Mourners carry a flag-draped casket during a mass funeral for those killed in a suicide car bombing that targeted members of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, in Isfahan, Iran, Feb. 16, 2019 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

Iranian celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution earlier this year were marred by a suicide bombing in southeastern Iran that killed 27 members of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The soldiers had been traveling near the Pakistani border in Sistan and Baluchistan province, where armed Sunni insurgents have waged a decades-long campaign to achieve greater autonomy from the Shiite-led government in Tehran. Iran accuses hostile foreign powers like the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan of supporting the insurgency in the predominantly Sunni region. In an email interview with WPR, Patrick Clawson, director of research […]

Soviet Union Premier Joseph Stalin, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Tehran Conference, Iran, Nov. 28, 1943 (British Official Photo via AP Images).

In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, Mira Rapp-Hooper and Rebecca Friedman Lissner make a compelling case for a more restrained U.S. foreign policy. The United States, they write, should abandon messianic liberal internationalism for the more realistic goal of an open world. Such a prudent policy has a lot to recommend it. It would also take America back to the future—to the grand strategy that President Franklin D. Roosevelt endorsed during World War II. As I argued in my 2009 book “The Best Laid Plans: The Origins of American Multilateralism and the Dawn of the Cold War,” it was […]

Former U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks during a town hall meeting at the European School For Management And Technology, Berlin, Germany, April 6, 2019 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

A decade ago, President Barack Obama came into office promising a different kind of American foreign policy, having been elected on a platform of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, repairing America’s global image, and reviving American diplomacy and even restraint. Americans may have wanted their nation to adjust its global strategy, but for reasons that had more to do with domestic politics than world events, the debate over how to do so devolved into rancor and caricature under Obama. America was headed in the right direction until hyperpartisanship derailed everything, leaving the public convinced that something is wrong […]

Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, casts his vote during the presidential elections in Yaounde, Cameroon, Oct. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Authorities in Cameroon are jailing opposition politicians and barring their supporters from holding rallies. Security forces and separatist groups continue to carry out atrocities in the country’s restive Anglophone regions. More and more civilians are being forced from their homes, adding to a tally of displaced people that already exceeds half a million. These problems and more were cited in a speech delivered last week to the European Parliament by Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top foreign policy official. Her words painted a picture of an increasingly volatile country, just six months after 86-year-old President Paul Biya coasted to reelection […]

Melton Roy prays amid the graves of Easter Sunday bomb blast victims, Negombo, Sri Lanka, April 23, 2019 (AP photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe).

As Christians around the world were flocking to churches for Easter services Sunday, Sri Lanka was already in mourning. A string of deadly, coordinated explosions early Sunday, which tore through churches and luxury hotels in Colombo and across the island nation, killed over 321 people, including some 38 foreigners, and injured around 500 others. Seven of the eight attacks were suicide bombings. A ninth explosion was prevented late Sunday when security personnel defused an improvised explosive device on the road to Colombo International Airport. Among the churches attacked on Sunday morning was the 18th-century St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, St. […]

A man watches a TV news program showing footage of a North Korean missile launch, Seoul, South Korea, March 3, 2016 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

THAAD and other missile defense systems offer clear military advantages for countries that deploy them—but they could alter longstanding and delicate political balances. Missile defense has become an increasingly important focus of security policy around the world. On the Korean Peninsula, North Korea’s provocative missile tests have led Seoul to move toward deploying U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile batteries, despite opposition from China. Proponents argue that THAAD deployment in South Korea is necessary to meet the evolving challenges posed by the North’s arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles. U.S. forces in South Korea face limits with Patriot […]

Armenian soldiers patrol on a tank near the village of Madaghis in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, April 6, 2016 (Photo by Karo Sahakyan for PAN Photo via AP Images).

The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan held a summit meeting in Vienna last month, their fourth face-to-face meeting in six months. The two countries’ foreign ministers have also held several rounds of talks, including a meeting this week in Moscow, heightening expectations for progress on resolving the frozen conflict over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. But while there have been some tentative signs of progress, the two sides still differ fundamentally on how they view the conflict over the territory, which broke away from Azerbaijan before the collapse of the Soviet Union and has been under de facto Armenian administration […]

Demonstrators rally near the military headquarters in Khartoum, Sudan, April 15, 2019 (AP photo by Salih Basheer).

Sudan has experienced more change in the past week than in the previous three decades under President Omar al-Bashir, who was deposed in a coup d’état on April 11 following four months of mass protests. Many Sudanese, however, have had little time to savor the euphoria of Bashir’s departure. Their most immediate task is to preserve and protect their revolution from the military leaders they fear will subvert it. Protesters have had some initial success, rejecting the self-appointed head of the new transitional military council, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf, who was considered unacceptably close to the old regime. […]

A U.S. soldier sits on an armored vehicle on a road leading to the tense front line with Turkish-backed fighters in Manbij, northern Syria, April 4, 2018 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).

