A South Korean environmental activist wearing a gas mask and bearing a sign denouncing the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord participates in a protest in front of the U.S. Embassy, Seoul, June 5, 2017 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

This past week brought some further clarity to the underlying assumptions that drive U.S. President Donald Trump’s foreign policy. There’s now enough information to determine that the Trump team’s worldview is based on deeply held premises about the nasty, brutish nature of the human condition. He and his team are systematically walking away from the U.S. government’s decades-long emphasis on international cooperation and the architecture that supports it. The shift will have particularly dire consequences for the global community’s capacity to confront terrorism and climate change, with its impact on nuclear nonproliferation still an open question. In the aftermath of […]

Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, shakes hands with Fenjian Chen, president of China Communications Construction, next to a model of a locomotive, Mombasa, Kenya, May 30, 2017 (AP photo by Khalil Senosi).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing series about China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure initiative, also known as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. When authorities inaugurated a new railway line linking Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, to the coastal city of Mombasa last week, President Uhuru Kenyatta hailed the milestone as “a new chapter,” according to the BBC. The railway, which was funded by China, is reported to be the largest infrastructure project in Kenya since the country’s independence from Britain in 1963. In an email interview, James Shikwati, economist and founder […]

The pilot of a new Airbus plane for Iran Air waves a national flag after landing at Mehrabad airport, Tehran, Iran, Jan. 12, 2017 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

Last month, at a ceremony in Toulouse, France, the French firm ATR officially gave four passenger planes to Iran, and the planes were flown to Tehran the following day. The ATR 72-600s are the first of a 20-plane deal made with the firm following the 2015 nuclear deal and lifting of sanctions, according to the Associated Press, and their purchase is part of a larger effort by Iran to update its commercial fleet. In an email interview, Bijan Khajehpour, managing partner of the Vienna-based consulting firm Atieh International, describes the current needs of Iran’s aviation sector as well as the […]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, is welcomed by Omani Sultan Qaboos at the start of his visit, Muscat, Oman, Feb. 15, 2017 (Iranian Presidency Office photo via AP).

Since the collapse of world oil prices in 2014, the wealthy Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf have all faced difficult times, but especially Oman. Last month, things got even worse when Standard & Poor’s downgraded Oman’s credit rating to junk status over concerns with the country’s budget and revenue prospects as oil prices stay low. After recording average budgetary surpluses of 9.7 percent of GDP in the 2000s, Oman has seen fiscal deficits of 1.1 percent of GDP in 2014, 15.1 percent in 2015 and 20.6 percent in 2016. Unless oil prices increase significantly, the country will face the […]

U.S. President Donald Trump appears to push past Dusko Markovic, Montenegro’s prime minister, during a meeting of NATO heads of state, Brussels, May 25, 2017 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

When Donald Trump became the U.S. president in January, it was not clear if his foreign and national security policy would reflect the unorthodox ideas of his campaign or whether once in power he would move closer to traditional Republican positions. Trump’s just-completed foreign trip did not fully clarify that, but his prickly, almost hostile interaction with America’s NATO allies demonstrated that a foreign policy and national security revolution may be coming. As Ivo Daalder, the former U.S. envoy to NATO, put it, “This seems to be the end of an era.” Should such a transformation occur, the clearest signs […]

Parliamentary candidates of Germany's Green Party protest U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to exit the Paris climate agreement, in front the the U.S. Embassy, Berlin, June 2, 2017 (DPA photo by Britta Pedersen via AP).

After months of speculation, President Donald Trump announced Thursday his decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate change agreement. The move came in the face of high-profile pressure from a diverse set of voices—everyone from Pope Francis and U.S. military brass to business leaders such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk and ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods, and other members of the G-7 had urged the U.S. president to remain in the accord. Nevertheless, Trump declared in the White House Rose Garden that “we’re getting out” of the landmark deal to reduce global carbon emissions. Trump immediately added that […]

Protesters stage a rally against deployment of the THAAD advanced U.S. missile defense system, Seongju, South Korea, March 18, 2017 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

Four months into Donald Trump’s presidency, Asia has begun crafting a geopolitical response to the challenges he presents. U.S. influence remains vital in maintaining regional stability, but Asian countries are seeking options as doubts over Washington’s future dependability emerge. WPR has compiled key reading on Asia’s new directions in the Trump era. Purchase this special report as a Kindle e-book. A New Beginning Taking Stock of the U.S. Rebalance and the Contest for Influence in Asia As Trump prepared to assume the presidency in January, the U.S. “rebalance” toward Asia continued apace. At the time, Timothy R. Heath warned of […]

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the end of their joint statement at Los Pinos, the official presidential residence, Mexico City, Aug. 31, 2016 (AP photo by Dario Lopez-Mills).

MEXICO CITY — The lengthy and tumultuous prelude to talks between the United States, Mexico and Canada over the North American Free Trade Agreement has in many ways epitomized the chaos and contradictions of Donald Trump’s presidency. Trump has demonized the 23-year-old pact as the “worst trade deal, maybe ever,” but officials from his administration have hailed its potential to create a “regional powerhouse” through further economic integration. The confusion notwithstanding, Trump has forced policymakers to reflect on an agreement that is vital to the interests of all three NAFTA members. But he has also forced them to consider the […]

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