Polish President Andrzej Duda speaks during a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Warsaw, April 19, 2018 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

In a special end-of-summer episode this week, we look back at three of our most popular Report interviews so far this year: the veil of secrecy over the U.S. military’s growing presence in West Africa; Bolivia’s controversial coca policy, which has been called both a solution to drug trafficking and part of the problem; and the role historical memory plays in Poland’s contentious politics. 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 inbox. The newsletter offers […]

U.S. President Donald Trump poses with African leaders, including Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, at the Group of Seven summit, Taormina, Italy, May 27, 2017 (AP photo by Andrew Medichini).

In his first year in office, U.S. President Donald Trump’s attitude toward Africa was a mix of scorn, neglect and mercantilism. He reportedly called several African nations “shithole countries” and said they were places his friends went “trying to get rich.” When then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made his maiden voyage to the continent in March, he went home early and was promptly fired. Africans noticed the snub. But in Trump’s second year, there are indications his administration may be taking a new, more traditional tack, even as Trump himself continues to create crises. Late Wednesday night, Trump tweeted unexpectedly […]

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis reviews Brazilian troops before meeting with his Brazilian counterpart, Joaquim Silva e Luna, Brasilia, Brazil, Aug. 13, 2018 (AP photo by Mateus Bonomi).

America’s foreign policy under President Donald Trump can be confusing. That is true in Latin America just as it is in Russia, Asia or Europe. One moment the president boasts of his great relationship with Russia; days later the U.S. imposes new sanctions. One day Trump heaps praise on North Korea’s leader; days later Pyongyang accuses the U.S. government of behaving like the mafia. The explanation, as I’ve written, is that America today has two foreign policy tracks, often contradictory and at times in conflict with each other. One is Trump’s, the other is the rest of the government’s. That […]

Graffiti showing U.S. President Donald Trump with a footprint on his face and Arabic that reads, "For Jerusalem and the right of return, we resist," Gaza City, May 20, 2018 (AP photo by Khalil Hamra).

Despite repeatedly announcing his intention to present a bold, sweeping plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, U.S. President Donald Trump continues to keep everyone waiting. If he ever does present his plan, it is set to backfire, for several reasons. For one thing, the Trump administration has been shunned by Palestinians since it recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last December. Palestinians were angered by the move, arguing that the U.S. government violated its role as mediator and sponsor of the peace process by adopting Israel’s position on Jerusalem. Palestinian leaders have taken the unprecedented step of halting all […]

Brazilian President Michel Temer, left, greets U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at Planalto Palace, Brasilia, Brazil, June 26, 2018 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).

This summer has seen consecutive visits to Brazil by senior U.S. officials, first Vice President Mike Pence in late June and then Defense Secretary James Mattis last week. The visits took place amid domestic political turmoil in Brazil and the ongoing crisis in neighboring Venezuela. According to Riordan Roett, professor and director emeritus of the Latin American Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, these American overtures are unlikely to have any tangible impact on bilateral relations in the coming years. In an email interview, he explains why. World Politics Review: How has the Trump administration […]

Andrew Brunson, the detained evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, as he was moved to house arrest in Izmir, Turkey, July 25, 2018 (AP photo by Emre Tazegul).

Editor’s note: Guest columnist Neil Bhatiya is filling in for Judah Grunstein, who will return Sept. 5. Relations between the United States and Turkey continue to deteriorate over the detention of U.S. citizens by the Turkish government, with all the focus on an American pastor, Andrew Brunson, who was arrested in the purge that followed the failed 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Both sides are digging in, with President Donald Trump declaring in an interview on Monday that “there will be no concessions” to Turkey on securing Brunson’s release, despite the economic risks of Trump’s sudden pressure […]

The Dave Johnston coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyoming, July 27, 2018 (AP photo by J. David Ake).

The Trump administration on Tuesday unveiled its proposal to relax environmental regulations on coal-burning power plants across the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Affordable Clean Energy rule would roll back the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which had placed stricter national pollution standards on power plants in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and push American utility companies away from coal and toward natural gas and renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. It is the Trump administration’s biggest move yet to boost the American coal industry. But according to the EPA’s own analysis, the new rule could lead […]

Steven Mnuchin, Wilbur Ross, Robert Lighthizer and Peter Navarro in the White House before President Donald Trump signed a proclamation on steel imports, Washington, March 8, 2018 (Photo by Oliver Contreras for Sipa via AP Images).

In just four decades, China has become a major global economic power. In recent years, it has surpassed Germany as the world’s largest exporter of merchandise. It is the world’s second-largest source of foreign investment, and third-largest recipient. Using an exchange rate that takes into account the lower cost of living in China, it has surpassed the United States to become the world’s largest economy, though still a much poorer one. And under its “Made in China 2025” industrial plan, the government wants to become an innovation hub and move up the manufacturing value chain to become largely self-sufficient in […]

U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis greets an airman as he boards a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster for a trip to the U.S. military base in Djibouti from Doha, Qatar, April 23, 2017 (Pool photo by Jonathan Ernst via AP).

