U.S. President Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron at the G-7, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, June 7, 2015. (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

This month represented another stepping stone in the long diplomatic march toward a prospective international climate change agreement in Paris in December. In the Bavarian Alps on June 7-8, the G-7 countries agreed on a communiqué reiterating their support for the goal of limiting climate change to below 2 degrees Celsius—compared to pre-industrial baseline levels—and pledging complete decarbonization of the global economy by 2100. The G-7 countries also restated their commitment to a promise that they have been making repeatedly since the Copenhagen climate accord talks in December 2009. Developed nations pledged billions of dollars a year in financial assistance […]

Demonstrators hold a sign that reads in Spanish "We march for a free Ecuador" during an opposition march, Guayaquil, Ecuador, June 25, 2015 (AP photo by Dolores Ochoa).

Unlike his predecessors, Ecuador’s president, Rafael Correa, has enjoyed consistently high approval ratings since coming into office in 2007. And while support for some other regional leaders, hit hard by economic slowdowns and corruption scandals, are nearing rock-bottom levels, Correa’s rule has also been relatively free of political turbulence. But over the past several weeks, that has changed. Growing protests reveal that many Ecuadoreans are increasingly disaffected and no longer afraid to take to the streets and openly defy a self-assured president intent on carrying out his so-called citizens’ revolution. The biggest protests came late last week in the country’s […]

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron during a speech, London, U.K., May 21, 2015 (U.K. government photo by Arron Hoare).

British Prime Minister David Cameron once implored his fellow Conservative Party members to “stop banging on about Europe.” But that was back in 2006, when he was just running the party as its new leader. In a speech in January 2013, as his awkward coalition government with the pro-European Union Liberal Democrats was enacting unpopular austerity cuts at home, Cameron changed course. He promised that, if re-elected, he would renegotiate the fundamental terms of the United Kingdom’s EU membership and put the result up for an in-or-out referendum to be held by the end of 2017. Since all opinion polls […]

Mining machinery and barrels with chemicals sit on the facilities of Barrick Gold Corp's Pascua Lama project, northern Chile, May 23, 2013 (AP photo by Jorge Saenz).

Mining conflicts are intensifying across Latin America, with 218 mining projects embroiled in conflicts with 312 communities—including six conflicts spanning national borders—from Mexico to Argentina. One of the most prominent protests flared up this spring in southern Peru, at the $1.4 billion Tia Maria copper mine run by the Mexican-owned company Southern Copper. In late May, more than five years of protests came to a head there, with a general strike and police crackdown that resulted in five deaths and hundreds wounded and arrested. One issue above all is driving the Tia Maria protests, the 34 others in Peru and […]

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras speaks with the media as he arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Thursday, June 25, 2015 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

Another round of bailout talks today between Greece and its creditors, the so-called troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), ended without a deal. Next Tuesday Greece is scheduled to make a $1.8 billion loan repayment to the IMF at the same time its bailout program is due to expire. If there is no agreement, an additional $8.1 billion in bailout funds will remain frozen; Greece will default on its loans; and the country could be forced to leave the eurozone. European finance ministers are scheduled to reconvene Saturday for a […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister of Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, St. Petersburg, Russia, June 18, 2015 (Official Kremlin photo).

Russia’s joint naval exercises with Egypt in the Mediterranean earlier this month put into sharper relief its resurgent ties in the Middle East, where it is steadily reviving a meaningful role for itself. Russia has negotiated a slew of new arms sales and security cooperation agreements, both with Iraq and Egypt; is one of the chief arbiters of Syria’s fate, as a backer of President Bashar al-Assad; and remains an important component of the negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program. Despite a toxic relationship with the West over the crisis in Ukraine, Moscow’s foreign policy is not inherently inimical to U.S. […]

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni speaks during an interview, New York, May 5, 2015 (AP photo by Bebeto Matthews).

KAMPALA, Uganda—As Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, is learning, subverting constitutional term limits can be a tricky business. In April, Nkurunziza announced he would be running for a third stint ahead of a June vote, despite a constitutional limit of two terms. His announcement was met with immediate protests, still ongoing, and an attempted coup. The election is now delayed until at least July. His counterparts in nearby Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be watching warily. Both are about to bump up against their own term caps—the DRC’s Joseph Kabila next year and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame in […]

A Kurdish peshmerga fighter fires a weapon towards an Islamic State Group position, overlooking the town of Sinjar, northern Iraq, Jan. 29, 2015 (AP photo by Bram Janssen).

SINJAR, Iraqi Kurdistan—The crash of the incoming mortar came from way behind the Kurdish lines; the shells were landing in the rear. Yet the excited and somewhat fearful commotion among the peshmerga fighters was instant. Men were looking through the peek holes at the Islamic State (IS) lines a few hundred yards away, trying to locate the mortar. Kurdish officers were on the phone, calling for a coalition airstrike. The warplane soon came roaring in, but by then the mortar had disappeared among the houses. A second coalition jet targeted an IS fighting unit—the next, a tank. The Kurds rely […]

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi with United Nations special envoy for Libya Bernardino Leon as they arrive for a meeting, Chigi Palace, Rome, March 11, 2015 (AP photo by Alessandro Di Meo, Ansa).

