A student throws a tear gas canister back at police during clashes at the National University in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 26, 2019 (AP photo by Ivan Valencia).

Making sense of the world these days can be daunting. Across a swath of wildly disparate countries in the Middle East and South America, popular protests have shaken the foundations of both democratic governments and dictatorships alike. Western democracies haven’t been immune to these systemic shocks, ranging from resurgent—and in some cases triumphant—populist movements to repeatedly inconclusive elections and precarious governing coalitions. All this upheaval has called into question the tenets of the liberal international order that have guided global elites and policymakers over the past three decades. At first glance, it would seem we have entered a new historical […]

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the ASEAN-Australia Special Summit in Sydney, March 18, 2018 (pool photo by Mark Metcalfe of Getty via AP Images).

One of the enduring mysteries in recent years is what happened to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi. Somehow, some way, the woman known as “the Lady of Burma”—who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 after she spent 15 years under house arrest in Myanmar for her democratic activism—seems to have lost her soul. Her drive to the top of Myanmar’s political hierarchy and quest to burnish her political legacy have been relentless, but also devastating for all those who once hailed her commitment to democracy and nonviolence. Since she became the de facto civilian head of Myanmar’s government following […]

A transgender Ugandan.

KAMPALA, Uganda—Revelers at Ram Bar, a gay-friendly establishment in Kampala, were dancing and drinking beer late on a Sunday night, when the police arrived. Shouting, officers rounded up the confused crowd and took 120 people into custody. Sixty-seven of them were soon charged with “creating a common nuisance”; according to Patricia Kimera, a lawyer for the group, they could face up to a year in prison if convicted. Activists describe the arrests and subsequent charges as a direct attack on members of Uganda’s already marginalized gay community. “This is intimidation,” Frank Mugisha, the executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a […]

A supporter of former President Evo Morales holds a Wiphala flag, an emblem of the indigenous people of the Andes region, in front of soldiers blocking a street in downtown La Paz, Bolivia, Nov. 15, 2019 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

LA PAZ, Bolivia—Since the head of Bolivia’s armed forces “suggested” to Evo Morales that he resign the presidency on Nov. 10, following contested elections in October that were marred by allegations of fraud, Bolivia has been in a tense limbo. Two days after the military’s nudge, Morales arrived in Mexico, where authorities had granted him political asylum. In La Paz, the conservative vice president of the Senate, Jeanine Anez, declared herself his replacement. Street clashes and crackdowns on protesters have escalated since then. Can the new government, which insists it is only transitional while acting otherwise, establish its legitimacy and […]

A Bolivian army helicopter flies over the road leading to the state-owned Senkata gasoline plant, El Alto, Bolivia, Nov. 19, 2019 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

It’s been a little over a week since Evo Morales resigned as president of Bolivia in the aftermath of his disputed victory in the country’s first-round presidential election on Oct. 20. Following mass demonstrations against a vote that many saw as illegitimate and marred by fraud, Morales stepped down at the “suggestion” of the country’s military and fled to Mexico. An interim government is in place, but unrest has only worsened in recent days. Protests continue in the highlands of the country, where support for Morales and his Movement for Socialism party are strong, and last week security forces reportedly […]

Congolese security forces attend to the scene after the vehicle of an Ebola response team was attacked and burned in Beni, northeastern Congo, June 24, 2019 (AP photo by Al-hadji Kudra Maliro).

BENI, Democratic Republic of Congo—At first glance, there is nothing out of the ordinary about life in Beni, a cosmopolitan trading town on Congo’s northeastern border with Uganda. On a typical Sunday, roller skaters train for their next competition on the town’s paved main road, studiously avoiding the potholes and errant cows. Off the avenue, the side streets of packed yellow dirt are dotted with people going about their daily business. At night, clubs serve locally brewed beer, while revelers dance in the dotted pink light of a spinning disco ball. Before anyone can enter the club, however, they must […]

A man paddles a boat through a flooded village in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 31, 2018 (AP photo by Manh Thang).

Rising seas will endanger more than 300 million people in the next 30 years, according to a startling new study published in late October in the journal Nature Communications. By 2050, the impact of rising sea levels will be much more severe than previously thought, “threatening to all but erase some of the world’s great coastal cities” in low-lying areas from Egypt’s Nile Delta to southern and eastern China to Southeast Asia, as The New York Times put it. One of those cities is Ho Chi Minh City, the economic hub of Vietnam, which could be underwater along with the […]

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If climate change is the most important matter of common concern around the world, what comes second? Perhaps nothing close. But by my lights, the usual looming questions—about the fate of American power and influence, Brexit, the related viability of the European Union, and the many uncertainties surrounding the rise of China—seem almost parochial in comparison to one that gets immeasurably less international attention: the future of employment in Africa, where unprecedented demographic transitions are underway. Based on current projections, the continent’s population of nearly 1.2 billion people will rise to 2.5 billion by the middle of this century—more than […]

A group of children freed by policemen after they raided a building where hundreds of boys were held in dehumanizing conditions, in Daura, Nigeria, Oct. 14, 2019 (AP photo by Saddiq Mustapha).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about education policy in various countries around the world. In a raid last month in Katsina, the capital of Katsina state in northern Nigeria, police freed 67 men and boys from what news reports called an “Islamic school.” The captives, who ranged in age from 7 to 40 years old, had been held in degrading conditions that included being shackled at the feet and suffering regular beatings and abuse. Hundreds more had escaped from the center in the weeks preceding the raid. In September, a police raid in neighboring Kaduna […]

An anti-government protest in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 1, 2019 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

For the Latin American right, Chile is a model country that gives credibility to their pro-market policies and reassures citizens that these policies can be socially inclusive. Conservative leaders from Argentina’s outgoing, center-right president, Mauricio Macri, to Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, have lauded Chile as an example for their relatively closed economies to emulate. Yet the unexpected eruption of popular protests and the repressive security response that has cost the lives of at least 18 demonstrators have shaken the country’s image as a stable democracy, while raising questions about the downsides of those pro-market policies and the lingering legacy […]