A Bolivian military policeman watches a tanker enter Brazil’s Petrobras refinery a day after then-President Evo Morales ordered soldiers to occupy Bolivia’s natural gas fields, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, May 2, 2006 (AP photo by Victor R. Caivano).

LA PAZ, Bolivia—In the past 15 years, the Bolivian economy tripled in size and poverty was cut in half, achievements built in large part on state spending fueled by the income from natural gas exports. But since 2013 those exports have dwindled, leaving a hole in Bolivia’s public finances that challenges the sustainability of its economic model. On May 1, 2006, then-President Evo Morales marched troops into Bolivia’s gas fields, declaring, “The plunder has ended.” He had recently led the Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS, to power, campaigning on a platform to wrest control of the country’s resources from foreign interests and to spread the wealth […]

Former U.S. President Donald Trump, right, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

With Russian troops now deep inside Ukraine, and with NATO and the United Nations Security Council caught up in a series of emergency sessions in order to respond to the conflict, it may seem a bit glib to fixate on the question of how the Russian invasion will shape domestic politics in the United States. Still, it is important to also acknowledge what this moment in history means for the future trajectory of the U.S., and, in turn, what shifting attitudes in Washington might mean for U.S.-Russia relations. It must be acknowledged upfront: Thousands if not millions of Ukrainians could be […]

Ukrainian soldiers take positions in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 25, 2022 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

Much of what we do at WPR from week to week and year to year is to keep tabs on the many mundane stories around the world so that we can inform you about the trends and developments that gradually and in combination shape history. But on occasion, we find ourselves face to face with moments that make history, suddenly and singly. The war in Ukraine is one of those moments. As I wrote Thursday as the first Russian attacks began, we will look back on it as a “before and after” event, one that will have enormous implications for […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Senegal President Macky Sall shake hands prior to their meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 26, 2018 (Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool).

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal this week, returning to the African continent just months after his most recent four-day, three-nation tour last October, as well as the Third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit, which was held in December in Istanbul. The Turkish leader, who has visited more than 30 African countries since becoming prime minister and then president, has devoted considerable effort to cultivating relations with his African counterparts and expanding his country’s presence across the continent. In a WPR article written after Erdogan’s October tour of Angola, Nigeria and Togo, I noted the steps Ankara has […]

The Brandenburg Gate is illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag to show solidarity with the country, Berlin, Germany, Feb. 23, 2022 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).

The Russian invasion of Ukraine this morning ends several months of doubt and debate over the purpose of Moscow’s military buildup at the two countries’ border. Washington’s repeated warnings of an imminent military operation proved not to be the hysteria that Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed them as. In the end, Putin’s manufactured crisis was not an attempt at coercive diplomacy, or if it was, it was a failed one. War and conflict have rarely been absent from the European continent, even during the past 30 years of ostensible peace and prosperity. But a war of choice and aggression by […]

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg participates in a media conference with European Commission President von der Leyen and European Council President Michel, Brussels, Feb 24, 2022 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

European Union leaders are converging on Brussels today for yet another emergency summit on Ukraine, the second in a week. European Council President Charles Michel called for the meeting yesterday in order to get the bloc’s leaders on the same page ahead of a new round of EU sanctions against Russia. And overnight, Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine made further sanctions a certainty. A first round of sanctions against Moscow had already been officially adopted yesterday in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deployment of troops into two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine earlier this week. The first round of […]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a welcome ceremony ahead of their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 3, 2022 (AP photo by Efrem Lukatsky).

As the threat of war between Russia and Ukraine looms ever larger, Turkey finds itself between a rock and a hard place. It does not want to antagonize Russia, with which it shares strategically vital interests, but it also needs to show its support for Ukraine and its NATO allies in the face of the greatest threat to European security in the post-Cold War era. This has forced Turkey to walk a finely calibrated diplomatic tightrope over the past month. During his visit to Kyiv on Feb. 3, Turkish President Recep Tayiip Erdogan proclaimed his support for Ukrainian sovereignty, reiterated […]

Former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga arrives at a rally of his supporters to declare his 2022 presidential bid, Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 10, 2021 (Sipa photo by Donwilson Odhiambo via AP Images).

Over the course of the next two and a half years, voters in several of Africa’s largest and most populous countries will be going to the polls, with a lot riding on the outcomes. This year, Kenya and Angola will both elect a president and national legislature to five-year terms. In 2023, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, two of Africa’s four most-populous countries, are scheduled to hold general elections that include keenly anticipated presidential races, as are Zimbabwe and Madagascar. The following year, Egyptians, Rwandans and South Africans will cast ballots in elections that will ostensibly determine the […]

Ukrainian armed forces conduct exercises in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine, Feb.4, 2022 (AP photo by Mykola Tymche).

