NATO soldiers of Lithuania take part in the Saber Strike 2018 military exercise in Pabrade, Lithuania, June 11, 2018 (AP photo by Mindaugas Kulbis).

Among the security threats the United States is currently grappling with, potential Russian aggression against its neighbors in Eastern Europe draws the most attention, especially after last month’s standoff between Russia and Ukraine. This is unsurprising given Moscow’s continued improvements to its military and its 2007 cyberattack on Estonia, 2008 invasion of Georgia, 2014 seizure of Crimea, and its ongoing “gray zone” aggression against Ukraine, which the recent incident in the Sea of Azov was just the latest example of. As a result of all of this, Washington is concerned, perhaps even fixated on finding ways to deter possible Russian […]

Migrants climb into a truck to head north into Algeria at the Assamaka border post in northern Niger, June 3, 2018 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Even as they escape poverty and violence at home, many African migrants find there is no promised land for them abroad. Learn more when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). Early one morning in April 2017, Etienne, a 36-year-old migrant from Cameroon, was awakened in his hotel room in Oran, a port city on the northwestern coast of Algeria, by a contingent of Algerian police officers raiding the hotel. They arrested Etienne and the dozens of other migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa who had also been living there. The African migrants—a group that included men, women and some children—were eventually […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, greets Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Dec. 5, 2018 (pool photo by Maxim Shemetov via AP Images).

Last week, the Maiquetia airport outside Caracas was the site of a remarkable event. On Monday, one after another, a series of Russian military aircraft landed in Venezuela. Most notably, the flock included two nuclear-capable, supersonic Tu-160 “White Swan” bombers, along with a passenger plane reportedly bringing about 100 Russian military personnel, and a large cargo plane possibly delivering military equipment. Just a few days earlier, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro had met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow and received promises of a $6 billion aid package. Now, Putin was using Venezuela to send a powerful message to Washington. […]

Staff operate at the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability technical center, at NATO’s military headquarters, SHAPE, in Mons, southwestern Belgium, Dec. 10, 2013 (AP photo by Yves Logghe).

As NATO’s relations with Russia seem to be hitting a post-Cold War low, numerous experts argue that the West is already in a state of conflict with Moscow in three domains: intelligence, information warfare and cyber. In particular, Russia’s increasingly hostile actions in the cyber domain have lent new urgency to the debate over cybersecurity in the West, including within NATO. The recent Russian plot to hack the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, discovered and thwarted by the Netherlands, is yet more proof that complacency over Russian cyber operations will prove costly. Russia has decided to adopt a […]

A man makes his way through tear gas as demonstrators protest on the Champs-Elysees avenue, Paris, Dec. 15, 2018 (AP photo by Kamil Zihnioglu).

Two and a half years ago, when I began writing this column, it was originally titled, Balance of Power. The idea was to analyze international affairs with an eye toward the hard edge of competition and rivalry—in short, the balance of power—that has increasingly characterized global politics in the past five years. Of course, no one can deny that values and human rights concerns can and often do play a role in limiting or redirecting power, with the backlash over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi being the latest stark example. Still, as a cold-hearted idealist, I consider that […]

A demonstration in memory of the Italian researcher Giulio Regeni, who was abducted, tortured and murdered in Cairo, in Rome, Jan. 25, 2018 (Photo by Riccardo Antimianu for ANSA via AP Images).

Italian prosecutors earlier this month named five Egyptian security officials as suspects in the murder of Giulio Regeni, an Italian graduate student whose mutilated body was found in a roadside ditch outside Cairo in February 2016, nine days after he disappeared. Regeni had been conducting research on labor unions in Egypt for a doctorate at Cambridge University. For nearly three years, investigators in Rome have been frustrated by the lack of cooperation from their Egyptian counterparts, which led to the extraordinary decision to publicly identify Egyptian government agents as suspects. In an email interview with WPR, Timothy Kaldas, a nonresident […]

A Hungarian man holds a banner depicting Prime Minister Viktor Orban as a king on TV during a demonstration against a government media law, Budapest, Hungary, Jan. 27, 2011 (AP photo by Bela Szandelszky).

For all the criticism leveled at him, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is an innovative political leader. His illiberal model of governance is increasingly embraced on both sides of the Atlantic, and his unflinching focus on migration—years after the refugee crisis peaked in Europe—continues to pay him handsome dividends. He won a third supermajority in Hungary’s parliament earlier this year and is poised for a landslide victory in elections in the European Parliament next year. Yet recent developments in Hungary’s media market, engineered by Orban’s government, seem anything but innovative. The creation of a pro-government media juggernaut at the end […]

A banner in a town square in the French Alps reads “Welcome Refugees,” Chamonix, France, Oct. 22, 2016 (AP photo by Bertrand Combaldieu).

Find out how the aftermath of the refugee crisis is still upending politics across Europe—when you subscribe to World Politics Review (WPR). As the nationalist, anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats claimed their best result yet in Sweden’s parliamentary elections in September, the nation’s newspapers went bold with their headlines. “Chaos,” read the front pages, in all caps, of the two largest tabloids. Dagens Industri, a financial newspaper, called the outcome “a political earthquake.” But the subject of their worry was not the rise of the Sweden Democrats, the latest party to surf Europe’s anti-establishment populist wave. Instead, it was the utter fragmentation […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe hold a summit meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 1, 2018 (Photo by Shuhei Yokoyama for Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images).

