Last November, the United States suspended aid and arms transfers to Egypt in reaction to the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. In contrast, earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, praising the “unconditional friendship” between Egypt and Russia countries and reportedly working to negotiate a $2 billion arms deal. Although American officials express a continued commitment to the U.S. partnership with Egypt—and the United States is likely to remain Egypt’s top arms supplier—leaders on both sides of the relationship are wondering where it’s heading. The confusion was heightened this week when the interim Egyptian […]

Last week’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada trilateral summit resulted in a communique that among other things called for increased energy cooperation on the continent. In an email interview, Jed Bailey, managing partner of Energy Narrative, a research and consulting group focusing on Latin America’s energy sector, explained the recent history of and next steps for North American energy integration. WPR: What has been the recent trajectory of energy integration in North America? Jed Bailey: Energy integration across North America has steadily strengthened for several decades as cross-border trade has grown in electric power and natural gas as well as oil and oil products. […]

Although the geopolitical tug-of-war between the European Union and Russia was recognized as a principal factor driving recent events in Ukraine, NATO’s full role in the crisis is not widely understood. Like the EU, the alliance’s pull on Ukraine has long aroused anxieties in Moscow as well as among pro-Russian Ukrainians, exacerbating tensions related to the East-West standoff. But while NATO took no military action in the crisis, its partnership policies toward Ukraine have helped keep the Ukrainian armed forces out of the recent street fighting and could help the country emerge from its recent security crisis. Ukraine is not […]

Will the Ukrainian revolution help or harm the Syrian rebellion? The two uprisings currently appear to be on very different trajectories. It is three years since Syrian citizens began protests against President Bashar Assad, precipitating the cycle of violence that would lead to civil war, yet he maintains a brutally tenacious hold on power. By contrast, Assad’s Ukrainian counterpart, Viktor Yanukovych, was forced from the capital, Kiev, last week after just three months of demonstrations culminating in a sudden spike in violence. Assad may view Yanukovych’s humiliation as proof of the need for utter ruthlessness against his opponents. But the […]

This year started on a particularly pessimistic note in Cyprus. In December 2013, the latest attempt by the United Nations to bring the island’s Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders back to the negotiating table had foundered. The two sides had been unable to reach an agreement on the wording of a joint statement that would have laid down the parameters for a renewed attempt to reunify the island. At the core of the dispute was a disagreement on the nature of sovereignty in any settlement. While the two sides have long agreed that any solution would see the creation of […]

Whenever political violence breaks out anywhere in the world, one can predict the U.S. response without any hesitation. The State Department will: solemnly declare that the United States abhors the use of violence and sends its condolences to the casualties; promise that the U.S. will hold “all sides” accountable for their actions; demand that the government “show restraint”; and call for immediate “political dialogue” to resolve the crisis. This preset script has been followed, with minor modifications, as tensions have escalated in Ukraine, Venezuela and Thailand, among others; it was the initial response when violence broke out in in Syria […]

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina—Ignoring social protests, leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s ruling parties have rejected the latest and final attempt of the European Commission’s enlargement commissioner, Stefan Fule, to find a compromise for the country’s disputed constitutional reform. At the end of a two-day visit, Fule told a press conference Tuesday that leaders of seven main local parties were unable or unwilling to address a 2009 ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that found that certain provisions of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s constitution violated minority rights. “Bosnia and Herzegovina will remain, at least for the time being, in breach of its international commitments. It […]

That Russia and NATO are developing plans to conduct a rare joint maritime show of force to reaffirm their commitment to the Syrian chemical weapons elimination process is a good development. According to Reuters, Russian and U.S. warships will jointly escort a U.S. vessel, the USS Cape Ray, which has been re-equipped to destroy Syria’s most dangerous chemical weapons. Russian and NATO experts are currently developing a unified command structure, possible rules of engagement and other details within the framework of the NATO-Russia Council, the most important alliance structure linking the parties. The escort mission would be largely symbolic since […]

