Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, Sept. 26, 2018 (AP photo by Frank Franklin II).

Is the European Union becoming an effective diplomatic force in the Security Council? Advocates of a common EU foreign policy have long called on the bloc to play a greater role at the United Nations. Germany is even formally committed to the idea of an EU seat on the council. The union has gradually become more prominent in the General Assembly as well as in debates on development aid over the past two decades. But it has not had the same impact in the Security Council. Britain and France have defended their special status as permanent members and been wary […]

Men duck for cover as heavy gunfire erupts in the Miskin district of Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 3, 2014 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

In the span of a year, the Central African Republic has gone from a country on the margins of international attention to a flashpoint. Russia’s expanding military presence and French attempts to retain influence over its former colony have ignited a competition for influence, threatening CAR’s already shaky peace process and its fledgling democratic government, which lacks much authority beyond the capital, Bangui. If Russia and France continue to recklessly prioritize their own interests, then CAR’s fragile security situation will only worsen. In late October, Moscow announced its second arms shipment to CAR and the deployment of 60 additional military […]

Garment workers sew clothes in a factory as they wait for a visit by Prime Minister Hun Sen outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Aug. 30, 2017 (AP photo by Heng Sinith).

What price should workers in Cambodia and Myanmar, two of the poorest countries in the world, pay because of their governments’ severe violations of human rights? The European Union is currently grappling with this question. Under its Everything But Arms trade preference program, the EU provides duty-free, quota-free market access for all imports, except weapons, from states designated by the United Nations as “least developed countries.” On paper, eligible countries are supposed to respect democracy and human rights; in practice, many do not. In Cambodia, the government of longtime ruler Hun Sen has squelched democracy, while in Myanmar, the military […]

A demonstrator waves the French flag near a burning barricade on the Champs Elysees, Paris, Nov. 24, 2018 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

Editor’s Note: Richard Gowan’s column will appear on Wednesday this week. PARIS—How do you respond to a protest movement that has no organized leadership, began a month ago with one overriding demand but has since morphed into an expression of generalized discontent, and is grabbing headlines around the world? If you have an answer, French President Emmanuel Macron would almost certainly like to hear from you. For the second weekend in a row, protests by the Gilets Jaunes—or “Yellow Vests”—blocked roads and retail centers in cities around the country. Though the protesters’ numbers fell compared to the previous weekend, the […]

President Donald Trump with first lady Melania Trump, gives “Peas,” one of the National Thanksgiving Turkeys, an absolute pardon during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, Nov. 20, 2018 (AP photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta).

In this week’s special Thanksgiving edition of the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss two stories from the past year they were thankful for: a congressional check on U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive powers and, counterintuitively, the tensions that Trump has introduced into the trans-Atlantic alliance. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every day of the week, plus three […]

From left, Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and Deputy Prime Ministers Luigi Di Maio and Matteo Salvini at Chigi Palace in Rome, Oct. 3, 2018 (ANSA photo by Angelo Carconi via AP).

Governing is always harder than being in the opposition. This is especially true when you’ve promised the moon to get yourself elected and dramatically raised voters’ expectations, as the populists in Italy’s self-styled “government of change” are quickly finding out. The two parties that performed best in general elections last March—the Five Star Movement, or M5S, and the Lega, or League—made bold campaign pledges to reduce poverty and slash taxes. The M5S, with over 30 percent of the vote, emerged as the largest party in parliament. The League, led by Matteo Salvini, was the largest party within the right-wing coalition […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, at a press conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban after their talks in the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, Sept. 18, 2018 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry toured Central and Eastern Europe in mid-November, touting America’s credentials and warning countries against deepening their ties to Russia. The visit was part of a new push by the Trump administration in a region where energy is part of a wider geopolitical rivalry. Ostensibly arriving as a salesman for the U.S. liquified natural gas and nuclear industries, Perry signaled that Washington was ready to step up in a tussle that has long pitted Russia—with its vast gas resources and nuclear ties to former Soviet bloc countries—against the European Union. It’s a tussle that China is […]

People walk along street stalls at a fruit market in The Hague, The Netherlands, March 4, 2017 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on immigration and integration policy around the world. The Netherlands has had one of the toughest integration policies for immigrants in Europe since new laws were passed in 2013 with the support of far-right members of parliament. But there is now agreement across the political spectrum that those stricter policies, which placed higher burdens on immigrants for passing required examinations on Dutch language and society, have not produced the desired results. A draft set of proposed changes, if passed by parliament, could go into effect as soon as 2020. In […]

A protest against the far-right, anti-immigrant group “For Frihed,” or For Freedom, Copenhagen, Denmark, April 9, 2016 (Photo by Noe Falk Nielsen for Sipa USA via AP Images).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the political fallout from the draft Brexit agreement reached by the government of British Prime Minister Theresa May and the European Union. For the Report, Rik Rutten talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about Denmark’s controversial so-called ghetto laws targeting heavily immigrant neighborhoods. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article […]

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris as part of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, Nov. 11, 2018 (AP photo by Ludovic Marin).

