Moldovan members of parliament vote for a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Maia Sandu’s government, Chisinau, Moldova, Nov. 12, 2019 (AP photo by Roveliu Buga).

In mid-November, a vote of no confidence ousted the government of Moldovan Prime Minister Maia Sandu, who was subsequently replaced by Ion Chicu with the support of the Party of Socialists of the Republic of Moldova, or PSRM. Until her ouster, Sandu’s ACUM bloc had governed in coalition with the Socialists, but their alliance had been a fragile one and its demise surprised few observers. In an email interview, Cristina Gherasimov—a research fellow at the Robert Bosch Center for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia at the German Council on Foreign Relations, and an academy associate in the […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrive at a press conference, Berlin, Nov. 7, 2019 (dpa photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka via AP Images).

When NATO leaders meet next week in London, one phrase will be on everybody’s lips: European strategic autonomy. While the ambiguous concept is open to competing interpretations, its general thrust is clear. It connotes a growing aspiration among many countries in Europe to set their own global priorities and act independently in security and foreign policy, and to possess sufficient material and institutional capabilities to implement these decisions, with partners of their own choosing. The notion is at the heart of President Emmanuel Macron’s vision of a “sovereign” Europe, and of the ambitions of the incoming president of the European […]

A protest against overfishing organized by the World Wildlife Fund, Brussels, Belgium, May 13, 2013 (AP photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert).

Since 2001, member states of the World Trade Organization have held on-and-off negotiations on an agreement to end harmful subsidies to fisheries that are contributing to the depletion of fish stocks around the world. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that in 2015, only two-thirds of the world’s fish stocks were being harvested at sustainable levels, down from 90 percent in 1974. Although the WTO is close to an agreement, it won’t meet a year-end deadline proposed by the U.N. In an email interview with WPR, Daniel Skerritt, a postdoctoral research fellow with the Fisheries Economics Research Unit […]

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a general election campaign stop in Manchester, England, Nov. 15, 2019 (pool photo by Frank Augstein of AP).

Having been thwarted three times in his attempts to call a general election, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson finally succeeded on his fourth try in late October. British voters are now set to elect their third government in four years when they go to the polls on Dec. 12. With Johnson’s Conservative Party enjoying an average poll lead of 12 percent, all signs currently point to a commanding victory for the Tories. Yet as the previous election in 2017 showed, poll numbers in the early weeks of a campaign should be treated with serious skepticism. Two years ago, Johnson’s predecessor, […]

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen delivers her speech at the start of the Paris Peace Forum, in Paris, Nov. 12, 2019 (pool photo by Ludovic Marin of AFP via AP Images).

Last week, I attended the second Paris Peace Forum, of which I am a member of the Steering Committee and the Selection Committee. The brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, the forum was less glitzy this year than the inaugural version in 2018, which coincided with the centennial of Armistice Day and attracted more than 60 heads of state and government. But what this edition lacked in flash, it compensated for in substance. Beyond showcasing dozens of proposals for improving global governance, its opening sessions featured thoughtful speeches on the parlous state of world order from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio […]

Supporters of Spain’s far-right Vox party  attend its closing election campaign event in Madrid, Spain, Nov. 8, 2019 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

It has taken four elections in as many years, but Spain’s politicians are finally coming to grips with coalition politics. Pedro Sanchez, the caretaker prime minister and leader of the center-left Socialist Party, called last Sunday’s election—the second this year—in the hopes of persuading the far-left Podemos party to accept a coalition government on his terms. Instead, with the Socialists losing seats and the far-right Vox party gaining ground, he has been forced to accept Podemos’ terms, including making its leader, Pablo Iglesias, deputy prime minister. The two left-wing parties are still short of a majority in parliament and will […]

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Sept. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The quickly unfolding impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump has already ensnared many other people, while raising more and more questions. From the extent of Trump’s involvement in pressuring Ukraine to investigate his domestic political rivals to the culpability of prominent officials in and outside his administration in that scheme, the public hearings that started this week have set the stage for an impeachment vote that could be among the most pivotal political moments in recent American history. One of the questions swirling around this scandal is what the revelations about Trump will mean for future U.S. policy toward […]

French President Emmanuel Macron during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, Oct. 18, 2019 (AP photo by Frank Augstein).

It is an enduring mystery how French President Emmanuel Macron can simultaneously be such an insightful and articulate political analyst and such a ham-fisted politician. Whatever the explanation, he never fails to deliver on both counts. The most recent example is Macron’s interview with The Economist on what is ailing NATO and the European Union, and how Europe got into its current predicament. If Macron were simply a university professor or international affairs analyst, the interview would be an informative read. Because he is the president of France, it has already created one diplomatic incident with a non-EU government and […]

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a speech at the start of the Paris Peace Forum, Paris, Nov. 12, 2019 (Pool photo by Ludovic Marin via AP images).

