Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy leads supporters to submit petitions to Western embassies calling for an independent investigation into alleged election irregularities, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Oct. 24, 2013 (VOA photo by Heng Reaksmey).

Last week, Cambodia’s ruling and opposition parties agreed to a power-sharing arrangement, bringing an end to a political crisis dating back to the country’s July 2013 general elections. The year-long standoff included an opposition boycott of parliament and mass protests that recently culminated in violent clashes and the arrest of seven opposition lawmakers-elect for charges of “leading an insurrection.” The opposition party, the National Rescue Party (CNRP), under the leadership of Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha, had bitterly contested the results of last year’s polls, in which the National Election Committee (NEC) announced the long-ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of […]

Javier Solana at the 2012 SDA Presdient's Dinner, Brussels, Belgium, May 27, 2012 (Security and Defence Agenda photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

World Politics Review’s Maria Savel had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Javier Solana regarding the European Union’s relations with China, ASEAN and Asia as a whole. Dr. Solana is president of the ESADE Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics and previously served as the European Union high representative for the common foreign and security policy, NATO secretary-general and Spanish foreign minister. The following is a condensed version of their conversation. World Politics Review: Germany-China ties indicate a lot of the fault lines in the European Union and its approach to China in terms of balancing national and European interests. […]

Entrance to the summit of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, Lisbon, Portugal, July 24, 2008 (AP Photo by Joao Henriques).

Last week, the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) held its 10th Summit of Heads of State and Government in East Timor. The meeting produced several resolutions regarding scientific and cultural topics, as well as a number of political statements linked to Guinea Bissau’s elections and mutual political support in international institutions. But perhaps the most important decision made at the summit was the acceptance of Equatorial Guinea, currently the third-largest oil exporter in sub-Saharan Africa, as a full member of the CPLP. The four-year process that led to last week’s outcome was far from smooth, as Portugal vetoed Equatorial […]

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski visits with Sheikh Ali Salman, head of Al-Wefaq National Islamic Society, in Manama, Bahrain, July 6, 2014 (AP Photo/Al Wifaq).

The fallout from Bahrain’s expulsion of Tom Malinowski, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, illustrates the continuing political impasse in this deeply polarized U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf. While the danger to the ruling Al Khalifa family posed by the 2011 popular uprising has long passed, positions on all sides have hardened, with little prospect of any political settlement to Bahrain’s deep-rooted inequalities. A fragile stasis has instead developed between a Bahraini government unwilling to make meaningful political concessions and a fragmented opposition unable to mount a serious challenge to the status quo. […]

A backhoe used for mining stands idle in a crater after it was destroyed by the government in April in Huepetuhe in the Madre de Dios region of Peru, May 21, 2014 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

After a run of good years, Peru’s government faces mounting economic challenges. Bolstered by booming commodities demand in China and other emerging markets, the Andean nation’s gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of almost $15 billion over the past decade. Inflows of foreign direct investment nearly doubled between 2009 and 2012. But the economy has cooled since, with annual growth sliding from 8.5 percent in 2010 to 5.8 percent last year. While Peru continues to lead its South American peers in terms of economic expansion, the country’s Central Bank significantly cut its growth forecast from 5.5 percent in […]

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riad al-Malki listens to a statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, July 23, 2014 (AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini).

As the death toll in Gaza rises to over 730 Palestinians and 32 Israeli soldiers, legal definitions of what is permissible in war have been bitterly contested. International law defines war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute, but in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though both sides are guilty of violations, the classifications are difficult to apply. The exceedingly high and disproportionate number of civilian casualties in Gaza has prompted Palestinian calls to seek redress from the International Criminal Court (ICC). But legally, proportionality is not determined by a comparison of the number of casualties […]

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and his counterparts from five central Asian nations pose prior to their talks in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, July 16, 2014 (Kyodo via AP Images).

Last week, Japan’s Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida met with his Central Asian counterparts in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, as part of the fifth Central Asia Plus Japan (CAPJ) Dialogue. Initiated in 2004, the dialogue has served as the foundation for recent ties between Tokyo and five countries in Central Asia: Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. This year’s meeting focused on enhancing economic cooperation in the agricultural and energy sectors, while also discussing potential security collaboration. Prior to the CAPJ Dialogue, Japan channeled its engagement with the region through its so-called Silk Road Diplomacy, which it launched in 1997 to […]

Neo-nazis, rightwing extremists and white supremacists march under police supervision on their annual demonstration in memory of a young skinhead who was killed in 2000, Dec. 11, 2010 (AP Photo by Fredrik Persson, file).

Rising immigration, failed integration and the violent radicalization of a small minority of young Muslims have fueled the ascent of populist parties across Europe. Sweden is not immune, although it is different from its neighbors. Of all the Nordic countries, Sweden has the highest proportion of immigrants, and yet it has consistently registered the lowest level of support for nationalist, anti-immigration parties. That Swedish exceptionalism, however, is unlikely to last given the high levels of immigration and ongoing problems with integration. Despite having less than 2 percent of the European Union’s population, Sweden last year took in almost 20 percent […]

Sudan People's Liberation Army soldiers move toward frontline positions near Pana Kuach, Unity State, South Sudan, May 11, 2012 photo (AP Photo by Pete Muller).

