Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak delivers a speech, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Jan. 28, 2016 (AP photo by Joshua Paul).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the potential impact on members’ economies. Last week, the Malaysian government announced that it had established a national committee to oversee the implementation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In an email interview, Shankaran Nambiar, a senior research fellow at the Malaysian Institute for Economic Research, discussed the potential impact of TPP membership on Malaysia’s economy. WPR: What are the expected economic benefits and potential downsides for Malaysia from the TPP, and who are the expected “winners” and “losers”? Shankaran Nambiar: Malaysia’s export-oriented firms will […]

U.S. President Barack Obama before delivering his speech at the Grand Theater of Havana, Cuba, March 22, 2016 (AP photo by Desmond Boyland).

One of U.S. President Barack Obama’s most significant measures to promote commerce with Cuba isn’t working. Last March, a few days before the president’s trip to Havana, Washington announced a new package of regulatory reforms loosening the U.S. embargo—the fourth since December 2014. One element of that package licensed U.S. financial institutions to process international transactions between Cuba and non-U.S. parties, so-called “u-turn” transactions. Because most dollar-denominated transactions are cleared through U.S. banks, the ban on these transactions severely hampered Cuban trade. In fact, lifting that prohibition was at the top of Cuba’s agenda last February when Cuban Minister of […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Laos Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at the ASEAN-Russia summit, Sochi, Russia, May 20, 2016 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

The third ASEAN-Russia summit, held in the Russian city of Sochi, concluded on May 20. In a beehive of diplomatic activity, Russian President Vladimir Putin held bilateral meetings with the leader of every member-state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) over two days. The conclave has been heralded for setting in motion a roadmap to accelerate economic and security cooperation between the states of Southeast Asia and Russia—a new level of interaction that will allow Moscow to move beyond its stalled relationships with the United States and Europe to take advantage of new opportunities in Asia. Even before […]

Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the government house, Buenos Aires, Argentina, April 7, 2016 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, is creating a buzz on the international circuit, but he won’t have an easy time installing a new paradigm in a deeply divided society. On March 24, Argentina marked the 40th anniversary of the military coup that ushered in a brutal seven-year dictatorship in 1976. As has become customary, tens of thousands marched on Plaza de Mayo, in central Buenos Aires, to remember the atrocities of that era and chant the universal slogan, Nunca Mas—Never Again. But this year, the march was different. Just 24 hours earlier, the same historic square had been adorned with […]

Newly elected Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, left, with President Michael D. Higgins at the presidential residence, Dublin, May 6, 2016 (Press Association photo by Brian Lawless via AP).

The results of Ireland’s general election in late February were as indecisive as anyone could have imagined, leaving a hung parliament. After unsuccessful talks about forming a grand coalition, few are confident of the stability of the new minority government, led by Fine Gael and backed, at least for now, by its longtime rival, Fianna Fail. The breaking point will most likely come on economic policy issues. For decades Ireland’s traditional party of government, Fianna Fail had been severely punished in the previous general election in 2011 for the economic collapse over which it presided. It made a strong recovery […]

Soldiers from Australia and Singapore head out on patrol during Exercise Trident, Queensland, Australia, Nov. 8, 2014 (Australian Defense Department photo).

Earlier this month, Singapore and Australia announced a $1.7 billion military cooperation deal, part of a broader strategic partnership between the two countries. In an email interview, Euan Graham, director of the international security program at the Lowy Institute and author of “The Lion and the Kangaroo: Australia’s Strategic Partnership With Singapore,” discussed Australia’s defense and security relationship with Singapore. WPR: What has been the nature of Australia-Singapore defense ties, and how has their defense relationship evolved in recent years? Euan Graham: Australia’s defense relationship with Singapore is longstanding, deep and mutual, although for the most part it has been […]

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Paris Climate Conference, Le Bourget, France, Nov. 30, 2015 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Given global headlines, you might think the world is terribly off course. Geopolitical rivalry threatens stability from Eastern Europe to the South China Sea. Jihadi terrorists sow mayhem throughout the Middle East. A scary virus emerges in Latin America, spreading across borders. A Brazilian president is brought down, as the Panama Papers expose corruption in other lands. Publics everywhere, alienated by yawning inequality and anemic growth, vent their frustration at a system rigged for moneyed elites. Populist politicians, sensing the sour mood, promise to reverse globalization by building walls to keep out foreigners and abandoning trade agreements. This noisy, negative […]

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, shakes hands with Myanmar's] President Thein Sein, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, July 4, 2015 (AP photo by Kazuhiro Nogi).

Earlier this month, Japan announced a three-year, $7 billion investment deal with the countries of the lower Mekong River to boost development and improve infrastructure. In an email interview, Phuong Nguyen, an associate fellow with the Southeast Asia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, discussed Japan’s relations in Southeast Asia. WPR: How extensive are Japan’s ties in Southeast Asia, and with what countries does Japan have the closest relations? Phuong Nguyen: Japan has a long history with Southeast Asia dating back to the World War II period. Southeast Asia functioned as an important source of resources and […]

South Korean President Park Geun-hye at a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Tehran, May 2, 2016 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

South Korean President Park Geun-hye visited Iran earlier this month, pledging to forge ahead and establish a new era of relations with Tehran built on closer economic cooperation. During the three-day visit, Park and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed to 30 joint economic projects, totaling more than $37.1 billion. The two sides also agreed to more than 50 memorandums of understanding dealing with everything from infrastructure cooperation and joint energy ventures to work on medical and health care projects. South Korea was eager to quickly restore relations with Tehran following the finalization of last year’s nuclear deal between Iran and […]

View of the Port of Maputo, Mozambique, Aug. 15, 2006 (Flickr photo by Julien Legarde, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic).

