Former U.S. President Donald Trump, right, meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

With Russian troops now deep inside Ukraine, and with NATO and the United Nations Security Council caught up in a series of emergency sessions in order to respond to the conflict, it may seem a bit glib to fixate on the question of how the Russian invasion will shape domestic politics in the United States. Still, it is important to also acknowledge what this moment in history means for the future trajectory of the U.S., and, in turn, what shifting attitudes in Washington might mean for U.S.-Russia relations. It must be acknowledged upfront: Thousands if not millions of Ukrainians could be […]

Ukrainian soldiers take positions in downtown Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 25, 2022 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

Much of what we do at WPR from week to week and year to year is to keep tabs on the many mundane stories around the world so that we can inform you about the trends and developments that gradually and in combination shape history. But on occasion, we find ourselves face to face with moments that make history, suddenly and singly. The war in Ukraine is one of those moments. As I wrote Thursday as the first Russian attacks began, we will look back on it as a “before and after” event, one that will have enormous implications for […]

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, center in chains, is shown to the press at the Police Headquarters in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Feb. 15, 2022 (AP photo by Elmer Martinez).

On Feb. 14, the U.S. Department of Justice requested the extradition of former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez on drug trafficking and weapons charges. Hernandez was arrested the following day, just two weeks after he left office and a mere week after Washington had revoked his visa. Hernandez was led away from his home in handcuffs and a bullet-proof vest, and he will likely remain detained in the military headquarters of Honduras’ special forces until his extradition hearing, which is set to take place on March 16.  Hernandez’s arrest and the outcome of the extradition hearing signal a watershed moment […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks via video call during a news conference in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 17, 2020 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

Over the past several weeks, there has been nearly as much speculation about the nature and objectives of the Biden administration’s highly vocal approach to warning about the imminence of a Russian invasion of Ukraine as there has been about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intentions in the current crisis. The most prominent strain of analysis, by now distilled into broadly held, conventional wisdom, is that by providing detailed, near-daily updates about Russian troop deployments around Ukraine’s borders, including highly specific intelligence and tactical analysis, the Biden administration has been seeking to “get inside Putin’s head,” thereby giving him pause or […]

Ukrainian armed forces conduct exercises in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine, Feb.4, 2022 (AP photo by Mykola Tymche).

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bellicose speech yesterday, in which he announced that Russia had recognized the independence of two separatist regions of Ukraine and would deploy military forces there as “peacekeepers,” suggests that after months of military posturing and diplomacy, a full-scale invasion may well be at hand. But while it is still impossible to know for sure how the crisis will play out, one consequence of it is already certain: There is no more use in dancing around reality using terms like “strategic competition” or “great power tensions” to describe relations between the West and Russia. We are in […]

Police officers accompany climate activists as they take part in a protest through the streets of London, Nov. 6, 2021 (AP photo by David Cliff).

To mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations in 2020, its member states issued a collective declaration to express their commitment to transformative change and new efforts to address the major challenges of the 21st century. In the same declaration, they also committed to “listening to and working with youth.” But what does this mean in practice? When young thinkers and activists are asked what needs to change with regard to how the international system engages with them, the word they most often use is “tokenistic.” They are sick of being asked to speak at events, ostensibly on behalf […]

Parked trucks block lanes of traffic during a protest against pandemic restrictions in Ottawa, Ontario, Feb. 14, 2022 (AP photo by Ted Shaffrey).

For the first time in half a century, Canada’s federal government has declared a national emergency. The move was in response to continuing demonstrations in major cities and at several points along the Canada-U.S. border, where truckers and other protesters have blockaded major commerce routes and crossings for the better part of a month. The protests, which paralyzed Canada’s capital city Ottawa for weeks, were sparked by a national COVID-19 policy requiring truck drivers to be vaccinated in order to cross into Canada from the United States. The movement has since expanded to give voice to a wider variety of […]

A Ukrainian servicemember, seen through a camouflage mesh, stands at a frontline position in the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, Jan. 29, 2022 (AP photo by Vadim Ghirda).

The terms “deterrence” and “coercive diplomacy” have figured prominently in debates over how the West should respond to the ongoing crisis over a potential Russian incursion into Ukraine. Much of the focus of those debates, however, has been narrow and episodic—how to prevent a Russian attack, for instance, or get Moscow to pull back its forces from the Russian-Ukraine border. While both concepts are necessary to understand the tensions currently on display in Europe between Russia, Ukraine, the U.S. and NATO, those tensions must be seen through a broader and more holistic lens, because the current crisis is the result […]

A protester holds the scales of justice outside the District Court during a hearing in then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial, in Jerusalem, Feb. 8, 2021 (AP photo by Maya Alleruzzo).

