NATO soldiers of Lithuania take part in the Saber Strike 2018 military exercise in Pabrade, Lithuania, June 11, 2018 (AP photo by Mindaugas Kulbis).

Among the security threats the United States is currently grappling with, potential Russian aggression against its neighbors in Eastern Europe draws the most attention, especially after last month’s standoff between Russia and Ukraine. This is unsurprising given Moscow’s continued improvements to its military and its 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, 2008 invasion of Georgia, 2014 seizure of Crimea, and its ongoing “gray zone” aggression against Ukraine, which the recent incident in the Sea of Azov was just the latest example of. As a result of all of this, Washington is concerned, perhaps even fixated on finding ways to deter possible Russian […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, greets Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Dec. 5, 2018 (pool photo by Maxim Shemetov via AP Images).

Last week, the Maiquetia airport outside Caracas was the site of a remarkable event. On Monday, one after another, a series of Russian military aircraft landed in Venezuela. Most notably, the flock included two nuclear-capable, supersonic Tu-160 “White Swan” bombers, along with a passenger plane reportedly bringing about 100 Russian military personnel, and a large cargo plane possibly delivering military equipment. Just a few days earlier, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and received promises of a $6 billion aid package. Now, Putin was using Venezuela to send a powerful message to Washington. […]

A demonstration in memory of the Italian researcher Giulio Regeni, who was abducted, tortured and murdered in Cairo, in Rome, Jan. 25, 2018 (Photo by Riccardo Antimianu for ANSA via AP Images).

Italian prosecutors earlier this month named five Egyptian security officials as suspects in the murder of Giulio Regeni, an Italian graduate student whose mutilated body was found in a roadside ditch outside Cairo in February 2016, nine days after he disappeared. Regeni had been conducting research on labor unions in Egypt for a doctorate at Cambridge University. For nearly three years, investigators in Rome have been frustrated by the lack of cooperation from their Egyptian counterparts, which led to the extraordinary decision to publicly identify Egyptian government agents as suspects. In an email interview with WPR, Timothy Kaldas, a nonresident […]

Supporters attend an election rally for presidential hopeful Marc Ravalomanana, Antananarivo, Madagascar, Nov. 3, 2018 (AP photo by Kabir Dhanji).

On Dec. 19, voters in Madagascar will elect their next president in a second-round runoff pitting two ex-presidents and bitter rivals against each other. Marc Ravalomanana, the 68-year-old economic pragmatist who held the office from 2002 until 2009, will face Andry Rajoelina, the 44-year-old populist who ousted him from power in a 2009 coup and ran the country under an internationally isolated transitional government until 2013. In first-round voting on Nov. 7, Ravalomanana and Rajoelina received 35.3 percent and 39.2 percent of the vote, respectively, far ahead of the other 34 candidates on the ballot, including the incumbent, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, […]

Georgia National Guard troops with the 108th Cavalry Regiment at a send-off ceremony before deploying to Afghanistan, Dalton, Ga., Nov. 26, 2018 (Photo by Curtis Compton for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP Images).

A new report argues U.S. adversaries may go beyond the "gray zone" aggression of fracturing American alliances and deploy a strategy of rapidly inflicting unacceptable losses on U.S. and partner military forces. Is this vision of future conflict based on false strategic and political assumptions? Last week the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command released a new report entitled, “The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028.” The title might seem to suggest that the document would only interest die-hard military geeks. But despite its complex and arcane phrasing, the report is actually a fascinating window into how the Army sees […]

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil leaves a stadium after a tour organized for diplomats and journalists, Beirut, Oct. 1, 2018 (Photo by Marwan Naamani for dpa via AP Images).

