Czech President Milos Zeman, right, and Lubomir Zaoralek, a former foreign minister who was appointed as the new culture minister at Prague Castle, Czech Republic, Aug. 27, 2019 (Photo by Roman Vondrous for CTK via AP Images).

PRAGUE—A long political drama ended in the Czech Republic this week with the government narrowly averting collapse, but only by surrendering to what amounts to a presidential coup. When President Milos Zeman formally appointed Lubomir Zaoralek as culture minister on Aug. 27, it brought an end to more than 100 days of crisis. Zaoralek, a former foreign minister, was parachuted in after Zeman refused to confirm the previous nominee put forward by the left-leaning Social Democrats, the junior partner in the coalition government led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his populist Ano party. Since this standoff over the Cabinet […]

Migrant minors allowed to disembark the Open Arms rescue vessel wait to be taken to the Sicilian port of Porto Empedocle from Lampedusa, southern Italy, Aug. 19, 2019 (AP photo by Salvatore Cavalli).

Migration barely came up at the recent G-7 summit in France—a far cry from just two years ago, when Italy hosted the G-7 in Sicily, which has seen an influx of migrants and asylum-seekers given its proximity to North Africa. The most prominent mention of migration in Biarritz took place on the sidelines of the summit, when President Donald Trump’s adviser, Stephen Miller—the architect of the administration’s restrictionist immigration policies—defended Trump’s efforts to make migrating to the United States even more onerous than it already is. Yet even if migration has fallen off the front pages, each member of the […]

President Donald Trump holds up a chart documenting land lost by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as he delivers remarks in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Frederick Deknatel and Laura Weiss talk about a recent Pentagon report documenting the Islamic State’s resurgence in Iraq and Syria. They also discuss a controversial abortion case in El Salvador, and prospects for the G-7 summit in France. 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 more complimentary articles in […]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy talks with servicemen as he visits the war-hit Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, May 27, 2019 (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office photo via AP Images).

Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is on a roll. In April, he trounced incumbent Petro Poroshenko at the polls. Last month, Zelensky’s Servant of the People party won a majority mandate in a snap parliamentary election, so it can press ahead with much-needed reforms. But a bigger challenge looms: finding a path to negotiate an end to the war in eastern Ukraine. Zelensky’s winning streak could be tested when he meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in September. He is seeking more leverage over Russia in an attempt to resolve the conflict that has raged in eastern Ukraine since Russia […]

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, at a rally in Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic, April 25, 2019 (CTK photo by Michal Kamaryt via AP Images).

AMSTERDAM—It wasn’t long ago that the far right was surging in the Netherlands. Anti-immigrant politicians were dominating the political debate and energizing their followers with an intensity that traditional mainstream politicians appeared incapable of matching. The Dutch seemed on track to move away from their near-legendary penchant for compromise, ready to trade it in for the kind of resurgent nationalism seen in other parts of Europe and across the Atlantic. But then something unexpected happened. The energy suddenly drained out of this far-right populist movement. The Dutch far right has had at least two high points in recent years. In […]

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives for the eurozone summit in Brussels,  June 20, 2019 (AP photo by Olivier Matthys).

It is a question that has lingered since the European debt crisis: Can the European Union and eurozone shore up their institutional crisis-response capabilities without another political or economic emergency to provide the impetus? If June’s eurozone summit in Brussels was any indication, the answer remains no. At the meeting, the eurozone leaders agreed to establish the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness, or BICC, a mechanism that ostensibly allows the eurozone to redistribute funds among member states. But compared to the lofty ambitions of French President Emmanuel Macron and others who have long advocated for a centralized eurozone budget, […]

Demonstrators with Russian and various political party flags stand in front of a police line during a protest in Moscow, July 20, 2019 (AP photo by Pavel Golovkin).

Every weekend for the past month, throngs of protesters have gathered in central Moscow to demand that the government allow opposition candidates to stand in elections for the city council that will be held on Sept. 8. Authorities have responded by arresting thousands of demonstrators, some of whom face jail sentences of up to eight years. In an email interview with WPR, Anna Arutunyan, senior analyst for Russia at International Crisis Group, explains what it will take for the recent protests in Moscow to evolve into a broader challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s legitimacy. World Politics Review: What are the […]

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with French President Emmanuel Macron during the G-7 summit, in Charlevoix, Canada, June 8, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

This weekend, leaders from the G-7 will convene for their annual summit, this time in Biarritz, France. French President Emmanuel Macron, who is spearheading France’s G-7 presidency this year, bills the meeting as a chance to relaunch multilateralism, promote democracy and tame globalization to ensure it works for everyone. More likely, the gathering will expose the political, economic and ideological fault lines threatening Western solidarity and international cooperation. What a difference five years makes. Back in 2014, the G-7 gained a new and unexpected lease on life after Russia seized Crimea and earned itself an ejection from what was then […]

Denmark’s prime minister, Mette Fredericksen, at a press briefing in Berlin, Germany, July 11, 2019 (Photo by Annegret Hilse for dpa via AP Images).

