People chant slogans during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan, Oct. 30, 2021 (AP photo by Marwan Ali).
When Myanmar’s anti-coup uprising kicked off in February 2021, it had three demands that look quite simple in retrospect. First, the protesters said, the military and its leader, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, must end their takeover of power. Second, they must restore the democratically elected government they had unseated. And third, they must release all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National Democratic Union party, which had come out on top in the country’s competitive, albeit flawed election in November 2020. By the time I spoke to Thinzar Shunlei Yi, a leading Myanmar activist, in late September [...]
China People’s Liberation Army Navy troops stand on the deck of a guided missile frigate in Manila, Philippines, Jan. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).
Under the leadership of President Xi Jingping, China has been pouring resources into its military arsenal in pursuit of a technologically advanced, integrated force. Its accomplishments to date have weakened U.S. military deterrence in the region, leading some smaller states to question Washington’s ability and willingness to intervene in the case of a conflict involving China. But Beijing’s strategy has also come with some political costs. Earlier this week, on Trend Lines, WPR’s Peter Dörrie sat down with Timothy Heath, RAND’s senior intelligence and defense expert, to discuss China’s growing military capacity and what it means for the United States and its allies.  [...]
A man walks past destruction resulting from airstrikes on the town of Ariha, in Idlib province, Syria, Jan. 30, 2020 (AP photo by Ghaith Alsayed).
Normalization of diplomatic ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad raises troubling questions for humanists who are also realists. When an evil regime wins a bloody war that allows it stay in power, how can a liberal-democratic state express solidarity for victims of that regime's brutality without engaging in fantasy politics? By fantasy politics, I mean pursuing policies that continue a lost war through punitive acts that do little to limit the targeted regime’s capabilities, while hurting the innocent civilians those penalties are ostensibly intended to help; or pretending that the losing side of a conflict has leverage to pursue its [...]
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