In December 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Japan and got a lavish welcome. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe received Putin at a hot springs resort in his ancestral hometown of Nagato, in southwestern Yamaguchi prefecture. He referred to Putin by his first name in public appearances, a rare personal touch in the formal world of Japanese diplomacy. During the run-up to the visit, Japanese officials even reached out to the Kremlin with an offer for a dog, a prized Akita breed, intended as a male companion to Yume, the female Akita that was sent to Putin as a Japanese gift […]

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, center, and his wife, Anna Akobian, leave a polling station during parliamentary elections, Yerevan, Armenia, Dec. 9, 2018 (Photo by Vahan Stepanyan for PAN Photo via AP Images).

YEREVAN, Armenia—Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s bid to consolidate his new government’s power paid off on Sunday, when his Civil Contract party won an overwhelming majority in early parliamentary elections that Pashinian had called last month. Civil Contract took 70 percent of the vote, while two moderate opposition parties cleared the 5 percent threshold to enter parliament. The outcome legitimizes Pashinian’s position seven months after coming to power, and dealt a knockout blow to the former ruling Republican Party, which finished with just 4.7 percent of the vote. Pashinian, a former opposition leader, led a wave of popular protests earlier […]

A woman prepares to perform Friday prayers in the courtyard of Zitouna Mosque, the oldest mosque in Tunisia, Tunis, Oct. 23, 2015 (AP photo by Mosa'ab Elshamy).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and associate editor, Elliot Waldman, discuss British Prime Minister Theresa May’s week of humiliations on the shambolic road to Brexit. For the Report, Frederic Wehrey talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about the growing power and influence of the “quietist” current of Salafism in the Maghreb and what that means for the region. 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 […]

Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Dec. 14, 2018 (AP photo by Alastair Grant).

The leader of Luxembourg’s coalition government, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, was sworn in for a second term last week after a surprise election victory in October. He will now seek to further implement an ambitious policy agenda that includes free public transportation and an emissions-free economy by 2030, even as doubts persist about how these projects will be financed. In an interview, Anna-Lena Högenauer, a political scientist at the University of Luxembourg, discusses the election results, what we might expect from Bettel’s second term, and Luxembourg’s shifting position within the European Union. World Politics Review: What are the primary factors […]

Andrej Babis, prime minister of the Czech Republic, addresses lawmakers during a parliamentary session in Prague, Nov. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Petr David Josek).

PRAGUE—A billionaire with a short fuse, a dim view of the democratic process and a long list of suspicious business dealings, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis now looks set to head further toward the populist margins ever since his son claimed to have been kidnapped on Babis’ orders. On Nov. 23, the minority coalition government led by Babis’ ANO party narrowly defeated a no-confidence vote in the Czech parliament. The vote followed media reports in which Andrej Babis Jr. claimed he had been forced to travel to Crimea in order to prevent him from testifying in a fraud case against […]

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and British Prime Minister Theresa May at the Thiepval Memorial in northern France, Nov. 9, 2018 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Her many shortcomings notwithstanding, British Prime Minister Theresa May has a singular ability to bear humiliations with dignity. Faced with sure defeat in Parliament over her Brexit transitional roadmap agreement with the European Union, May yesterday called off the vote at the 11th hour. She now heads to Brussels in an effort to gain some concessions from her EU counterparts, particularly over the Northern Ireland backstop arrangements, despite ironclad declarations from various EU officials that there would be no further negotiations. If May can take any consolation from this predictable and predicted turn of events, it’s that few if any […]

U.S. President Donald Trump, center, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at a signing ceremony for the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 30, 2018 (AP photo).

President Donald Trump has announced a number of trade deals this year, touting each one as the best, greatest, most wonderful agreement ever. Time after time, however, the reality fell far short of Trump’s hype, including the most recent announcement of an agreement with China. Indeed, the announced “agreements” with Europe, Japan and China merely began the process of negotiating. And far from replacing the “worst trade deal ever,” the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement mainly updates and tweaks the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. One thing none of these agreements accomplished was to get rid of the tit-for-tat tariffs […]

An employee of Global Cyber Security Company Group-IB develops a computer code in an office in Moscow, Russia, Oct. 25, 2017 (AP photo by Pavel Golovkin).

Last October, Washington announced that the U.S. Cyber Command was targeting individual Russian information warfare operatives to deter them from interfering in America’s midterm elections. The thinking seemed to be that if Moscow’s agents knew that the United States had identified them, they would think twice about undertaking hostile actions. Even though the Trump administration had been unable to make Russian President Vladimir Putin forego cyberwarfare all together, it might at least be able to weaken the effectiveness of the Russian offensive at the operator level. The story grabbed attention both because it indicated that the United States was shifting […]

Protesters open the toll gates on a motorway near Aix-en-Provence, southeastern France, Dec. 4, 2018 (AP photo by Claude Paris).

PARIS—What to make of the Yellow Vests? For a third week in a row, they continue to dominate the news. Televised scenes of pitched street battles between protesters and police on Saturday raised alarm about an “insurrectional atmosphere” unseen in France since May 1968. Reports suggested that French President Emmanuel Macron might declare a state of emergency in response. Instead, in his first sign of retreat since taking office in May 2017, Macron agreed yesterday to suspend the planned fuel tax hike that served as the catalyst for the popular mobilizations that have transfixed, if not exactly paralyzed, the country. […]

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