Protesters stage a “die-in” near the Presidential Palace to protest extrajudicial killings occurring  as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs, Manila, Philippines, May 8, 2017 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss U.S. President Donald Trump’s just-announced summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the implications for U.S.-Russia and trans-Atlantic relations. For the Report, Ana Santos talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about efforts to hold Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte accountable for abuses committed in his bloody crackdown on drugs and petty crime. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your […]

Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis review an honor guard during a welcome ceremony in Beijing, June 27, 2018 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

Over the past few decades, the U.S. military has had to shift its focus several times as the security environment and American national interests evolved. Until the end of the Cold War, it concentrated on preparing to fight the Soviet Union, potentially with nuclear weapons. In the 1990s, most of the military’s attention was on conventional wars against what were called “rogue states,” particularly Iran, Iraq and North Korea. After the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. military retooled for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism. Now that era, too, is ending. Today, as the United States disengages from Iraq and Afghanistan, and Russia and […]

A Venezuelan raises a sign denouncing the separation of families during U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Santa Catarina migrant shelter, Manaus, Brazil, June 27, 2018 (AP photo by Marcio Melo).

In the midst of a raging political battle in the United States over President Donald Trump’s unprecedented measures against migrants and asylum-seekers along the southern border, Vice President Mike Pence set out on a tour of Latin America this week. The trip was planned and announced before Trump’s so-called zero tolerance policy against illegal immigration, including forcibly separating children from their parents, turned into a major international news story. Trump has since moved to rescind the family separation policy with an executive order, although his administration, characteristically, is still sending out mixed messages about whether the policy is still in […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel shake hands after a news conference at Putin’s residence in Sochi, Russia, May 18, 2018 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

European leaders are widely expected to maintain Ukraine-related sanctions against Russia at this week’s European Council summit in Brussels, despite disagreement among some member states. With Italy’s newly formed populist government looking at improving ties with Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly preparing to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month, the key player holding together an EU-wide consensus on sanctions policy is Germany. In an email interview, Susan Stewart, a senior associate at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, or SWP, in Berlin, discusses the impact of sanctions on German-Russian relations and how they are […]

U.S. President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G-7 summit, Charlevoix, June 8, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The new president that Mexico elects this weekend will not take office until Dec. 1, which means there will be little progress for the rest of the year in the negotiations between Mexico, Canada and the United States on a new and “improved” North American Free Trade Agreement. By December, American voters will have elected a new Congress that might have at least one house under Democratic Party control when it convenes next January. And later in 2019, Canadians will hold their parliamentary elections. The electoral calendar often poses challenges for trade negotiators because politicians are loath to make concessions […]

Oxfam activists wearing masks of the leaders of the Group of Seven participate in a demonstration in Giardini Naxos, Italy, May 26, 2017 (AP photo by Paolo Santalucia).

When Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency, nervous commentators warned that he would pursue transactional relations with foreign powers, eschewing America’s traditional values and alliances. To the extent that he has disdained many of the principles that guided U.S. engagement with the world after 1945, they were correct. But the Trump administration has also proved strikingly averse to genuinely transactional diplomacy, if you define that term as making and delivering concrete bargains that all sides can afford. Foreign diplomats, not least among U.S. allies, have made strenuous efforts to satisfy the president’s widely publicized love of deal-making. Rather than simply […]

The empty U.S. seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, one day after Washington announced its withdrawal, Geneva, Switzerland, June 20, 2018 (Keystone photo by Martial Trezzini via AP).

For months, the Trump administration has threatened to withdraw from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Finally, on June 19, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, jointly announced that the United States was leaving the body, charging that it was a “protector of human rights abusers, and a cesspool of political bias” against Israel. On one level, it should not come as a surprise that President Donald Trump chose to exit yet another U.N. organization—last year, he ditched UNESCO, the U.N.’s cultural body, over what his administration also called its “anti-Israel bias.” […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens to a question from a reporter during a joint press conference with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, June 14, 2018 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Following last week’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, U.S. President Donald Trump trumpeted the potential for economic development in a country that most of the world has long considered a pariah. “Think of it from a real estate perspective,” Trump said, suggesting that instead of building nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, North Korea could have “the best hotels in the world.” While it is easy to attribute this seemingly peculiar position to Trump’s inexperience at statecraft, it actually runs deeper than that. It is one more manifestation of the enduring difficulty Americans have understanding how other cultures […]

American and French soldiers attend a daily briefing with the Nigerien military commander in charge of the fight against Boko Haram at a Nigerien military base in Diffa, Niger, March 26, 2015 (photo by Joe Penney).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the high-profile political crises over Italy’s refusal to offer safe haven for boats carrying rescued asylum-seekers, and the Trump administration’s family separation policy for asylum-seekers at the southern border. For the Report, Joe Penney talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about the U.S. military’s growing presence in West Africa, the secrecy that often obscures it, and what that means for the region’s fragile democracies.If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for […]

People taken into custody for illegal entry into the U.S. sit in one of the cages at a detention facility in McAllen, Texas, June 17, 2018 (U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector photo via AP).