In the winter of 2013, then-Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta came out of a meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama with the idea that the United States, too busy with other issues, had delegated the solution of the turmoil in Libya to Italy. This perception soon percolated into both the foreign policy and the defense establishments in Rome: Libya was now important not just because of geography and longstanding ties, but also because it was one of the few areas of the world in which the rest of the West would look to Italy for a solution. Yet two years […]

Rohingya migrants sit in their room at a temporary shelter, Bayeun, Aceh Province, Indonesia, June 1, 2015 (AP photo by Binsar Bakkara).

Over the past month, Myanmar’s multiple domestic crises have spilled over its borders and into South and Southeast Asia, setting back the country’s reforms just before Myanmar’s highly anticipated national elections this fall. Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence and discrimination in western Myanmar have attracted the most global news coverage. Their plight in rickety boats with little food or water has sparked international calls for Myanmar’s government to take stronger measures to end discrimination against the Rohingya and address the crisis at its source. But the flight of the Rohingya is just one issue undermining Myanmar’s stability. Fighting has flared again […]

Syrian refugees mass at the Turkish border while they flee intense fighting in northern Syria between Kurdish fighters and Islamic State militants in Akcakale, southeastern Turkey, June 15, 2015 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

Nearly 60 million people last year were displaced by war, conflict and persecution, the highest number ever on record, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) annual report today. The largest source of refugees is Syria, with 3.9 million Syrian refugees in 107 countries. Syria overtook Afghanistan in the U.N.’s ranking; Afghanistan had previously held that position for more than 30 years. As U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonia Guterres said, “We are witnessing a paradigm change, an unchecked slide into an era in which the scale of global forced displacement as well as the response required […]

Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos shakes hands with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, June 9, 2015 (Wang Zhao, Pool photo via AP).

In late March, Jane’s reported that Angola would soon receive the first batch of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets as part of an ongoing military modernization program that kicked off four years ago. The modernization program aims to boost the number of troops in service and renew Angola’s military hardware in order to improve the operational capabilities of its armed forces. But when it was launched, resource-rich Angola was awash in oil revenue. The drop in global oil prices since last summer raises questions about the sustainability of Angola’s military modernization, as a growing economic crisis has already forced the […]

Commerce Square, Lisbon, Portugal, Nov. 26, 2013 (photo by Flickr user mgkm photography, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license).

With all eyes on Greece, especially after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) walked away from debt negotiations last week, bringing Athens that much closer to default, it is easy to miss that last week also marked the one-year anniversary of Portugal completing its bailout program. Portugal isn’t in the clear just yet: Its employment rate increased to 13.7 percent last month and debt to GDP ratio is 129 percent. But its economic situation has stabilized, and the government is repaying its debts on time, if not early. Portugal signed its 78 billion euro economic adjustment program with the so-called troika […]

New Filipino professional nurses take their oaths during a ceremony at a convention center, Manila, Philippines, Sept. 20, 2010 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

The Philippines’ labor export system is a potential model for other developing countries. But there are concerns about how Filipino migrants are treated abroad, as well as the potential effects of a skills drain at home. In the 1970s, in order to address an escalating unemployment rate and balance of payments crisis, the Philippine government adopted a comprehensive range of policies that, among other things, systematically encouraged the export of contract labor from throughout the country. The program, developed during the long military dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, was rationalized as a temporary measure to address the country’s immediate problems. Four […]

Supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party wave flags with pictures of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan during a rally, Istanbul, Turkey, June 8, 2015 (AP photo by Lefteris Pitarakis).

They had predicted success with breezy self-confidence, but even the leaders of the Kurdish-rooted Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were likely surprised by their historic gains in Turkey’s parliamentary elections earlier this month. Sweeping 13 percent of the national vote, the HDP became the first majority-Kurdish party to formally enter parliament in Turkish history, pushing beyond the 10 percent election threshold that had forced Kurds to field independent candidates in elections past. For HDP voters, victory seemed all the sweeter given the blow it delivered to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) failed to secure a […]

Demonstrators gather outside the National Palace demanding the resignation of Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, Guatemala City, June 13, 2015 (AP photo by Luis Soto).

The uncovering of a series of massive corruption scandals over the past two months has sparked a succession of widespread public protests larger than Guatemala has seen in recent history. Since April, thousands of Guatemalans from a diverse cross-section of society have repeatedly poured into the streets to demand change and an end to corruption. The wave of protests incited an ongoing political crisis, forcing the resignation of Vice President Roxana Baldetti and several high-level government officials, including four members of President Otto Perez Molina’s Cabinet. With calls growing for Perez Molina to resign, and signs that the Supreme Court […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina witnessing the exchange of agreements between India and Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 6, 2015 (photo from the website of the Indian Prime Minister).

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangladesh earlier this month brought with it the formal ratification of a historic land border agreement that finally settles a four-decades-long dispute. Pocked with enclaves and counter-enclaves, the border between India and Bangladesh was a geographical oddity—and a headache for New Delhi and Dhaka. The land swap that Modi agreed to had been in the works for a while; it was actually signed by both governments in 1974, but never ratified. At the cost of ceding some land to Bangladesh, the deal is in keeping with Modi’s agenda to rebuild strategic trust with […]

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