Mozambique’s government was recently revealed to have borrowed $1.4 billion in previously undisclosed loans. In an email interview, Fernanda Massarongo Chivulele, a researcher at the Institute of Social and Economic Studies in Maputo, discussed the loan scandal and the fallout for Mozambique’s politics and economy. WPR: What is the background of Mozambique’s debt crisis, and what are the immediate consequences and implications for the donor-dependent government budget? Fernanda Massarongo Chivulele: Mozambique was taken by surprise by an April report in The Wall Street Journal about the existence of an undisclosed loan to the government in 2013, around the same time […]

Cuban dissident Miguel Alberto Ulloa holding his prison release document, Havana, Cuba, Jan. 9, 2015 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the challenges facing NATO, South Sudan’s unstable peace, and Kim Jong Un cementing his power at North Korea’s party congress. For the Report, Ted Henken, joins us to explain what normalization with the U.S. and reforms mean for Cuba’s economy and political opposition. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant articles on WPR: From Russia to Refugee Crisis, NATO Faces Biggest Test Since the Cold War Machar’s Return Only the First Step in Bringing South Sudan Back Together North Korea Party Congress Shows Kim’s Power—and […]

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto gives the opening address at the annual IHS CERAWeek global energy conference, Houston, Tex., Feb. 22, 2016 (AP photo by Pat Sullivan).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the potential impact on members’ economies. Mexican Trade Minister Herminio Blanco told a gathering of Mexican and Japanese business leaders earlier this month that “Mexico will become more competitive when the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] takes effect.” In an email interview, Raúl Francisco Montalvo Corzo, the director of the EGADE Business School, Guadalajara, discussed the potential effects of TPP membership on Mexico’s economy. WPR: What are the expected economic benefits and potential downsides for Mexico from the TPP, and who are the expected “winners” and […]

Government supporters stage a counter-protest to one held by Ladies in White, Havana, Cuba, March 20, 2016 (AP photo by Rebecca Blackwell).

Expectations for change in Cuba grew following the historic thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations that began in December 2014, and gained momentum with U.S. President Barack Obama’s equally historic visit to the island in March 2016. How have these epoch-making transformations altered Cuba’s newly dynamic domestic reality, which is often inaccurately assumed to be both monolithic and monochromatic? On one hand, Havana has responded by circling the wagons of the state and doubling down on political centralization under President Raul Castro and los historicos, as the old-guard revolutionaries are known. On the other, a variety of actors in Cuban society—including political […]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 20, 2016 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the potential impact on members’ economies. Last month, the C.D. Howe Institute, a research institute based in Toronto, released a report saying Canada would see modest economic gains from membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). In an email interview, Patricia Goff, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, discussed the potential impact of the TPP on Canada’s economy. WPR: What are the expected economic benefits and potential downsides for Canada from the TPP, and who are the expected “winners” and “losers”? […]

Demonstrators demanding the impeachment of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff march during a protest, Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 17, 2016 (AP photo by Andre Penner).

The past year has been a tumultuous one for South America. The collapse in commodities prices, a series of corruption scandals and changing ideological tides have all combined to upend a lengthy period of prosperity and stability. In particular, the leftist ideologies that had been ascendant over the past decade and a half seem to be losing steam. The following articles are free for nonsubscribers until May 19. Brazil’s Crisis of Confidence Amid Impeachment Saga, Will 2016 Be Another Lost Year for Brazil? Writing in January, João Augusto de Castro Neves argued that while impeachment was unlikely in the short […]

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a welcome ceremony at the Prime Minister's office, Jerusalem, April 19, 2016 (AP photo by Sebastian Scheiner).

Last month, during a visit to Jerusalem, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to expand cyberdefense cooperation. In an email interview, Emanuel Shahaf, CEO of Technology Asia Consulting, discussed Israel’s ties with Singapore. WPR: What have Israel’s ties with Singapore been like historically, and how have they evolved? Emanuel Shahaf: Singapore’s relationship with Israel started after the newly created Asian city-state requested Egypt’s assistance with setting up its military but was rebuffed. Israel responded positively, and the rest is history. During Singapore’s formative years, the relationship was primarily centered on military cooperation ranging […]

A bulldozer works at the Chuquicamata copper mine in the Atacama desert, Chile, Sept. 25, 2012 (AP photo by Jorge Saenz).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the impact of falling oil and commodities prices on resource-exporting countries. Last week at a mining industry event, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet gave a speech about the need for Chile to create a “post-copper economy.” In an email interview, Leonardo Letelier, the director of the Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Chile, discussed the impact of the commodities bust on Chile’s economy. WPR: How important are commodities for Chile’s economy, and what impact have falling commodities prices had on the economy and in turn domestic politics? […]