Oleg Deripaska, the founder of Rusal, attends a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian business leaders, Moscow, Dec. 19, 2016 (Photo by Alexei Druzhinin for Sputnik via AP Images).

While the Trump administration follows through with reimposing sanctions on Tehran after it withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement, the rhetoric over American sanctions on Russia is seriously overheating. Debate centers on the Treasury Department’s potential removal of the Russian aluminum firm Rusal from its blacklist of sanctioned Russian entities. This dispute risks obscuring how a desire to hit back against Russia over its election interference, rather than punish Rusal’s oligarch founder, Oleg Deripaska, invites severe unintended consequences. While the political value of keeping Rusal on the Treasury blacklist may seem high, it comes with wider economic costs […]

Migrants climb into a truck to head north into Algeria at the Assamaka border post in northern Niger, June 3, 2018 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. ORAN, Algeria—Early one morning last April, Etienne, a 36-year-old migrant from Cameroon, was asleep in the hotel room he rented by the month in this port city on the northwestern coast of Algeria. His plan, like most days, was to wake up at 6 a.m. and head to the private residence where he worked as a gardener. On this particular morning, however, he was roused ahead of schedule. At 4 a.m., a […]

A man enters a Red Cross refugee shelter in the outskirts of Milan, Italy, July 25, 2018 (AP photo by Luca Bruno).

Judging from the political priorities in Berlin, Rome or any other European capital these days, you’d think that migration control and border management are the only important issues facing policymakers. Everywhere you look, more and more policy tools are being used to “fight” or solve problems related to migration, with some repurposed for the task. The same has been true for the European Union in recent years. In Brussels, this trend can be traced back to the summer of 2016, when the EU published its updated doctrine for defense and security policy, called the European Union Global Strategy. The doctrine […]

A rally opposing Greece's agreement to end a decades-long dispute with neighboring Macedonia over its name, Athens, Greece, July 1, 2018 (AP photo by Yorgos Karahalis).

Immediately after the left-wing Syriza party swept to power in Greece in 2015, officials from the European Union, NATO and the United States all worried about the possibility that the newly minted Greek government was too close with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. It wasn’t just the leftists in government in Athens who might have harbored pro-Russian sentiments. Greece and Russia share religious and historical ties, and a significant chunk of the Greek population views Putin favorably. The person who most worried NATO officials at the time was Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, whose past writings and connections with communist organizations marked him […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo greets North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho as they prepare for a group photo at the 25th ASEAN Regional Forum Retreat, Singapore, Aug. 4, 2018 (AP photo by Joseph Nair).

Ending wars means working with bad people. You cannot forge a cease-fire or hammer out a peace deal without talking to leaders who are directly responsible for death and brutality. Some of these leaders may be genuinely honorable individuals. A lot won’t be. This is a hard truth that professional peacemakers admit in private but tend to avoid mentioning in public. Analysts and officials working on conflict resolution have developed a blandly bloodless technical vocabulary for discussing their field. Political agreements should be “locally owned.” Peace should be “sustainable.” Peace operations should be “people-centered,” and so on. Every profession has […]

President Donald Trump after signing a presidential memorandum on the Iran nuclear deal from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Washington, May 8, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

In May, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the international nuclear deal with Iran, which was negotiated and signed by both countries along with France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia and China. The agreement, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, had imposed strict controls and oversight on Iran’s domestic nuclear program, in return for the easing of multilateral sanctions and the suspension of U.S. unilateral sanctions on Iran. In withdrawing from the deal, Trump promised to reimpose sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry, as well as so-called third-party sanctions on any companies that did business […]

An indigenous man lies on top of a Brazilian flag representing indigenous people who were killed fighting for their land, Brasilia, Brazil, April 26, 2018 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, discuss the outcome and aftermath of Zimbabwe’s presidential election and the prospects for international engagement with the country. For the Report, Ciara Long talks with Robbie about the devastating impact of Brazilian President Michel Temer’s two years in office on the country’s indigenous groups. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every […]

An opposition party supporter throws a rock aimed at a campaign poster for Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Harare, Zimbabwe, Aug. 1, 2018 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Ahead of this week’s elections in Zimbabwe, Simon Allison noted in an in-depth report for WPR that the ruling party, ZANU-PF, has been “pitching itself as the party of change” despite having run the country since it attained independence in 1980. In the immediate aftermath of the vote, it appears the world will get to see what exactly the party means by “change,” though the events of recent days offer several reasons to be pessimistic. On Friday morning, officials […]

Liviu Dragnea, the head of Romania’s Social Democratic Party, is surrounded by media as he arrives at the anti-corruption prosecutors’ office, Bucharest, Romania, April 27, 2018 (AP photo by Vadim Ghirda).

