U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 30, 2018 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

In its early days, the international trade regime that the United States and its allies created after World War II counted relatively few less-developed countries as members. For the first few decades, developing country members of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the precursor to the World Trade Organization, remained mostly small in economic size, unimportant in trade and participated little in multilateral trade negotiations. In the 1960s and 1970s, developed countries unilaterally extended preferential market access to poorer countries to spur economic growth and development. As the “newly industrializing countries” of Asia, followed by Brazil, India, Mexico, South […]

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent patrols on the U.S. side of a razor-wire-covered border wall that separates Nogales, Mexico from Nogales, Ariz., March 2, 2019 (AP photo by Charlie Riedel).

There has been much to criticize about President Donald Trump’s handling of America’s national security, including his recent declaration of a national emergency on the southern border. But while that declaration might be misguided, Trump has been right about one thing: The United States has never developed an effective strategy for the actual security challenges south of the border. Since the United States became a global power in the 20th century, it has used a sequenced method for addressing emerging threats—first building an understanding of them, then developing a working consensus among security experts and political leaders, and then relying […]

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, Jan. 28, 2019 (AP Photo by Evan Vucci).

Last month, a bipartisan group of senators reintroduced a bill designed to expand the range of coercive measures the United States can impose on Russia for its broad range of malign activity, from election interference to ongoing intervention in Ukraine. The updated version of the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, or DASKA, contains an array of new measures, including ones targeting the Russian energy and banking sectors. Among the most notable are congressional efforts to expand financial transparency, which would put the U.S. in a much better position not only to counter dirty Russian money flowing through the […]

Indian paramilitary soldiers stand guard outside a closed market, Srinagar, India, March 5, 2019 (AP photo by Mukhtar Khan).

It is far from the first flare-up between India and Pakistan in recent years along the Line of Control, the de facto border in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir. But the still-unfolding crisis there, which was sparked by a suicide bombing last month that killed 40 Indian soldiers in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, points to troubling new trend lines in how future conflicts could unfold between these nuclear-armed neighbors. Every recent crisis—from the Kargil War in 1999 and the so-called Twin Peaks incident in 2001 to the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and India’s 2016 “surgical strikes” […]

President Donald Trump speaks as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on during a news conference after a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 28, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Donald Trump is not the first American president to run into a brick wall trying to negotiate away North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability. President Bill Clinton thought he had a deal in 1994, known as the Agreed Framework, to end the nuclear threat posed by Kim Il Sung’s dynasty. But the regime of his son, Kim Jong Il, continually demanded new concessions for complying, while secretly exploiting every loophole in the agreement to continue its nuclear activities. President George W. Bush ultimately rejected that deal as unworkable and tightened sanctions. North Korea’s response was to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation […]

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after their first meeting at the Sofitel Legend Metropole hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 28, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The world was riveted this week by the meeting in Hanoi between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. Last year’s initial summit between the two leaders in Singapore created nearly giddy hope for an end to the longstanding hostility between the United States and North Korea, particularly the resolution of the thorniest issue of all: North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. But a true breakthrough in Vietnam was always unlikely for one pressing reason: Americans persistently fail to understand how Kim sees the world, instead treating him as they want him to be, rather […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, meets with Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh, right, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hanoi, Vietnam, July 9, 2018 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Hanoi’s role as host of the second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un put U.S.-Vietnam ties in the spotlight. Over the past decade, Hanoi and Washington have succeeded in putting the bitter memories of the Vietnam War behind them to forge a mutually beneficial relationship. But the jolt of Trump’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership early in his term and several potential irritants could complicate efforts to develop even closer ties. In an email interview, Carlyle A. Thayer, emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, explains the impact of the […]

A visitor walks past a door of a palace from the Kingdom of Dahomey in present-day Benin, on display in the Quai Branly museum, Paris, Nov. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

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 failed second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam. For the Report, Ayodeji Rotinwa talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about how the global debate over the fate of African art and artifacts, including the fabled Benin Bronzes, is playing out in Nigeria. 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. […]

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