In modeling the foreign policy dynamics depicted in “The Diplomat” on the dynamics of the real world, the popular new Netflix political drama inadvertently ends up doing as much educating as entertaining. That can be a problem for a series that has neither the capacity nor the narrative requirement for nuanced explanations of these issues.
The following is an edited transcript of a June 2019 conversation then-WPR editor Elliot Waldman had with Mark Galeotti about Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The two discussed all things Vladimir Putin: his strengths; his foibles; and whether he’s actually the geostrategic chess master that many Western commentators have made him out to be.
The Biden administration’s proposal for U.N. Security Council reform looks likely to protect the veto power of the council’s five permanent members, signaling a lack of true commitment to meaningful reform and a balanced international system. But Global South countries are not waiting for Washington to strengthen multilateralism.
Since 2021, Benin has been battling a violent jihadist insurgency in the north of the country, fueled by a complex mix of political marginalization, religious ideology and intercommunal conflicts. Unfortunately, in doing so, it is repeating the same mistakes made over the past decade by its West African neighbors, Mali and Burkina Faso.
What happens in Ukraine will not stay in Ukraine. That is the essence of an argument commonly made for why the U.S. must support Kyiv in resisting Russian aggression: A failure to stop Russia will give other powers the impression that they can pursue their interests with aggressive impunity. But is that really the case?
President Joe Biden’s first priority upon taking office was to reassure U.S. allies of America’s ongoing security commitments, promising that “America is back.” Despite some missteps along the way, that effort has paid off during the current standoff with Russia over Ukraine. But Biden still has a lot of work to do when it comes to shoring up America’s security partnerships to deal with a rising China.
Reports that Cuba will host a Chinese spy station are likely to fuel hysterical debates in the U.S. over politics, not policy. Such a nearby facility would pose a threat that should be taken seriously. But a better debate over how the U.S. should respond would start with the correct historical analogy for what is happening today.
In April 2021, Cuba experienced a watershed moment when Miguel Diaz-Canel became the leader of the Cuban Communist Party, completing a political transition that began three years earlier when Diaz-Canel was inaugurated as president. Now, for the first time since the 1959 revolution, a Castro leads neither the country nor the party, making way for a new generation of leaders to chart the island nation’s path forward.