Workers at a project site that forms part of China’s “Belt and Road Initiative,” Haripur, Pakistan, Dec. 22, 2017 (AP photo by Aqeel Ahmed).

China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative has the potential to be a win-win for China and for the developing countries in Africa and Eurasia that are involved, but only if it can overcome some major obstacles. Find out more – when you subscribe to World Politics Review. China is using its influence to build a global economic network for trade and development, with itself as the driver. China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative—known as OBOR as well as the Belt and Road Initiative, and unveiled by President Xi Jinping in 2013—has been touted as the blueprint for this new global […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte at Rome’s Villa Madama, March 23, 2019 (AP photo by Andrew Medichini).

On March 23, Italy officially joined China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, an expansive development strategy first unveiled in 2013 that aims to build a network of roads, railways and ports connecting China with more than 60 countries across Africa, the Middle East and Europe. In addition to the memorandum of understanding on the infrastructure-building initiative, signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Rome last week, the two countries agreed on a constellation of deals worth 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion), ranging from banking and energy to sports. The visit’s outcome reflects deepening relations between the eurozone’s third-largest […]

Muslims pray at Hagley Park in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 22, 2019 (AP photo by Mark Baker).

In this week’s editors episode of the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief Judah Grunstein, managing editor Frederick Deknatel and associate editor Elliot Waldman discuss the Christchurch shootings, the emergence of white nationalist terrorism and its implications for national security in Europe and the U.S. They also examine Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Italy and France, and what it reveals about the European Union’s internal divisions over whether to engage with China as an economic partner or confront it as a strategic competitor. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can […]

A soldier stands guard outside a hotel after an attack in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Jan. 18, 2016 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The gunmen often arrive on market day, surrounding civilians who gather in northern Burkina Faso to buy and sell goods. After detaining groups of men—up to 14 at a time—they drive off. Within minutes, they execute the men, often on the side of the road, close enough for those back at the market to hear the gunshots. It’s a scenario that has played out at least nine times in Burkina Faso in recent months, according to a report released […]

Syrian authorities distribute bread, vegetables and pasta to residents of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, April 16, 2018 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

Ten years ago, the Sri Lankan military carried out a violent final offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a rebel group with a long history of atrocities. The offensive, which ultimately resulted in the end of the war, involved the brutal killings of thousands of civilians—acts that were documented in real time by journalists and United Nations officials. Back in New York, however, the U.N.’s leaders failed to muster a meaningful response to mitigate the bloodshed, and Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general at the time, soon came under heavy criticism. As Richard Gowan writes in this week’s in-depth report, […]

Sri Lankan protesters wave flags and burn an effigy of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outside the U.N. office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, July 6, 2010 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

Ten years ago this month, senior United Nations officials were hard at work equivocating over a crisis. A cynic might say that the U.N. exists in a constant state of equivocation. But in March 2009, its leaders were mired in an especially grim political mess—and handling it badly. The cause of their troubles lay in northern Sri Lanka. After decades of civil war, the Sri Lankan military was carrying out a final offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a rebel group with a long history of atrocities. As the decisive battle wore on, U.N. officials and journalists in […]

A health worker from the World Health Organization gives an Ebola vaccination to a front-line aid worker, Mbandaka, Congo, May 30, 2018 (AP photo by Sam Mednick).

Amid widespread criticism of its response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa five years ago, the World Health Organization took stock of what went wrong. In a report released in 2015 before the outbreak had even ended, its Ebola Interim Assessment Panel urged the WHO to “re-establish its pre-eminence as the guardian of global public health” and to “undergo significant transformation in order to better perform.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus vowed to act on these recommendations when he ran to become the WHO’s new director-general in 2017, during its first-ever open election campaign, in which the director-general was selected in […]

Protesters gather for a demonstration outside the prime minister’s office, Amman, Jordan, June 6, 2018 (AP photo by Raad al-Adayleh).

At an investment conference in London on the last day of February, Jordan got what appeared to be a much-needed financial boost, with promises of assistance and loans totaling $2 billion. But for a nation whose economic challenges are likely to only intensify, with debt amounting to around 95 percent of its gross domestic product, the pledges were really just a drop in the bucket. Jordan has built a decades-old reputation as a kingdom of calm in an otherwise restive region. But its long reliance on that image of stability, underwritten by external support, may also be its undoing. Its […]

View of the Kutadi Bandar with the Tata Mundra power plant in the background, Mundra, India, Oct. 8, 2014 (flickr photo by Sami Siva).

The shallow waters of the Gulf of Kutch, an inlet of the Arabian Sea along the northwestern coast of India, are ideal for fishing, with coral reefs and mangrove forests that provide breeding grounds for a diverse array of marine life. On the gulf’s northern coast, near the town of Mundra, the gently sloping seabed and calm tides make it easy to catch local delicacies like prawns, pomfret and a type of lizardfish known colloquially as “Bombay duck.” The Waghers, a Muslim minority group, have fished these waters for generations. They maintain permanent inland villages, but from September until May, […]

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent patrols on the U.S. side of a razor-wire-covered border wall that separates Nogales, Mexico from Nogales, Ariz., March 2, 2019 (AP photo by Charlie Riedel).

There has been much to criticize about President Donald Trump’s handling of America’s national security, including his recent declaration of a national emergency on the southern border. But while that declaration might be misguided, Trump has been right about one thing: The United States has never developed an effective strategy for the actual security challenges south of the border. Since the United States became a global power in the 20th century, it has used a sequenced method for addressing emerging threats—first building an understanding of them, then developing a working consensus among security experts and political leaders, and then relying […]

Protesters hold a poster of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic with a Pinocchio nose, Belgrade, Serbia, March 2, 2019 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

Anti-government protests in Serbia that have brought tens of thousands of people into the streets, decrying what they see as increasingly authoritarian rule, are entering their third month. But there seems to be little sign that the demonstrators’ demands will be heeded. On Feb. 25, a European Union spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic, told reporters that there would be no “Balkan spring,” referring to widening protests in Serbia, Montenegro and Albania—all countries that are hoping to join the EU. The statement, which riled protesters in all three countries, seemed to confirm for them what has been increasingly evident in recent years: The […]

U.N. peacekeepers raise the flags of their countries during a ceremony to mark the transfer of authority between the outgoing and newly appointed heads of the UNIFIL mission, Naqoura, Lebanon, Aug. 7, 2018 (Photo by Bilal Hussein).

It is time to say some goodbyes. Next week will mark the conclusion of this column, roughly 250 editions and a quarter of a million words after I launched it in January 2013. Professional obligations mean that I must move on. I will keep writing about international affairs, but I am sad to bid farewell to this weekly perch. It has been a fruitful but frustrating time to comment on crisis management and multilateral affairs. When I kicked off “Diplomatic Fallout,” a political resolution to the Syrian civil war still seemed possible and Russia had not yet seized Crimea. I […]