President Joe Biden speaks at the United States-European Union Summit at the European Council in Brussels, June 15, 2021 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

What does President Joe Biden’s first foray into international summitry reveal to us about the quality of his vision for America’s place in the world? As might be expected, some of the priorities he pursued in meetings this week with the leaders of the G-7, NATO and the European Union are timely and well-founded. Think reassuring America’s oldest allies after the persistent disruption of the Trump years. Think building consensus around a collective response to increasingly aggressive Russian behavior, whether via cyberattacks emanating from that country or the menace Moscow poses to Ukraine or the Baltic states. In the more […]

President Joe Biden, center, with European Council President Charles Michel, right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, during the U.S.-EU Summit at the European Council in Brussels, June 15, 2021 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

“America is back at the table,” President Joe Biden said at a press conference Sunday in Cornwall following his first G-7 summit. That statement perhaps best encapsulated Biden’s message during his maiden voyage overseas. While he didn’t mention his predecessor by name, the contrast with Donald Trump couldn’t have been clearer. And it certainly came as a relief to the other G-7 leaders, as the summit was mercifully free of temper tantrums and Twitter tirades. The displays of comity and unity continued in Brussels this week, where Biden participated in a NATO summit Monday and a U.S.-EU summit Tuesday. But […]

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a plenary session at the NATO summit in Brussels, June 14, 2021 (AP photo by Olivier Matthys).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, China Note, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about China. Subscribe to receive it by email every Wednesday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Europe’s souring on China has been long in the making, but the unprecedented broadsides from leaders of the G-7 bloc and NATO this week cemented a tougher collective trans-Atlantic stance against Beijing. “China’s stated ambitions and assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international […]

A demonstration in front of a mural of Adama Traore and George Floyd, who both died in police custody, in Stains, north of Paris, June 22, 2020 (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

I first met Salim, a 35-year-old French citizen of Algerian origin, about 10 years ago at a cafe near Levallois, the Parisian banlieue—or peri-urban ghetto—where he lived at the time. In the course of our wide-ranging discussion about French history and identity, part of the fieldwork for my doctoral dissertation, he told me that while it is possible for some immigrants to become “French,” that isn’t the case for everyone. “To actually be French, you have to forget yourself a little bit [and] adopt the behaviors that are imposed on us,” he said. “There is a path to follow to […]

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres talks to Syrian refugees in a 4th grade classroom at the U.N.-run Zaatari refugee camp, in northern Jordan, March 28, 2017 (AP photo by Raad Adayleh).

Editor’s note: Guest columnist Richard Gowan is filling in for Emily Taylor, who will return next week. What should people who care about international organizations and conflict management order for their summer reading this year? Closely following the back and forth of day-to-day events can sometimes make it hard to get a clear sense of the health of the international system. The Biden administration has promised that “multilateralism is back,” for instance, but when it comes to handling crises like the coup in Myanmar and challenges like global vaccine distribution, international cooperation still seems distinctly lackluster. With summer here, it’s […]

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, left, meets with his Iraqi counterpart, Fuad Hussein, right, in Tehran, Feb. 3, 2021 (Iranian Foreign Ministry photo via AP).

Dialogue seems to be in vogue in today’s Middle East. Iranian and American negotiators are in Vienna to find a way to restore the 2015 nuclear deal that President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018. Iranian and Saudi security officials recently held meetings in Baghdad to mend their relations. and United Nations-led efforts to deescalate and end the war in Yemen are picking up steam. While these processes remain fragile, they present an important opportunity to establish a broader regional dialogue that aims to lessen tensions by opening new channels of communication, the time for which is ripe. Part of […]

Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to right-wing opposition party members a day after a new government was sworn in, at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, June 14, 2021 (AP photo by Maya Alleruzzo).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Middle East Memo, which takes a look at what’s happening, what’s being said and what’s on the horizon in the Middle East. Subscribe to receive it by email every Monday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it. Benjamin Netanyahu ruled Israel longer than any previous leader because he represented a powerful political consensus—one that opposed peace with Palestinians, supported settlement expansion and undermined democratic institutions and due process for Israelis. Much has rightly been made about Netanyahu’s personal corruption and lack of any […]

President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson look at copies of the Atlantic Charter during a bilateral meeting ahead of the G-7 summit, in Carbis Bay, England, June 10, 2021 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

Last week U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a bold bid for history’s mantle. Meeting on the eve of the G-7 summit, they released a “revitalized” Atlantic Charter, rededicating their governments to the defense of an open, rule-bound world. Like the original version, drafted by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in August 1941, during a secret wartime rendezvous off the coast of Newfoundland, the New Atlantic Charter seeks to rally the West at a time of global crisis. Whether it has a similar, enduring influence is likely to depend more on domestic U.S. political developments […]

President Joe Biden at a news conference after attending the G-7 summit in Cornwall, England, June 13, 2021 (AP photo by Partrick Semansky).

