U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, right, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speak at a press conference at the Pentagon on April 16, 2015 (Department of Defense photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Clydell Kinchen).

When the U.S. Department of Defense released its latest cyber strategy last week, it laid more than just another brick in the edifice of cybersecurity that the government has been building for decades. Coming just a few weeks after President Barack Obama’s Executive Order setting out a policy framework for sanctioning malicious cyber actors, the new strategy marks a significant evolution in Washington’s understanding and approach to providing security in the digital age. That’s because it comes with a warning to potential adversaries: The United States will no longer only be reactive in its cyber defenses, as the Pentagon will […]

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, left, and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin attend the launch of the Malaysian Education Blue Print, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 7, 2015 (AP photo by Joshua Paul).

Since the end of 2014, Malaysians, normally living in one of the most stable countries in Asia, have witnessed an extraordinary political spectacle. Although the same ruling coalition has run Malaysia since independence five decades ago, 89-year-old former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad recently launched a fusillade of public attacks on the current prime minister, Najib Razak, his longtime political protégé. In articles and in speeches, Mahathir has accused Najib of allowing vast sums to disappear from 1MDB, a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund; of evading questions about the suspicious murder of a Mongolian translator who allegedly had information about corruption in […]

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner smiles as she arrives at Vnukovo government airport outside Moscow, Russia, April 21, 2015 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

After a 12-year run, Kirchnerismo is nearing its end in Argentina. The next president, who will assume office in December after general elections in October, will inherit a country ready for a course correction—if not a complete change. There is no easy fix to the many ingrained political, economic and social problems that have befallen Argentina over the course of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s eight years in power, which followed the four-year presidency of her late husband, Nestor Kirchner. Still, great promise is the age-old tale in Argentina, and by putting a few key policies in place, the next […]

European Union Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager announces antitrust charges against Google, Brussels, Belgium, April 15, 2015 (EU Commission photo).

The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, brought antitrust charges against Google earlier this month, alleging that the U.S. tech giant manipulated its search engine to favor its comparison-shopping service, Google Shopping. The commission also expanded an investigation into whether Google forced manufacturers of Android mobile phones and tablets to use other Google services. The commission sent its “Statement of Objections,” outlining its allegations against the company, on April 15. Google now has 10 months to respond, and can either choose to settle and propose concessions to appease European regulators, or take the case to court. Either […]

People gather at the Place de Nation to ask for a civilian and democratic transition, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Nov. 2, 2014 (AP photo by Theo Renaut).

On the morning of Oct. 30, 2014, throngs of protesters overwhelmed security forces in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, and burned the National Assembly building, physically preventing deputies from voting to further extend President Blaise Compaore’s tenure. That “popular insurrection,” as almost everyone in Burkina Faso now calls it, continued into the next day, driving the authoritarian president out of the country after 27 years in power. Just over five months later, on April 7, under an interim government and with the assembly building still out of use, a new set of parliamentary deputies, including many former protesters, met in temporary […]

Yemeni women pray during a rally marking the third anniversary of the revolution, Sanaa, Yemen, Feb. 7, 2014 (AP photo by Hani Mohammed).

When Kawkab Althaibani demonstrated in Change Square in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, during the 2011 protests against then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh, her heart, she recalls, “was full of hope.” Today, six weeks after Houthi militias surrounded her house in Sanaa looking for her husband, an outspoken critic of the group, she is in Istanbul, where she fled the insecurity of Yemen’s civil war to seek asylum for her and her family. Althaibani is just one of many Yemeni women who once believed that the 2011 uprising was the harbinger of a more moderate, more inclusive and peaceful Yemen. Despite violence from […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands after a welcome ceremony at the new Presidential Palace, Ankara, Turkey, Dec. 1, 2014 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

On April 14, Turkey broke ground on its first nuclear power plant, a controversial $20 billion project in Akkuyu on the Mediterranean coast. Like Iran’s Bushehr plant, the only operational nuclear power reactor in the Middle East, the reactor at Akkuyu will be constructed by Russia. Moscow’s Middle Eastern sales drive doesn’t end there. It extends to recent nuclear cooperation agreements of varying degrees with Egypt, Jordan, Algeria and Saudi Arabia. With little notice, Russia is on the verge of becoming the nuclear Wal-Mart of the Middle East. But if across the region Russian nuclear exports come with many advantages, […]

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida during the 7th trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting, Seoul, South Korea, March 21, 2015 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

Foreign ministers from China, Japan and South Korea gathered in Seoul last month to discuss ways to restore trilateral diplomacy in the triangle of Northeast Asia. This was the first high-level trilateral meeting in nearly three years, the chasm between all three countries fueled in large part by the toxic state of bilateral relations between Tokyo and Beijing over their territorial dispute in the East China Sea. Compounding tensions are long-standing, historical grievances around World War II and the perception, widely held in Seoul and Beijing, that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is bent on revising the traditional narrative of […]

U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tokyo, April 8, 2015 (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Sean Hurt).