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bellicose speech yesterday, in which he announced that Russia had recognized the independence of two separatist regions of Ukraine and would deploy military forces there as “peacekeepers,” suggests that after months of military posturing and diplomacy, a full-scale invasion may well be at hand. But while it is still impossible to know for sure how the crisis will play out, one consequence of it is already certain: There is no more use in dancing around reality using terms like “strategic competition” or “great power tensions” to describe relations between the West and Russia. We are in […]

Myanmar nationals living in Thailand attend a candlelight vigil for those who died in protests against Myanmar’s military coup, in front of the United Nations building in Bangkok, Thailand, March 4, 2021 (AP photo by Sakchai Lalit).

On the first day of February last year, the world woke up to the news that the generals in Myanmar, also known as Burma, had seen enough of the country’s fledgling experiment in democracy. Military forces had arrested the country’s iconic pro-democracy figure and de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, along with more than a hundred other elected officials. Outraged, the people took to the streets, catching the Tatmadaw, as the military is called, by surprise. Unfortunately for the people of Myanmar—and perhaps by the generals’ design—the timing of the coup made it difficult for international attention to focus […]

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrives for an EU-AU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Feb. 17, 2022 (AP photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert).

Seventy presidents and prime ministers from Europe and Africa are gathered today in Brussels for a long-awaited European Union-African Union summit, the sixth such summit between the two blocs. But ahead of that gathering, Europe’s 27 leaders huddled together for an emergency meeting to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. The emergency meeting was called by European Council President Charles Michel to brief the bloc’s leaders on the latest developments in the crisis, including a reported shelling of a kindergarten in eastern Ukraine, which occurred as the meeting of EU leaders was taking place. The EU leaders also heard a presentation […]

Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi at the Elysee Palace, Paris, April 27, 2021 (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

Last week, the United Nations’ top court ordered Uganda to pay the sum of $325 million to the Democratic Republic of Congo for the East African country’s role in the brutal war there at the turn of the century. The International Court of Justice, or ICJ, ruled on Feb. 9 that Uganda had violated international norms as an occupying force between 1998 and 2003, and was responsible for the deaths of up to 15,000 people in Congo’s eastern Ituri region. Ugandan troops were also found to have looted precious gold, diamonds and timber from Congo. The case is both an […]

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks in a joint press conference with Fiji’s acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Nadi, Fiji, Feb. 12, 2022 (AP photo by Kevin Lamarque).

With the first visit in four decades by a U.S. secretary of state to Fiji and plans to open an embassy in the Solomon Islands reportedly in the works, Washington officially announced its “return” to the Pacific Islands this past weekend. “It is about building a free and open Indo-Pacific, defending it with democratic institutions, with transparency, with commitment to a rules-based order that we share,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a joint press conference with Acting Fijian Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on Feb. 12. Blinken spoke after a virtual meeting with 18 Pacific Island leaders meant to […]

President Joe Biden speaks about Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, Feb. 15, 2022 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

On Christmas Eve in 2002, I was suddenly dispatched from my base in Tokyo, where I was the New York Times bureau chief at the time, to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, to cover reports that North Korea was about to reactivate a nuclear reactor that had previously been taken out of service as a result of painstaking negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang. The United States suspected that if operations resumed at the reactor, which had supposedly been built for research purposes, the North Korean government would soon begin reprocessing its spent nuclear fuel to build up a supply […]

The family portrait at a joint African Union and European Union ministerial meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, Oct. 26, 2021 (Belga/Sipa photo by Hatim Kaghat via AP Images).

The sixth leaders’ summit between the African Union and European Union will finally take place this week in Brussels, following several postponements due to the coronavirus pandemic. Traditionally occurring every three years, the summit was initially scheduled for 2020. The AU-EU summit is often touted as the ideal venue for European and African elites to discuss issues of mutual concern. But this one is particularly significant, as it provides the opportunity for both sides to unpack the new EU strategy directed toward Africa, which was launched in 2020. Beyond the strategy, however, the EU also just launched the 300 billion euro Global Gateway initiative […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan holds up a placard displaying maps of historical Palestine during a speech at the parliament, Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 5, 2020 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

Recent signs of a thaw in ties between Israel and Turkey after a decade of frosty relations are yet another reflection of how the Middle East’s changing regional order is not only leading to the emergence of new relationships, but also to adjustments in old ones. The thaw is in part the result of a regional realignment that has left Ankara more isolated, but it is also being driven by Israel’s shifting priorities and Turkey’s urgent economic and political challenges. While Israel and Turkey are publicly moving in the right direction, the new reality—which has made this relationship more important to Turkey […]

A woman buys tomatoes and onions from street-sellers in Lagos, Nigeria, April 13, 2020 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Given the enormous impact of the coronavirus pandemic on global public finances, it is hardly surprising that cash-strapped governments across Africa—from Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon to Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe—are experimenting with a range of tax increases to broaden state revenues. That, in turn, has put the spotlight on tax collection across Africa more broadly.  A recent Financial Times article discussing Nigeria’s paltry formal revenue collection rates is emblematic of the usual coverage of the issues involved, which are recurring topics of discussion on social media and in other public arenas,  including among prospective candidates in Nigeria’s upcoming presidential election. But while the question of […]

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