When U.S. President Joe Biden participates in his first summit between the United States and the European Union tomorrow in Brussels, he should keep the focus on the big picture. While easing bilateral irritants would improve the tone of relations in the short term, the real test will be whether the U.S. and the EU can forge a common agenda of trans-Atlantic economic statecraft for the two key global challenges they face: China’s state capitalism and the existential threat of climate change. Failure to do so would not only call into the question the strength of the trans-Atlantic relationship. It […]

Representatives of Taiwan’s Indigenous groups listen as President Tsai Ing-wen delivers an apology on behalf of the government, Taipei, Taiwan, Aug. 1, 2016 (flickr photo by the Office of the President of Taiwan).

One day in July 2013, Tama Talum, an Indigenous Bunun man living in a mountainous area of southeastern Taiwan, set off to hunt game at the request of his 92-year-old mother, who was hungry for the traditional meat of her youth. The expedition was a success, and Tama was able to kill one Formosan serow—a kind of mountain goat—and one Reeves’ muntjac, a small deer. However, on his way home, he was arrested and charged with violating the laws of the Republic of China, or ROC, the formal name for the state that governs Taiwan. In 2015, Tama was convicted […]

Protesters take part in a Campaign to Ban Killer Robots demonstration in front of the Brandenburg Gate, in Berlin, Germany, March 21, 2019 (Photo by Wolfgang Kumm for dpa via AP Images).

In late May, news broke that a Turkish-made Kargu-2 drone had possibly taken action without the intervention or command of a human operator to hunt down, engage and possibly kill or injure human beings in the Libyan desert last year. The incident, described in a recent United Nations report, spurred a rash of media coverage and commentary along the lines of an Axios article, titled, “The Age of Killer Robots Has Already Begun.” Though some observers argue that what happened, as described by the U.N. report, is less serious than what the media is reporting, the event represents a watershed […]

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan attends the funeral service of her predecessor, John Magufuli, in his hometown of Chato, Tanzania, March 26, 2021 (AP Photo).

Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in as president of Tanzania in mid-March, while the country was still reeling from the sudden death of her predecessor, John Magufuli, two days earlier. Dressed in a black suit, the 61-year-old former vice president spoke sorrowfully about the passing of Magufuli, officially from a longstanding heart condition. “Today I have taken an oath different from the rest that I have taken in my political career,” Suluhu Hassan said upon becoming the country’s first female president and the first from the semi-autonomous Zanzibar archipelago. “Those were taken in happiness. Today I took the highest oath […]

Activists stage a protest against a cruise ship docking in Venice, Italy, June 5, 2021 (AP photo by Antonio Calanni).

Before the pandemic, Sam Anthony and her partner, Veren Ferrera, crisscrossed the world full-time as digital nomads, sharing their experiences online under the name Alternative Travelers. As members of a niche but growing community of sustainable travel influencers, who earn a living creating travel-related content online, they focused their social media posts on teaching their 8,500 followers how to travel ethically and mindfully. But when the novel coronavirus arrived in the U.S. in March 2020, Anthony and Ferrera found themselves stuck in Salt Lake City, Utah, looking at a year of cancelled travel plans, as the entire tourism industry ground […]

A man walks past a mural on how to wear a face mask to prevent the spread of coronavirus, in Soweto, South Africa, May 15, 2021 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. COVID-19 cases are rising across Africa, just as the limited supply of vaccines the continent has received is running dangerously low. Health officials are now asking Western nations that have hoarded early vaccine supplies to share more doses in a desperate bid to […]

President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, center, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, right, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, left, at the G-7 summit, Carbis Bay, England, June 11, 2021 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only Weekly Wrap-Up newsletter, which uses relevant WPR coverage to provide background and context to the week’s top stories. Subscribe to receive it by email every Saturday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. Last week, I wrote about the current debate in U.S. foreign policymaking circles over restraint and America’s global role. That debate can seem abstract, but U.S. President Joe Biden’s trip this week to Europe is a concrete example of what managing America’s global presence, and particularly its […]

Then-Vice President Joe Biden, center, during a summit at the United Nations headquarters, Sept. 29, 2015 (AP photo by Kevin Hagen).

After four years of relentless attacks on the United Nations under the Trump administration, President Joe Biden has restored “a sense of normality” to U.N. diplomacy, says Richard Gowan, U.N. director at the International Crisis Group. But even as they expressed relief at being able to work with a more multilateralist U.S. president, many diplomats in Turtle Bay were still frustrated by the Biden administration’s decision to block action at the U.N. Security Council when renewed hostilities broke out between the Israelis and the Palestinians last month. On the Trend Lines podcast this week, Gowan joined WPR’s Elliot Waldman to […]

Presidential candidate Pedro Castillo greets supporters at his campaign headquarters the day after a runoff election, in Lima, Peru, June 7, 2021 (AP photo by Martin Mejia).

Long before Peru’s latest presidential election, the country’s political climate was already turbulent and unstable. After last weekend’s vote, the sky looks even cloudier, with a strong chance of storms. As Peruvians prepared to vote Sunday, their prospects already looked dim. A wild first-round ballot in April had included 18 candidates, none of whom even won 20 percent of the vote. The two polarizing political figures who made it into last weekend’s final round were appalling in the minds of most voters: the largely unknown Pedro Castillo, a hard-line leftist, schoolteacher and union activist; and the very well-known Keiko Fujimori, […]

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