Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon speaks at U.N. headquarters in New York, Jan. 27, 2020 (AP photo by Seth Wenig).

Editor’s Note: You can find all of our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here. If you would like to help support our work, please consider taking advantage of our subscription offer here. Six months in, it is tempting to think the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is past. Hard-hit cities are breathing easier and many countries are already in the advanced stages of reopening their societies and economies. But even as a second wave looms, COVID-19’s first wave isn’t done. Globally, the contagion is accelerating as the pandemic’s epicenter shifts. The increase from 8 million to 9 million cases took […]

Closed lanes at the Peace Arch border crossing between the U.S. and Canada,  in Blaine, Wash., May 7, 2020 (AP photo by Elaine Thompson).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Edward Alden is filling in for Kimberly Ann Elliott. Along North America’s 49th parallel, where it meets the Pacific Ocean, a huge white stone arch stands on the border between the United States and Canada. Called the Peace Arch, it was built in 1921 to commemorate the resolution of boundary disputes that dated back to the War of 1812. Inside the arch, there is an iron gate attached to both walls, and an inscription that reads, “May these gates never be closed.” Since March 21, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the […]

A youth waits to enter the San Nicolas Tolentino cemetery in Iztapalapa, Mexico City, April 30, 2020 (AP photo by Marco Ugarte).

While the health impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have been primarily endured by elderly populations, there is increasing recognition that young people will disproportionately absorb the economic and social impacts. One study, conducted in April and released last month by the International Labor Organization, found that the pandemic had caused one in six young people to lose their jobs, as well as a 23 percent average reduction in working hours for those still employed. Within this “lockdown generation,” as the ILO calls them, the situation is especially dire for women, ethnic minorities and migrant workers. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, June 25, 2020 (pool photo by Mikhail Klimentyev via AP Images).

If all goes as planned next week, Vladimir Putin will be on a glide path to serve as Russia’s perpetual president. On July 1, Russia will hold a national referendum on a proposed package of changes to its constitution that many predict will essentially pave the way for Putin to run for office again after his current six-year presidential term expires in 2024. In theory, the proposed changes—which will, among other things, “reset the clock” on the current constitutional limit of two consecutive presidential terms—mean Putin could win two more elections and remain in power until 2036. If he does, […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his speech during the Victory Day military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Nazi defeat, in Moscow, Russia, June 24, 2020 (pool photo by Sergey Pyatakov via AP).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Elliot Waldman and Prachi Vidwans talk about the Russian constitutional referendum that could clear the way for President Vladimir Putin to hold on to power until 2036. They also discuss the nature of Putin’s rule as well as the relative strengths and weakness of both the regime he has consolidated and Russia’s political opposition. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | Spotify Relevant Articles on WPR:Why Putin’s Bid to Become President for Life Is No Sure ThingRussia Is Weathering COVID-19, No Thanks to Putin Can the Young Activists […]

Protesters call for the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes, a Victorian imperialist, in Oxford, England, June 9, 2020 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

In the comfort zones of a bygone world, from prosperous and stable societies in Western Europe to Japan and Australia, the three-plus years of Donald Trump’s presidency have led to a prolonged season of worry. Friends and allies there have watched and wondered anxiously about whether the values they admire most about the United States, even with its many deep flaws, will endure. Washington under Trump has appeared to be heading off solo in uncharted directions, abandoning one by one the bedrock ideas long associated with America, like defending democracy, promoting alliances and building international institutions, as well as more […]

President Donald Trump speaks to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer during an event to sign a new North American trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, at the White House, Washington, Jan. 29, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

For weeks, trade has taken a back seat to Black Lives Matter protests and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, however, trade was back on the front page with stunning charges from John Bolton, the former national security adviser, about an alleged attempt by President Donald Trump to manipulate U.S.-China trade negotiations for his personal political gain. This past week also saw U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer testifying before Congress about the Trump administration’s trade agenda, while both U.S. and European officials threatened an escalation in their dispute over digital services taxes. The overall message from all this was clear: […]

A Russian soldier stands guard near a Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system before a military parade, in central Moscow, May 9, 2020 (Sputnik photo by Evgeny Odinokov via AP).

For the first time ever, the Russian government has publicly released a document laying out the logic and principles underpinning its approach to nuclear deterrence. Formally titled “Fundamentals of Russian State Nuclear Deterrence Policy,” the report was approved by President Vladimir Putin and posted on the government’s official information web portal on June 2. Previous iterations of Russia’s deterrence policy, such as the one associated with the updated military doctrine it unveiled in 2010, were alluded to in public, but never published. Why did Russia decide to publish its deterrence policy now? In part, it could be to dispel alleged […]

European Council President Charles Michel, right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at a media conference following an EU-China summit, in video conference format, in Brussels, June 22, 2020 (pool photo by Yves Herman via AP).

