President Donald Trump arrives for his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, Washington, Jan. 30, 2018 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

U.S. President Donald Trump struck an unsurprisingly triumphal tone in his first State of the Union address last night, although the speech’s national security passages focused mainly on the threats from North Korea and Iran more than any particular successes. It’s tempting to say that Trump’s first year in office has been a wash when it comes to foreign policy. Despite the alarm and uncertainty that greeted his election, it has not resulted in the catastrophe many feared. Due to the interventions of his Cabinet and advisers, there has been more continuity than disruption in the day-to-day conduct of U.S. […]

President Donald Trump listens during a dinner with European business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 25, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

To surprise, relief or disappointment in various quarters, U.S. President Donald Trump managed to comport himself mainly with dignity and appropriate remarks when he encountered the global elite in Davos last week. At least he did during his formal speech, which was teleprompter Trump, not Twitter Trump, as he promoted investment in the United States and touted America’s economic growth. In a brief question-and-answer sessions after his speech, Trump quickly went off script, complaining about “how fake the press can be.” Many in the audience booed. But he still came away from Davos with generally high marks. Trump’s attendance at […]

Vietnam’s defense minister, Ngo Xuan Lich, left, and U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, second from right, view a photo exhibition on Vietnam-U.S. military cooperation, Hanoi, Vietnam, Jan. 25, 2018 (Pool photo via AP).

Over the past five years, no country in Southeast Asia has challenged China’s regional strategic ambitions more assertively than Vietnam. Repeatedly standing up to Beijing’s aims in the South China Sea, Vietnam has attempted to allow foreign oil exploration in disputed maritime areas and, like China, built up the submerged reefs, small islets and banks it occupies and added installations, though on a much smaller scale. It has, at times, tried to work with its neighbors, such as the Philippines under former President Benigno Aquino III, to highlight what it sees as China’s illegal behavior in the South China Sea. […]

Visitors hang ribbons and unification flags on a fence near the border with North Korea, Paju, South Korea, Jan. 18, 2018 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

At some point, the brutal and parasitic Kim family dictatorship in North Korea must end, but it is impossible to tell whether it will happen sooner or later. Many predictions that the regime would fall have proven false, but it simply cannot last forever. Whether by internal conflict or by provoking a war with South Korea and the United States, the Kim regime eventually will go. Stressing that “Korean unification is a Korean affair,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in is convinced that whenever reunification comes, it should be under the leadership of the democratic and economically vigorous south, rather than […]

Armed Swiss police officers stand guard on the roof of a hotel near the facility where the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum takes place in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).

It’s not often that we’re treated to the spectacle of two worlds colliding, but U.S. President Donald Trump’s planned visit to Davos for the annual World Economic Forum this week promises to be just that. As if to add to the drama, a string of obstacles has sprung up complicating Trump’s trip. The U.S. government shutdown briefly threatened to derail it. Now a winter storm has dumped six feet of snow on the Swiss mountain retreat, making access difficult and raising the risk of an avalanche. If Trump’s visit does come off as planned, it will set the stage for […]

The Trump Administration Is Breaking the U.N.’s Rules of Anger Management

Editor’s note: This is a special Friday edition of Diplomatic Fallout. Steven Metz will return with Strategic Horizons next week. If you want to understand United Nations diplomacy, it helps to think of the institution as a sort of high-level anger management class. The U.N. may be a place for states to work together on common problems, but it is also a venue for governments to get cross with one another without causing too much damage. There are few easier ways for diplomats to postpone serious discussions of a contentious issue than passing a U.N. General Assembly resolution about it. […]

People watch a TV news program showing the Twitter post in which U.S. President Donald Trump boasted about the size of his  “nuclear button,” Seoul, South Korea, Jan. 3, 2018 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

In the coming weeks, President Donald Trump is expected to unveil the latest Nuclear Posture Review, outlining his administration’s thinking about U.S. nuclear policy and detailing plans for the future of the American arsenal. According to a draft leaked to The Huffington Post last week, the review, which reportedly has been sent to Trump for his approval, will mark a considerable shift in policy, overturning much of the thinking that has underpinned American nuclear strategy since the end of the Cold War. The Trump administration may well be ushering in a more dangerous, more expensive and more worrying nuclear era. […]

President Donald Trump speaks at the Conversations with the Women of America event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Washington, Jan. 16, 2018 (AP photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta).

Coming up on the one-year anniversary of Donald Trump’s inauguration as U.S. president, a number of weighty international issues loom on the near horizon. Asia is on edge over signs the United States might initiate a nuclear war with North Korea and a trade war with China. The Middle East risks going completely off the rails after Trump’s reversal of decades-long U.S. policy on the Israel-Palestine conflict and his threatened reversal of the nuclear deal with Iran. Alarms are sounding in Europe over a paradigmatic shift in relations with Washington that poses an existential threat to the idea of a […]

U.S. President Donald Trump reaches out to shake hands with British Prime Minister Theresa May during the U.N. General Assembly, New York, Sept. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

When U.S President Donald Trump announced that he was canceling his trip to the United Kingdom, the public explanation was his disinterest in presiding over the opening of the mammoth new American Embassy, one of the ceremonial events planned for the visit. But it could also be seen as an unexpected gesture of consideration for British Prime Minister Theresa May, who had extended the official invitation from the queen to visit before a series of awkward incidents in the bilateral relationship. Ever since the two leaders held hands outside the Oval Office barely a week after Trump’s inauguration a year […]

Pakistani religious students protest against U.S. President Donald Trump after the U.S. decision to suspend military aid to Islamabad, Lahore, Pakistan, Jan. 5, 2018 (AP photo by K.M. Chaudary).