Opposing corruption is not “easy” nor is doing so a “convenient distraction” from addressing “the world’s most persistent ills and injustices,” as Gabriella Cook Francis and Christopher Sabatini argued in a recent World Politics Review article titled, “The Corruption Obsession is a Convenient Distraction.” To the contrary, we insist that the “ills and injustices” to which the authors refer will never be properly addressed while endemic serious corruption, kleptocracy and state capture are allowed to persist in modern states. Our interest in the topic and our desire to correct what we consider to be the misconceptions in their article stem from our […]

President Joe Biden speaks about Ukraine in the East Room of the White House, in Washington, Feb. 15, 2022 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

On Christmas Eve in 2002, I was suddenly dispatched from my base in Tokyo, where I was the New York Times bureau chief at the time, to Seoul, the capital of South Korea, to cover reports that North Korea was about to reactivate a nuclear reactor that had previously been taken out of service as a result of painstaking negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang. The United States suspected that if operations resumed at the reactor, which had supposedly been built for research purposes, the North Korean government would soon begin reprocessing its spent nuclear fuel to build up a supply […]

Child activists join a march through Westminster during a “climate strike” demonstration, part of the global Fridays for Future movement led by Swedish teenage environmentalist Greta Thunberg, in London, Sept. 24, 2021 (AP photo by David Cliff).

At the heart of the international system lies a seemingly intractable tension between sovereignty and cooperation. The United Nations is a collection of states that, while recognizing the need for collaboration in global governance, still seek to retain their independence. This tension haunts the international community as a whole, but it is the people of the future who will pay the heaviest price. The major challenges facing humanity in the 21st century are borderless and intergenerational. Climate change will wreak havoc in every corner of the world and will only grow worse if we fail to act now. Similarly, lawlessness in […]

A woman holds a weapon during a basic combat training for civilians organized by a special forces unit of Ukraine’s National Guard, in Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Feb. 13, 2022 (AP photo by Vadim Ghirda).

KYIV—Oleksandr Biletskyi is standing in a lecture hall on the outskirts of Kyiv laying out the items he considers most necessary to have on hand for emergencies. On the table in front of him, he’s placed a bag containing a compass, a pocketknife, a carabiner and a roll of tape. Gently, he adds three more bags: one with a Kalashnikov, one with a shotgun and one with a pistol. “We have to prepare for anything,” he tells me. Normally, this lecture hall, which belongs to Taras Shevchenko National University, offers continuing education courses in law, economics and psychology. Today, it’s […]

A zodiac carrying a team of international scientists heads to Chile’s station Bernardo O’Higgins, Antarctica, Jan. 22, 2015 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

It is tempting to think of climate change as a gradual, linear process that follows the steady accumulation of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. The truth may be scarier. Evidence is mounting that critical components of the Earth system could be approaching tipping points that, when crossed, will bring about massive, nonlinear shifts that will themselves accelerate climate change, with disastrous and potentially irreversible consequences for nature and humanity. Faced with this prospect, national governments must cooperate to identify, prepare for and, where possible, head off or mitigate these abrupt and calamitous shifts. As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made clear in its recent […]

An image from a video provided by the U.S. Department of Defense shows the compound where Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi died during a U.S. raid, in Idlib province, Syria, Feb. 3, 2022 (Department of Defense via AP Images).

Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden ordered a team of U.S. special operations forces to carry out a raid in northern Syria that is now stoking legal controversy. The mission targeted a residential compound where Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi had been holed up with his family and civilian neighbors. By the end, al-Qurayshi and a disputed number of civilians were dead. As Washington Post reporter Miriam Berger has explained, since Syria did not consent for U.S. forces to carry out the raid, Biden’s order arguably violated the charter of the United Nations, which limits a state’s ability […]

Iran’s then-President-elect Ebrahim Raisi during a news conference in Tehran, Iran, June 21, 2021 (AP file photo by Vahid Salemi).

Since last April, the U.S. has been engaged in indirect negotiations with Iran on restoring the 2015 deal limiting Tehran's nuclear program known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. If these talks succeed, or should they fail, the impact will reverberate across a range of issues beyond the nonproliferation file over which Washington and Tehran are at odds. When the Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, it laid out 12 demands addressing various aspects of Iranian policy it wanted Tehran to change. Of the concerns it identified, three directly dealt with the nuclear program, and […]

China People’s Liberation Army Navy troops stand on the deck of a guided missile frigate in Manila, Philippines, Jan. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

Under the leadership of President Xi Jingping, China has been pouring resources into its military arsenal in pursuit of a technologically advanced, integrated force. Its accomplishments to date have weakened U.S. military deterrence in the region, leading some smaller states to question Washington’s ability and willingness to intervene in the case of a conflict involving China. But Beijing’s strategy has also come with some political costs. Earlier this week, on Trend Lines, WPR’s Peter Dörrie sat down with Timothy Heath, RAND’s senior intelligence and defense expert, to discuss China’s growing military capacity and what it means for the United States and its allies.  […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron after their talks in Moscow, Feb. 7, 2022 (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is in Brussels today for a meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. Their meeting follows a busy diplomatic week full of high-level meetings aimed at preventing the outbreak of war near the European Union’s borders. But with the week drawing to a close, it remains to be seen how much closer to a peaceful resolution of the crisis the parties have come. The diplomatic flurry began Monday, when French President Emmanuel Macron met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, in Moscow. Even before he sat down with Putin, Macron’s talking points raised […]

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