Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to media after the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

Pity the U.S. officials in charge of planning this year’s Group of 7 summit. President Donald Trump initially planned to convene the annual summit at his own private golf resort in Miami. When this bit of self-dealing elicited bipartisan blowback, he shifted the site of the meeting, originally scheduled for this week, to Camp David. Then COVID-19 intervened, and the White House announced plans for a virtual summit, only to have Trump propose on May 20 that the leaders would gather in person after all. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel demurred, the peeved president pivoted again. On May 30, without […]

Police form a line in Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, as demonstrators gather to protest the death of George Floyd, Washington, June 2, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment when this feeling of suffocation began. For so many born and raised here in Washington, D.C., it probably began early in life when their parents sat them down for “the talk,” about how to comport themselves safely during encounters with the police. But for me, the air in Washington became almost unbreathable on Monday when I saw Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, striding along Lafayette Square in his battle fatigues as helicopters in the sky above my neighborhood roared westward across Capitol Hill to the […]

Army officials attend a military ceremony in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 16, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

When the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, agreed to demobilize as part of Colombia’s landmark 2016 peace agreement, it ended 50 years of armed conflict. It also left the Colombian army without its chief adversary. The country still faces internal armed threats, like the smaller guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army, and about 10,000 fighters are scattered across dozens of smaller militias, some of them led by former FARC members. But for Latin America’s largest army, the adjustment has been fraught with difficulty. The army built up a formidable intelligence apparatus during the country’s decades of internal conflict, […]

Protesters take a knee in front of New York City police officers during a demonstration in Brooklyn, New York, June 4, 2020 (AP photo by Frank Franklin II).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Freddy Deknatel and Prachi Vidwans talk about the demonstrations in cities across the U.S. to protest police killings of black Americans, the militarized response to the protests, and the international dimensions of both racial injustice in America and the popular movements to end it. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | Spotify Relevant Articles on WPR:America Is in Crisis Because It Won’t Confront Its Grave Racial DivideThe Looming American NightmareAfter Years of Turmoil, There Is Hope for Stability and Reform in LesothoThe Importance of Gender Inclusion in COVID-19 […]

Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, at the Ponta Vermelha Palace in Maputo, Mozambique, Sept. 5, 2019 (AP photo by Alessandra Tarantino).

As Mozambique enters the third month of its lockdown to slow the spread of COVID-19, fighting between government troops and a shadowy Islamist militia has escalated significantly in the northernmost province of Cabo Delgado. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a global monitoring group, insurgents have stepped up attacks in 2020, with more than 100 “violent events” this year, the precise term ACLED uses based on its methodology—an increase of 300 percent over the same period last year. In roughly 90 of those incidents, militants attacked civilians, resulting in more than 200 reported fatalities, including one […]

Chinese paramilitary police stand guard near Tiananmen Square and the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 20, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

One sweltering night some years ago, well after I had finished eating dinner, I received an urgent knock on my front door. I was spending a summer in Hanoi, and had just moved into an apartment in a quiet, residential area. My late-night visitor turned out to be a young Vietnamese police officer in uniform. As I often did in such encounters, I tried to keep the interaction as brief as possible by acting confused and answering his questions in English. But then, a middle-aged woman, whom I recognized from the neighborhood, emerged from the shadows and said, “He speaks […]

Demonstrators gather near the White House to protest the death of George Floyd, Washington, June 2, 2020 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

As a young boy in an internationally minded African American family in the Washington D.C. of the 1960s, I avidly collected stamps from other countries and visited the city’s embassies for the kinds of promotional publications countries put out about life back home in their societies in the pre-internet age. One of those embassies represented Moscow. It was the height of the Cold War, not many years after the famous 1956 remarks by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, in which he vowed to “bury” the United States and its Western allies. Less well remembered, during a visit to Los Angeles three […]

President Donald Trump speaks after viewing the successful SpaceX launch in Cape Canaveral, Florida, May 23, 2020 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

Fifteen years ago this September, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick famously challenged the People’s Republic of China to become a “responsible stakeholder” in the international system. For too long, he suggested, China had been freeriding on the stable, open world created by the United States and its Western allies, while failing to internalize and embrace some of its most important norms and standards of conduct. It was time, Zoellick argued, for China to become a custodian of the rules-based international order, rather than a mere participant or bystander. The premise behind Zoellick’s argument was the “Spiderman rule”: […]

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