People in protective clothing walk past rows of beds at a temporary 2,000-bed hospital for COVID-19 patients in Tehran, Iran, March 26, 2020 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

Iran is one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus. As of March 30, it was behind only the United States, China, Italy, Spain, Germany and France in the number of confirmed cases, with more than 40,000. Its death rate is also one of the world’s highest, at around 7 percent, though it is well behind Italy’s staggering 11.4 percent. Yet in the face of this public health crisis, President Donald Trump is continuing his “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran with crippling U.S. economic sanctions that were imposed after Trump unilaterally abandoned the international nuclear agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear […]

A Brazilian soldier puts out fires at the Nova Fronteira region in Novo Progresso, Brazil, Sept. 3, 2019 (AP photo by Leo Correa).

Tensions have simmered for decades between Brazil, which believes the Amazon rainforest is a sovereign resource, and wealthy developed countries concerned with protecting one of the world’s most important carbon sinks. But it wasn’t until last summer that, amid growing international concern over climate change, deforestation in the Amazon provoked a high-level diplomatic spat. As fires raged in the Amazon, most of them set by farmers and ranchers to clear land, French President Emmanuel Macron proclaimed the issue was an international crisis and said he would put it on the agenda of the G-7 summit in Biarritz. German Chancellor Angela […]

A large crowd wearing masks commutes through Shinagawa Station in Tokyo, Japan, Mar. 3, 2020 (AP photo by Jae C. Hong).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. In just a few months, the tightly connected systems of a globalized world have transformed the novel coronavirus from a handful of cases in China to a global pandemic. But we have yet to see an international response that matches the scale of the threat. The contrast with the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic crash is stark. Then, governments vastly upgraded the G-20 from a somewhat obscure forum of finance ministers […]

Bangladeshi children sit on garbage piled up by the Buriganga River in Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 4, 2018 (AP photo by A.M. Ahad).

By 2050, hundreds of millions of people in developing countries will have left their homes as a result of climate change—a mass displacement that will make already-precarious populations more vulnerable and impose heavy burdens on the communities that absorb them. Unfortunately, the world has barely begun to prepare for this impending crisis. Those displaced by climate change are neither true refugees nor traditional migrants, and thus occupy an ambiguous position under international law. The world needs to agree on how to classify environmental migrants, as well as what their rights are. It also needs to strengthen its capacity to manage […]

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez speaks to supporters as Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is projected on a screen behind him outside the presidential palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dec. 10, 2019 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

From the moment he took office as Argentina’s president last December, Alberto Fernandez has been constrained by two realities. The first is the country’s grave economic crisis, which he inherited from his pro-business predecessor, Mauricio Macri. Argentina’s GDP is projected to contract for the third year in a row in 2020, while inflation is expected to top 40 percent, all while the government tries to restructure its staggering foreign debt. The second constraining reality is Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was initially expected to run for president last year but instead picked Fernandez—who is not related—for the top […]

People protesting a constitutional reform that would have allowed Dominican President Danilo Medina a third term in office, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, July 12, 2019 (AP photo by Tatiana Fernandez).

Millions of voters in the Dominican Republic got a surprise when they showed up to cast their ballots in municipal elections on Feb. 16. Several hours after balloting had begun, the government said it had found inconsistencies in the functioning of voting machines and ordered the immediate suspension of the elections. In numerous cases, opposition candidates’ names did not appear on the electronic ballots. The next day, the country’s electoral board announced the municipal elections would be postponed to March 15, and would be conducted with paper ballots. The cause of the malfunctioning voting system, which was recently purchased for […]

A student protester holds up a foam replica of the earth during the Youth Climate Strike at Columbus Circle in New York City, March 15, 2019 (Sipa photo by Anthony Behar via AP Images).

The biggest challenge humanity faces this century is ensuring that the march of civilization does not degrade the global environment so much that we irreparably harm the planet on which our own survival depends. The advent of the Anthropocene—a new geological era in which humanity is the most important force shaping the biosphere—has revealed a fundamental contradiction between the Earth’s own integrated natural systems and a hopelessly fragmented international system. The former is an ecological and geophysical whole, as apparent in the famous “Earthrise” photograph taken by Apollo 8 astronauts on Christmas Eve, 1968. The latter is an artificial human […]