A protest against U.S. President-elect Donald Trump near the Eiffel Tower, Paris, Nov. 19, 2016  (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

The surprise election of Donald Trump as America’s 45th president has upset long-standing assumptions about America’s role in the world. It also calls into question the country’s future trajectory as the guarantor and administrator of the international order, a position that has been so carefully built and nurtured by Washington since the end of World War II. America’s European friends and allies are among those most worried about the future U.S. role in Europe, at a time when the continent is surrounded by instability and faces an increasingly aggressive Russia to its east. This unease is understandable if one considers […]

A protest against President-elect Donald Trump, St. Louis, Nov. 13, 2016 (AP photo by Jeff Roberson).

The Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidential election have offered clear examples of how emotion and affect increasingly drive political behavior. In both cases, resentment and anger over unaddressed grievances, combined with fear and anxiety over radical disruptions to the economy and national identity, won out over reasoned arguments in favor of the status quo. But emotion and affect don’t disappear with the counting of the ballots. Election victories always create euphoria among the winners and despair among the losers. The nature of President-elect Donald Trump’s insurgent candidacy and his upset victory magnify both reactions. The election outcome calls into […]

Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov, left, meeting with his Serbian counterpart, Tomislav Nikolic, right, Belgrade, Serbia, Oct. 28, 2016 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

On Dec. 11, when Macedonians go to the polls in early parliamentary elections, foreign policy should weigh heavily on their minds. The government in power—a coalition of the predominantly Macedonian party known as VMRO-DPMNE and the Democratic Union for Integration, or DUI, the country’s largest ethnic Albanian party—has declared that its foreign policy and diplomacy over the past decade has been largely successful. But from relations with its neighbors, to progress toward membership in NATO and the EU, to Macedonia’s international reputation, how true is that? Any evaluation has to start with Macedonia’s fraught position in the Balkans. Serbia, to […]

A man reads a newspaper announcing Donald Trump's election victory, Beijing, China, Nov. 10, 2016 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

European and Asian political analysts are reacting quite differently to Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election. Many European public policy intellectuals are deeply worried about the new team in power in Washington and they see the election outcome as a sign of the decline of the liberal international order. Some distinguished Asian thought leaders, in contrast, see an opportunity to build a new order—one in which Asian powers will be more prominent in setting the rules. In any event, the consensus seems to be that the Trump win will result in the further redistribution of power to regional […]

A rally during a speech by Milorad Dodik, president of the Serb-dominated region of Republika Srpska, Pale, Bosnia, Sept. 25, 2016 (AP photo by Amel Emric).

BELGRADE, Serbia—It’s a strange time for Europe. In September, the European Union’s 28 member states formally accepted Bosnia and Herzegovina’s application for membership. Yet the next month, as rhetoric around local elections and a referendum in the Balkan state rose to a fever pitch, some analysts and politicians once again raised the prospect that the country’s very existence was under question. Pessimistic insiders in Sarajevo have been warning for years that Bosnia was on the brink of collapse, while optimists hope that an EU-led reform program will finally transform the country’s economy, society and stultifying political scene. A middle scenario […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a ceremony receiving diplomatic credentials from foreign ambassadors in the Kremlin, Moscow, Nov. 9, 2016 (AP photo by Sergei Karpukhin).

Russia featured prominently in the 2016 presidential campaign. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton depicted alleged Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s email servers and other high-profile political targets, including her own campaign staff, as evidence of a Kremlin plot to harm her candidacy and promote her Republican opponent, now President-elect Donald Trump. Trump consistently dismissed Clinton’s allegations as desperate political mudslinging and put forward a very different set of ideas for U.S. relations with Russia. One early Russia-related dustup came in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambiguously translated comment that Trump was a “bright” or “colorful” candidate. Trump, in […]

The Cypriot and Greek flags over an abandoned military guard post, Nicosia, Cyprus, Nov. 5, 2016 (AP photo by Petros Karadjias).

Reunification talks between Cyprus and northern Cyprus in the Swiss resort of Mont Pelerin ended Friday with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Mustafa Akinci, agreeing to reconvene on Nov. 20 in Geneva. Both leaders, as well as the United Nations, which is backing the peace talks, said that significant progress was made. However, many of the most contentious issues are yet to be resolved. The eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 between the Greek-speaking south, officially the Republic of Cyprus, and the breakaway Turkish-speaking north, which is only recognized by Turkey. Since […]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov review an honor guard, Moscow, June 6, 2016 (AP photo by Ivan Sekretarev).

Russia might be doing all it can to secure Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power in Syria, but that hasn’t dissuaded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from pursuing robust ties with Moscow. Last week, he and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met in Jerusalem to mark the 25th anniversary of Russia-Israel ties. They capped off the occasion by signing a series of bilateral agreements on agriculture, technology and construction. Medvedev’s visit comes after a good year for Israel-Russia ties, described by The Washington Post as a “budding bromance.” Since September 2015, Netanyahu has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Hangzhou, China, Sept. 5, 2016 (AP photo by Etienne Oliveau).

