An elderly patient receives a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic at Orange Farm, near Johannesburg, South Africa, June 3, 2021 (AP photo by Denis Farrell).

By the late 1990s, an HIV diagnosis was no longer considered a death sentence in the wealthy countries of the Global North. Advances in medical technology had brought new drugs onto the market that could reverse the disease’s progression. However, those life-saving drugs were priced out of the reach of most patients across the Global South, where millions of people continued to die unnecessarily. There are echoes now of that earlier era, as those same regions are largely going without COVID-19 vaccines—even as wealthier countries move on to administer booster shots for their populations. In response to the disparity in […]

A vehicle bearing photos of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, passes by the Commission on Elections in Manila, Philippines, Nov. 15, 2021 (AP photo by Aaron Favila).

A series of recent developments in the Philippines has added suspense and drama to next year’s presidential election, which otherwise looks likely to reinforce the country’s long-standing tradition of politics as an affair of political families. The political drama originally centered on who would be the eventual presidential candidate representing outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte’s party, the PDP-Laban, in the May 2022 election. Though the party fielded an incumbent senator as its candidate, he was seen as a mere placeholder for Duterte’s daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who was expected to be named as a replacement candidate at the last moment. Having cultivated suspense […]

Police officers carry a casket of a colleague who was killed in a grenade attack, Peshawar, Pakistan, July 30, 2021 (AP photo by Muhammad Sajjad).

On Nov. 8, the Pakistani government and the violent jihadist group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, announced a preliminary one-month cease-fire. While the development was shrouded in secrecy, it has potentially major implications for the future of jihadism in South Asia. The agreement—brokered by the Haqqani Network, a group of militants that are designated as terrorists by the United States—gave the Pakistani state respite from a campaign of violence waged by the resurgent, reconsolidated TTP, which maintains loose ties with the Afghan Taliban but is a separate entity. The group’s attacks on security forces along the border with Afghanistan have intensified […]

The United Nations Security Council meets, New York, Nov. 9, 2021 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

Editor’s note: Guest columnists Richard Gowan and Pyotr Kurzin are filling in for Stewart Patrick this week. The United Nations Security Council may be about to pass its first-ever resolution on the implications of climate change for peace and security. The council has talked about climate security since 2007, and it has acknowledged that environmental challenges such as droughts and degradation of farming land can fuel conflicts in regions like the Sahel and the Horn of Africa. But it has not laid out a systematic approach to assessing these risks or responding to them. This could be about to change, as Niger […]

China’s Peng Shuai reacts during a first-round singles match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 21, 2020 (AP photo by Andy Brownbill).

Late last week, I found myself at a university podium participating in an unusual event, invited by a conservative group to argue against the proposition that the United States should apply a greatly stepped-up boycott, divest and sanction—or BDS—approach in its relations with China. The person arguing the other side in this debate began by stating that he supported going much further even than BDS. But after this emphatic opening sally, he offered scarce few details of what this might involve or how it would work. Surprised at how little substance I was left to respond to, I began by […]

China’s Peng Shuai reacts during a women’s tennis singles match at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, Nov. 21, 2010 (AP photo by Vincent Yu).

The mysterious disappearance of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai from public view since she accused a top Chinese Communist Party official of sexual assault is growing into a diplomatic crisis for Beijing, amid concerns about her safety and the broader scrutiny of freedoms and the #MeToo movement in China. Earlier this month, the former Wimbledon and French Open doubles champion and three-time Olympian disappeared from public view after posting a lengthy message on Weibo—the Chinese microblogging site—accusing former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli of having sexually assaulted her three years ago. She subsequently reappeared in photos and videos released on China's […]

Milorad Dodik, the president of the Republika Srpska, inspects an honor guard during a parade marking the 26th anniversary of the Republika Srpska in the Bosnian town of Banja Luka, Jan. 9, 2018 (AP photo by Amel Emric).

Bosnia-Herzegovina could be on the brink of a political collapse that triggers a new conflagration in the Balkans. There is a growing consensus among experts that this is the country’s most dangerous moment since the 1995 Dayton Accords, which ended a war that cost 100,000 lives and displaced more than 2 million people. Analysts also say stability in the Balkans has been eroded recently by the disengagement of the European Union and United States. “The prospects for further division and conflict are very real,” the international community’s chief representative in Bosnia, Christian Schmidt, wrote in a report to the United Nations that was […]

John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, speaks with Alok Sharma, president of the COP26 summit, during a stock-taking plenary session at the COP26 U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 13, 2021 (AP photo Alberto Pezzali).

As former U.S. President Barack Obama once mused, there are times in global diplomacy, as in baseball, when “hitting singles” is adequate. This month’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow was not one of those moments. With the fate of the planet on the line, world leaders should have been swinging for the fences. Instead, they played small ball, chalking up only incremental gains rather than the historic breakthrough the occasion demanded.  Going into the Glasgow summit, the United Nations Environment Program had delivered some blunt news: The world’s emissions reduction pledges before COP26 accounted for only one-seventh of the reduction actually needed to […]

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech at a celebration of the 76th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party, in Pyongyang, Oct. 10, 2021 (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service photo via AP).

