U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to members of the 82nd Airborne Division at the G2A Arena, March 25, 2022, in Jasionka, Poland (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Ukraine wasn’t supposed to stand much of a chance in a military conflict with Russia. It was outgunned and outmanned. In the first months of 2022, as the threat of an invasion loomed, the Russian military was expected to quickly and decisively defeat its much weaker neighbor with ease. Many experts were asking not if Russia could win the coming war, but how far its ambitions stretched within and beyond Ukraine. But as the war grinds on for a fourth month, Ukraine has defied expectations. With external assistance, its military has been able to force Russia’s troops to pull back […]

Demining experts search for mines in Kohsan district of Herat province, northwest of Kabul, Afghanistan, April 3, 2010 (AP photo by Reza Shirmohammadi).

On the morning of April 1, seven children were playing in the lush wheat fields of Afghanistan’s Marjah district, in the southern Helmand province, by tossing around a metal object. Moments later, it exploded. The blast claimed five of their lives, including the youngest in the group, a 5-year-old boy. “My daughter has not only lost her three sons, but also her senses,” Haji Abdul Salam, a 55-year-old farmer who lost two children and three grandchildren in the explosion, tells me at his home while attending to visitors there for the funeral. “She neither sleeps nor eats.” But Salam is […]

A Dutch military instructor briefs Ivorian special forces soldiers during the annual U.S.-led Flintlock counterterrorism training exercise, near base camp Loumbila, Jacqueville, Cote d’Ivoire, Feb. 17, 2022 (AP photo by Sylvain Cherkaoui).

On a quiet Sunday morning in early September 2021, diplomats found themselves yanked away from their weekend plans as another military coup stunned West Africa. After reports on social media of shooting in the capital city of Conakry, news filtered out that a young army colonel had seized power in Guinea. Wearing the tactical clothing symbolizing his role as the commander of Guinea’s special operations forces, 42-year-old Col. Mamady Doumbouya declared that he would sweep away the authoritarian behavior and corruption that had marked the rule of the then-83-year-old President Alpha Conde. In the months that followed, it became increasingly clear […]

French President Emmanuel Macron looks at Beninese art during a ceremony for the return of 26 works to Benin, with Benin Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, at the Quai Branly Museum-Jacques Chirac, Paris, October 27, 2021 (Sipa via AP Images).

COTONOU, Benin—During a February press conference announcing a new exhibition of newly repatriated treasures, Jean-Michel Abimbola, Benin’s minister of culture, was asked by a British journalist to address the common claim that European museums are better able to care for African artifacts than African ones. He responded curtly. “I'm not sure we can continue to support this argument vis-à-vis Benin,” Abimbola said. “This will amount to asking whether Black people have souls, and I would not like to answer this question.” His statement was a strong one and underscored the importance of the new exhibition, titled “Benin Art from Yesterday […]