Moldovan members of parliament vote for a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Maia Sandu’s government, Chisinau, Moldova, Nov. 12, 2019 (AP photo by Roveliu Buga).

In mid-November, a vote of no confidence ousted the government of Moldovan Prime Minister Maia Sandu, who was subsequently replaced by Ion Chicu with the support of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova, or PSRM. Until her ouster, Sandu’s ACUM bloc had governed in coalition with the Socialists, but their alliance had been a fragile one and its demise surprised few observers. In an email interview, Cristina Gherasimov—a research fellow at the Robert Bosch Center for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia at the German Council on Foreign Relations, and an academy associate in the […]

Anti-government protesters walk past a burning barricade set on fire during clashes with police in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

In the fall of 1989, the British economist John Williamson prepared a background paper for an upcoming conference at the Peterson Institute of International Economics in Washington, the aim of which was to examine recent shifts in economic policies and attitudes in Latin America. By his own account, his aim with the paper was to identify a list of 10 policies “about whose proper deployment Washington can muster a reasonable degree of consensus.” Little did he know at the time that his so-called Washington Consensus would come to take on a life of its own. Thirty years later, it remains […]

Rusting mine machinery at the Panguna mine, central Bougainville, Oct. 2019 (Photo by Catherine Wilson).

ARAWA, Bougainville, Papua New Guinea—In late October, under overcast skies, a reggae band played to a crowd of several hundred people of all ages at an outdoor stage in Arawa, an old mining town framed by rainforest-covered mountains in the center of Bougainville Island. The crowd gradually grew as people, laden with bags of fresh produce, walked over from the large fruit and vegetable market situated directly opposite. The scene could have been confused for a music festival, but the band was only a warm-up act for the day’s main event: a political rally in favor of independence for Bougainville, […]

A student throws a tear gas canister back at police during clashes at the National University in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 26, 2019 (AP photo by Ivan Valencia).

Making sense of the world these days can be daunting. Across a swath of wildly disparate countries in the Middle East and South America, popular protests have shaken the foundations of both democratic governments and dictatorships alike. Western democracies haven’t been immune to these systemic shocks, ranging from resurgent—and in some cases triumphant—populist movements to repeatedly inconclusive elections and precarious governing coalitions. All this upheaval has called into question the tenets of the liberal international order that have guided global elites and policymakers over the past three decades. At first glance, it would seem we have entered a new historical […]

A street in La Paz, Bolivia, on Nov. 14, 2019 (dpa photo by Gaston Brito for AP Images.)

When Bolivia’s Evo Morales resigned the presidency under pressure from the military and left the country amid widespread protests on Nov. 12, taking political asylum in Mexico, it sent shockwaves across Latin America. Morales’ fall comes at a time of ferment in the region—and what looks increasingly like a hinge moment in Latin American history. Whether Morales was the victim of a coup or the perpetrator of an assault against democracy, rightfully deposed, remains the subject of heated debate. That continuing controversy is part of the push-and-pull of the tensions roiling Latin America, where the political tide appears to be […]

Congolese security forces attend to the scene after the vehicle of an Ebola response team was attacked and burned in Beni, northeastern Congo, June 24, 2019 (AP photo by Al-hadji Kudra Maliro).

BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo—At first glance, there is nothing out of the ordinary about life in Beni, a cosmopolitan trading town on Congo’s northeastern border with Uganda. On a typical Sunday, roller skaters train for their next competition on the town’s paved main road, studiously avoiding the potholes and errant cows. Off the avenue, the side streets of packed yellow dirt are dotted with people going about their daily business. At night, clubs serve locally brewed beer, while revelers dance in the dotted pink light of a spinning disco ball. Before anyone can enter the club, however, they must […]

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen delivers her speech at the start of the Paris Peace Forum, in Paris, Nov. 12, 2019 (pool photo by Ludovic Marin of AFP via AP Images).

Last week, I attended the second Paris Peace Forum, of which I am a member of the Steering Committee and the Selection Committee. The brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, the forum was less glitzy this year than the inaugural version in 2018, which coincided with the centennial of Armistice Day and attracted more than 60 heads of state and government. But what this edition lacked in flash, it compensated for in substance. Beyond showcasing dozens of proposals for improving global governance, its opening sessions featured thoughtful speeches on the parlous state of world order from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio […]

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sept. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The quickly unfolding impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump has already ensnared many other people, while raising more and more questions. From the extent of Trump’s involvement in pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals to the culpability of prominent officials in and outside his administration in that scheme, the public hearings that started this week have set the stage for an impeachment vote that could be among the most pivotal political moments in recent American history. One of the questions swirling around this scandal is what the revelations about Trump will mean for future U.S. policy toward […]

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a speech at the start of the Paris Peace Forum, Paris, Nov. 12, 2019 (Pool photo by Ludovic Marin via AP images).

This time last year, on the centenary of the armistice that ended World War I, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed 65 heads of state and government, 10 leaders of international organizations, and some 6,000 other participants to the inaugural Paris Peace Forum. The summit had a lofty goal, according to its mission: to generate support for international cooperation and collective action at a time when “countries are turning inward.” The global political context was inauspicious, and it turned out that the timing was too, as the divide between President Donald Trump and America’s European allies was on full display during […]

A child on the sales floor of a tobacco market in Harare, Zimbabwe, May 15, 2017 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

If climate change is the most important matter of common concern around the world, what comes second? Perhaps nothing close. But by my lights, the usual looming questions—about the fate of American power and influence, Brexit, the related viability of the European Union, and the many uncertainties surrounding the rise of China—seem almost parochial in comparison to one that gets immeasurably less international attention: the future of employment in Africa, where unprecedented demographic transitions are underway. Based on current projections, the continent’s population of nearly 1.2 billion people will rise to 2.5 billion by the middle of this century—more than […]

Sudanese pro-democracy supporters celebrate a final power-sharing agreement with the ruling military council, Khartoum, Aug. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Mahmoud Hjaj).

The civilians who helped end the repressive regime of Sudan’s longtime president, Omar al-Bashir, are discovering that exercising power is often more difficult than attaining it. Barely three months after forming an uneasy transitional government with military and paramilitary leaders who tried to seize control for themselves, these revolutionaries have begun the task of undoing three decades of misrule. It is a race against time: Within three years, the transitional authorities face the challenge of instituting accountable, inclusive governance for the first time in Sudan’s history, while organizing elections and completing a democratic transfer of power. These challenges are compounded […]

An anti-government protest in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 1, 2019 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

For the Latin American right, Chile is a model country that gives credibility to their pro-market policies and reassures citizens that these policies can be socially inclusive. Conservative leaders from Argentina’s outgoing, center-right president, Mauricio Macri, to Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, have lauded Chile as an example for their relatively closed economies to emulate. Yet the unexpected eruption of popular protests and the repressive security response that has cost the lives of at least 18 demonstrators have shaken the country’s image as a stable democracy, while raising questions about the downsides of those pro-market policies and the lingering legacy […]