U.S. President Barack Obama and Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the government house, Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 23, 2016 (AP photo by David Fernandez).

During his recent visit to Buenos Aires, President Barack Obama enthusiastically embraced Argentina’s new president, Mauricio Macri, who took office last December promising to overhaul the country’s economy, politics and foreign policy, including its endemic anti-Americanism. Obama appeared eager to endorse Macri’s new approach, and while thousands protested the visit, Obama made a statement that expressed surprisingly lofty ambitions for the new administration in Buenos Aires. “Argentina,” Obama declared, “is re-assuming its traditional leadership role in the region and around the world.” The notion of Argentina becoming a regional leader will strike some as awkward. Latin Americans frequently decry what […]

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and National Security Adviser Susan Rice during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Nuclear Security Summit, Washington, March 31, 2016 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

On March 30, President Barack Obama hosted the fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit, where global leaders convene in an effort to secure nuclear materials and prevent nuclear terrorism. Along with Obama’s vision articulated in a 2009 speech in Prague of a world without nuclear weapons, the summits provide an important marker for assessing Obama’s record on reducing the security risks posed by nuclear weapons and material. The following articles are free to nonsubscribers until April 14. A Mixed Record on Nonproliferation Why Obama’s Nuclear Nonproliferation Commitments Fell ShortIt appears that with the exception of the Iran nuclear deal, President […]

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at a rally, Janesville, Wis., March 29, 2016 (The Janesville Gazette photo by Anthony Wahl via AP).

When it comes to foreign policy and the U.S. presidential campaign, everything seems to have turned upside down this year. Neoconservative, Republican hawks, from Max Boot to Bill Kristol, are apoplectic over the rise of Donald Trump, particularly his lack of ardor for military intervention, his supposed opposition to the Iraq War, and his calls for the U.S to pull back from its global security responsibilities. Some, like Boot, have gone so far as to say they won’t vote for the GOP frontrunner, while others have suggested that Trump’s focus on burden-sharing and having U.S. allies take on more global […]

The start of a plenary session at the Nuclear Security Summit, Seoul, South Korea, March, 27, 2012 (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

This week, President Barack Obama and 50 world leaders will convene for the fourth and final time to discuss how to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the hands of terrorists. This last gathering of the biannual Nuclear Security Summits comes at a particularly poignant moment, given what we know now about the Brussels terrorists’ interest in targeting nuclear facilities. For better or worse, the summits represent a more ad hoc approach to securing nuclear materials in particular, and advancing global cooperation on transnational threats in general. Since 2010, the Obama administration has organized four summits on nuclear security. Driven […]

Ugandans queue to cast their votes, Kampala, Uganda Feb. 18, 2016 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the United Nation’s road-trip diplomacy, efforts to save cultural heritage during conflicts, and the growing threat against human rights activists in Latin America. For the Report, Peter talks about the recent elections in Uganda and shifting views of longtime President Yoweri Museveni. Listen:Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant articles on WPR: U.N. Security Council Should Make Better Use of ‘Road-Trip Diplomacy’ The Next Monuments Men? How Militaries Could Protect Culture in Conflict Safeguarding Cultural Heritage in Times of War Activists’ Murders Show Human Rights Under […]

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during a campaign rally, Seattle, Washington, March 22, 2016 (AP photo by Ted S. Warren).

With yet another European city touched by the scourge of jihadi terrorism, the focus of the U.S. presidential campaign quickly turned to the best way to protect America from the same threat. Not surprisingly, the responses of the Democratic and Republican frontrunners could not be more different. Hillary Clinton warned that “terrorists seek to undermine the democratic values that are the foundation of our alliance and our way of life.” She sounded resolute in arguing that “they will never succeed.” The response of Donald Trump, on the other hand, suggests that the terrorists already have. Calling the Brussels attack “just […]

A protest against President Dilma Rousseff and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brasilia, Brazil, March 17, 2016 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).

Brazil is facing its most severe political crisis since its transition to democracy two and a half decades ago. Large-scale street protests; a government weakened by massive corruption scandals and unable to initiate meaningful reform; and a divided opposition, a large part of whose leadership is also beginning to be investigated, have all combined to create a crisis that Eurasia Group has called one of the top 10 global political risks in 2016. The political turmoil cannot be understood without taking Brazil’s economic plight into consideration. Mainly triggered by President Dilma Rousseff’s financial largesse and interventionist policies, Latin America’s largest […]

Women carry images of slain environmental activist Berta Caceres, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, March 8, 2016 (AP photo by Fernando Antonio).

On March 3, Berta Caceres, a prominent indigenous and environmental activist, was murdered in her home in La Esperanza, Intibuca, in the mountains of Honduras. Caceres was a campaigner for the rights of her native people, the Lenca, and a staunch opponent of one of Central America’s biggest dam projects. Her shocking murder was but the first recent example of the growing threat to human rights activists across Latin America. Less than two weeks after Caceres’ assassination, her fellow activist Nelson Garcia was murdered during a community eviction in the village of Rio Chiquito in northern Honduras. The next day, […]

Burning oil jets from a well set ablaze by FARC rebels in rural Puerto Asis, Putumayo, Colombia Aug. 13, 2003 (AP photo by Javier Galeano).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the impact of falling oil and commodities prices on resource-exporting countries. Earlier this month, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced he was cutting the national budget by 3 percent due to falling oil prices. In an email interview, Christian Gómez, an international development professional, discussed the impact of falling commodities prices on Colombia’s economy. WPR: How has the relative significance of oil and commodities exports to Colombia’s economy evolved in the recent past, and what effect have falling commodities prices had on the economy and public spending and […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin inside the Kremlin, Moscow, Russia, March 17, 2016 (Alexei Nikolsky/Sputnik via AP).

