Delegates from the People's Liberation Army Navy arrive at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, March 4, 2017 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the upcoming summit for China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, and how China is positioning itself to take advantage of the United States’ shifting approaches to international trade and global engagement. For the Report, Richard A. Bitzinger talks with Peter Dörrie about China’s naval buildup and global security ambitions. If you’d like to support our free podcast through patron pledges, Patreon is an online service that will allow you to do so. To find out about the benefits you can get through pledging as […]

South Koreans hold cardboard letters reading "NO THAAD" during a rally near the U.S. Embassy, Seoul, South Korea, April 28, 2017 (AP photo by Lee Jin-man).

During South Korea’s presidential election, Moon Jae-in—who emerged as the winner on Tuesday—criticized the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system known as THAAD, saying it had been rushed. China has also made clear its objections to the system, even deploying children as young as 7 in a series of anti-THAAD boycotts and rallies. In an email interview, Joshua Pollack, editor of the Nonproliferation Review and senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, explains what THAAD does and why it is controversial. WPR: What are THAAD missile defense systems designed to defend against, and why […]

British Prime Minister Theresa May welcomes NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at 10 Downing Street, London, May 10, 2017 (AP photo by Frank Augstein).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. There has never been a question of the U.K.’s preference for NATO as a guarantor of European security, instead of a separate European force. In an email interview, John Louth, senior research fellow and director for defense, industries and society at the Royal United Services Institute, describes the U.K.’s role in the alliance and explains why U.K. officials—like U.S. President Donald Trump—believe European allies should spend more on defense. WPR: How do NATO alliance concerns shape the U.K.’s security […]

Chinese navy officers stand on deck upon arrival at Thilawa International Port, Yangon, Myanmar, Sept. 30, 2016 (AP photo by Thein Zaw).

About a decade ago, it was all the fashion to speak of China’s “string of pearls”: a chain of bases, ports and even airfields stretching from the South China Sea, through the Singapore-Malacca Straits, across the Indian Ocean and to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal. If not directly owned or controlled by China, this network-of-access would permit the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), the naval arm of the Chinese military, to become a more or less permanent presence in the Indian Ocean. As a result, the PLAN could secure China’s access to some of its most important sea-lanes […]

Anti-NATO demonstrators protest outside Montenegro's parliament during the vote to ratify membership, Cetinje, Montenegro, April 28, 2017 (AP photo by Risto Bozovic).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. Last Friday, lawmakers in Montenegro voted 46-0 to ratify the country’s accession to NATO. However, dozens of pro-Russia lawmakers boycotted the vote, underscoring the political obstacles that have slowed Montenegro’s accession process. In an email interview, Filip Ejdus, an assistant professor at the University of Belgrade and a research fellow at the University of Bristol, explains how that process unfolded. WPR: Why and for how long has Montenegro sought to join NATO, and what have been the biggest challenges […]

A U.S. Army Special Forces captain speaks with troops from the Central African Republic and Uganda searching for warlord Joseph Kony, Obo, Central African Republic, April 29, 2012 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

Uganda recently began withdrawing troops from the Central African Republic that had been tasked with hunting Joseph Kony, the notorious leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group. Kony founded the LRA in 1987 in northern Uganda, and his fighters became notorious for abducting children and forcing them to serve as soldiers and sex slaves. The rebel leader remains at large, but Uganda’s military recently said the group’s “means of making war against Uganda have been degraded” and that LRA commanders had “been killed, captured or surrendered.” Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, offered a similar […]

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at a U.N. Security Council meeting on North Korea at U.N. headquarters in New York, April 28, 2017 (Sipa USA via AP).

Smart diplomats do not gloat about alienating their most assertive and dangerous foes. Nor do they boast about their influence over uncertain partners who are apt to switch loyalties at short notice. Last week, the Trump administration made both of these mistakes in one sentence. In an upbeat summary of the president’s first 100 days in office, the White House declared that Donald Trump has “further isolated Syria and Russia at the United Nations through successful diplomacy with President Xi Jinping of China.” This claim is not entirely untrue, but Trump should not imagine that he has changed the rules […]

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