World Politics Review is looking for a freelance writer to contribute the lead story to our weekly China newsletter, China Note. In 600-750 words, the lead story usually highlights a major news development from China, but can also look at other aspects of Chinese politics and society that may not be covered as widely in Western media. In recent weeks, China Note has focused on China’s ongoing military build-up; Chinese censorship on Zoom; the Indian border standoff; and the U.S.-China “tech war.” China Note is published every Wednesday. Its full archive is here. The ideal candidate is a journalist or […]

A nearly empty beach in the usually crowded resort town of Ayia Napa, Cyprus, July 20, 2020 (AP photo by Petros Karadjias).

Earlier this year, as the effects of a deadly new virus rippled across the world, international travel was thrown into a frenzy. Images of frantic business travelers, passengers on cruise ships and study abroad students all scrambling to return home filled the news. But these were soon followed by images of quite a different nature: silent streets in Barcelona, deserted piazzas in Rome, empty beaches in Greece and Thailand, vacant airport terminals in Boston and Singapore. Eventually, international travel ground to a halt. Reservations for hotels, resorts and Airbnb stays evaporated. International flights were canceled, borders were closed, and museums, […]

Icebergs float in a fjord after calving off from glaciers on the Greenland ice sheet in southeastern Greenland, Aug. 3, 2017 (AP file photo by David Goldman).

The global environmental crisis, encompassing runaway climate change, collapsing biodiversity and the slow death of the world’s oceans, has exposed the limitations of traditional political realism as a guide to statecraft in the 21st century. The time has come for the nations of the world to embrace a new approach to world politics that treats the preservation of the biosphere as a core national interest and a central objective of national security policy. Call this new mindset ecological realism. Political realism, which has long dominated the teaching and practice of foreign policy, including in the United States, is a venerable […]

A Rohingya Muslim refugee at a camp in Bangladesh shows a mobile video of a massacre in the village of Gu Dar Pyin in Myanmar, Jan. 14, 2018 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

As Americans have risen up in protest against police brutality, attention has understandably focused on the racist incidents of police killing Black Americans and their implications. How these outrages have come to light, however, remains underappreciated. They might never have been exposed without new technologies like smart phones and social media, whose use for accountability is transforming human rights. Until recently, documenting human rights abuses was a time-consuming and often imprecise activity. As a law student in the early 1990s, I worked on a United Nations project, led by the international legal scholar M. Cherif Bassiouni, to document war crimes […]

A lab technician puts labels on test tubes during research on COVID-19 at Janssen Pharmaceutical, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, in Beerse, Belgium, June 17, 2020 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a great deal of scientific research into developing a vaccine for COVID-19. The process is moving much faster than normal, with more than 155 vaccine candidates currently being developed, 23 of which are already in human trials. Vaccines can take years or even decades to develop and distribute, but the Trump administration is pushing to have one ready by early next year. Developing a vaccine is one thing, but making it available to people is another issue altogether—one that involves thorny questions of ethics, intellectual property rights, global trade and recouping research costs. This is […]

A Kashmiri man waits for customers behind a half-closed shutter during a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus, in Srinagar, Kashmir, May 16, 2020 (AP photo by Mukhtar Khan).

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown a harsh light on the long-standing structural weaknesses of global labor markets and of the protections available for workers. The estimated 2 billion people worldwide toiling away in the informal sector—in jobs that are not backed by contracts or institutions, and that are not monitored or taxed by governments—are the new economically vulnerable. Across the globe, in developing and developed economies alike, these often-overlooked workers are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 and its accompanying economic depression, and will continue to even when economies start to recover. Because many of these employees work off the books […]

A sign directs people to a COVID-19 testing center in Port St. Lucie, Florida, June 5, 2020 (AP photo by NewsBase).