After the storm, the calm? A month after Romania’s most powerful man was convicted of abuse of power and sentenced to three and a half years in prison, some Romanians expected a political earthquake. Instead, much of the country is heading to their summer holiday on the beaches of the Black Sea. But the political drama in Bucharest isn’t over. Liviu Dragnea, the head of the ruling Social Democratic Party, or PSD, is appealing his late June conviction, while continuing his bellicose rhetoric about a “deep state” that is out to get him, picking up a line from U.S. President […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a joint press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, June 14, 2018 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

As the United States became a superpower in the 20th century, its grand strategy relied on qualitative military strength, economic power and, in the information realm, an appealing narrative about American national interests and foreign policy. This combination—what security experts call the “elements of national power”—was immensely successful, underpinning American hegemony and projecting U.S. influence around the world. But today, America’s preponderance seems in decline. In the military and economic realms, this is relative, largely the result of what Fareed Zakaria calls “the rise of the rest.” America’s diminishing ability to wage information warfare is harder to explain. Leaders in […]

Supporters of Karim Wade, a former Senegalese government minister jailed for corruption, stage a protest near the residence of former President Abdoulaye Wade, Dakar, Senegal, March 23, 2015 (Sipa photo via AP Images).

One of the highest-profile cases in Senegalese President Macky Sall’s anti-corruption drive has turned into a stain on his record. And the events of recent weeks suggest the story won’t be going away anytime soon. In March of last year, authorities arrested Khalifa Sall, the mayor of Dakar, Senegal’s capital, on suspicion of fraud and misuse of public funds. A year later, a court convicted Khalifa Sall, who is not related to the president, and sentenced him to five years in prison. But long before the judgment against Khalifa Sall was handed down, the legitimacy of the case had been […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at the Reichstag building for a meeting of the CDU, CSU and SPD parties, Berlin, Germany, July 5, 2018 (AP photo by Kay Nietfeld).

After 13 years of relative stability, a politically weakened German Chancellor Angela Merkel has had to endure major upheaval in recent months. Merkel cobbled together a governing coalition after winning re-election last year, but her government is increasingly beholden to the nationalist tendencies of its smallest member, the Christian Social Union, the sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. Beyond Germany’s borders, Merkel must confront ongoing divisions within the European Union, lingering questions about how to process migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East, and the uncertainty created by the Trump administration’s foreign policy. The following 10 WPR […]

A group of protesters outside the Grand Bazaar in Tehran, Iran, June 25, 2018 (ILNA photo via AP Images).

A few years after Iran’s 1979 revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini disregarded an aide who was worried about inflation by declaring that “this revolution was not about the price of watermelons.” His successors may not have the luxury of assuming that the Islamic Republic’s religious essence is more important to most Iranians than their economic situation. Indeed, the proverbial price of watermelons has now plunged Iran into a potentially explosive economic crisis, with waves of public protests. The situation has been exacerbated by U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision in May to violate the terms of the nuclear deal with Iran and […]

Julian Assange greets supporters outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, May 19, 2017 (AP photo by Frank Augstein).

Rumors of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange getting booted from his refuge at Ecuador’s Embassy in London have been floating around for months. But late last week, Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, confirmed the impending ouster, saying he is negotiating with British authorities to get Ecuador’s highly complicated guest out of the embassy and ensure Assange’s safety once he is evicted. The announcement raises the question: Why now? The answer shines a light on the astonishing political transformation that has occurred in Ecuador in recent years—and how WikiLeaks, which is a key factor in the special counsel investigation in the U.S. into […]

U.S. President Donald Trump, flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary James Mattis, speaks during an event at the Pentagon, Washington, Jan. 27, 2017 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

For the past 18 months, foreign policy pundits have debated whether or not U.S. President Donald Trump will have a temporary or lasting impact on global politics, and in particular whether he will fatally undermine the liberal international order—the network of multilateral institutions and security guarantees the U.S. has helped build and backstop since the end of World War II. More recently, though, that debate has shifted to whether the liberal international order ever really existed, or if it was instead rhetorical window dressing used to soften the rough edges of what amounted to U.S. hegemony. In some ways, the […]

An Israeli soldier guides a mobile artillery piece near the border with Syria in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, July 25, 2018 (AP photo by Ariel Schalit).

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made a surprise visit to Israel last week for talks about Iran’s military entrenchment in Syria. The negotiations came amid heightened tensions along Syria’s southern border with Israel, where the Assad regime’s recent offensive to retake lost territory from rebels renewed conflict in an area that had been protected by a 2017 cease-fire agreement guaranteed by Russia, Jordan and the United States. The fighting raises concerns about the proximity of Iranian-backed forces, including Hezbollah, to northern Israel. In response to this threat, Israel launched a series of attacks on Iranian targets within Syria, including the […]

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