This time last year, on the centenary of the armistice that ended World War I, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed 65 heads of state and government, 10 leaders of international organizations, and some 6,000 other participants to the inaugural Paris Peace Forum. The summit had a lofty goal, according to its mission: to generate support for international cooperation and collective action at a time when “countries are turning inward.” The global political context was inauspicious, and it turned out that the timing was too, as the divide between President Donald Trump and America’s European allies was on full display during […]

A man reads a newspaper with the headline “More Difficult,” following the recent elections, Barcelona, Spain, Nov. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

MADRID—Spain returned to the polls Sunday for the fourth time in four years, and just six months since its last election. After giving the center-left Socialist Party, the leftist Podemos party and center-right party Ciudadanos, or Citizens, the opportunity to form a government in April, voters punished them this time around for failing to do so. The Socialists lost three seats in parliament, again falling short of a majority despite winning the most seats. Podemos lost seven seats and Ciudadanos a jaw-dropping 47, the biggest setback yet for the centrist upstarts. While voter turnout was about 5 percent less than […]

A demonstration in front of the Saudi Embassy in Berlin on the anniversary of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Oct. 1, 2019 (Photo by Kay Neitfeld for dpa via AP Images).

In October 2017, an unlikely pair of Saudi expatriates began exchanging messages on WhatsApp. Omar Abdulaziz was a dissident YouTuber in Canada in his 20s, well-known for his satirical videos that mocked the Saudi leadership. Jamal Khashoggi, 30 years older and more of a moderate, was a prominent Saudi journalist who had grown increasingly alarmed by the kingdom’s crackdown on dissent. Having gone into self-imposed exile in Washington in June 2017, Khashoggi used his newfound perch as a Washington Post columnist to criticize the worsening human rights situation under Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s young crown prince and de facto […]

Syrian and Russian flags fly at a checkpoint of a so-called de-escalation zone near Homs, Syria, Sept. 13, 2017 (AP file photo by Nataliya Vasilyeva).

The restive coastal province of Cabo Delgado in northeastern Mozambique doesn’t often make international headlines. Before the surprise discovery in 2011 of what is believed to be one of the world’s largest offshore natural gas reserves, Cabo Delgado was a sleepy little getaway mostly known for its quiet beach towns. That changed late last week when militants from a newly formed branch of the Islamic State reportedly killed seven Russian soldiers believed to be fighting on behalf of the Wagner Group, the shadowy, Kremlin-backed private military contractor. In some ways, the fact that an energy-rich part of East Africa riven […]

Anti-government protesters try to cross the al-Shuhada bridge in central Baghdad, Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019 (AP photo by Hadi Mizban).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein and Frederick Deknatel talk about Iraq’s ongoing protests and what makes them different than those seen in previous years. They also discuss French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to China and why the EU has such a hard time maintaining a united front in dealing with Beijing. 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 […]

Swiss Green Party President and National Councilor Regula Rytz, right, and Green Party Bern Grand Councilor Natalie Imboden react to election results, Bern, Switzerland, Oct. 20, 2019 (Photo by Peter Schneider for Keystone via AP Images).

Switzerland’s Green party outdid already high expectations in the country’s late-October elections, picking up a record number of seats to become the fourth-largest party in the National Council, the lower house of the Swiss parliament. The right-wing, anti-immigrant Swiss People’s Party finished first, but well below its 2015 results, followed by the center-left Social Democrats and the center-right Liberals, both of which also suffered losses compared to 2015. Combined with gains by the Green Liberals, a more centrist environmental party, the elections represented a Green “tsunami,” according Pascal Sciarini, as quoted in The New York Times. In an email interview, […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron review an honor guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, Nov. 6, 2019 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. European leaders reportedly fear that the anticipated “phase one” trade deal between the United States and China could harm the interests of the European Union. “We don’t want Europe to be a collateral victim of a U.S.-China trade deal,” a French government official told Politico, as President Emmanuel Macron traveled to China this week for a two-day visit that included a stop in Shanghai for the China International Import Expo and a state visit to Beijing, where he signed […]

Russian protesters at a rally to support political prisoners, Moscow, Sept. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Dmitri Lovetsky).

MOSCOW—In late September, some 25,000 people gathered in central Moscow to demand the release of political prisoners who were jailed during the wave of demonstrations that rocked the Russian capital this past summer. At their peak, the protests, demanding fair elections, had crackled with urgent energy. But the mood on this cold, rainy Sunday was more reflective, as participants assessed the movement’s accomplishments and laid out future plans. The speakers, who stood on a stage looking out over a street named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, included seasoned veterans like Alexei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition politician, and his political […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a news conference following his meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest, Hungary, Oct. 30, 2019 (Sputnik photo by Valeriy Melnikov via AP Images).

Russia is launching one of the boldest experiments in the recent history of the internet, but perhaps not in the way it thinks. On Nov. 1, a strict new law meant to impose Russia’s own version of China’s “great firewall”—the autocratic gold standard for state control of cyberspace—officially takes effect. While the law’s details are sketchy, it aims to cut off Russia’s connections to the World Wide Web and replace them with its own tightly controlled “domestic internet.” Whether or not the Kremlin knows it, when the history of 21st-century cyberwars are written, this move could be seen in retrospect […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 181 2 Last