An electoral worker shows a ballot marked “yes” during a referendum concerning a border dispute with Belize, in Guatemala City, April 15, 2018 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

The International Court of Justice is set to weigh in on the long-standing territorial dispute between Belize and Guatemala. Belize likely has the upper hand. Since gaining independence in 1821, Guatemala has refused to recognize all or part of Belize, its small English-speaking neighbor. But under the terms of a 2008 agreement, this long-running territorial dispute will soon head to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. That agreement required each country to hold a referendum on going to the ICJ, which Belizeans approved earlier this month; Guatemalans did so in April 2018. In an email interview with WPR, […]

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini poses during a group photo of foreign ministers from the EU and the Eastern Partnership, Brussels, May 13, 2019 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

Starting today and continuing through Sunday, voters across Europe head to the polls to elect a new European Parliament. But this year will bring about more than just a new group of lawmakers in the European Union’s only directly elected body. There will be bigger changes at the top of the EU, with both Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, and Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, leaving their posts in October. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, will also step down in November. For foreign policy observers, however, all eyes are on […]

Former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner inside a federal courtroom, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 21, 2019 (AP photo by Marcos Brindicci).

Three days before she was scheduled to go on trial for corruption, and nevertheless still leading in the polls to become the next president of Argentina, former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner dropped a bombshell last Saturday. As everyone expected, she was throwing her hat in the ring, but to just about everyone’s surprise, she announced she had decided to run for vice president, not president. Was it madness, desperation—or brilliance? Turns out, there’s method behind Fernandez’s seemingly strange move. The announcement on May 18 came in a tweet to her more than 5 million followers that included a 12-minute-long […]

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa applauds as confetti is launched at the end of the election results ceremony, Pretoria, South Africa, May 11, 2019 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

If South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994 provided what observers called a “designer outcome” in which the three major parties at the time all secured significant prizes, the country’s sixth general election in early May was its polar opposite: a vote in which the three principal players all experienced setbacks and had reason to be disappointed. The 1994 electoral outcome helped stabilize the new political dispensation after apartheid. It remains to be seen if this year’s result will usher in a new era of instability and fragmentation. With 57.5 percent of the national vote, the ruling African National Congress […]

A U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter flies over Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 30, 2007 (AP photo by Marko Drobnjakovic).

Of all the constitutional powers enjoyed by the U.S. president, perhaps none is so vulnerable to abuse as the presidential pardon. As a check against the potential abuse of power by the judicial branch, it serves an important constitutional function. As a public demonstration of clemency and the power of redemption, it contributes symbolically to the health of the republic. But when used improperly, the pardon becomes a poison to the body politic, rather than an antidote to what is ailing it. This is certainly the case when it comes to President Donald Trump’s decision to pardon Michael Behenna, a […]

A voter on his way to a polling station in Los Angeles, California, Nov. 6, 2018 (Photo by Britta Pedersen for dpa via AP Images).

The Trump administration’s foreign policy is deeply unpopular in the United States, even while his “America First” rhetoric resonates with a significant subset of Americans. Most voters do not understand the meaning of traditional foreign policy concepts like “maintaining the liberal international order.” And while Americans are increasingly divided along generational lines about what the U.S. should prioritize in its dealings with the rest of the world, they are united in their desire for investments in infrastructure and social services to make the country more globally competitive. These are just a few takeaways from a new report out this month […]

An American flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem during a welcome ceremony for visiting U.S. President Donald Trump outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Nov. 9, 2017 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. In the past year, U.S. President Donald Trump has launched a damaging trade war with Beijing, as well as an all-out assault against Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei. But tit-for-tat tariffs are hurting consumers and farmers, requiring sacrifices on the part of the American public. With no end in sight to the trade tensions, are American voters prepared to bear the costs of all-out economic war with China? This question could be central to Trump’s political fate, but Democratic candidates […]

A man holds a poster reading “We stand against xenophobia” during a march in Johannesburg, South Africa, April 23, 2015 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on immigration and integration policy around the world. Anti-immigrant rhetoric has steadily seeped into mainstream political discourse in South Africa, where immigration has long been a contentious issue as the country is a primary destination for migrants from across the African continent. In the general election earlier this month, both major political parties, the ruling African National Congress and the opposition Democratic Alliance, advocated stricter controls on immigration. In an email interview with WPR, Loren B. Landau, a migration expert at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, discusses the […]

Ugandan soldiers patrol through the Central African jungle during an operation to hunt notorious Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, April 19, 2012 (Photo by Yannick Tylle for dpa via AP Images).