Russian President Vladimir Putin dropped a bombshell this week, announcing that he was pulling his military forces out of Syria less than six months after his equally surprising decision to send them there in the first place. While it remains to be seen whether Putin will carry through on his promise, security experts are busily scrambling to figure out his motives. Did he attain what he intended, or is he simply washing his hands of a lost cause? There is agreement, though, on one thing: Putin’s move caught Washington by surprise and at least seemed to once again keep him […]

A poster of Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama outside a restaurant in Havana, Cuba, March 17, 2016 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

President Barack Obama’s trip to Cuba on March 21-22 marks a pivotal moment in the unfolding process of normalizing U.S.-Cuban relations. In the 15 months since Obama and Raul Castro declared the end of the cold war in the Caribbean on Dec. 17, 2014, there has been just enough progress to justify the historic presidential visit. But much remains to be done. By underscoring the commitment of both presidents to prioritize better relations in the time they have left in office, the trip should energize their government bureaucracies to accelerate the pace of change. After a slow start—it took six […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping is displayed on a big screen as Type 99A2 Chinese battle tanks roll across during a military parade, Sept. 3, 2015 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss tensions between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, South Africa’s rapprochement with Nigeria and U.S.-Cuba ties. For the Report, Richard Weitz of the Hudson Institute joins us to talk about China’s ongoing military reforms. Listen:Download: MP3Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant articles on WPR: Punitive Saudi Moves in Lebanon Isolate Sunnis, Benefiting Hezbollah Middle East’s Sectarian Tensions Play Out in Sudan-Iran Relations Limited Détente: The Challenges to Repairing South Africa-Nigeria Ties Down Havana Way: The Promise of Obama’s Cuba Visit PLA Military Reforms: Defense Power With Chinese Characteristics […]

President Barack Obama speaks during a reception in the East Room of the White House, Washington, March 16, 2016 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

Barack Obama took office in 2009 to great expectations, both at home and worldwide. His background and worldview, as expressed in his books, speeches and campaign rhetoric, seemed well-suited to the task of repairing America’s deeply damaged image in the aftermath of the Iraq War and the global financial crisis. With the country’s unipolar moment clearly waning, America would need to exercise a different kind of leadership, using its power in humbler and more consensual ways. Obama seemed like the right person for the job. Some pundits suggested he even had the potential to be a transformational president in terms […]

President Barack Obama speaks at St. Patrick's Day luncheon on Capitol Hill, Washington, March 15, 2016 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

For as long as Barack Obama has been president, his Republican critics have regularly accused him of being some sort of political radical. After reading the mammoth foreign policy profile of Obama by Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic, I’m prepared to admit they are correct. Obama is a foreign policy radical, just not just for the reasons they think. What is perhaps most striking about Goldberg’s article and the interviews with Obama included in it is how distinctly Obama stands outside the foreign policy mainstream, and how willing he is to question the most prized of foreign policy sacred cows. […]

President Barack Obama walks back to the Oval Office of the White House, Washington, March 14, 2016 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

The American foreign policy community is abuzz over the remarkable essay by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on President Barack Obama’s legacy. The article provides ample evidence that Obama is a fine conceptual thinker with great insight into the evolution of international politics away from America’s “unipolar moment.” His successors may try to reverse or slow down the trends Obama identifies, but in the long run, they will find themselves following his path. As the remaining months of his presidency reach the single digits, Obama has offered us the first draft of his foreign policy legacy. In a wonderfully rich article […]

President Barack Obama after hosting a National Security Council meeting at the State Department, Washington, Feb. 25, 2016 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

In last week’s column, I discussed two of the four enduring challenges that American strategists face: unrealistic expectations and a ponderous system for strategy formulation. This week’s column will take a look at the other two: the American public’s deep belief in “silver bullets,” and impatience. The American public’s trust in the idea of “silver bullets,” or the existence of a single solution to a complex problem, reflects the ingrained optimism of the American national culture. As children Americans are told that they “can be anything they want” if they try hard enough. While this kind of optimism is demonstrably […]

People wait in line to buy products at government-regulated prices, Caracas, Venezuela, Feb. 19, 2016 (AP photo by Ariana Cubillos).

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s ongoing political battle between its three branches of government, which has paralyzed efforts to stop the country’s slide into the economic abyss, is slated to get worse this weekend when the opposition takes to the streets to press President Nicolas Maduro to resign. The Democratic Unity Roundtable—the opposition coalition known by its Spanish acronym, MUD, that won a parliamentary majority in last year’s elections—has called for demonstrations in Caracas and other cities Saturday as part of a full-court press to end Venezuela’s crisis peacefully by forcing Maduro out and holding fresh presidential elections. In a press […]

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