The security environment in the Middle East may be the most complex on earth, with an intricate, volatile and sometimes shifting mixture of destabilizing forces and hostilities. There are deadly power struggles within and between nations. And behind it all is the Middle East’s massive oil production, on which the global economy depends. The United States first ventured into the Middle East early in the Cold War and has remained heavily involved, particularly since the 1970s. Over the decades, America’s policies and partnerships in the region have evolved, but the basic elements of U.S. strategy and its central rationale remained […]

A demonstrator holds up a sign that reads, in part, “Maduro giving oil to Cuba and the people dying of hunger, Enough is enough,” in front of a line of police officers during a protest, Caracas, Venezuela, Aug. 16, 2018 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

Venezuela’s flailing oil industry has helped prop up global energy prices even as Saudi Arabia and Russia open the spigots and global oil demand remains robust. Though oil prices have recovered from their lows during the price collapse in 2015, Venezuelan output has since seen an incredible decline of 1 million barrels per day. The drop in oil production is further squeezing the Venezuelan economy, which faces critical shortages of goods and ballooning inflation that is expected to reach an astounding 1 million percent this year. But could Venezuela’s oil production decline even more steeply? Three evolving developments will largely […]

Ancient mosaics, which were damaged by shelling, inside a 17th-century caravanserai, Maaret al-Numan, Idlib province, Syria, Feb. 26, 2013 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the current tensions in U.S.-Turkey ties. For the Report, Amr Al-Azm and Katie A. Paul talk with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about how looters and traffickers of Middle Eastern antiquities are using Facebook to improve and expand their illicit trade in the digital age. 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 inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his entourage, heads to a working session of NATO heads of state during a summit in Brussels, July 12, 2018 (Presidency Press Service via AP).

AMSTERDAM—Just as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fulminates against the United States again, blaming Washington for his country’s worsening economic troubles, a small controversy has erupted in the Netherlands over Turkish influence in the country. It came to light earlier this week that Turkey is planning to fund special Dutch schools to teach residents of Turkish origin about their heritage. The idea has sparked alarm among some Dutch politicians and their followers on both the left and the right, who worry about what, exactly, Erdogan’s government intends to teach in these schools, which would operate on weekends across the Netherlands. […]

Police officers secure the roads around the Houses of Parliament after a vehicle crashed into security barriers, injuring a number of pedestrians, Aug. 14, 2018, London, England (Photo by Alberto Pezzali for Sipa USA via AP Images).

Police have yet to determine exactly why a 29-year-old British citizen of Sudanese origin, identified as Salih Khater, intentionally swerved his car into cyclists and pedestrians outside the Parliament building in London yesterday. For now, the car-ramming, which resulted in no deaths and three minor injuries, is being investigated as a terrorist attack. If that is confirmed, it will be the latest using vehicles as weapons. In March 2017, a similar attack outside Parliament left five people dead and 50 others injured; the attacker, Khalid Masood, was killed by police at the scene. In July 2016, an attacker drove a […]

A statue depicting a New York City firefighter wiping sweat from his forehead stands at a display honoring first responders to the 9/11 attacks, Buffalo, N.Y., Aug. 10, 2018 (AP photo by Julio Cortez).

A car-ramming attack outside the Parliament building in London yesterday highlights the ways in which terrorism and our reactions to it have radically shifted in the almost 20 years since 9/11. If London police end up confirming that the incident was in fact an act of terror, it will be the latest in a series of banal, low-tech attacks that have barely elicited a collective shrug. Of course, part of that has to do with the fact that no lives were lost and no serious injuries reported. And the fact that many aspiring terrorists are reduced to weaponizing cars, trucks […]

People and motorists are reflected on an electronic display panel showing video footage of Chinese President Xi Jinping near the central business district of Beijing, China, May 30, 2018 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

While the U.S.-China trade war has been getting the headlines, investors from China are running into resistance in countries around the world, including the United States. Typically, governments welcome foreign investment, especially local governments, as a mechanism to create—or save—jobs, reinvigorate their economies and gain access to new technologies. Growing investment outflows from China, however, are pushing some national governments to take a more skeptical look at Chinese money. In a measure aimed primarily at China, Congress strengthened the ability of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, to review and block transactions that might […]

Georgians stand guard at a monument to victims of the August 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia, Tbilisi, Aug. 8, 2018 (AP photo by Shakh Aivazov).

With the 10th anniversary of the Global Financial Crisis just around the corner, the media will spend much of the rest of 2018 rehashing the story of the 2008 economic meltdown and its implications for the world today. There will be a surge of opinion pieces pegged to the demise of Lehman Brothers, the pivotal moment in the crisis, in the middle of September. Analysts will chart the near collapse of the global economy and speculate about how this paved the way for the rise of Donald Trump, Brexit and a grab-bag of other global ills. Fewer pundits will emphasize […]

Nigerian special forces, Chadian troops and U.S. advisers participate in the Flintlock exercise, Mao, Chad, March 7, 2015 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Reports out of Washington suggest that the Pentagon is considering cutting U.S. counterterrorism operations in West and Central Africa, redirecting the special operations forces there to instead prepare for big wars. In one sense, this is perfectly normal—the Department of Defense constantly adjusts its posture and procedures as security threats evolve. But in this case, downsizing America’s military commitment to Africa may signal something bigger, indicating that President Donald Trump believes it is time to take his administration’s foot off the gas in the global conflict with violent jihadism. Following the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush committed the United […]

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