GULU, Uganda—On a Monday morning in March, dozens of people gathered outside the courthouse in this hot, dusty city in northern Uganda. They sipped passion fruit juice as they prepared to watch legal proceedings projected on a canvas screen, which had been set up in the shade. Inside and up three flights of stairs, journalists and representatives of various development organizations pressed together on wooden benches in the courtroom. Lawyers, dressed in black robes, made small talk, though their easy laughter clashed with the gravity of the matter at hand. The trial of Thomas Kwoyelo was about to begin. Kwoyelo, […]

Shoppers outside a Huawei store, Beijing, May 20, 2019 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

The tit-for-tat trade war between the United States and China is costly enough, but it could be morphing into something far more serious. A week after raising tariffs on $200 billion in imports from China, the Trump administration took aim at Huawei, the Chinese company leading the global race to create new, faster 5G telecommunications networks. The new regulations would, if fully implemented, restrict Huawei’s ability to access the U.S. market, either for exports of its products or for imports of key technologies. There are reasons to be concerned about Beijing using Huawei’s networks for nefarious purposes, as well as […]

Amnesty International activists protest against human rights violations in Egypt and for freedom of expression on the sidelines of the Egyptian president’s visit to Berlin, Germany, Oct. 29, 2018 (Photo by Paul Zinken for dpa via AP Images).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world. The space not just for press freedom but freedom of expression of any kind has dramatically shrunk in Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who took power in a coup in 2013.* Egypt was hardly a bastion of a free and fair press under previous regimes, but under Sisi, government entities have consolidated their control over nearly every major media outlet. Journalists of all affiliations and nationalities also face a variety of threats to their safety, including harassment, arrests, […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, April 28, 2019 (Pool photo by Madoka Ikegami via AP Images).

QUETTA, Pakistan—In the early hours of April 18, a group of militants in southwestern Pakistan blocked the coastal highway that connects the port of Gwadar, near the Iranian border, to Karachi farther east. The militants stopped six buses near a mountain pass and checked the identity cards of all the passengers. They singled out 14 members of Pakistan’s armed forces, and then executed them all. People across Pakistan woke up to the disturbing news the next morning. Hours later, a coalition of three Baloch separatist groups, known as Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar, or BRAS, claimed responsibility for the attack. A […]

Sudanese protesters wave national flags at the sit-in outside the military headquarters, in Khartoum, Sudan, May 2, 2019 (AP photo by Salih Basheer).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Sudan appeared to be inching closer to a transitional government this week, but renewed violence threatens to derail the talks. The military council, which currently holds power, and the opposition alliance, which is composed of protest leaders and opposition politicians, have agreed on a three-year period of transition to civilian rule. Under the terms of the agreement, the country will be run by a government that includes a sovereign council, a Cabinet and a legislative body. But the two sides remain at […]

Matteo Salvini, the Italian deputy prime minister, right, gestures during a news conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Milan, Italy, Aug. 28, 2018 (AP photo by Luca Bruno).

Could next week’s European Parliament elections lead to a grand realignment of the continent’s politics, with the populist right wielding unprecedented influence? Hungary’s pugnacious and controversial prime minister, Viktor Orban, certainly hopes so. Poland’s de facto leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the ruling, arch-conservative Law and Justice party, PiS, is also eyeing the leadership of an invigorated right. So too Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, the figurehead for a potential new bloc of hard-right populist parties and governments opposed to immigration and aiming to reconstitute European politics. But even if they all do as well as predicted next […]

Members of the Muisca indigenous community take part in a demonstration against Colombian President Ivan Duque’s government’s National Development Plan, in Bogota, Colombia, April 25, 2019 (Photo by Yulieth Rincon for dpa via AP Images).

Since President Ivan Duque took office last summer, Colombia has seen an uptick in violence against human rights advocates and community leaders, particularly from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities. Observers point to the Duque administration’s hostility toward the landmark peace accord with the country’s largest guerrilla group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, that was struck in 2016. The agreement contained a number of provisions designed to protect the country’s vulnerable groups, but the Duque administration is refusing to implement them. In an interview with WPR, Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli, director for the Andes at the Washington Office on Latin America, […]

A man and a woman look at images of people who have been disappeared in the context of Mexico’s fight against drug cartels and organized crime, Mexico City, May 10, 2019 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

Mexico’s drug policies could be in for some sweeping changes, and with them the country’s relations with the United States. Last week, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that his administration would seek to revise the Merida Initiative, the $3 billion U.S. aid package that has largely funded Mexico’s war on drugs. In a press conference May 9, Lopez Obrador, widely known in Mexico as AMLO, said his administration does not “want aid for the use of force, we want aid for development.” The announcement came shortly after the Mexican government released a National Development Plan for the next five […]

A Cosco Shipping container ship passes the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, May 14, 2019 (AP photo by Eric Risberg).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. The trade war between China and the United States is heating up again, with no resolution in sight. As promised, U.S. President Donald Trump more than doubled tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods Friday, the same day trade talks in Washington between Chinese and American negotiators ended without a deal. Beijing retaliated Monday by slapping higher tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods. With both sides dug in for a potentially lengthy battle, Beijing’s propaganda apparatus has called […]

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