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo formally notified the United Nations last week that the United States would withdraw from the World Health Organization. This imprudent step, taken in the midst of a rapidly accelerating pandemic, weakens global health at the precise moment it needs to be bolstered. It will endanger lives around the world while further shredding America’s tattered reputation as an enlightened global leader. Rather than abandoning the WHO and scapegoating it for its own failures, the United States ought to be reinforcing the U.N. agency’s central role in global health governance. That won’t happen while Donald Trump remains […]

Voters wait in line to cast their ballots in the Kentucky primary election, Lexington, Ky., June 23, 2020 (AP photo by Timothy D. Easley).

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, “Our knowledge of what we’re able to do as [election] observers is evolving as our knowledge of the virus evolves,” says David Carroll, director of the Democracy Program at the Carter Center. Carroll, who has participated in dozens of independent election observation missions around the world, joined WPR’s Elliot Waldman on the Trend Lines podcast this week to talk about how democracies are adjusting to COVID-19 in the way they administer elections, and how the pandemic is changing the facts on the ground for observers. Listen to the full conversation here: And if you like what […]

A man casts his vote for the parliamentary election at a polling station in Seoul, South Korea, April 15, 2020 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

The coronavirus pandemic has created a vexing challenge for democratic societies: How to safely hold free and fair elections. Some countries that saw early success in containing the spread of COVID-19, like South Korea, have been able to hold national elections safely, while a slew of others have been forced to postpone their votes. The pandemic has also changed the facts on the ground for independent election observers. For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, WPR’s Elliot Waldman is joined by David Carroll, director of the Democracy Program at the Carter Center. He has participated in dozens of observation missions […]

An Uber Eats cyclist during the coronavirus pandemic shutdown in Glasgow, Scotland, March 28, 2020 (Photo by Andrew Milligan for Press Association via AP Images).

In that foreign country that was our world before the pandemic, the so-called “sharing economy” was in full bloom. Uber and its ride-sharing competitors dominated point-to-point ground transportation. Airbnb was beating the world’s largest hotel brands in rooms rented and consumer spending. New startups were applying digital matching services to facilitate everything from food delivery to toilet rentals. And the phenomenon was global: China and India had their own ride-sharing giants, Didi Chuxing and Ola, while companies around the world—Comparto Mi Maleta in Chile, Sharemac in Germany, Gojek in Indonesia, Stashbee in the U.K. and Lynk in Kenya—connected consumers to […]

Protesters demanding President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s resignation take to the streets in Bamako, Mali, June 19, 2020 (AP photo by Baba Ahmed).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnists Louise Riis Andersen and Richard Gowan are filling in for Stewart Patrick this week. Since it began to spread rapidly earlier this year, the coronavirus pandemic has had a visible impact on United Nations peacekeeping operations. Peacekeepers have practiced social distancing, minimized interactions with local populations and tried to help fragile states handle the disease. Yet the long-term economic and political consequences for peacekeeping look like they will be more severe. COVID-19 has the potential to increase instability in fragile states, including those where the Blue Helmets are deployed, just as Security Council members and the […]

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

In the past month, the mass protests for racial justice that were prompted by the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis on May 25 have spread rapidly around the world. From the United Kingdom to Senegal to Japan, millions of people have taken to the streets to demand that the U.S. finally address its racial inequalities and the violent behavior of its police—and to decry local manifestations of injustice closer to home. By now, this pattern looks familiar. Protests in Tunisia in 2010 and 2011, prompted by the self-immolation of street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, set off a wave […]

President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington, Jan. 28, 2017 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

In November 2008, just days before the U.S. presidential election, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was the high-profile victim of a prank call from a team of Canadian comics pretending to be then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy. More recently, in August 2019, Sen. Lindsey Graham let his guard down with a team of Russian prank callers pretending to be the Turkish defense minister. Both suffered significant embarrassment when recordings of the conversations were subsequently released. In a way that was shocking but not surprising, the calls both revealed and confirmed the gap between what politicians say in public and what they […]