Denmark became the third Nordic country to form a center-left government this year after the Social Democratic Party won elections in June. The Social Democrats’ leader, Mette Fredericksen, became the country’s youngest prime minister at the age of 41, forming a one-party minority government with the support of three other left-leaning parties. Social democratic parties have also prevailed in elections in Sweden and Finland this year, seemingly bucking a continent-wide populist trend. But in Denmark, the Social Democratic Party won largely due to its sharp rightward turn on immigration, which allowed it to siphon off votes from the right-wing Danish […]

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, speaks at a seminar on the sidelines of the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in Fukuoka, Japan, June 8, 2019 (pool photo by Kiyoshi Ota via AP Images).

Christine Lagarde took over the top spot at the International Monetary Fund eight years ago in the midst of two crises. The first was an internal crisis of leadership: Her predecessor, Dominique Strauss-Khan, had just been forced to step down amid sexual assault allegations, only four years into his tenure. The second crisis was external: Europe’s economy was reeling after an initial bailout of Greece hadn’t resolved its debt crisis and political tensions between Athens and Brussels threatened to upend any future deal. Now, Lagarde is leaving the fund to become the likely next chair of the European Central Bank. […]

Chinese police officers walk by a U.S. flag on an embassy car outside a hotel in Shanghai, July 30, 2019 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Frederick Deknatel and Laura Weiss talk about President Donald Trump’s decision to postpone a new round of tariffs on China, and what it says about his subordination of U.S. foreign policy to the needs of his reelection campaign. They also discussed the challenges facing newly elected Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s faltering attempt to force new elections in Italy. 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 […]

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press conference at the State Department in Washington, Aug. 7, 2019 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

Newly installed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is eager to negotiate a trade deal with the United States. But should he be? And what price is he willing to pay? Other countries—China, Japan and the U.K.’s neighbors in the European Union—are all negotiating with the U.S. under duress. They seem to be doing their best to stall things for as long as possible in the hope that President Donald Trump won’t be reelected next year. By contrast, British International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab came to Washington last week to push for trade negotiations to start […]

Border communities protest Brexit on the northern side of the Irish border between Newry and Dundalk, March 30, 2019 (Photo by Niall Carson for Press Association via AP Images).

NEWRY, Northern Ireland—One of the main attractions at the local museum in Newry, a bustling market town some 40 miles south of Belfast, is an old wooden sign. Painted on a chalky white background, its tall red letters proclaim in Irish, then in English: “Custaim: Stad, Customs: Stop.” For decades, this sign stood on the road between Newry, in Northern Ireland, and Dundalk, in the Republic of Ireland, demarking the twisting, 500-kilometer border between the two countries. The sign was taken down when Ireland and the United Kingdom joined the European Union’s single market in 1993. By the time the […]

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Neil Bhatiya is filling in for Stewart Patrick this week.After a long delay, the Trump administration finally took the first steps in a legally mandated effort to punish Russia for its use of chemical weapons in the 2018 poisoning of Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy living in the United Kingdom. On Aug. 1, the administration issued an executive order outlining the nature of sanctions it could impose on Russia, focused on restrictions on lending to Russian government or government-affiliated entities. Because Moscow continues to deny its role in the attack and has taken no steps […]

A man trains with an air gun on a shooting range in Buren an der Aare, near Bern, Switzerland, Feb. 8, 2011 (AP photo by Frank Jordans).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on gun policy and the debate over gun control around the world. Though the changes to Swiss gun laws passed easily, implementation is likely to prove a bit more difficult. Switzerland has historically been known as a gun-friendly country due to a tradition of military conscription and the popularity of hunting and other shooting sports. But in May, voters agreed to tighten Swiss gun laws to bring them in line with new European Union antiterrorism legislation that was passed in 2017. Switzerland is not part of the 28-nation bloc, but […]