German Chancellor Angela Merkel is greeted with military honors by Burkina Faso’s president, Roch Kabore, at the Presidential Palace, Ouagadougou, May 1, 2019 (Photo by Michael Kappeler for dpa via AP Images).

BAMAKO, Mali—“The terrorists are quick,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters after a summit with the leaders of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou in May. “This is why we have to be quicker, so that we can beat them.” What happens in the Sahel, the vast sub-Saharan region of Northern Africa, “is not only the responsibility of the region, but is also a European responsibility,” Merkel added in what was for her some uncharacteristic alarmism. “If chaos gains the upper hand here—something we want to prevent—other areas would be impacted.” The sight of Merkel standing side […]

Demonstrators hold photos of persons who were killed during Brazil’s dictatorship during a protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 31, 2019 (AP photo by Andre Penner).

In December 1972, when she was 28 years old, Maria Amelia de Almeida Teles was arrested along with her husband and another communist leader while walking down the street in Sao Paulo. The following day, Teles’ two young children and pregnant sister were also taken in. The arrests were carried out by members of the “Operation Bandeirantes” team, a secret police operation formed within the Brazilian army, and had been ordered by Brazil’s military dictatorship, which at the time was led by President Emilio Garrastazu Medici. Though the Medici years are often remembered for the so-called Brazilian Miracle, during which […]

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., May 30, 2019 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

As military leaders advance in rank and take on more responsibility, they learn the importance of what is known as command climate, or the culture of an organization and its core values. Since commanders cannot personally oversee every detail of a large and complex organization, they must establish an effective command climate to assure that subordinates do what the leader wants, even when she or he is not present. Command climate is not just an extension of the leader; it is what makes an organization reflect its leader’s priorities, values and attributes. While it is most associated with the U.S. […]

The French Navy ship Vendemiaire, docked for a five-day port call in Manila, Philippines, March 12, 2018 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

France is stepping up its naval activities in the Asia-Pacific. Last month, the French navy conducted joint exercises with the United States, Australian and Indian navies, just weeks after a separate naval drill with India that involved two aircraft carriers. In April, the French frigate Vendemiaire made a rare passage through the strategically important Taiwan Strait. Some observers fear that these maneuvers could heighten tensions with Beijing, but so far, both France and China have worked to prevent that from happening, says Jean-Pierre Cabestan, a professor of government and international studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. In an email interview […]