U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner announces he has asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress but that he did not consult the White House, Washington, Jan. 21, 2015 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

Some members of the United States Congress are working hard to short-circuit President Barack Obama’s negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. Many legislators, particularly Republicans, have opposed the talks from the beginning—with some advocating a military attack on Iran and others apparently believing that sanctions will compel Tehran to give up its nuclear aspirations. With the great Republican gains in the 2014 midterm elections, this group expanded and moved beyond simply critiquing Obama’s policy. Congressional opponents of a deal with Iran are attempting to pass a new slate of sanctions deliberately designed to torpedo the negotiation process. In a […]

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Casa Rosada presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, July 18, 2014 (AP photo by Victor R. Caivano).

Earlier this month, Argentina received $400 million from the People’s Bank of China as the fourth installment of an $11 billion currency swap agreement with China. In an email interview, Eduardo Daniel Oviedo, professor of political science and international relations at the National University of Rosario in Argentina, discussed Argentina’s relations with China. WPR: What are the main areas of cooperation between China and Argentina, and what are the areas of contention? Eduardo Daniel Oviedo: Politics, trade, investment and migration are the main areas of cooperation between China and Argentina. Mutual support on the issues of the Falkland Islands—known in […]

U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have tea in the garden at Hyderabad House in New Delhi, Jan 25, 2015 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

Several weeks ago, in assessing what steps U.S. President Barack Obama might take to secure his administration’s foreign policy legacy, I raised the question of whether a “reset” of U.S.-India relations might help. Obama’s just-concluded trip to New Delhi and his meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have provided us with an answer in the affirmative. Modi’s gesture of greeting Obama effusively at the airport upon his arrival, which was a break with traditional protocol, and his invitation for Obama to attend and review the annual Republic Day parade, which was a first for an American leader, clearly indicated […]

Riot police enter the town of El Tule, Nicaragua after they cleared a roadblock erected by residents to protest against a proposed transoceanic canal, Dec. 24, 2014 (AP photo by Oscar Navarrete).

In late December, nearly 100 years to the day after the Panama Canal first opened for business, Nicaragua broke ground on Central America’s second mega-canal project, the aptly named Nicaragua Grand Canal. Billed as the world’s largest engineering project, it will snake 173 miles across Nicaragua upon its projected completion in 2019, providing a wider, deeper alternate route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans for ships too large to transit the Panama Canal, several hundreds of miles to the southeast. The new canal, which will stretch three times the length of the Panama Canal, promises to not only alter the […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Barack Obama watch the Republic Day parade in New Delhi, India, Jan. 26, 2015 (AP photo by Stephen Crowley).

In contrast to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s five-day visit to the United States in September, which appeared to be something of an anticlimax for yielding few concrete results, U.S. President Barack Obama’s quick trip to India this week has seen progress in many important areas. In retrospect, it appears that Modi’s visit helped create a warm bond between the two leaders, evident when Modi broke protocol to personally greet Obama at the airport upon his arrival. The two leaders’ personal rapport has clearly facilitated dialogue to overcome past grievances in the bilateral relationship. From being primarily a short-term transactional […]

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden speaks to Dominica’s Foreign Minister Francine Baron as they pose for a group photo at the Caribbean Energy Security Summit at the State Department in Washington, Jan. 26, 2015 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

Leaders from across the Caribbean are meeting in Washington this week for the first-ever Caribbean Energy Summit, hosted by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. In an email interview, Johanna Mendelson Forman, senior adviser at the Stimson Center, scholar-in-residence at American University and founder of the Latin American and Caribbean Council on Renewable Energy, discussed renewable energy in Latin America. WPR: How extensive is renewable energy infrastructure in Latin America, and what countries have been most active in pursuing renewable energy? Johanna Mendelson Forman: With the greenest energy matrix in the world, mainly due to the extensive use of hydropower, South […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education, St. Petersburg, Russia, Dec. 9, 2014 (photo from the Russian Presidential Press and Information Office).

In the past year, Russian aggressiveness has led the United States to augment its military presence in Europe. Even though declining oil prices and a paralyzing degree of corruption and inefficiency have, for the time being, put a brake on Moscow’s ambitions, hostility will persist so long as Russian President Vladimir Putin is in charge. As a result, bolstering European security will remain a central component of America’s global strategy. But what happens after Putin? While there are no serious challenges to his rule now, he is mortal. At some point, he will leave the scene. Historically, the departure of […]

A demonstrator holds a sign that reads in Spanish “I am Nisman” during a protest sparked by the death of special prosecutor Alberto Nisman in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Jan. 19, 2015 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

First came the accusation that sent shockwaves from Argentina to Iran. Then came the news that the man who leveled the charges was dead. Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman always knew his life was at risk, but the drama that marked the final few days of his life ensures that his death will remain—probably forever—the subject of intrigue, suspicion and mistrust. Nisman died this week, but the last chapter in his relentless quest to seek justice in the deadliest terrorist attack in Argentine history has produced at least one outcome that he would find gratifying: It has rekindled interest in what […]

Cuban President Raul Castro raises his fist and shout “Long live Fidel” during the closing of the twice-annual legislative session at the National Assembly in Havana, Cuba, Dec. 20, 2014 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

If the changes to the 53-year-old embargo on Cuba announced by U.S. President Barack Obama last month were contentious, implementing them will not be smooth either. To be sure, U.S. public opinion, even among younger Cuban-Americans, has shifted against the embargo, and private sector groups, especially agribusinesses that have lost market share in Cuba to Brazilian competitors, has become more organized and vocal in urging the president to exercise his authority to change the embargo. But there is still the shrill, organized contingent of hardline, pro-embargo Cuban Americans who continue to denounce the actions, led in Congress by two senators, […]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry chats with Ambassador Susan Rice, the President’s National Security Advisor, at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Washington, D.C., Aug. 6, 2014 (State Department photo).

