Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa applaud after the signing of agreements between the two countries, in Queluz, Portugal, Dec. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Armando Franca).

Jutting into the Atlantic Ocean 65 miles south of Lisbon, Portugal’s Sines peninsula has long been recognized by foreign powers for its geostrategic importance. The Romans, Visigoths and Moors all established settlements alongside the natural deepwater port. Today, however, plans to redevelop the port have become the latest source of friction between the U.S. and China, suggesting that Portugal’s diplomatic strategy of courting both rivals is running out of runway. Sines is the closest port in mainland Europe to America’s eastern shale basins. U.S. firms want to expand the port’s liquid natural gas terminal in order to increase gas exports […]

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire attends a press conference in Paris, June 10, 2020 (AFP Pool photo by Ludovic Marin via AP).

President-elect Joe Biden is about to inherit a trade dispute that gives him an early chance to show whether he is prepared to break not just with Donald Trump, but with the corporate-friendly trade policies championed by his Democratic predecessors. The outgoing administration is set to impose new tariffs over France’s recent decision to tax the revenue of U.S. digital giants like Facebook, Apple and Google, charging that the move discriminates against U.S. companies. For Trump, the fight is a simple matter of protecting the profits of rich American companies against what he sees as a European cash grab. Barack […]

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, right, with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, center, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left, in Beijing, May 1, 2019 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Once relatively staid, the global economic and trade system has been anything but since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. Though it’s been overshadowed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S.-China trade war has not been definitively resolved. In January, the two countries hit the pause button on the on again, off again dispute, which began in 2018 when Trump launched a series of tit-for-tat tariff hikes over China’s unfair trade practices, including forced technology transfers and the theft of intellectual property. After several rounds of talks stalled over the course of the following 18 months, the two […]

Armenian self-propelled artillery units during the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Nov. 18, 2020 (AP photo by Sergei Grits).

Last week’s Russia-brokered agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended 44 days of bloody clashes over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh—the first interstate war fought by conventional forces in recent years. The deal calls for Armenia to give up large swathes of territory in and around the breakaway region, which lies within Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized borders, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called the deal “incredibly painful.” The ostensible Azerbaijani victory, gained at substantial cost in men and materiel, has triggered intensive interest among military analysts about the conflict’s lessons for future warfighting. In particular, the wearing down of Armenian air […]

An election poster showing Lithuania’s incoming prime minister, Ingrida Simonyte, in Vilnius, Lithuania, Oct. 9, 2020 (AP photo by Mindaugas Kulbis).

Lithuania’s prime minister-designate, Ingrida Simonyte, announced her Cabinet lineup this week, selecting women for about half of the ministerial posts. Simonyte led the country’s main center-right opposition party, the Homeland Union—Lithuanian Christian Democrats, to victory in general elections late last month, taking 50 of the 141 seats in the Seimas, the country’s legislature. She will form a coalition government with two other right-leaning parties, the Liberal Movement and the Freedom Party, both of which are also led by women. According to Gediminas Vitkus, a professor of international relations at Vilnius University in Lithuania, one factor in the Homeland Union’s victory […]

Russian peacekeepers patrol an area in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Nov. 14, 2020 (AP photo by Dmitry Lovetsky).

Armenia and Azerbaijan signed an agreement last week to end six weeks of bloody fighting over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. The Russia-brokered deal requires Armenia to give up much of the territory it controlled prior to the recent hostilities, and calls for Moscow to maintain a peacekeeping force of just under 2,000 soldiers. The agreement was widely seen as a win for Russia, which has regained substantial influence in the South Caucasus region, and for Turkey, whose military support for Azerbaijan was critical to the gains it made on the battlefield. Western powers were largely left out in the […]

Russian peacekeepers’ military vehicles at a check point in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Nov. 17, 2020 (AP photo by Sergei Grits).