The reasons for U.S. involvement in the Middle East are becoming obsolete, but policy and strategy aren’t keeping pace. Find out more with your subscription to World Politics Review (WPR). 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 […]

Indonesian women cheer during a campaign rally for Indonesian President Joko Widodo at a stadium in Jakarta, April 13, 2019 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

Indonesians go to the polls this week to elect their president and a new parliament. It is the first time in Indonesia’s modern history that both elections will be held on the same day. But most of the focus is on the presidential race and incumbent Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, who remains the strong favorite against challenger Prabowo Subianto, a former lieutenant general whom he defeated in a tight election five years ago. Most polls show Jokowi with a wide lead, although Prabowo’s campaign could be picking up steam in its final days. If Jokowi is reelected, he […]

An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard outside a closed market in Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 28, 2019 (AP photo by Dar Yasin).

In late February and early March, India and Pakistan engaged in a series of aerial skirmishes after a suicide bombing killed 40 Indian security personnel in the disputed territory of Kashmir. The crisis marked the worst escalation between the two nuclear-armed countries in nearly two decades. In an interview with WPR, Avinash Paliwal, a lecturer and deputy director of the South Asia Institute at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, discusses the longer history of the dispute over Kashmir and what it will take to prevent future crises from escalating. World Politics Review: Recent tensions between India […]

Members of a SWAT team keep an eye on demonstrators marking the one-year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va., Aug. 12, 2018 (AP photo by Steve Helber).

Since 9/11, any mention of violent extremism usually referred to Salafi jihadism and the likes of al-Qaida and, more recently, the self-styled Islamic State. While not the only type of extremism plaguing the world, the sociopathic brutality and morbid self-publicity of these jihadist groups put them in the spotlight. There had never been anything like them, or so it seemed. In the minds of many people, al-Qaida and its offshoots were the paradigm of violent extremism. Jihadism is far from defeated today, even if the Islamic State has been rolled back in Syria and Iraq. From Boko Haram in Nigeria […]

A U.S. Marine fighter jet aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, Sept. 10, 2015 (AP photo by Marko Drobnjakovic).

The Powell Doctrine lays out criteria for using U.S. military force in international conflicts—but in recent years, the wisdom of the Powell Doctrine has been all but forgotten. Discover how an updated version of the Powell Doctrine could benefit the U.S. military—as well as the international community at large—when you subscribe to World Politics Review. Chastened by the failure of U.S. military might to achieve strategic success in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. observers began to re-examine the wisdom of the Powell Doctrine, a set of criteria for the use of U.S. military force abroad that sets a high and prohibitive […]

President Donald Trump holds up a chart documenting land lost by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as he delivers remarks in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Foreign policy rarely plays a major role in U.S. presidential elections. The United States has always been an insular nation. Particularly for people in the American heartland, the world’s troubles seem far away. The connectivity of the modern world and the globalization of terrorism have challenged that insularity, but even so, national elections seldom pivot on international affairs. 2020 could be different: Debates over American foreign policy and national security could sway enough undecided voters to tip the scales, and the political battle lines are already forming. As Alex Ward pointed out in Vox, President Donald Trump is likely to […]

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, left, and Gen. Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, at a press conference in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, near Paris, France, July 25, 2017 (Photo by Christian Liewig for Sipa via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Less than a week ago, Libyan officials appeared to have achieved a small milestone on the road to restoring civilian rule when the country held local elections. Though voting did not take place everywhere, including in much of restive southern Libya, the United Nations hoped the process would generate momentum for a national conference planned for later this month. That conference was intended to bring together the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli and the breakaway Libyan National Army, which is […]

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).

Explore how the practice of diplomatic relations by the U.S. and the rest of the world is evolving—when you subscribe to World Politics Review In recent years, many American officials have regarded withholding diplomatic relations as a way to punish countries for actions ranging from human rights abuses, to failure to abide by international law, to specific treaty violations and acts of war. But withholding diplomatic relations usually doesn’t work, and can seriously handicap America’s ability to achieve major foreign policy and national security goals. What’s more, re-establishing diplomatic relations with a country after they have been severed is no […]

Greek Cypriots wait at a checkpoint to cross into the Turkish part of Nicosia, April 27, 2003 (Photo by Mustafa Sagiroglu for Anatolia via AP Images).

For 45 years, the island of Cyprus has been divided, politically and physically, between the Turkish-Cypriot north and Greek-Cypriot south. Despite many efforts over the years to resolve it, including some near misses, the conflict has proved intractable. Security guarantees, though perceived differently for both sides, have been among the major sticking points to reuniting the island. But so, too, has restitution of property abandoned by Cypriots who were displaced from both sides of the island during the Turkish invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus in 1974. That sense of loss has long featured prominently in Cypriots’ experience of the […]

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