PARIS—In many ways, Emmanuel Macron is an unconventional French president. Young, independent and a political novice, he entered the Elysee Palace as a disrupter rather than a defender of the status quo. But if there is one thing that puts him in the mainstream of French presidents, it is his defense of the European Union anchored in a liberal multilateral order. And if there is one thing that puts him squarely in the grand tradition of French diplomacy more broadly, it is his love and talent for political theater. Both were on display this weekend, when Macron took advantage of […]

British Prime Minister Theresa May makes a statement on her Cabinet approving a draft Brexit deal, outside 10 Downing Street, London, Nov. 14, 2018 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

For British Prime Minister Theresa May, each hurdle cleared on the road to Brexit only seems to make the going tougher. During an emergency meeting on Wednesday, May’s Cabinet approved a draft agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, a day after May announced that she had reached a draft deal with European negotiators. But she’s not out of the woods yet. The deal must still be approved by the British Parliament, as well as by the European Council of EU heads of state and the European Parliament. For May, whose political future hangs in the balance, the greatest […]

Thousands of people protest against the Danish government’s ban on the burqa and niqab, Aarhus, Denmark, Aug. 1, 2018 (Photo by Aleksander Klug for Sipa USA via AP Images).

AARHUS, Denmark—To headmaster Karen Jessen, the school she runs embodies the best of Denmark. Sitting on the western edge of Aarhus, the country’s second-largest city, the school, known as Sødalskolen, or “Lake Valley School,” serves students from the ages of 6 to 16 from two starkly different neighborhoods. To the west of the school is Brabrand, a sprawling district of semi-detached and standalone homes belonging to a mostly white and affluent Danish population. And to the north is Gellerup, an area dominated by social housing in which up to 80 percent of the population are of non-Danish descent and incomes […]

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez gives a press conference after a conversation with people affected by flooding, Sant Llorenc des Cardassar, Spain, Oct. 10, 2018 (Photo by Clara Margais for DPA via AP Images).

GRANADA, Spain—When Mariano Rajoy stepped down as prime minister in June in the wake of a no-confidence vote over a series of high-profile corruption scandals within his conservative Popular Party, hopes were high for his successor, Pedro Sanchez. The leader of the leftist opposition, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party, or PSOE, Sanchez lost no time making moves to raise the domestic and international profile of his new administration. First, he appointed a Cabinet primarily staffed by women—a historic first in Spain, and unusual in the whole of Europe. He then garnered international praise by allowing a ship carrying migrants rescued […]

French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the opening session of the Paris Peace Forum at the Villette Conference Hall in Paris, France, Nov. 11, 2018 (SIPA photo by Eliot Blondet via AP Images).

Peace is complicated. That is the overriding, if unintended, message of this week’s Paris Peace Forum, a new multilateral conclave initiated by the French government to commemorate the end of World War I. The organizers claim that the event is based on the “simple idea” that “international cooperation is key to tackling global challenges and ensuring durable peace.” That is pretty much where the simplicity ends, however. Over 100 groups from around the world are in Paris to present their ideas about peace to 2,500 participants. Their approaches to the issue are, to put it mildly, eclectic. One organization hopes […]

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Labour Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn attend a roundtable meeting to discuss gun and knife crimes, London, April 10, 2018 (Photo by Stefan Rousseau for Press Association via AP Images).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss the foreign policy implications of the U.S. midterm congressional elections. For the Report, Dan Hancox talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about the stark social realities behind London’s drill music scene and why the music’s violent lyrical themes aren’t solely to blame for the city’s recent rash of knife attacks and violent crime. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight […]

A rally organized near Downing Street to call for more action to curb knife crimes, London, June 3, 2018 (Photo by Alex Cavendish for SIPA via AP Images).

A new type of rap music famous for its bleak, violent lyrics has frequently been cited as a factor contributing to a resurgent London crime wave. Yet amid all this concern about the music, known as “drill,” little attention is being paid to the harsh socioeconomic realities facing the men and boys creating it. LONDON—In late August, this city achieved a grim milestone: The Metropolitan Police announced they were investigating the 100th “violent death” recorded since the start of the year. Well before that case was recorded, a spate of violent crime in London had already sparked a lot of […]

A supporter waves a flag with an image of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Oct. 29, 2018 (AP photo by Leo Correa).

Will the world’s middle powers save the liberal international system, or conspire to sink it? For the past decade, believers in international cooperation and multilateral institutions have invested a lot of hope in states like Brazil, India and South Korea. Such powers are big enough to play a major part in managing global order, the optimists argue. But unlike China and the U.S., they are not so big that they can disregard international rules and arrangements altogether. The not-quite-superpowers gained new diplomatic clout in 2008, when the U.S. and its European allies turned to the Group of 20 countries to […]

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