After a dramatic year in which us-china relations got more tense and the russia-ukraine war began, it can be easy to feel like everything has changed

It’s hard not to see 2022 as a “year that changed everything.” The war in Ukraine and other developments certainly represented shocks to the international system. But rather than a year that has changed everything, I see a year that has made everything more possible, at times for the worse but also for the better.

Putin and Lukashenko amid Belarus' involvement in Russia's war in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Belarus this week to shore up support in Minsk for his war in Ukraine. Even if Alexander Lukashenko does not send troops to Ukraine, closer political and military ties between Moscow and Minsk signal Belarus’ loss of sovereignty and its de facto involvement in the war effort.

In Tunisia, President Kais Saied has slowly eroded democracy with a new constitution

Amid a boycott by Tunisia’s main parties, only 11 percent of voters turned out for legislative elections Saturday. The elections were meant to legitimize President Kais Saied’s efforts to remake Tunisia’s democratic institutions. Instead, the opposition says low turnout indicates he has lost all legitimacy and must resign.

After a difficult year, it's worth sharing the bright spots in fields like climate change, the US military's new civilian casualties policy, and protests in Iran pro-democracy

Writing about human security and international law often means writing about the worst things in the world. With the holidays around the corner, it’s worth sharing a few stories that show how numerous strategies—including NGO activism and nonviolent protest movements—are making a positive difference for human security worldwide.

Supporters of Castillo, the former president of Peru, protest what they believe was an attack on democracy, a frightening trend throughout Latin America

The dispute over Pedro Castillo’s removal as president in Peru is the latest messy transfer of power in Latin America and another instance when regional governments could not agree on a basic interpretation of events. More broadly, the region’s democracies face two related challenges: creeping authoritarianism and election denial.

A sign for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where accusations of sportswashing and human rights violations dominated the narrative

The concerns, criticisms and debates at the Qatar World Cup about human rights and other contentious issues served as reminders that sporting events carried out under the banner of national flags will always be susceptible to politicization, no matter how often it is claimed that the athletic arena is off-limits to politics.

In El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele's War on Gangs has made him extremely popular despite human rights abuses

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele appears to have found a formula to maintain sky-high popularity in a region more accustomed to street protests and leaders nose-diving in the polls. Critics of his “war on gangs” revile him for his autocratic ways. But citizens and leaders across Latin America have looked to him for inspiration.

Protests in China over COVID lockdowns shouldn't be compared to Tiananmen square for a lot of reasons

Recent protests in China drew comparisons to the political demonstrations of 1989, as well as to more localized and group-specific protests since 1990. This raises questions of how the present protests differ from previous ones, whether they represent a new type of protest, and how outside policymakers can best respond to them.

In El Salvador, people are detained and taken to prison amid a state of emergency in an effort to mitigate gang violence

In March, Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele declared a state of emergency and suspended fundamental rights, giving security forces extended powers to detain and arrest people suspected of gang crimes. Since then, over 58,000 people accused of being gang members have been arrested—and human rights violations have spiked.

Tunisia's president, Kais Saied, has slowly chipped away at the country's democracy while using lip service for gender equality and women's right as a smokescreen

Tunisian President Kais Saied has steadily chipped away at a decade of democratic progress in the county since consolidating power in July 2021, and one of the rights most under threat is gender equality. Saied has used a variety of tools to give lip service to gender equality in Tunisia, while simultaneously undermining it.

In Peru, as in countries like Brazil, Argentina, and the US, democracy survived the wills of hyper-presidentialism

Recent developments in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, the U.S. and Peru show that the guardrails of democracy can hold in the Americas. Institutions can restrain populist leaders who abuse their authority. Hyper-presidentialism, in which the executive can do whatever it pleases, is not guaranteed. Checks and balances can work.

A protest in Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini calling for regime collapse in Iran

Despite a remarkable nationwide uprising that shows no sign of abating, Iran has not put its external policies on hold. While some onlookers may hope that the internal unrest and growing international isolation will hinder Iran’s troubling policies outside the country, the opposite may unfortunately be more likely.

Viktor Orban, PM of Hungary, amid a showdown with EU over rule-of-law and democracy

Senior officials in the European Commission are seething at the national governments on the EU Council for what they view as caving to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s threat to veto aid to Ukraine amid the EU’s long-running dispute with Budapest over its failure to uphold democratic institutions.

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The first signs of how the inability of established elites to prevent state collapse could generate new forms of popular resistance emerged in Lebanon in 2019, as economic collapse generated a wave of mass protests cutting across class and religious lines. Now, the turmoil in Lebanon may presage similar dynamics in Egypt that could have a much more dramatic global impact.

The streets of Doha are quieter now that the Qatar World Cup is in the knockout stage. At the same time, the debate around human rights in the Middle East is dying down

As the 2022 FIFA World Cup enters its knockout rounds, a subdued atmosphere in Doha increasingly mirrors the waning public debate around geopolitical issues—particularly Qatar’s poor human rights record—that received significant attention in the runup to the World Cup and during the tournament’s first two weeks.

In Afghanistan, a hunger crisis is made even worse by a struggling economy and lack of development aid amid US sanctions

Who is to blame for Afghanistan’s food insecurity crisis depends on whom you ask. What almost everyone agrees on, though, is that it is a manufactured disaster stemming from multiple, interrelated policy-driven causes. Ultimately, the blame game only adds a political layer to the problem, making it even more difficult to fix it.

In China, lockdown protests against Xi Jinping's 'zero-covid' policy

The protests against China’s zero-COVID policies are notable for featuring overt criticism of Xi Jinping, the CCP and the country’s political system. Coming just weeks after Xi was reappointed to a third term as party leader, the protests are a major reversal in the triumphalist narrative he and the CCP had hoped to portray.

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