The general consensus in the Western media is that the Sochi Olympics have been a diplomatic failure for Russian President Vladimir Putin. If the Winter Games were supposed to be the coming out party for a Russia resurgent two decades after the Soviet collapse, then the deliberate decision by several European and American leaders—including Barack Obama, David Cameron and Francois Hollande—to skip attending the Olympiad in tacit protest of Russian policies, particularly on gay rights, spoiled those plans. The Russian response has been that the Sochi games have broken all records for the attendance of world leaders at the Winter […]

On Jan. 31, British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted French President Francois Hollande for the third bilateral summit since the signature of the Lancaster House treaties on bilateral defense and security cooperation in November 2010. Although the two leaders have met on several occasions, this was the first official summit since Hollande’s election in May 2012. The year that followed the French presidential election was qualified by a senior British official as a “long strategic pause,” marked by uncertainty over what Hollande’s defense policy would look like as well as delays over both nominations of senior French defense officials and […]

In addition to the magnificent opening ceremony and the admirable performance of the athletes on display at the Winter Olympics, Sochi has seen a remarkable show of solidarity between the host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and his most important visitor, Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese government is underscoring the foreign policy significance of Xi’s decision to go to Sochi, which marks the first time a Chinese leader has attended a major foreign sporting event. The visit is Xi’s first foreign trip this year, and Russia was also his first foreign destination after becoming president last year. Since then he […]

French President Francois Hollande arrived in Washington yesterday to further strengthen the U.S.-France relationship, which has greatly improved from its Iraq War-era nadir. Hollande is facing the lowest approval ratings of his presidency and a faltering economic recovery with sustained high unemployment. But even so, French officials have signaled a desire to maintain an active foreign policy with close U.S. cooperation. The visit is “a nice way for the United States to pay France back for its leadership on Syria, Iran and Mali,” says Nicholas Dungan of the Atlantic Council. The French, for their part, “will be looking to see […]

It was the “f**k” heard round the world. But did anyone truly grasp what the expletive really meant? Foreign affairs specialists snickered last week as an unknown source released a recording of Victoria Nuland, assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs at the U.S. State Department, saying, “F**k the EU.” Nuland used the expletive during a phone discussion of potential arrangements for overseeing a political transition in Ukraine, which has been in turmoil since its government rejected an economic deal with Brussels under Russian pressure last year. European Union officials including the bloc’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton […]

Late last year, the European Union and the Russian Federation ushered in a new period of intense geopolitical rivalry, driven largely by pressure from the escalating disorder in Ukraine and the possible collapse of that country’s government. Despite assurances by top leaders of continued dialogue, the rhetoric from politicians, the press and expert communities on both sides is now disturbingly reminiscent of rivalry from Europe’s bloody past, including the run-up to World War I, exactly 100 years ago. The root causes of Russia-West confrontation over the post-Soviet space have been consistent for the past two decades. First, there is not […]

After Michael McFaul, the current U.S. ambassador to Russia, announced that he would be stepping down from his post after the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, lobbying began quickly for the president to send an openly gay replacement to represent the United States in Moscow. The Human Rights Campaign, the leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender special interest organization in the U.S., argues that such a step “would send a vital message to the world that America’s belief in international human rights is as strong as ever” and “would give LGBT Russians a hopeful diplomatic role model to look to […]

With growth still lagging after the financial crisis, countries in the developed and developing worlds alike are looking to new trade agreements, closer financial integration and reforms to global economic governance to raise their economic outlooks. This WPR special report looks at the prospects for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Pacific Alliance and the future of the dollar, among other topics, through articles published in the past year. Trade and Integration Opportunity Knocks for Obama on TradeBy Edward AldenJan. 8, 2013 With TPP and TTIP, U.S. and EU Reassert Control Over Rules of Global TradeBy […]

Revelations about Russian and Chinese missile tests last month raised alarm among analysts and lawmakers. The tests underscored that cutting-edge missile systems remain an area of active competition among high-end military powers as Russia and China try to catch up with the capabilities of the United States. Russia is in the midst of an ambitious modernization of its nuclear arsenal, including the development of several new long-range missile systems. Recent Russian flight tests of a new ground-launched cruise missile, reported last week, may put Russia in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The treaty prohibits both Russia […]