A paramilitary policeman wears a face mask as he stands guard near the large portrait of Chinese leader Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Jan. 27, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

The Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in China, where more than 6,000 cases have now been confirmed and more than 100 people have died from the disease. Dozens of cases have also been reported in other parts of the world, including other Asian countries as well as Europe and North America. Chinese authorities have moved swiftly to contain the outbreak, placing travel restrictions on more than 48 million people in over a dozen cities, including the central metropolis of Wuhan. The director-general of the World Health Organization says he is confident that China is taking appropriate response measures, and […]

World Economic Forum founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab listens as President Donald Trump delivers opening remarks at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 21, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein and Freddy Deknatel talk about the recent evolution of the World Economic Forum, which was held this week in Davos, Switzerland. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the elite crowd at Davos has tried to critically engage with the negative consequences of globalization, particularly the brand of globalization it has championed. That reflects the degree to which income and wealth inequality, the climate crisis and the downsides of new technologies have become central topics in political debates around the world. But how much of the newfound social […]

17-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivers a speech after a climate protest in Lausanne, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2020 (Keystone photo by Gabriel Monnet via AP Images).

Once again, Greta Thunberg has addressed a high-profile international event, excoriating the world’s leaders and global elites for their inaction in the face of the climate crisis. Once again, the responses to her speech ranged from hero-worship to character assassination. Whether at the United Nations General Assembly in September or the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday, the cycle has become a familiar one by now. Greta speaks. Greta is lauded and attacked. Wash, rinse, repeat. The sense of déjà-vu all over again is reinforced by the fact that neither Thunberg nor her admirers and critics ever stray far from […]

A man works in a metal workshop in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, Jan. 17, 2020 (FeatureChina photo by Long Wei via AP Images).

Trade disruptions and sluggish investment helped drive global economic growth last year to its lowest level since the Great Recession. Even with the recent cease-fire in the U.S.-China trade war, the World Bank expects only a modest uptick in growth globally in 2020—if trade tensions don’t flare back up and spook investors again. These are among the key conclusions of the Bank’s latest Global Economic Prospects report. Among the reasons for pessimism is that the “phase one” deal signed last week between the U.S. and China will not remove the tariffs on most U.S. imports from China. Meanwhile, continued weakness […]

Workers disinfect a passing vehicle after the latest incident of African swine flu outbreak on the outskirts of Beijing, China, Nov. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Imagine this scenario: A viral disease emerges and spreads rapidly across borders. It has a nearly 100-percent fatality rate, with symptoms that include high fever, blotchy skin lesions, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting and hemorrhaging. There is no treatment or preventative vaccine for the disease, so it results in widespread loss of life and a staggering economic toll. The international system struggles to come together to stop it from spreading even further. This might sound like any of a number of infectious diseases among humans, including SARS, Ebola and H5N1 influenza, also known as bird flu. But it actually describes African swine […]

The retiring 28th president of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, rides with his successor, Warren G. Harding, to the latter’s inauguration, in Washington, March 4, 1921 (AP photo).

Given the magnitude of the shared global challenges humanity confronts today, from climate change to nuclear proliferation, the world desperately needs a quiet phase of international comity, enlightened leadership and steady cooperation. Alas, the Boring ‘20s are not on the cards. The new decade seems poised to be as volatile and divisive as the Roaring ‘20s a century ago. Indeed, the historical parallels are dramatic and disturbing. Now, as then, the forces of chaos and division include populist nationalism, authoritarian politics, nativist intolerance, political extremism, technological disruption, economic inequality, geopolitical competition and American solipsism. In the 1920s, the leading world […]

President Donald Trump takes the stage at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Florida, Dec. 21, 2019 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

The most serious problems facing the world have been making headlines for years or even decades now, from climate change to nuclear proliferation. They defy easy solutions, and like it or not, they’ll still be hanging around in 2020. Will this finally be the year that things start to turn around? Or will the world just keep kicking the apocalypse can down the road? And what about other issues that have been pushed to the forefront as a result of Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency, like trade wars that threaten the global economy? For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, WPR’s […]