Earlier this month, Germany announced that a landmark summit between the European Union and China, planned for September in Leipzig, would be postponed. It was initially slated to be the first-ever meeting between China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and all 27 of his counterparts from EU member states. Officials had hoped to make progress at the meeting on a key investment treaty, but have now decided to delay it, ostensibly due to travel difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Many analysts aren’t buying that excuse, though. Relations between Europe and China have deteriorated of late in part because of a disinformation […]

Remains of posters of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on a wall in an ethnic Serb-dominated part of Mitrovica, Kosovo, Oct. 6, 2019 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

Voters in Serbia are set to go to the polls this Sunday for parliamentary elections that were originally scheduled for April, before the coronavirus pandemic forced their postponement. President Aleksandar Vucic’s government has generally fared well against the virus so far, recording over 12,500 confirmed cases and 257 deaths as of June 17. It eased lockdown restrictions back in early May, after imposing some of the most draconian containment measures in Europe. But Serbia’s success against COVID-19 belies a long-term political record that is far less impressive. Last month, in its annual “Nations in Transit” report, the democracy watchdog Freedom […]

U.S. President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg prior to a NATO leaders meeting in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, Dec. 4, 2019 (AP photo by Frank Augstein).

President Donald Trump has never been a fan of alliances. He has complained repeatedly in the past that U.S. allies in Europe and East Asia “don’t pay enough for their defense,” and has demanded that Japan and South Korea quadruple the amount of money they pay as a share of the cost of hosting U.S. military bases in their territory. More recently, Trump announced he was pulling 10,000 troops out of Germany, more than a quarter of its military presence in the country. The political scientist Mira Rapp-Hooper has just published a timely new book, “Shields of the Republic: The […]

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses military personnel and their families at Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, South Korea, June 30, 2019 (pool photo by Ed Jones of AFP via AP Images).

The Trump administration is reportedly preparing to pull nearly 10,000 American troops from Germany, more than a quarter of the U.S. military presence in the country. For anyone who’s been paying attention to Donald Trump’s rhetoric since he first ran for president, the news of the withdrawal is very much of a piece with his disdain for America’s overseas alliances. The president and his supporters often rail against close U.S. allies like South Korea, Japan and certain NATO countries for supposedly free-riding on Washington’s largesse. Today’s guest on Trend Lines has a new book out that investigates those claims and […]

Motorists pass an anti-Brexit poster close to the Irish border, near the town of Newry, Northern Ireland, Feb. 1, 2020 (AP photo by Peter Morrison).

DUBLIN—As the world braces for a prolonged economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, the United Kingdom and Ireland may have to face this crisis alongside another, partly self-inflicted one: a no-deal Brexit. The U.K. officially left the European Union in January and is currently in a transition period that is scheduled to end on Dec. 31. During that time, EU rules remain in effect, and London and Brussels are supposed to hammer out the details of their future trading relationship before the end of the year. Yet so far, there has been little progress. “We should be very concerned,” […]

President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He before signing a U.S. China trade agreement, in the East Room of the White House, Washington, Jan. 15, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The global, rules-based trading system that the United States helped to create after World War II is in deep trouble. President Donald Trump had already spent the past three years sparking trade wars and undermining the World Trade Organization. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck, hammering economies and sharply reducing trade flows worldwide. Panicked governments, including in Washington, have imposed export restrictions on critical medical supplies and, in some cases, food. To make things even worse, the White House has blocked the normal process for settling trade disputes, just when it is needed most. Because of the concerns about hosting large […]

A fighter from a militia funded by the United Arab Emirates, stands on the frontline of conflict in Yemen’s Dhale province, Aug. 5, 2019 (AP photo by Nariman El-Mofty). Internationalized civil conflicts increase the chances of war between states.

It is too soon to tell how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect international security. Whether it will provide opportunities for prolonged peace or create conditions for new rivalries and disputes depends on how long the pandemic lasts, how the world moves forward from bungled initial responses and how quickly countries recover from the virus’s societal and economic fallout. But already, the pandemic is exposing and accelerating trends that have made the world more vulnerable to international conflict. That may be surprising, since before the outbreak, most statistics indicated that, on the whole, the world had never been better. People were […]

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, arrives at federal court in Washington, Dec. 18, 2018 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

It may be overshadowed by everything else roiling the United States right now. But the 82-page legal brief filed Wednesday rebuking the Trump administration for its controversial motion to dismiss federal perjury charges against former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn matters immensely for the future of American democracy. John Gleeson, a retired federal judge appointed to evaluate the government’s highly unusual move, argued that Justice Department prosecutors tried to conceal the real reasons for dropping the charges against Flynn last month and that its attempt to wipe Flynn’s record clean was a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power.” There […]

People gather in Trafalgar Square during a Black Lives Matter rally, London, June 12, 2020 (AP photo by Alberto Pezzali).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Freddy Deknatel and Prachi Vidwans talk about the protests against police brutality and systemic racism in the United States and Europe, and the issues and grievances driving them. They also discuss what these movements share in common and what distinguishes them, the central role played by commemorative statues as legacies of historical racism, and the particular challenge the U.S. protests pose for civil-military relations. Listen: Download: MP3 Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | Spotify Relevant Articles on WPR:America’s Struggle for Racial Justice Is a Barrier—and a Bridge—to the WorldAmerica […]

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