In this courtroom sketch, Salah Abdeslam, center, sits between two police officers during his trial, Brussels, Feb. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Petra Urban).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss President Donald Trump’s week at the United Nations, including his speech to the General Assembly and the Security Council session he chaired. For the Report, Cara Tabachnick talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about how Belgium and other European countries are dealing with citizens returning from fighting with ISIS in Syria. 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 […]

President Donald Trump arrives with Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters, Sept. 25, 2018 (AP photo by Craig Ruttle).

U.S. President Donald Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly yesterday for the second time since taking office. Trump opened with what seemed more like a campaign stump speech than a foreign policy address, touting the domestic accomplishments of his administration in such hyperbolic terms that the audience chuckled. He went on to defend his actions in the global arena, with particular emphasis on his controversial decisions to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal and move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The rest of his address revisited similar themes from his U.N. speech […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Sept. 12, 2018 (Pool photo by Valery Sharifulin/TASS News Agency via AP).

Can the U.S. and its main geopolitical rivals bury their differences? World leaders are in New York for the United Nations General Assembly this week. The main question on everyone’s mind is what President Donald Trump will say. Last year, Trump struck a bellicose note during his first U.N. appearance. He effectively promised to rip up the Iranian nuclear deal, a pledge he has since kept, and threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea unless it gave up its own nuclear ambitions. Trump’s speech presaged a rough year in U.N. diplomacy, as the Security Council has since then hobbled from dispute […]

Colorful houses of the coastal town of Ilulissat in western Greenland, June 25, 2016 (Photo by Patrick Pleul for DPA via AP Images).

Last week, Denmark reached an agreement with the government of Greenland, which is an autonomous Danish territory, to fund improvements to airports on the island. The project aroused controversy when a Chinese company expressed interest and was pre-qualified to participate, a concerning development for Danish and American officials. While Denmark’s $559 million deal decreases the chances of Chinese involvement, it came at a steep political price, as it led the pro-independence Naleraq party to break away from Greenland’s ruling coalition, depriving it of its majority in Greenland’s Parliament. In an email interview, Ulrik Pram Gad, a professor of Arctic politics […]

Peacekeepers from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon stand at attention during a ceremony at the mission headquarters, Naqoura, Lebanon, March 19, 2018 (AP Photo by Hassan Ammar).

Is it time to stop panicking about peacekeeping? Discussions of United Nations peace operations are always tinged with a sense of crisis. Blue-helmet operations have been through a rough patch in recent years, struggling to stay on top of crises from the Central African Republic and South Sudan to the Golan Heights. As I noted last week, many experts fear that U.N. forces in trouble spots like Mali have stumbled into counterterrorist and stabilization missions that they cannot sustain. This is just one aspect of a broader malaise. The U.N. has endured a long series of revelations about indiscipline, corruption […]

A currency exchange shop in Istanbul, Turkey, Aug. 14, 2018 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

Governments in emerging markets should be forgiven if they are dealing with a case of crisis fatigue. For 10 years now, they have lurched from one financial mess to another, triggered largely by external events and decisions outside of their control. Things are once again getting messy as global investors have soured on Argentina, Turkey and Indonesia, among other emerging market economies, causing their currencies to crash. As troubles have developed in one country after another late this summer, some observers have been careful to point out that the causes of the individual economic crises are very different. Don’t jump […]

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif addresses a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, Sept. 26, 2017 (AP photo by B.K. Bangash).

Evidence of ethics violations by President Donald Trump and his inner circle continues to accumulate, with a rash of plea deals, indictments and guilty verdicts broadsiding the White House in recent weeks. But while Americans grapple with what some observers have called the most corrupt presidential administration in U.S. history, a remarkable wave of anti-corruption activism has swept the rest of the globe. In the past three years alone, corruption scandals have led to the ousting of prime ministers in Pakistan and Malaysia, impeachments of presidents in Brazil and South Korea, and resignations of presidents or prime ministers in Guatemala, […]

A member of the German armed forces wears a helmet that features the United Nations logo at Camp Castor in Gao, Mali, April 5, 2016 (Photo by Michael Kappeler for DPA via AP Images).

Seventeen years after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, the “war on terror” is still stumbling along. From the Sahel to the Philippines, governments and international coalitions continue to battle jihadi groups. In an era of mounting international competition, political leaders, generals and spies continue to agree that transnational terrorism is a common threat. Global organizations like the United Nations cannot insulate themselves from this tendency. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has made consolidating the institution’s counterterrorist activities a priority. Last week, World Politics Review ran a trenchant piece by Larry Attree and Jordan Street of Saferworld, warning that […]

Senegalese Gen. Amadou Kane, deputy force commander of the U.N. mission in Mali, sits for an interview, Bamako, Mali, June 23, 2018 (Photo by Sean Kilpatrick for Canadian Press via AP Images).

From Bosnia to Rwanda, United Nations peacekeepers have always faced tough choices that come with operating in complex, dangerous environments. Today, the climate is no less challenging. Record fatalities and injuries for U.N. personnel have increased pressure from some quarters to embolden U.N. peacekeeping and political missions with stronger, more aggressive mandates. But recent decisions made by the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, such as a mandate to support a regional, non-U.N. counterterrorism unit in Mali, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, risk plunging blue helmets into the quicksand of unwinnable wars. This short-term thinking poses considerable long-term risks […]

Tourists stand under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Aug. 2, 2018 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

PARIS—What does the world look like when you’re not watching it? Every year at the end of August, I have the chance to answer that question when, for two weeks, I unplug and check out of the online media sphere. Often, with the help of my archaic non-smart phone, I’ve been able to remain entirely out of reach of the internet and email. This year, I limited my “staycation” news consumption to a morning glance at The New York Times homepage. By some odd fluke, my August media fast has often meant learning about major news events the old-fashioned way: […]