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2022 marks nearly five decades since the death of Chinese leader Mao Zedong, but the legacy of his Great Leap Forward lingers on for Chinese farmers that raise livestock and fish or grow crops. Chinese history has made many demands of the country’s agricultural workers, relying on their labor while granting few benefits in return.

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Voters in Angola cast ballots on Wednesday to give President Joao Lourenco and his ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, another five-year mandate in office. But the MPLA’s dwindling share of the electorate points to trends that may spell trouble for its fortunes going forward.

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During the 15 months I wrote the Middle East Memo newsletter, I sought to explore the myriad challenges the Middle East faces, from authoritarianism, to human rights abuses, to the climate crisis, to poor governance. In the end, I remain more certain than ever that the region’s future depends mainly on its people.

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Recent arrests of priests in Nicaragua would seem to offer a moment for the Catholic Church, which remains influential in Latin America, to galvanize regional governments against the repressive rule of President Daniel Ortega. But while local priests speak out, church leaders have appeared unwilling to do more.

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Prospects for a prompt resolution of the protracted political conflict in Venezuela seem bleak. Yet relatively little attention has been paid to the opportunities that may arise from recent political developments in the region, including a resurgent left no longer in thrall to Washington’s sterile “maximum pressure” campaign.

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William Ruto was declared the victor in Kenya’s presidential election, which drew wide attention across the continent. His immediate task is to reunite the country after a long, divisive campaign, as national cohesion will key to tackling the country’s policy challenges and improving the quality of its political institutions.

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A recurring trope in the British media is an opinion piece that ostentatiously praises or condemns Scandinavian welfare policies. This tendency to reduce Scandinavia to a simplistic caricature misses insights into how these societies are adapting to social change—and how the rest of Europe might overcome its own challenges.

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In March, environmentalists launched an unprecedented legal case charging French oil giant TotalEnergies with greenwashing. Despite marketing itself as a green company, TotalEnergies has invested heavily in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, or EACOP, an infamous project in Uganda that’s come to symbolize Western hypocrisy.

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The latest conflict in the Gaza Strip has put the international spotlight on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or PIJ, the second-largest militant group in Gaza after Hamas. Despite the group’s losses in the fighting, the PIJ may have emerged politically strengthened and with its credibility as a resistance movement enhanced.

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The first 100 days of any administration should always be a moment for optimism. So, even if Colombia’s political system is doomed to hit gridlock later in his term, the country’s new president, Gustavo Petro, still has a few months to check a few agenda items off his list and start their implementation.

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Because the Wagner Group has such an established reputation, many took claims made earlier this year that the group would deploy to Burkina Faso at face value. However, rumors about Wagner rarely square with reality. The actual evidence that the group will imminently deploy to Burkina Faso is far from conclusive.

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As inflation rates spike and interest rates rise, many countries are facing looming sovereign debt crises. A mechanism like the G-20’s Common Framework for Debt Treatments, aimed at addressing what could become a global debt crisis, is becoming more important than ever—but to be effective it needs to address major shortcomings.

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At least 32 people were killed in a July 29 attack by suspected cattle thieves in a village approximately 47 miles north of Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital. While the country’s president has vowed to bring the killers to justice, the roots of Madagascar’s cattle theft problem date back decades and defy obvious solutions.

The remarkable developments in Sri Lanka, in which a monthslong citizen mobilization led to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation last month, would have been unthinkable until recently. But while Rajapaksa’s resignation realized part of the protesters’ demands, there is still a long way to go for systemic change.

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A video depicting a chained woman in a dark shack in the Chinese city of Xuzhou went viral, racking up more than 1.9 billion views on Chinese social media. But the reaction by authorities to the video show how online outrage is often corralled and stripped of its more systemic critiques of the state.

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One year after the Taliban seized power in Kabul, the situation in Afghanistan is—in a word—worse. Now, the killing of al-Qaida’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in a U.S. drone attack has raised renewed concerns that the Taliban are providing sanctuary to the terrorist group, which could have grave implications for the country’s future.

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The political impasse in Iraq has reached an ominous phase that underscores the danger of litigating politics through displays of force. And in Lebanon, the many twists and turns in its deadlocked politics demonstrate that negotiation through violence can give way to a sustainable—if bloody—alternative to civic democracy.

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