Seven months after fighting broke out between the government of South Sudan and anti-government forces, the conflict is at a stalemate, both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table. Unlike the early days of the conflict, when cities like Bor, Bentiu and Malakal changed hands multiple times, the status quo has largely held since the onset of the rainy season in May. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)—the East African regional organization that spearheaded the peace process between Sudan and now-independent South Sudan in the 1990s—has taken the lead to bring the government, represented by the ruling Sudan People’s […]

Members of Anti-balaka, a Christian militia, Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 26, 2014 (AP photo via Kyodo by Tomoaki Nakano).

All sides in Central African Republic’s civil war are looking to a peace conference this week in Brazzaville, the capital of the neighboring Republic of Congo, in the hopes that it could yield a cease-fire agreement. Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso is presiding over the summit, which began yesterday and will run until July 23, under the auspices of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). However, there are already major questions about what the meeting can actually achieve. As of the opening of the summit, it was still unclear who would be representing the main rebel group, Seleka. What’s […]

Flor Garcia, 19, of Honduras, holding her one-year-old daughter, turned themselves over to Customs and Border Protection Services agents after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico near McAllen, Texas, July 3, 2014 (AP photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez).

The United States, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are frantically trying to address the humanitarian crisis unfolding on both the U.S. border and in Central America’s Northern Triangle. Children and families have been fleeing from that region to the United States in record numbers since 2009, although the numbers have spiked dramatically in the past two years. Approximately 60,000 unaccompanied minors—children under 18 traveling without an adult—have been apprehended at the U.S. border since Oct. 1, overwhelming an immigration system designed to handle 6,000 to 7,000 in that time. Another 39,000 families, mostly women and children, have been taken into […]

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As Turkey prepares for its first direct presidential election, its two main secular opposition parties, the People’s Republican Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have jointly nominated Ekmelledin Ihsanoglu, the former secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as their candidate. Ihsanoglu, a religious conservative, will run against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the heavy favorite from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and Selahattin Demirtas, the co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party, a political party with links to the Kurdish-dominated Peace and Democracy Party. Ihsanoglu appears to have been chosen to compete with Erdogan in […]

Seychelles, March, 2005 (photo by Wikimedia user Simisa, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license).

The Tropics will have to deal with increasing numbers of so-called climate refugees as states disappear or become unlivable due to climate change, according to a recent collaborative report prepared by 12 research institutions across the region. Comprising tropical, arid and semi-arid areas, the Tropics will be faced with more droughts, rising sea levels and flooding, which could cause large migrations and destabilize fragile states in the region if the environmental stress leads to food shortages and other crises. The warning signs are already there, yet the international community has failed to respond with urgency. The Tropics are traditionally defined […]

Mauritanian troops along the Mali-Mauritania border, August 2010 (photo by Wikimedia user Magharebia, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Western governments mostly welcomed the re-election of Mauritania’s strongman, President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, last month, despite low turnout and an opposition boycott. Mauritania’s growing importance in regional counterterrorism and security efforts against al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other militant groups has shielded Aziz from outside pressure to reform. Yet the West should not confuse Aziz with the entire Mauritanian regime. His authority has limits and largely depends on the backing of the military. Moreover, though Aziz has proven to be a shrewd political operator, he is not immune to internal dissent, including among the military. Strengthening the […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Defense Department photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo).

On July 14, Xi Jinping began his second official visit to Latin America as president of China. The trip touches off with Xi’s participation in the sixth BRICS summit in Fortaleza, Brazil, which begins today. After this meeting of emerging market leaders, Xi will attend a Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) meeting in Brasilia, followed by visits to Argentina and Venezuela, where China maintains substantial energy-related interests. Xi’s Latin America tour will conclude on July 23 after a stop in Cuba. Xi’s trip is largely consistent with China’s previous state visits to Latin America. Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela […]

Fishermen on the Niger River, Mali, Jan. 4, 2007 (photo by Flickr user Carsten ten Brink licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license).

West Africa’s Niger River Basin has been the location of many high-profile conflicts in recent years, including the decades-long violence in the river’s delta region and the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria, and another Islamist insurgency in neighboring Mali. However, another form of conflict has also gripped the region: Violence between farmers and herders has already killed over 1,000 people this year in Nigeria alone, according to Human Rights Watch, and it is increasing. At the root of many such incidents is the issue of access to land and water resources. In the western Sahel region, climate and demographic changes […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China, July 7, 2014 (Kyodo via AP Images).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in China last week, where she visited Chengdu, in the west of the country, and Beijing. This marks Merkel’s seventh official trip to China since she took office in 2005, a further sign of the growing importance of Berlin’s special relationship with Beijing. Germany and China have been steadily boosting ties since the late 1990s, when Gerhard Schroeder was chancellor. In 2012, then-Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, while visiting Berlin, announced the goal to increase bilateral trade with Germany from $180 billion to $280 billion by 2015. Trade between the two reached $193 billion in 2013, […]

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