In Europe and the U.S. this week, callous government treatment of asylum-seekers triggered public outrage and political tensions, which may be enough to soften policy in the short term. Unfortunately, that will not meaningfully address the underlying causes of the migration crises that have become the new political ground zero on both sides of the Atlantic. Long-simmering tensions within the European Union boiled over when Italy’s new populist government refused to allow the Aquarius, a ship carrying rescued asylum-seekers from North Africa, to dock at an Italian port last week. The Aquarius was left stranded in the Mediterranean for days […]

Activists wearing Donald Trump masks protest during NAFTA talks, Mexico City, Feb. 27, 2018 (AP photo by Marco Ugarte).

Trying to follow trade policy under the Trump administration makes your head spin. One minute there are going to be big tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese exports, and then there are not—except then maybe they will be imposed, after all. But who really knows, because a lot can happen between now and July 6, when the latest tariffs that were announced last week are set to take effect. Just in the past month, President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions on Tehran, then undermined the enforcement of those sanctions by undercutting penalties against […]

A man sweeps dust off the street at dusk in Agadez, Niger, January 16, 2018 (photo by Joe Penney).

Recent controversies involving the U.S. military in Africa highlight how the Pentagon uses ambiguous language and outright secrecy to obscure its activities. At times, this has involved subverting democratic processes in partner countries, an approach that runs counter to years of diplomatic engagement. AGADEZ, Niger—In early May, Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the head of U.S. Africa Command, addressed a group of journalists gathered in a staid, gray room at the Pentagon. The press conference had been called to disclose the main findings of the Defense Department’s investigation of an ambush seven months earlier in the West African nation of Niger. […]

Zeid Raad al-Hussein, the outgoing U.N. high commissioner for human rights, gestures as he speaks to the media during a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia, Feb. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

Who can speak for the United Nations on human rights with any credibility these days? Last week, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that he wants an open competition to determine who will become the new U.N. high commissioner for human rights when the position becomes vacant this summer. This is an explosively sensitive portfolio. The high commissioner is historically one of the most recognizable U.N. officials after the secretary-general. The media treat whoever holds the post as a sort of modern-day moral oracle. The outgoing incumbent, Prince Zeid Raad al-Hussein of Jordan, has not shied away from this vocation. He has […]

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a signing ceremony during their meeting on Sentosa Island, Singapore, June 12, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The world has been fixated this week on the Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, the ruler of North Korea. As the first-ever meeting between the serving leaders of these two bitter enemies, it was seen as an opportunity to redirect a relationship that only a few months ago seemed to be lurching toward armed conflict, and the risk of nuclear war. The outcome from Singapore, though, was less an equitable step forward than a clear win for Kim. Since the unexpected summit was put together very quickly, while surviving a sudden and soon-reversed cancellation […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, hold talks, United Arab Emirates, April 30, 2018 (Kyodo photo via AP).

Japan has been telegraphing its concerns to the United States about the potential impacts of the Trump administration’s decision last month to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. One Japanese official recently acknowledged Tokyo’s anxieties that it may be forced to cut off Iranian oil imports, which have resumed after the nuclear agreement was inked in 2015 and currently total some 170,000 barrels per day. An official from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry recently indicated Tokyo does not want that to change and hopes for an exemption from sanctions the U.S. is preparing to impose again on […]

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump at the conclusion of their meetings at the Capella resort on Sentosa Island, Singapore, June 12, 2018 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

Let’s get this out of the way up top: The outcome of yesterday’s summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is preferable to nuclear war. That’s a pretty low bar, of course, but lowering the bar increasingly seems like Trump’s one area of expertise. In any event, we can all be glad that he—and Kim—cleared it. After that, the verdict is less forgiving for Trump. When stripped of all its smoke and mirrors, its oddball pageantry and puffery, the summit delivered a boilerplate document rehashing previous talking points on both sides, with no new […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomes Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a meeting during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Qingdao, China, June 10, 2018 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

On his five-nation swing through Asia last November, U.S. President Donald Trump touted his administration’s vision for a “free and open Indo-Pacific.” The idea of focusing attention and resources on the world’s most populous region, where America’s economic future lies, struck most observers as smart and strategic, although the details remained vague and were difficult to square with his moves to dismantle his predecessor’s trade policies in Asia. But now Trump’s emerging Middle East strategy, marked most of all by his withdrawal last month from the Iran nuclear deal, may derail whatever goals he has in Asia before they get […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 211 2 Last