Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez gestures to supporters outside the headquarters of the Socialist Party following Sunday’s election, Madrid, April 28, 2019 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

MADRID—Spain’s left breathed a collective sigh of relief Sunday night as right-wing parties failed to win enough seats in parliament to put them within striking distance of forming a government that would have included the ultranationalist and far-right Vox party. Instead, voters gave a clear win to the ruling Socialist Party, led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who is now the only party leader in a position to form a government. But there’s been no shortage of drama in what was Spain’s third national election in just four years. Since 2015, Spain’s political landscape has fractured, amid a backlash against […]

Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky at his campaign headquarters following the presidential election in Kiev, Ukraine, April 21, 2019 (Sputnik photo via AP Images).

Ukraine’s hybrid conflict with Russia over the past five years has not just unfolded in annexed Crimea and the regions of eastern Ukraine where Russia continues to back separatist groups. It has also been felt in Kiev and across the rest of the county, as Russian interference continues to destabilize Ukrainian politics. In an effort to defend against Russian disinformation and propaganda, Ukraine’s government has responded with measures that have led to a substantial erosion of digital freedoms for journalists, activists and the wider Ukrainian public. A country once heralded as one of the most progressive in Eastern Europe for […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after their talks in Vladivostok, Russia, April 25, 2019 (Photo by Alexei Nikolsky for Sputnik via AP Images).

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first trip to Russia this week for a long-anticipated summit with President Vladimir Putin. Kim traveled by train to the far eastern port city of Vladivostok, about 75 miles from the North Korean border, where he and Putin met Thursday and discussed the North Korean nuclear issue, as well as bilateral economic engagement. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since Kim rose to power in 2011, although Putin is acquainted with the Kim family dynasty. He previously met with the young dictator’s father, Kim Jong Il, three times in […]

Anti-Brexit demonstrators protest at the Irish border, Carrickcarnon, Ireland, March 30, 2019 (AP photo by Peter Morrison).

While the recent six-month extension of the deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union has delayed any Brexit fallout, for now, it has not alleviated renewed tensions in Northern Ireland over the possible return of a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. The EU’s recent receptiveness to a so-called Irish backstop in any Brexit agreement that would prevent the reintroduction of a hard border was nevertheless a good sign for Belfast, given that during the 2016 Brexit referendum, 56 percent of Northern Irish voters opted to remain in the EU. Irrespective of whether that Irish backstop is implemented […]

Slovakia’s newly elected president, Zuzana Caputova, arrives for a television interview in front of the Presidential Palace in Bratislava, Slovakia, March 31, 2019 (AP photo by Petr David Josek).

The election of Zuzana Caputova as Slovakia’s first female president last month was a landmark in more ways than one. The win by the 45-year-old lawyer and activist represented a liberal turn in Central Europe, where right-leaning, populist governments have been in power for several years. Much of the news coverage since Caputova’s victory has framed Slovakia as a great liberal hope that could push back populism and resurgent nationalism in the region, if not across the continent. But can this small state, which has endured political upheaval over the past year, really deliver on that lofty promise? The election […]

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a one-on-one-meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

In this week’s editors’ discussion episode of the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief Judah Grunstein, managing editor Frederick Deknatel and associate editor Elliot Waldman analyze the impact of the Mueller report and how it will affect Trump’s foreign policy agenda. They also discuss why the United States has been unable to mount an effective response to the “active measures” Russia has taken to interfere with U.S. elections. 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. […]

Armenian soldiers patrol on a tank near the village of Madaghis in Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan, April 6, 2016 (Photo by Karo Sahakyan for PAN Photo via AP Images).

The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan held a summit meeting in Vienna last month, their fourth face-to-face meeting in six months. The two countries’ foreign ministers have also held several rounds of talks, including a meeting this week in Moscow, heightening expectations for progress on resolving the frozen conflict over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. But while there have been some tentative signs of progress, the two sides still differ fundamentally on how they view the conflict over the territory, which broke away from Azerbaijan before the collapse of the Soviet Union and has been under de facto Armenian administration […]

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker speaks at the European Parliament, Strasbourg, France, April 16, 2019 (AP photo by Jean-Francois Badias).

MADRID—Europeans will elect a new European Parliament in May, but how many of them really know what it does? The continued lack of common knowledge across Europe about the European Union and how its byzantine governance institutions actually function is a challenge for political parties and their candidates. It is why these races have typically revolved around domestic issues. This time, however, populist and euroskeptic parties are bringing some EU issues into the debate, such as migration, but as a way to criticize the EU, not constructively engage with it. They have a receptive audience, as they are poised to […]

Social media apps displayed on a smartphone, March 1, 2018 (Press Association photo via AP Images).

