Protest outside the Supreme Court after Roe v. Wade is overturned on June 25, 2022 in Washington D.C. (Photo by JT/STAR MAX/IPx 2022).

The threats to the longevity of democracy in the United States keep growing. Last week’s ruling by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, which for five decades guaranteed the right to abortion, has put the spotlight on that once-revered institution, which is now steadily losing credibility in the eyes of the U.S. public and adding instability to a system in crisis. The ruling came in the midst of dramatic public hearings by a select congressional committee investigating the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The hearings are presenting mountains of evidence indicating that former U.S. President […]

A pregnant woman looks at her smartphone near a logo marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party in Beijing, July 8, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which had guaranteed a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion since 1973, has brought the question of state involvement in reproductive rights issues on both sides of the Pacific into sharp focus. Abortion is not overtly central to debates about China’s One Child policy, a mass-scale reproductive control infrastructure introduced in 1980 that is now being gradually rolled back. But as in the post-Roe U.S., the Chinese state’s encroachment on individual autonomy and family planning choices nonetheless looms large when it comes to reproductive rights. Forced intrauterine devices, or […]

An image of a mock gallows on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol during the attack of Jan. 6, 2021, is shown during the a public hearing of the House select committee investigating the Capitol Riot, Washington, June 9, 2022 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

The belief that the United States is a uniquely youthful society in contrast to an aging and decadent Europe has become so entrenched that it is rarely questioned. Whether out of politeness or genuine belief, Europeans encountering this recurring trope often turn to their own, emphasizing their belief that a European point of view is more mature than that of the supposedly youthful and naive United States. Very rarely is there much consideration about what it means for a society to be “old” or “young.” Sometimes commentators point to the steady birthrates and higher immigration that once sustained a more […]

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announce at a press conference that Wong will be the next prime minister, Singapore, April 16, 2022 (Singapore Press photo via AP Images).

When Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong named Finance Minister Lawrence Wong—his chosen successor—deputy prime minister as part of a Cabinet reshuffle on June 6, he asked Singaporeans to give their “full support to this important transition.” His request spotlighted a significant inflection point for Singapore, with the country simultaneously confronting a series of domestic and global challenges while it manages a critical leadership transition that will shape its future. Singapore is deservedly heralded for its success in turning itself from a tiny so-called third-world country after the country’s independence in 1965 into a first-world city state under the leadership of its […]

Students standing behind a banner reading “Enraged Youth” hung on the facade of the Sorbonne, Paris, April 14, 2022 (Sipa photo via AP Images).

Three days after the first round of the French presidential elections in April, students occupied the Sorbonne University building in Paris. Their banners and posters displayed a recurrent slogan: “Neither Macron nor Le Pen,” referring to center-right President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who passed through to the second-round vote in a rematch of their 2017 contest. As police cleared the building after 30 hours of occupation, both presidential candidates vehemently criticized the demonstration. But the protests quickly spread, with students across France expressing their dissatisfaction at having to once again choose between candidates from the center-right and […]

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa looks on during the presentation of the final report of the Zondo Commission, Pretoria, South Africa, June 22, 2022 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa rose to power five years ago pledging to pursue a policy of “radical economic transformation” and to stamp out corruption in the country’s politics. In his first speech after becoming the leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress in 2017, which preceded his accession to South Africa’s presidency the following year, he said that “corruption must be fought with the same intensity and purpose that we fight poverty, unemployment and inequality.” He further vowed to initiate his war on graft within the ANC’s ranks. But after more than four years in office as president of South […]

Confetti explode over a screen showing photos of Gustavo Petro and his running mate Francia Marquez after they won Colombia’s presidential election, Bogota, Colombia, June 19, 2022 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

In 2022, it’s easy to be an opposition politician, party or political movement in Latin American democracies, where the political environment is about as anti-incumbent as it can get. Including the victory by Gustavo Petro in Colombia earlier this month, the parties of incumbent presidents have lost the past 14 consecutive democratic presidential elections in the region going back to 2018. Latin America has gone from a region where incumbent advantage was a major factor in elections to one where incumbent parties almost never win. Of course, there is an obvious catch to this phenomenon: Once the opposition wins, it is no longer the […]

A new British law is related to the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

BELFAST, Northern Ireland—For the past 15 years, Northern Ireland has held a special “Day of Reflection” on June 21, when people stop to remember the 3,500 people killed during “The Troubles.” That understated shorthand refers to the four decades of conflict pitting British soldiers, police and pro-British loyalist gunmen against the Irish nationalist Provisional Irish Republican Army, or PIRA—a conflict that finally ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This year, the Day of Reflection was particularly poignant, as it marked the 50th anniversary of the Troubles’ most bloody year, 1972, when 479 people were killed in the U.K. […]

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On June 8, Algeria suspended its Friendship and Neighborliness Treaty with Spain, in response to Madrid’s recent alignment with Morocco on the Western Sahara conflict. While the suspension of the treaty so far excludes contracts for gas, of which Algeria is Spain’s biggest supplier, it could jeopardize relations with the European Union. But with the change in Madrid’s position, Algeria felt it had to act to send a message, even if it comes at considerable cost. At first glance, the tensions might come as a surprise. Algeria should be riding high from the recent increase in global gas prices that […]

President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone speaks during the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 2, 2021 (Reuters pool photo by Hannah McKay via AP).