In late September, the frozen conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh rapidly heated up. The six weeks of full-scale war that followed left thousands dead and tens of thousands more displaced. Unlike previous rounds of fighting that resulted in little exchange of territory, however, Azerbaijan’s well-armed and well-prepared military was able to make substantial gains on the battlefield, with significant support from neighboring Turkey. Just as Azerbaijani forces looked poised to advance deep into Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia brokered a deal between the two sides to bring the fighting to an end last week, under terms that […]

U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron meet in Caen, France, June 6, 2019 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

PARIS—Few in France will miss Donald Trump. According to a survey released by the Pew Research Center in January, only 20 percent of the French population have confidence in the U.S. president, compared to 32 percent in the U.K. and 13 percent in Germany. And French President Emmanuel Macron’s high-profile efforts to cultivate his American counterpart on a range of policy issues resulted in some memorable encounters, but also, more often than not, in bitter disappointment. It may come as a surprise, then, that the French government’s enthusiasm regarding the prospects of working with the incoming Democratic administration of President-elect […]

French Prime Minister Jean Castex and Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer attend a memorial service for slain teacher Samuel Paty at a school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, near Paris, Nov. 2, 2020 (Pool photo by Thomas Coex via AP).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. When Rachid Zerrouki, a teacher in Marseille, headed back to his classroom last Monday, he braced himself for the worst. He hadn’t seen his students since the brutal killing of Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old middle school teacher in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, who was beheaded by a young Chechen refugee days after he showed his class cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a lesson about freedom of expression. With school back […]

President Donald Trump participates in a signing ceremony with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, seated left, and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, seated right, at the White House, Washington, Sept. 4, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The recent U.S.-brokered agreements between Serbia and Kosovo to normalize their economic ties have been portrayed by all three governments as a momentous diplomatic achievement. “By focusing on job creation and economic growth, the two countries were able to reach a major breakthrough,” President Donald Trump said at a White House signing ceremony in September, standing alongside Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti. Both leaders committed to moving forward on direct transportation links and other infrastructure projects, with the hope of boosting economic development, particularly in Kosovo, one of the poorest countries in Europe. The announcement […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses ruling party lawmakers at the parliament, in Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 28, 2020 (AP photo).

As a terrorist attack was unfolding late Monday night in Vienna, where four people were killed and 22 others injured in a shooting rampage on crowded bars, speculation about the culprit, unsurprisingly, was rife on social media. Many of those offering theories were quick to accuse Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of stoking the rage of militant Islamists. There is no indication that the attacker—a young extremist who it turned out had previously been convicted in Austria for trying to join the Islamic State—was motivated by Erdogan, as Austrian authorities have pointed to his ISIS sympathies and the Islamic State’s […]

An employee inspects the front end of a General Motors Chevrolet Cruze at Jamestown Industries in Youngstown, Ohio, Nov. 28, 2018 (AP photo by Tony Dejak).

Today is Election Day in the United States, when Americans will render their verdict on the presidency of Donald Trump. When Ronald Reagan was running for president in 1980, he famously asked voters to consider whether they were better off than they had been four years earlier, when his opponent, Jimmy Carter, took office. It appears from polls that many Americans will base their vote on Trump’s disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic. But changes to trade policy were a central part of Trump’s campaign to “make America great again,” so it’s fair to ask what Trump has delivered. Last […]

A nurse prepares to enter the sub-intensive care unit of the San Filippo Neri hospital in Rome, Italy, Oct. 29, 2020 (AP photo by Alessandra Tarantino).

The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone much better versed in basic epidemiological modeling than they were eight months ago. We have all familiarized ourselves with exhaustive data collection and the analysis of epidemic curves based on prior crises, the reproduction rates of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the daily influx of new cases. Yet, even for professional epidemiologists, the question of when this pandemic will end has no simple answer. Certainty is a luxury rarely afforded to scientists, and this is particularly true in the world of public health. However, we do know that pandemics do not attack indiscriminately. While we […]