President Donald Trump at a meeting with Caribbean leaders at Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Fla., March 22, 2019 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

The World Trade Organization's influence and capacity are diminishing. But the biggest threat it faces comes from its erstwhile champion, the United States under President Donald Trump, who is less interested in WTO reforms and more interested in bending the organization to his will. The World Trade Organization is in crisis. Member states doubt its capacity to spur economic liberalization, counter China’s market-distorting policies or resolve deepening trade disputes. But the biggest threat it faces comes from its erstwhile champion, the United States. President Donald Trump is determined to weaken, even destroy, the organization. The White House speaks the language […]

Activists protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold a candlelight vigil outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Oct. 25, 2018 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

Saudi Arabia has lately been in the news for all the wrong reasons. It has been widely condemned for a disastrous war in Yemen that has forced over 3 million civilians to flee and left over 15 million people on the brink of famine. The killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul—allegedly on orders from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—is a story that refuses to go away. More recently, the Saudi government finds itself responding to alarming allegations regarding the detention, torture and impending trial of many prominent female activists in the kingdom. On March […]

Syrian authorities distribute bread, vegetables and pasta to residents of Douma, the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria, April 16, 2018 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

Ten years ago, the Sri Lankan military carried out a violent final offensive against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a rebel group with a long history of atrocities. The offensive, which ultimately resulted in the end of the war, involved the brutal killings of thousands of civilians—acts that were documented in real time by journalists and United Nations officials. Back in New York, however, the U.N.’s leaders failed to muster a meaningful response to mitigate the bloodshed, and Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general at the time, soon came under heavy criticism. As Richard Gowan writes in this week’s in-depth report, […]

Soybeans are offloaded from a combine in Brownsburg, Ind., Sept. 21, 2018 (AP photo by Michael Conroy).

American farmers have arguably suffered the greatest collateral damage in President Donald Trump’s ongoing trade war with China, and things could get even worse. A landmark ruling last month by the World Trade Organization—one of Trump’s favorite targets—should have been good news for American farmers, since it could provide a bit of relief for them from the trade war. But even that small compensation is now likely to be delayed or lost—again because of Trump. Even if Trump’s trade war with China ends soon, American farmers are going to struggle to regain the markets they once had there. Making matters […]

A health worker from the World Health Organization gives an Ebola vaccination to a front-line aid worker, Mbandaka, Congo, May 30, 2018 (AP photo by Sam Mednick).

Amid widespread criticism of its response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa five years ago, the World Health Organization took stock of what went wrong. In a report released in 2015 before the outbreak had even ended, its Ebola Interim Assessment Panel urged the WHO to “re-establish its pre-eminence as the guardian of global public health” and to “undergo significant transformation in order to better perform.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus vowed to act on these recommendations when he ran to become the WHO’s new director-general in 2017, during its first-ever open election campaign, in which the director-general was selected in […]

U.N. peacekeepers stand near people queuing to enter a mosque during the visit of Pope Francis, Bangui, Central African Republic, Nov. 30, 2015 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Are U.N. peacekeeping missions no longer relevant to today’s conflicts? Or do we just need to change the goals? Find out more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). There were understandably mixed feelings at the United Nations in June, when the organization marked the 70th anniversary of modern U.N. peacekeeping missions. The Security Council sent military observers to the Middle East in 1948 to supervise the end of the first Arab-Israeli war, marking the first of over 70 U.N. missions that have become the organization’s trademark. U.N. officials used this year’s anniversary to honor the efforts of today’s […]

British newspapers report on the results of the Brexit referendum, London, United Kingdom, June 24, 2016 (DPA photo by Michael Kappeler via AP Images).

Editor’s note: This will be Richard Gowan’s final weekly column for World Politics Review. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Richard for the keen analysis, luculent prose and delightful wit he has offered WPR readers each week for the past six years. We wish Richard the best of luck at International Crisis Group and look forward to his periodic contributions to WPR in the future. If you want to write seriously about politics, you need to know how to get things wrong. Political analysts are generally praised for getting things right. They win kudos by surveying current affairs […]

View of the Kutadi Bandar with the Tata Mundra power plant in the background, Mundra, India, Oct. 8, 2014 (flickr photo by Sami Siva).

The shallow waters of the Gulf of Kutch, an inlet of the Arabian Sea along the northwestern coast of India, are ideal for fishing, with coral reefs and mangrove forests that provide breeding grounds for a diverse array of marine life. On the gulf’s northern coast, near the town of Mundra, the gently sloping seabed and calm tides make it easy to catch local delicacies like prawns, pomfret and a type of lizardfish known colloquially as “Bombay duck.” The Waghers, a Muslim minority group, have fished these waters for generations. They maintain permanent inland villages, but from September until May, […]

Chagossians demonstrate against the U.K. Government, London, Dec. 15, 2016 (Photo by Alberto Pezzali for Sipa via AP Images).

The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled last week that the United Kingdom must cede control over the Chagos Islands, an Indian Ocean archipelago that was separated from Mauritius several years before Mauritius gained independence in 1968. The 13-1 verdict, while nonbinding, was an embarrassing defeat for the U.K. and a victory for many Chagossians who have sought to return to their homeland since being expelled in the 1960s and 1970s to make way for a U.S. military base on the island of Diego Garcia. In an interview with WPR, Marko Milanovic, a professor of public international law […]