When Sierra Leone released the provisional figures of its population and housing census on May 31, the numbers suggested a population increase of 6.3 percent since the last count in 2015. That’s not an unexpected rise over a six-year period, given that the country’s estimated annual growth rate was 3.2 percent during the 10 years prior. Nevertheless, the way population growth was distributed across the country has sparked ongoing debate about the credibility of the census, particularly in anticipation of general elections next year. The country’s southern and eastern districts saw significant population jumps, with the biggest increases in Kenema, with […]

Gustavo Petro, presidential candidate with the Historical Pact coalition, waves upon his arrival to a polling station to vote in presidential elections in Bogota, Colombia, May 29, 2022 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

When Colombians went to the polls Sunday to choose a new president, both choices on the ballot meant change and more than a little uncertainty about the future. It’s no surprise, then, that now that the results are in, Colombia finds itself on edge, teetering between high expectations and high anxiety. The victory by Gustavo Petro, a former mayor of Bogota who once belonged to a radical leftist urban guerrilla movement, was above all a forceful rejection of the status quo. Petro promises profound change but speaks with the well-honed rhetoric of a smart, polished politician who has spent years […]

A delivery driver wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus waits at an intersection in Beijing, Nov. 26, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

For millions of Chinese citizens, delivery drivers have been key to surviving Beijing’s “zero COVID” coronavirus strategy. Amid rolling lockdowns and travel restrictions, e-commerce couriers have served as lifelines to communities under confinement, from massive cities like Shanghai and Chengdu to smaller provinces like Shenyang, all of which have implemented the strict isolation measures mandated under Beijing’s strict pandemic response. Under these conditions, in which leaving one’s residence for reasons unrelated to getting tested is impossible, access to food and other daily essentials has been scarce. Enter the gig worker. Delivery drivers, by and large, work under contract with courier […]

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During an African Union summit on humanitarian work in late May, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed affirmed his government’s “commitment to ensuring assistance reaches those afflicted by natural and manmade disasters,” and called on international partners to “scale up their support for humanitarian services across the continent.” The statement drew the ire of some commentators, who regarded it as an empty promise at a time when Ethiopia itself is enduring a dire humanitarian crisis, particularly in the war-ravaged northern region of Tigray and the neighboring regions, Amhara and Afar, to which forces under Abiy’s command have contributed. Nevertheless, Abiy’s statement […]

Thai crime scene investigators inspect the site of a bomb explosion in Yala, southern Thailand, March 17, 2020 (AP photo).

After a two-year hiatus in talks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first half of 2022 has seen quantifiable progress in the peace dialogue between Thailand’s government and separatist rebels based in the country’s Muslim-majority south. Since the beginning of the year, two rounds of formal negotiations have been held in Kuala Lumpur, in a Malaysia-facilitated process that has seen the government’s Peace Dialogue Panel, or PDP, meet face-to-face with leaders of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional, or BRN, the most powerful rebel group in southern Thailand. The latest meeting, which concluded on April 1, led to a 40-day truce that […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, listens to Chinese President Xi Jinping during press statements at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, July 5, 2017 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).

In the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a once-hesitant Germany was shocked into reorienting its national security posture. In response to Moscow’s aggression, Chancellor Olaf Scholz proceeded to announce the creation of a 100-billion-euro supplemental fund for the German military, halt the approval of the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline and support international sanctions and energy embargoes against Russia. This same sensibility, in which crisis and opportunity converge, has also reinvigorated the long-standing debate in Germany over the country’s dependence on trade with China. Various factions within the Ampelkoalition, or the “traffic light coalition” government made up of […]

Indigenous Constituent Assembly representatives celebrate after the final vote on constitutional reforms, Santiago, Chile, June 14, 2022 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

After a messy and controversial drafting process that had to be extended by three months, the text of Chile’s new constitution is mostly finalized. The final document is overly long, and many of its key promises will require substantial legislative guidance to determine how they should be implemented. Many on the political right feel as if they have been left out of the process, in part due to their own failures when the Constitutional Assembly drafting the document was elected. Meanwhile, many on the far left feel that the proposed constitution makes too many compromises and doesn’t go far enough […]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, and French President Emmanuel Macron attend a press conference at the Mariyinsky palace, Kyiv, Ukraine, June 16, 2022 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

French President Emmanuel Macron came under heavy criticism recently for suggesting that Europe must find a way to broker a settlement to the war in Ukraine that avoids “humiliating” Russia. Macron subsequently clarified that he staunchly supports Ukraine’s war efforts, which France has been actively assisting, including by providing weapons shipments. But Macron’s comments, which draw on bad historical analogies to the 1919 Treaty of Versailles and its treatment of Germany following World War I, still raised concerns. And the fact that it is not the first time he has had to clarify his remarks on the conflict revived questions […]

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