French President Emmanuel Macron’s trip to West Africa this week was billed by Paris as his latest effort to reshape France’s relations with its former colonies in Africa. But the visit’s short-term fanfare is unlikely to blunt deepening opposition to France or slow down its declining influence in the region.
European Union officials are putting on a brave face as the bloc approves a plan to ration natural gas this winter to avoid an energy crisis should Russia make additional cuts to its exports. But the discussions leading up to the plan’s approval revealed cracks in their public display of solidarity.
Farmers’ protests over the Dutch government’s plan to cut ammonia pollution highlight the political challenges of bringing farming practices in line with environmental objectives. But the problems the new policy is meant to address also serve as a warning to food producers everywhere: Factory farming is a dead end.
In recent years, several European states have sought to project their precious naval assets in the Indo-Pacific region in ways that reflect widely accepted fashions in strategic thinking. But the underlying logic of this thinking now needs to be viewed more critically after the return of interstate war on European soil.
Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in Istanbul for what he described as “probably the most important” event of his tenure at the U.N. to date. He visited Turkey for the signing of agreements by Russia and Ukraine that are meant to allow agricultural shipments to resume from Black Sea ports, helping to alleviate a growing global food crisis. While Turkish officials played a major part in these talks, Guterres has been personally involved in the negotiations “every day” since April. This initiative may come to be considered a turning point in his career as the U.N.’s top official. […]
The news of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s resignation is causing despondence in Brussels. The announcement will throw Italy into months of political turmoil and risks ushering in a new far-right government in the next general election, which is scheduled for this fall. Draghi’s resignation caps off a week of drama in Rome that kicked off when the Five Star Movement, or 5SM—the largest party in Italy’s parliament and the bedrock of the prime minister’s unity coalition—announced that it would not take part in a confidence motion last week, effectively torpedoing Draghi’s government. Draghi initially offered to resign the premiership […]
Three days after U.S. President Joe Biden returned to Washington from a controversial visit to Saudi Arabia, Russian President Vladimir Putin landed in Tehran with a complex set of goals of his own. Much like Biden, who aimed to strengthen Washington’s ties in the region, Putin sought to bolster Russia’s relations in the Middle East. The meeting in Iran showcased the awkward relationship between these two dictatorial regimes and their oil-rich nations, both of which have been subjected to Western economic sanctions. By embracing one another, Putin and Iran’s supreme leader aimed to show that they are not pariahs.
Just days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as Europe still reeled in shock, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz declared that it was time for what he called a Zeitenwende, or sea change, in how the country approaches national and collective defense. Announcing huge increases in Germany’s defense budget, Scholz’s speech to the Bundestag—the German Parliament—on Feb. 27 represented an epochal shift in Germany’s strategic priorities. But it also reflected a wider reassessment across the European Union over how to respond to military threats facing Europe’s neighborhood. The dilemmas that rapid rearmament has raised for Germany are vast. Having been worn down through […]
In the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many military analysts found that their prewar predictions about the Russian military’s performance were wildly off the mark. Even if many had expressed doubts about Russia’s ability to sustainably achieve its strategic objectives in Ukraine, most experts shared the widespread expectation that the superior firepower and mobility of Russian forces’ combined arms operations would quickly overwhelm the Ukrainian military. In the months since then, endless post-mortems have dissected the particular Russian blunders and Ukrainian successes that determined the course of the war’s first weeks, and why military analysts were unable to […]
In May of this year, Costa Rica’s newly elected President Rodrigo Chaves declared, “We are at war.” It was significant considering that Costa Rica is one of the few countries in the world that does not have a military. Also atypical is Costa Rica’s opponent in this war: a nonstate hacking organization based in Russia. The organization, Conti ransomware, had taken significant portions of the Costa Rican government’s computer systems offline, threatening the economy and state operations. While the attack likely took months of preparation and planning, it wasn’t revealed until early 2022, when the Conti ransomware group announced that it had […]
After nearly two years of intermittent border skirmishes and protracted diplomatic talks, Armenia and Azerbaijan are edging closer to reaching a definitive peace agreement to their decades-long dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Significant hurdles still exist, but the Armenian perspective on Nagorno-Karabakh since the end of the 2020 war over the breakaway Azerbaijani province has undergone significant changes, reflecting the altered geopolitical balance of power in the region. The first concrete evidence of the progress in peace negotiations came in March 2022, when Azerbaijan presented a framework for normalizing bilateral relations. This includes establishing diplomatic relations, opening transport routes, mutually […]
As Boris Johnson announced his resignation as leader of the Conservative Party and departure as British prime minister on a warm Thursday afternoon last week, the frantic world of British politics was already speculating about who his successor might be. Now, with former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and State Minister for Trade Penny Mordaunt looking like the most viable candidates to lead the Tories, a vicious leadership battle has gained momentum. Yet for all this sound and fury, there has been little concrete disagreement on policy among these contenders. At most, the tensions within the Tory […]
This spring, Malta was crowned the top European country for LGBTQ rights and freedoms by the annual ILGA-Europe’s Rainbow Index for the seventh year in a row. The Mediterranean island country didn’t just win the top spot. It dominated the rankings, with a score of 92 percent—nearly 20 points above its nearest competitor, Denmark. This recognition did not come to Malta via a high-priced PR campaign or effort to “brand” Malta as the LGBTQ dream destination. Rather, it is the result of good policymaking that ensures rights for LGBTQ people on the three islands that make up the country. However, given that […]
Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, headlines spread claiming that a new iron curtain had fallen across Europe. Russia’s economic and political isolation, they claimed, had come hand-in-hand with digital isolation. As the United States and its allies introduced technological sanctions against Russia, numerous Western tech companies also stopped doing business there, making their products and services unavailable to Russians. At the same time, the Russian state had moved quickly to block any websites that offered information about the war, especially those that criticized the Kremlin’s actions. It is well-known that Russian President Vladimir Putin sees an open and […]
In what were hailed as the “two most productive summits in years,” the Group of 7 and NATO held their annual leaders’ meetings last week in Germany and Spain, respectively. The G-7 summit concluded with the leaders emphasizing and enhancing their support for Ukraine in its war against Russia, agreeing on measures to combat climate change and announcing a Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, seen as a direct counter to China’s development program, the Belt and Road Initiative. As for the NATO summit, it witnessed the entry into the alliance of two new members, Finland and Sweden, as well […]
After having survived months of seemingly unending controversies and scandals, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today that he is stepping down as the leader of the ruling Conservative Party. Until just days ago, Johnson appeared to be untouchable. But a sex scandal in which he was not personally involved led to new revelations of his having lied about what he knew and when, becoming the straw that broke the camel’s back. The big question for the Tories now is, Who will succeed Johnson as party leader and prime minister? Before Johnson’s resignation, the U.K. spent the better part of […]
In the days before Ukraine’s European Union candidate status was confirmed on June 23, a satirical clip from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s previous career as a comic actor began to circulate on social media. In a scene from the television series “Servant of the People”—in which Zelenskyy played a schoolteacher who accidentally becomes Ukrainian president, not long before Zelenskyy himself became president in real life—he takes a call from then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel. After initially congratulating Zelenskyy’s character for Ukraine’s accession to the EU, Merkel—who remains an off-screen voice heard only through the phone—suddenly apologizes, realizing she’s made an error: […]