Soon after 9/11, President George W. Bush recognized that the United States needed Pakistan’s cooperation to eradicate the training camps in Afghanistan where al-Qaida planned the attacks. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf declared that his nation was a full partner in the new “war on terror.” A few years later, Bush designated Pakistan a major non-NATO ally. Since 2002, Pakistan has received more than $33 billion in economic and security assistance from the United States, while the American military greatly expanded cooperation with its Pakistani counterpart. But this was always a deeply troubled partnership. Pakistan, especially the politically dominant Pakistani military, […]

Visitors talk to staff members at a Google stand during the Global Mobile Internet Conference, Beijing, April 28, 2017 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, and associate editor, Omar H. Rahman, discuss the sharpening debate over immigration in the United States and around the world and the Trump administration’s immigration policies. For the Report, Zach Montague talks with Peter Dörrie about the challenges facing foreign tech companies trying to operate in China, without compromising their ethics—or their trade secrets. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get a taste of our uncompromising analysis before […]

Salvadoran immigrants Diana Paredes, left, and Isabel Barrera react at a news conference following an announcement on Temporary Protected Status for nationals of El Salvador, Los Angeles, Jan. 8, 2018 (AP photo by Damian Dovarganes).

The Trump administration’s decision to end immigration protections for hundreds of thousands of Salvadorans living in the United States will have a crushing impact on the lives of people who have called America their home for more than a decade, if not longer. But the reverberations of the move to end the program, known as Temporary Protected Status, or TPS, will also have a devastating effect on El Salvador, the tiny Central American country that has struggled to stay afloat in relentlessly stormy socioeconomic and geopolitical conditions. The end of TPS could even gradually turn El Salvador into a failed […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and French President Emmanuel Macron review a Chinese honor guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, Jan. 9, 2018 (AP photo Mark Schiefelbein).

Much has been made of French President Emmanuel Macron’s flair for public diplomacy, from his handling of U.S. President Donald Trump to his efforts to take the lead in global diplomacy on climate change. The latest illustration is his visit this week to China, where he lived up to expectations: In a French version of China’s celebrated “panda diplomacy,” Macron offered Chinese President Xi Jinping a prized horse from France’s Republican Guard as a gift. In his speech in Xian upon his arrival, Macron offered China shared leadership on climate change diplomacy and requested Beijing’s help in efforts to stabilize […]

The Organization of Iranian American Communities holds a demonstration across from the White House in solidarity with protesters in Iran, Washington, Jan. 6, 2018 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

The momentum has tapered off in the remarkable weeklong protests across Iran. But if it seems that the regime has prevailed, despite its legitimacy eroding a bit, do the demonstrations have a deeper meaning and long-term foreign policy consequences? Will policies in Tehran and Washington change? Most outside observers, even those at opposite sides of the ideological spectrum on Iran, agree on the basic facts. These protests, which broke out in the northeastern city of Mashad on Dec. 28, were triggered by economic distress. But as they spread to dozens of locales across the country, they took on a direct […]

Attendees take a selfie before a press conference announcing the return of the Motorola brand to China, Beijing, Jan. 26, 2015 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Editor's Note: This article was updated in December 2018. Foreign tech companies have been forced into difficult compromises and today find themselves asking whether the financial rewards and access to a massive market justify the work required to stay in Beijing’s good graces—especially given that the risk of failure is rising, illustrated by the recent blocking of WhatsApp in China. When users of WhatsApp in China started noticing technical problems with the mobile messaging application in September 2017, nothing seemed unusual at first. The slow sending speeds and inability to deliver video and audio files could have easily been due […]

Donald Trump and other NATO leaders watch a flyover during a transfer ceremony at the new NATO headquarters, Brussels, May 25, 2017 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The first year of the Trump administration might not have brought a wholesale transformation of American strategy, but it has set the stage for one. The coming months will show whether this was a reversible detour from the course America has followed for the past 70 years, or the beginning of the end of the post-World War II world order. Much is at stake in this very dangerous time. Since the defeat of the Axis powers in 1945, the United States has equated its national interests with a system of global order that attempted to minimize armed conflict and promote […]

President Donald Trump during a meeting with Republican senators on immigration, Washington D.C., Jan. 4, 2018 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

As the first anniversary of his inauguration approaches, U.S. President Donald Trump has shown no sign of altering his provocative and destabilizing approach to diplomacy. His unpredictability and inflammatory rhetoric have spread confusion about the White House’s intentions in many cases, while diverting attention from the substance of Trump’s policies in others. In this special report, WPR has collected 10 articles assessing how Trump has broken with the traditions of the U.S. foreign policy establishment and where his “America First” agenda has had the biggest impact. Purchase this special report as a Kindle e-book. More Bark Than Bite Trump May […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 181 2 Last