After seven years of civil war, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad looks set to emerge victorious thanks to the support he received from Russia, from his patrons in Iran and from Iran’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah. The war is not over, but the focus on what comes next is already underway, and one change is now plainly visible: Iran, Damascus and Hezbollah are pivoting their attention to Lebanon’s future—and so is Israel. In recent days, a flurry of military and political activity has shifted to Lebanon, confirming that the tiny country—which has for so long been caught in the vice of regional […]

A Chinese Wing Loong 2 reconnaissance and combat drone on display at the Dubai Airshow, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 12, 2017 (Sputnik photo by Sergey Mamontov via AP).

Armed drones may not be the killer robots some people fear, but drone weaponry is proliferating faster than international norms governing its use. Find out more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). In a move meant to break with his predecessor, President Donald Trump announced new export policies for U.S. armed drones in April. In presenting Trump’s policy shift, Peter Navarro, assistant to the president for trade and manufacturing policy, said it “will level the playing field by enabling U.S. firms to increase their direct sales to authorized allies and partners.” The media reaction was hyperbolic, with one […]

J-20 stealth fighter jets of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force perform during the 12th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province, China, Nov. 11, 2018 (Imaginechina photo via AP Images).

In early November, at its flagship biennial airshow in the southern city of Zhuhai, China displayed the latest accomplishments of its aerospace and defense industries. This year’s exhibition provides further evidence of China’s emergence as a major defense industrial power, one capable of equipping the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and foreign militaries with world-class military equipment. In the context of intensifying great-power competition between the United States and China, the rapidly increasing capacities of China’s defense industry are likely to play an important role in helping Beijing realize its goal of turning the PLA into a top-tier military and cementing […]

Protesters speak out against the coup attempt in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Sept. 21, 2015 (AP photo by Theo Renaut).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. It’s been two decades since the body of Norbert Zongo, an investigative journalist in Burkina Faso, was found in his car on a road south of the capital, Ouagadougou. He appeared to have been shot and badly burned, as had his brother, his driver and a colleague, all of whom were killed alongside him. Suspicion immediately fell on Francois Compaore, the younger brother of longtime President Blaise Compaore. Zongo had reported aggressively on the killing of Francois Compaore’s driver, […]

Guinean President Alpha Conde during a press conference at the Elysee Palace, Paris, France, Nov. 22, 2017 (Photo by Jacques Witt for Sipa via AP Images).

Late last month, officials in the West African nation of Guinea announced that policing in the capital, Conakry, would be undergoing some changes. Specifically, they said soldiers would be deployed alongside police officers and gendarmes as part of new mixed patrols. The inauguration of these patrols, they said, was a necessary response to weeks of violent, sometimes fatal protests over issues ranging from low teacher pay to suspected election fraud. News of the patrols sparked a forceful outcry from opposition politicians and human rights activists, who denounced their creation as a legally baseless maneuver intended to quell dissent primarily in […]

A woman shows a picture of Mapuche indigenous man Camilo Catrillanca, who was killed by security forces, to riot police during a protest in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 19, 2018 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

President Sebastian Pinera’s administration in Chile is facing heavy criticism for its treatment of the country’s marginalized indigenous groups after security forces killed a young indigenous man in the southern Araucania region last month. Camilo Catrillanca, a 24-year-old Mapuche, was fatally shot on Nov. 14 by members of a heavily armed counterterrorism squad known as the “Jungle Commandos.” Four soldiers have been arrested in connection with the incident, which has prompted public protests across the country. In an interview with WPR, Jorge Contesse, a professor of international human rights law at Rutgers University, discusses the history of the Chilean government’s […]

Mexico’s new president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, greets the crowd at the end of his inauguration ceremony, Mexico City, Dec. 1, 2018 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

MEXICO CITY—Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was officially sworn in as Mexico’s new president on Dec. 1, but for many Mexicans, it seemed as if he had already taken office months ago, eager to shake things up. Near-daily press conferences on the steps of his Mexico City apartment building, promises of informal popular referendums on any number of policy issues, and a notably antagonistic stance toward both opposition forces and the media suggest a new era of uncertainty for Mexico. The veteran leftist, better known in Mexico by his initials “AMLO,” rode to a landslide victory in July’s election, vowing to […]