On Monday, the European Union’s member states approved a package of controversial reforms to the bloc’s copyright laws, known as the Copyright Directive, that the European Parliament passed last month. It came just after Australia implemented a new law to police certain content on social media following the mass shooting at two mosques in New Zealand, which the attacker had livestreamed on Facebook. And last week, the United Kingdom entered the fray, releasing a widely anticipated white paper on “online harms” about keeping citizens safe online. Together, all three developments represent ways that democratic governments are building out content-filtering regimes […]

Women hold flares during a march for International Women’s Day in Madrid, Spain, March 8, 2019 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

BARCELONA, Spain—For the past two years, millions of women and men across Spain have joined in a general strike and protest to mark International Women’s Day, on March 8, pressing for women’s rights and gender equality. Last year, the sheer scale of the demonstrations was stunning, with an estimated 5.3 million Spaniards participating in workplace walkouts. Now, it looks like they will be a yearly occurrence. Not since the anti-austerity protests of the indignados in 2011, which gave rise to a new political party, the far-left Podemos, have so many Spaniards taken to the streets. With a general election planned […]

Thomas F. Borgen, the CEO of Danske Bank, at a press conference in which he resigned following revelations of money laundering via its Estonian branch, Copenhagen, Sept. 19, 2018 (Photo by Liselotte Sabroe for Ritzau Scanpix via AP Images).

When the European Commission recently attempted to blacklist 23 countries that it accuses of maintaining deficient systems to restrict money laundering and terrorism financing, a technocratic spat quickly escalated into a diplomatic dispute. Though only one element of sweeping reforms intended to strengthen the European Union’s own anti-money laundering regime, the list not only had the predictable effect of enraging countries included on it—such as Saudi Arabia and three U.S. territories—but also provoked insurmountable criticism from within the EU itself. The list was ultimately rejected by 27 of 28 member states after a fierce lobbying campaign, forcing the European Commission […]

National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, Feb. 7, 2019 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Loyal followers of U.S. President Donald Trump might enthusiastically proclaim that his “America First” foreign policy has been a success. His apologists more modestly argue that, if you ignore Twitter and focus on Trump’s actions, what little has changed in U.S. foreign policy is for the better. Whether enabled by ideological blinders or driven by partisan hackery, both claims are quite simply wrong. After more than two years of Trump’s amateurish bluster, no amount of posturing and self-declared victories can obscure the damage he has done to America’s interests. His failures are now on prominent display in Iran, North Korea […]

An election poster for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is displayed on a roadside next to an official government anti-immigrant banner, Miskolc, Hungary, March 31, 2018 (Sipa photo by Michal Fludra via AP Images).

Democracy is fragile in the post-communist countries of Central Eastern Europe, where the specter of authoritarianism and corruption is rising. Find out how some CEE countries are enjoying the fruits of democracy while others are struggling —when you subscribe to World Politics Review Even under the best of conditions, democracy-building is difficult and uncertain. Historical experience shows that failure is more common than success, even in periods when liberal democracy has few rivals. But the post-1989 transformations of Central and Eastern European countries (CEE countries) from communism to democracy are often held up as a model of successful democratization. Despite […]

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels, April 1, 2019 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

NATO foreign ministers meet in Washington this week to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the alliance. There is much to commemorate and reflect on. But this anniversary also provides a unique opportunity to look ahead and consider what lies in store for the alliance, including questions about the long-term coherence of trans-Atlantic security ties and the current deliberations about a more autonomous European defense. Recent open letters on the future of the European project by French President Emmanuel Macron and the leader of the German Christian Democratic Union party, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, brought new impetus to ongoing discussions […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian PM Charles Michel, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, U.S. President Donald Trump and U.K. PM Theresa May at the NATO summit, Brussels, July 11, 2018 (Sipa photo via AP Images).

The mood will be somber rather than celebratory when NATO foreign ministers gather Thursday in Washington to commemorate the organization’s 70th birthday. History’s most successful multilateral alliance has had quite a run. A tranquil retirement, however, is not in the cards. NATO’s 29 members confront a daunting agenda. The alliance is grappling with how to deter Russian aggression against its eastern flank; combat Kremlin-inspired and Kremlin-sponsored cyberattacks and political subversion; address the retreat of democracy in several member states; reinforce a still-fragile peace in the Balkans; manage an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan; improve burden-sharing; adapt capabilities in light of technological […]