s government […]

Bahraini Shiite Muslims march in support of prominent jailed opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman after mid-day prayers in Diraz, Bahrain, June 12, 2015 (AP photo by Hasan Jamali).

Bahraini soccer player Hakeem al-Araibi was released from jail this week in Thailand, after the authorities in Bahrain dropped an extradition request related to his participation in anti-government protests in 2011. He is now back in Australia, where he has refugee status. Dissidents and government critics inside Bahrain have not been as fortunate, as the country’s highest court recently upheld life sentences against three opposition leaders on charges of spying for Qatar. In an interview with WPR, Neil Quilliam, a senior research fellow with the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House, discusses Bahrain’s crackdown on dissent and […]

People walk past the gate of the Eastern Industrial Zone where Chinese company Huajian opened its first factory in Ethiopia in the town of Dukem near the capital, Addis Ababa, March 21, 2018 (AP photo by Elias Meseret).

DAKAR, Senegal—When National Security Adviser John Bolton unveiled a new U.S. strategy for Africa in December, commentators were quick to notice that its overarching purpose is containing China. According to Bolton, China, and to a lesser extent Russia, are “deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the United States.” He claimed that China’s “predatory practices stunt economic growth in Africa, threaten the financial independence of African nations, inhibit opportunities for U.S. investment, interfere with U.S. military operations, and pose a significant threat to U.S. national security interests.” A more deliberate reading of […]

President Donald Trump announcing the nomination of David Malpass, undersecretary of the Treasury for international affairs, to head the World Bank, in the Rosevelt Room of the White House, Washington, Feb. 6, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Can multilateral development institutions survive the era of Trump? Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump nominated a new president of the World Bank, a post traditionally occupied by an American. Aid experts were worried, if not necessarily surprised, that the White House nominee—Treasury official David Malpass—has a history of criticizing bodies like the bank. Commentators picked up on congressional testimony by Malpass from 2017, in which he supported the administration’s view “that globalism and multilateralism have gone too far,” and promised to limit or end U.S. support to underperforming aid institutions. He was more positive about the World Bank in […]

Iraqi President Barham Salih, right, shakes hands with visiting Jordanian King Abdullah II, left, in Baghdad, Iraq, Jan. 14, 2019 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

Leaders from Iraq and Jordan held a summit meeting earlier this month, where they signed a slew of agreements liberalizing trade and commercial ties. The meeting, which follows a visit to Iraq by Jordan’s King Abdullah II, is part of a recent intensification in Baghdad’s diplomatic outreach as it seeks to rebuild after its brutal, years-long war with the Islamic State. In an interview with WPR, Randa Slim, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute, discusses Iraq’s post-ISIS foreign policy priorities. World Politics Review: What is Iraq’s interest in cultivating increasingly close economic and diplomatic ties with Jordan? Randa […]

Students listen as then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at Ho Chi Minh University of Technology and Education, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jan. 13, 2017 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

Business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month warned that China has overtaken the United States in the development of artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies, such as fifth-generation wireless or 5G. “There’s almost an endless stream of people who are showing up and developing new companies,” Blackstone’s CEO Stephen Schwarzman told one panel of his frequent trips to China. “The venture business there in AI-oriented companies is really exploding with growth.” The attention on China’s rapidly evolving tech sector has overshadowed another area of competition between Beijing and Washington, which may be moving more slowly but […]

Smoke billows from the chimneys at Lethabo Power Station, a coal-fired power station, Vereeniging, South Africa, Dec. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

The latest United Nations climate talks held in Poland in December produced surprising progress toward developing the rulebook governing the Paris climate agreement. International negotiators added teeth to the accord by crafting a detailed system to catalogue national emissions, requiring new benchmarks for measuring and forecasting emissions, and mandating public multilateral and technical assessments. Nations will now have to uniformly track their emissions progress and expectations, with scrutiny from other governments and independent experts. But the next obstacle to climate action will be harder to overcome. There is no existing international financial institution capable of mobilizing enough money to finance […]

United Nations General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa addresses the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York, Sept. 24, 2018 (AP Photo by Richard Drew).

What is the point of the United Nations General Assembly? The assembly—where all member states, from the United States to Kiribati, wield one vote each—has a reputation for generating more hot air than real action. It produces over 300 resolutions a year, but these lack the binding legal force of Security Council resolutions. Assembly members discuss certain sensitive issues, such as the situations in Palestine and North Korea, annually. They scored a major success in negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. They also chew over questions such as whether to designate 2024 the Year of Camelids. This is exciting […]