Earlier this month, German Finance Minister Sigmar Gabriel spoke frankly with his Chinese counterpart, Gao Hucheng, about his concerns over Chinese takeovers of German firms, while also dismissing rumors of a serious trade dispute. In an email interview, Björn Conrad, the vice president of the Mercator Institute for China Studies, discusses Germany’s trade tensions with China. WPR: What is the current size and scope of trade relations between Germany and China, and how important is bilateral trade to both economies? Björn Conrad: China remains one of Germany’s most important economic partners. Overall trade volume makes China Germany’s third-largest trading partner […]

Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders at the Republican National Convention, Cleveland, U.S., July 19, 2016 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders doesn’t hate Muslims—he just hates Islam, or so he said in 2008. And his feelings haven’t changed: In a television interview earlier this year to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of Wilders’ right-wing, populist Party for Freedom (PVV), he said that “by and large, Muslims aren’t the problem. Islam is.” Wilders built the PVV on a platform of anti-immigration, euroskepticism and a pledge to stop what he calls the Islamization of the Netherlands. “My goal,” he said in the same television interview, “is to speak the truth other parties don’t dare speak, for […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a Cabinet meeting, Moscow, Russia, Sept. 7, 2016 (AP photo by Mikhail Klimentyev).

Historians and politicians will mine the astonishing 2016 U.S. election for years to come, drawing countless lessons about voter dissatisfaction, political acrimony and resistance to social change, among many other mostly domestic problems brought to the surface by the tumultuous campaign. But one of the unexpected mileposts marked by America’s electoral exercise this year lies in the use of a new weapon in global power politics: weaponized social media as an aggressive tool of foreign policy. If war is politics by other means, as the 19th-century military strategist Carl Von Clausewitz famously said, the U.S. election demonstrated that in the […]

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi flanked by German Chancellor Angela Merkel after a bilateral meeting, Maranello, Italy, Aug. 31, 2016 (AP photo by Luca Bruno).

On Dec. 4, Italians will head to the polls to vote on a series of changes to the country’s institutional framework, specifically the Senate, the upper house of the Italian Parliament. On paper, it is a referendum on amending the constitution. But there is far more than that at stake, for Italy and the European Union. The Italian government of Prime Minister Mateo Renzi took office in 2014, tasked with reviving a stagnant economy and streamlining Italy’s bureaucracy. Renzi promised much-needed reforms aimed at making Italy a more governable country by substantially reducing the scope and power of the Senate […]

President-elect Donald Trump at an election night rally, New York, Nov. 9, 2016 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Donald Trump’s surprise presidential election victory was a result, in part, of his success tapping into growing populist sentiment across much of the United States. That follows a global trend that has seen populist leaders come to power in Latin America, Europe and Asia. For all the attention on populism, though, what is it? Jan-Werner Müller explained it this way in a December 2014 article for WPR on the threat populism poses to liberal democracy: Contrary to conventional wisdom, populism is not simply a matter of irresponsible policies or appeals to the downtrodden. Populism is an anti-elitist but, crucially, also […]

A service outlet for M-Pesa, the mobile-phone based money transfer and micro-financing service, in Gatina slum, Nairobi, Kenya, Dec. 16 2012 (Sipa photo by Benedicte Desrus).

Prolonged and contentious trade negotiations between the European Union and different regions of Africa have been put back into the spotlight in recent months. Despite negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements, or EPAs, with the EU, several key African states have failed to sign them. Britain’s referendum on leaving the EU last June has added an extra dimension of uncertainty to the situation. This threatens to derail years of trade talks between Europe and Africa, which changed significantly with the signing of the Cotonou Agreement in 2000 between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, or ACP countries. […]

Protesters hold an anti-CETA banner during a demonstration against international trade agreements, Brussels, Belgium, Sept. 20, 2016 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

On Oct. 30, the European Union and Canada finally signed a free trade deal that was delayed after Belgium’s majority French-speaking region of Wallonia threatened to veto it. But the last-minute drama behind the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA, has many observers doubting the future of the EU’s free trade policy. Two weeks before the trade deal was due to be signed, the Walloon parliament, one of five regional parliaments in Belgium, vetoed it, blocking Prime Minister Charles Michel from signing the agreement. Walloon President Paul Magnette, who represents a population of just 3.5 million, objected to […]

A woman walks by electoral posters in Chisinau, Moldova, Oct. 27, 2016 (AP photo by Roveliu Buga).

CHISINAU, Moldova—Most headlines about Moldova would have you believe this former Soviet republic of 3.5 million people is torn between East and West, the impoverished victim of a battle for influence on the European Union’s doorstep that pits Brussels against Moscow. To be sure, geopolitics is a major part of the picture. The two candidates in the ongoing presidential election here prove it: Igor Dodon, a pro-Russian socialist, says he wants to see Moldova’s hard-fought Association Agreement with the EU torn up, while Harvard-trained economist Maia Sandu pledges to support the country’s pro-European course. Since neither secured a majority in […]

Migrants wait to board buses to temporary shelters, Paris, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016 (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

When French authorities dismantled the migrant camp in Calais known as the Jungle in late October, many asked what would happen to the encampment’s 9,000 residents. The answer was not long in coming: Rather than relocating to government-run shelters, many simply swelled the ranks of France’s other migrant encampments that had until now escaped the glare of international press coverage. Calais is far from being the only site of France’s migrant crisis. Since June 2015, French police have demolished some 30 makeshift encampments—home to thousands of migrants, primarily from Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Sudan—in Paris. But the crisis worsened following the […]

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