In the final months of his single term in office, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is making a strong push to formally end the Korean War. As part of his efforts, Moon is reportedly seeking a summit between the leaders of the four main participants in the conflict—the United States, China and the two Koreas—to coincide with the Winter Olympics in Beijing. In response, the North has signaled its openness to the proposal, provided its conditions are met.  Setting aside for a moment the policy debate over whether that would be a good idea, it is worth considering the logical […]

U.S. President Joe Biden meets virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping from the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Washington, Nov. 15, 2021 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

The much-anticipated virtual summit Monday between U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, marked the most substantial exchange between the two leaders since Biden took office in January. The meeting, which ran overtime and lasted three and a half hours, followed two phone calls between Biden and Xi, in February and September. But apart from pledges to improve cooperation, the summit yielded no major breakthroughs between the two rivals, which remain at odds over a number of issues, including trade, human rights and a military buildup in the Asia-Pacific region. Sitting among top government officials in the […]

Women walk by an electronic billboard showing China’s GDP index on a commercial office building, in Shanghai, Aug. 24, 2021 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

After two to three decades during which Beijing supported the marketization of the Chinese economy and the growing role of the private sector, many analysts now worry that the Chinese Communist Party has turned its back on its earlier commitment to market-oriented reforms. For example, Stephen Roach, an economist at Yale University and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, worries in a recent essay that the Chinese government’s current focus on re-regulation and income redistribution is undermining “the heart of the market-based ‘reform and opening up’ that have underpinned China’s growth miracle.”  Indeed, in recent years Beijing has implemented a series […]

Palestinian security forces participate in a drill at the International Police Training Center in al-Muwaqqar, Jordan, a country that receives U.S. support for key counterterrorism training programs, Mar. 17, 2018 (AP photo by Raad Adayleh).

In May of this year, thousands of Colombian citizens took part in weeks of widespread protests against a newly proposed tax reform plan and, more generally, the country's growing economic inequality. The demonstrators included teachers, doctors, students and labor union members, as well as many who were new to protesting. But instead of allowing them to peacefully express their opinions, the Colombian National Police cracked down, killing at least 24 people in clashes that resembled their fights against criminal organizations and insurgents.  Of course, Colombia’s police are not unique in their heavy-handed approach to law enforcement. In 2019, police violence […]

Then-U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden and then-Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping inspect a guard of honor during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, Aug. 18, 2011 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Editor’s Note: WPR editor-in-chief Judah Grunstein is filling in today for Stewart Patrick, who will be back next week. U.S. President Joe Biden will hold a video summit Monday with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, their first face-to-face encounter since Biden took office in January. The meeting, which is reportedly the culmination of background exploratory talks over the past month, follows several high-profile encounters between top-level officials that veered toward the explosive. Sparks flew in Anchorage, Alaska, when both sides’ senior diplomats met for the first time in March. More recently, Wendy Sherman, deputy secretary of state, faced an acrimonious […]

Then-Vice President Joe Biden meets with then-Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping at the White House, Washington, Feb. 14, 2012 (AP photo by Charles Dharapak).

If everything goes to plan, U.S. President Joe Biden will hold his first video summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday, according to multiple news reports this week. Though the meeting has yet to be officially confirmed, it suggests that Washington and Beijing have managed to reach some sort of modus vivendi, at least on how to manage bilateral relations more productively. If it takes place, the summit would follow closely on the heels of an—admittedly detail-free—agreement to cooperate on climate action announced at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. Although previous meetings between high-level representatives of the Biden […]

An Afghan inspects the damage at the Ahmadi family house after a U.S. drone strike killed Zemari Ahmadi and nine other family members on Aug. 29, Kabul, Afghanistan (AP file photo by Bernat Armangue).

Last week, the U.S. Department of Defense released a one-page summary of its findings from an investigation into a drone strike in Kabul that killed a family of 10 during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. U.S. military officials had received intelligence that a specific car had visited a “suspected” Islamic State safehouse and loaded what “appeared to be” explosives into its trunk.  After the vehicle was destroyed with explosives in the driveway of the house, it was determined that the driver was actually Zemari Ahmadi, an electrical engineer who worked for a U.S. aid organization. Ahmadi was killed in the […]

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh speaks during the 39th ASEAN summit held virtually, in Hanoi, Vietnam, Oct. 26, 2021 (VNA photo by Duong Van Giang via AP).

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne concluded a four-day tour of Southeast Asia this week, visiting Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia. The trip was widely seen as an effort by the Australian government to allay concerns in some nearby countries over the recently announced AUKUS defense pact, which calls for Australia to deploy nuclear-propelled submarines with assistance from the United States and United Kingdom. On the Trend Lines podcast this week, Susannah Patton, a research fellow in the Foreign Policy and Defense Program at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Center, joined WPR’s Elliot Waldman to talk about the wide […]

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, left, meets with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 8, 2021 (National Television of Cambodia photo via AP Images).

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne is finishing up a four-nation tour of Southeast Asia this week, having begun her trip in Malaysia before moving on to Cambodia, Vietnam and finally Indonesia. A main goal of the visit is to conduct follow-up talks after Canberra agreed in late October on a new “comprehensive strategic partnership” with the main regional bloc, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Another prominent item on Payne’s agenda is to seek understanding from ASEAN members for Australia’s three-way defense partnership with the U.S. and the U.K., which was just announced in September. Known as AUKUS, the pact […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 301 2 Last