Earlier this month, Ashton Carter concluded his first visit to the Asia-Pacific region since becoming U.S. secretary of defense. In Japan and South Korea, Carter delivered several speeches underscoring the region’s importance and explaining the logic of U.S. President Barack Obama’s “pivot” to Asia. Carter will return to visit Singapore and India in a few weeks, a sign of how pivotal a player he has quickly become in the administration’s policy of “rebalancing” America’s strategic priorities toward the region. Carter’s recent trip, which began April 7 and ended April 12, aimed to reassure the two countries he visited, Japan and […]

Afghan security personnel gather at the site of a suicide attack, Kabul, Afghanistan, April 10, 2015 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).

Most days in March, pairs of young men mounted Honda 125 motorbikes to ride out of a mud-walled compound in the town of Muslimbagh, in Pakistan’s province of Baluchistan. Turbans wrapped around their faces to ward off the dust, they headed for the Afghan border, 50 miles away. These young men, recruits from the marginalized Pashtun communities of the borderlands, were riding off to be fighters for the Taliban. Most of their peers who have not taken up arms toil as casual laborers for the meagerest of pay. By joining a dilgai, or Taliban armed group, the young Pashtun men […]

South African President Jacob Zuma at an auditorium at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, Dec. 5, 2014 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

The past two years have been deeply unsettling ones for South Africa’s economy, defined by sluggish growth rates, power shortages, service delivery protests and endemic labor unrest. International ratings agencies are getting wary and could eventually downgrade the country’s sovereign credit rating. President Jacob Zuma’s government is currently failing to satisfy any of the key constituencies with a material stake in its economic policy: its own support base, an increasingly fragmented labor movement and investors at home and abroad. Like other emerging markets around the world, including the once-solid BRICS, South Africa’s economy is in a sea of trouble. Since […]

Women working at a silk factory near Dalat, Vietnam, Aug. 26, 2008 (Flickr photo by chiccops licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

A weeklong strike by tens of thousands of Vietnamese workers at the Taiwanese-owned Pou Yuen footwear factory in Ho Chi Minh City earlier this month exposed the severely eroded authority of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party, which is failing to keep the lid on a rising tide of labor disputes even as it promotes Vietnam as Asia’s next manufacturing hub. It was more than a rare challenge to the party. The strike extracted a concession from Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s government, with authorities agreeing to workers’ demands to amend a new social insurance law that would have restricted lump sum […]

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is welcomed by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, New Delhi, India, March 25, 2015 (photo from the website of the Prime Minister of India).

In late March, Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, became the first head of state from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to visit India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office last year. The visit came at a time when India is looking to renegotiate its long-term gas contracts with Qatar, given the opening up of other sources of supply around the world. Qatar is still India’s primary liquefied natural gas supplier and also hosts 600,000 Indian nationals, most of whom work as migrant laborers, which in recent years has led to India extending security guarantees to its […]

British Prime Minister David Cameron unveils the Conservative Party manifesto, Swindon, England, April 14, 2015 (AP photo by Peter Macdiarmid).

The iconic 1957 Times headline “Heavy Fog in Channel – Continent Cut Off” once aptly captured the United Kingdom’s sense of its unique place in the world. In the British popular imagination, the U.K.’s cultural differences from the rest of Europe extend to its politics. Whereas politics on the continent is based on what Britons see as messy compromises, shifting alliances and hidden coalition deals sealed before the votes are even counted, British parliamentary democracy, embedded in a winner-take-all electoral system, rests on the clarity and legitimacy of a binary choice. When disgruntled, voters can simply “throw the bums out” […]

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini observes a minute of silence at Jose Marti Memorial, Havana, Cuba, March 24, 2015 (EU Commission photo).

Last month, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced that the EU and Cuba had agreed to accelerate talks on establishing a cooperation agreement to normalize ties, which would hopefully be signed by the end of the year. Mogherini was in Havana for the third round of talks between the EU and Cuba since negotiations started up again in April 2014. The EU has tried several times in the past to negotiate a cooperation agreement with Cuba, first in 1995 and again in 2000, but talks have always failed. On the Cuban side, one of the biggest factors preventing […]

Somali police officers take part in a training exercise to stop and search a vehicle at General Kahiye Police Academy, Mogadishu, Somalia, June 16, 2014 (U.N. photo by Tobin Jones).

On March 30, Joan Kagezi, a senior Ugandan prosecutor, was assassinated in front of her children while on her way home from the grocery store in a Kampala suburb. Kagezi was one of the key prosecutors in the trial of 13 suspected members of the Somali militant group al-Shabab accused of perpetrating the July 2010 bombings in Kampala that killed 76 people watching a World Cup game. The start of the Kampala trial in the middle of March was a landmark in Uganda’s fight against terrorism. But now the Directorate of Public Prosecutions has lost one of its stars. With […]

Afghan women attend a literacy course supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund, Bamyan, Afghanistan, April 29, 2008 (U.N. photo by Sebastian Rich).

When Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, met with U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in late March, he suggested that “one day we’ll see an Afghan woman president.” His remarks came only a few days after a scene of horror had unfolded in Kabul. A 27-year-old Afghan woman and theology student named Farkhunda had been tortured in an ordeal that lasted for two hours. Hundreds of people watched, including the police, who stood by without intervening. The enraged crowd accused her—falsely, as it turned out—of having burned a Quran. They ultimately set her on fire and tossed her […]

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