Last week’s dramatic recommendation for U.S. President Barack Obama to fire his entire national security team, delivered by Les Gelb, the president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, was eagerly disseminated among Washington’s foreign policy denizens. But while there is continued interest in determining who’s up and who’s down in the president’s inner circle, personnel changes alone would not address all of the concerns Gelb raised. Instead, his criticisms point to some fundamental problems with the U.S. national security class as a whole. The first is that U.S. policymakers who came of age during the brief unipolar moment at […]

Anti-narcotics police set up drugs to be burned on the outskirts of Panama City, Dec. 5, 2014 (AP photo by Arnulfo Franco).

The war on drugs has been subjected to unprecedented criticism over the past few years. For the first time since the inception of the international drug regime in the 1960s, world leaders are calling for the regulated legalization of all drugs, and not just marijuana. Politicians, businessmen and activists from across North, Central and South America are leading the charge. Several Latin American presidents are at the forefront of this drug policy revolution, insisting on the legalization of cannabis, opium poppies and coca. Some Western European leaders are also demanding that punitive drug laws be replaced with updated measures putting […]

U.S. President Barack Obama talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in The Hague, the Netherlands, March 25, 2014 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza).

U.S. President Barack Obama will most likely devote less attention to foreign policy issues in tonight’s State of the Union speech than to his domestic priorities, including continuing the U.S. economic recovery while reducing income and wealth inequalities and addressing the special concerns of African-Americans and other U.S. minorities. What time the president does allocate to foreign policy issues will as usual probably focus on the Middle East, although Russia, climate change and the resumption of diplomatic relations with Cuba will also likely be highlighted. Although these are undeniably important issues, hopefully Obama appreciates that his ability to leave behind […]

A suspected Yemeni al-Qaida militant holds an Islamist banner as he stands behind bars during a court hearing in state security court in Sanaa, Yemen, April 23, 2013 (AP photo by Hani Mohammed).

Even before the smoke cleared from last week’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, people were struggling to make sense of them. Because the initial victims were associated with Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine known to deride Islam, attention fell on questions of free speech and whether it should be limited when religion is involved. But even if the belief that Islam is being insulted influenced the killers at a personal level, the al-Qaida strategists who claim to have directed the Charlie Hebdo attack had other goals. For them, the notion of blasphemy is useful propaganda, but their objectives are much […]

A workman slides a dustmop over the floor at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va., March 3, 2005 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

As the new year opens, and the dust has begun to settle from the release of a report last month by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the CIA’s use of torture in the war on terror, it is time to ask what changes, if any, the report’s revelations will bring about for the agency in the coming years. Quite a few are necessary, but whether they will implemented is, of course, uncertain. To begin with perhaps the most concrete potential outcome, the report opens the way for an overhaul of how U.S. drone strikes are conducted in the […]

Leaders from Israel, Mali, France, Germany, the EU and Palestine march during a rally in Paris, France, Jan. 11, 2015 (AP photo by Philippe Wojazer).

The failure of U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration to send a high-level representative to the Paris unity march, convened in the wake of the terrorist attack on the editorial offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, is being described by some as the first foreign policy gaffe of 2015. Given the Obama team’s laser-like focus on domestic issues in the run-up to the State of the Union address, however, it is not surprising. Moreover, given that one of the administration’s goals seems to be to halt further deterioration in the critical U.S.-India relationship, it is very understandable why the president […]

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Beijng, China, Jan. 7, 2015 (Ecuadorean Foreign Ministry photo by Luis Astudillo).

Earlier this month Venezuela and Ecuador received major boosts from China, which has redoubled its stake in the two Latin American economies most vulnerable to plunging oil prices. Following recent visits to China by financial chiefs from both countries, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his Ecuadorian counterpart, Rafael Correa, each traveled to Beijing in early January, where China held its first annual ministerial meeting with the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC). Correa returned from the visit with approximately $5.3 billion in new financing from the Export-Import Bank of China; Maduro announced that Venezuela would receive an additional […]

A woman dances to Gaga Afro-Caribbean music during a protest against racial discrimination and “denationalization” of Dominicans of Haitian descent, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, March 21, 2014 (AP photo by Ezequiel Abiu Lopez).

In September 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court ruled that Juliana Deguis Pierre, who was born in the country to Haitian parents in 1984 and registered as Dominican at birth under Dominican law in effect at the time, should be retroactively deprived of Dominican nationality due to her parents’ migratory status. The decision touched off a political and humanitarian crisis that stretches beyond the island nation’s borders and deep into its political, economic and social history. By judicial fiat, thousands if not hundreds of thousands of undocumented individuals like Pierre were definitively stripped of Dominican nationality, with no immediate indication […]

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