Peru's newly sworn-in president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, after his inauguration ceremony, Lima, July 28, 2016 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

After a rollicking election, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski took office as Peru’s new president yesterday. To fulfill his broad pledges for Peru’s economy—mainly, to maintain market-friendly policies while reducing poverty—his administration will need to move quickly and decisively on several issues, especially the energy sector. Kuczynski has committed to closing the gap for access to electricity in Peru by 2020, but that requires efforts aimed at improving power distribution across the country—no easy task. He has prioritized natural gas as a power source, focusing on completing a touted but stalled pipeline connecting the Camisea gas fields in Cusco to Peru’s southern […]

Soldiers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy watch as the USS Blue Ridge arrives at a port in Shanghai, May 6, 2016 (AP photo).

The ruling earlier this month by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in favor of the Philippines in its dispute with China over some of the islands in the South China Sea has spurred a wealth of commentary, forecasts and questions. Three main narratives have emerged. The first centers on the respect of international law that is enshrined in the liberal order. Some observers have stressed that the international tribunal’s ruling strengthens the liberal order, while others see Beijing’s rejection of it as a test or even a threat to the liberal order itself. Many Western policymakers favor […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a statement on the Munich attack, Berlin, July 23, 2016 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

Since 2009, the European Union has faced a nonstop string of major crises, from Greece’s debt and Ukraine’s separatist fighting, to the refugee influx and now Brexit. Throughout each one, Germany has found itself leading the EU as it muddles its way to a response. But Germany’s leadership hasn’t always been welcome, and Germany’s own relationship with its role in Europe is complicated. Berlin has always had an important role in the EU, but historically it was the partnership between Germany and France that drove European policy. However, as the eurozone crisis grew into a pressing emergency and France was […]

A Somali soldier after a bomb attack by al-Shabab on a hotel frequented by government officials and business executives, Mogadishu, June 2, 2016 (AP photo by Farah Abdi Warsameh).

Earlier this month, al-Shabab militants targeted a Somali army base near Mogadishu, killing at least five soldiers. It was the latest in a string of attacks going back to December 2014, when about 25 attackers disguised in Somali army uniforms penetrated the heavily fortified airport of Mogadishu, the main base for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), wounding four. The attacks highlight how, despite being pushed out of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, in 2011 and having suffered a steady loss of territorial control since, al-Shabab continues to be the main obstacle to Somalia’s political transition. It has also emerged as […]

People leave notes at Gangnam Station to mourn the stabbing death of a 23-year-old woman by a male attacker, Seoul, South Korea, May 22, 2016 (AFLO photo by Lee Jae-Won via AP).

Last month, two South Korean police officers assigned to protect high school students in Busan, the country’s second-largest city, were found to have had sex with several of them. But neither was punished. Instead, they both resigned and were set up to receive full retirement benefits. The former police chief who broke the scandal on Facebook commented, “This is what happens when you dispatch young, good-looking police officers to schools filled with teenage girls.” News of this story broke as South Korea was in an uproar after a young woman was stabbed to death in a bathroom near Seoul’s central […]

Indian paramilitary soldiers and Kashmiri protesters during clashes in Srinagar, Kashmir, July 25, 2016 (AP photo by Mukhtar Khan).

This past April, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to Jammu and Kashmir, the disputed state administered by India but claimed by Pakistan. He sought to strike a conciliatory tone in the restive, Muslim-majority region, where residents resent the constant presence and heavy-handed actions of Indian security forces, and where some want to become independent or part of Pakistan. In a public address, Modi, echoing the words of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the last Indian prime minister from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), called for an embrace of three essential pillars to help Kashmir overcome its challenges: humanity, democracy and Kashmiriyat, […]

Protesters hold portraits of Morocco's King Mohammed VI and the Moroccan flag during a rally, Rabat, Morocco, March 13, 2016 (AP photo by Abdeljalil Bounhar).

On July 18, Morocco made a request to reintegrate into the African Union, more than three decades after it withdrew from the organization over its controversial claims to Western Sahara. The dispute over Western Sahara, which Morocco annexed in 1975 following Spain’s withdrawal, has lingered for decades and been a thorn in Morocco’s regional and foreign relations, particularly with neighboring Algeria. In 1984, the African Union recognized an independent Western Sahara as the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, known by its French acronym, RASD, and granted it membership, prompting Morocco to leave the supranational body. The Polisario Front, a liberation movement […]

A Russian SU-24 jet making a close-range, low altitude pass near the USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea, April 12, 2016 (U.S. Navy photo via AP).

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles inviting authors to identify the biggest priority—whether a threat, risk, opportunity or challenge—facing the international order and U.S. foreign policy today. A war between Russia and the United States is more likely today than at any time since the worst years of the Cold War. This may sound implausible or exaggerated to policymakers, journalists and the wider public. Yet the fact remains that increasing deployments by both sides, coupled with severely constrained direct dialogue, mean that dangerous incidents will become far more likely and will be far harder to […]

African Union headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Dec. 8, 2013 (Photo by Albert González Farran, UNAMID, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

The African Union held its 27th summit in Kigali, Rwanda, earlier this week, where it had planned to elect a new chairperson of the African Union Commission, the executive office of the AU. But in Kigali, all three candidates fell far short of the two-thirds majority needed to secure the position. As a result, attendees agreed to extend the tenure of the current chairperson, South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, by six months. The postponement of the elections reveals the complexities of regional politics in Africa, but also indicates some continent-wide uncertainty about the role and direction of the AU. Three candidates […]

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a TV interview at his party headquarters, Tokyo, July 10, 2016 (AP photo by Shizuo Kambayashi).

Earlier this month, Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) marched to an unsurprising, if not significant, election victory in the upper house of Japan’s parliament, the Diet. The LDP and its coalition partner, the Komeito Party, scored 70 of the House of Councilors’ 121 contested seats and now control a combined 146 of its 242 seats overall. Their victory, coupled with the LDP-Komeito coalition’s significant majority in the Diet’s lower house, ensures that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will have firm legislative control at least until the fall of 2018, when his term as president of the LDP is set […]

A Syrian woman fries eggs in front of her tent at Ritsona refugee camp, Greece, July 14, 2016 (AP photo by Petros Giannakouris).

Hungarian President Viktor Orban announced in early July that Hungary would hold a referendum in October on the European Union’s plan to redistribute 120,000 refugees from Greece and Italy throughout the union through a quota system. Orban, who has clashed with EU leaders in Brussels since he came to power in 2010, has been a vocal critic of the EU’s response to the migrant and refugee crisis since its onset. Hungary was the first country to close its borders to migrants and refugees at the height of the influx, and the planned referendum is his latest rebuke of EU policy. […]

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC commander Timoleon Jimenez at the signing ceremony of a cease-fire and rebel disarmament deal, Havana, Cuba, June 23, 2016 (AP photo by Desmond Boylan).

On June 23, the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States discussed OAS Secretary-General Luis Almagro’s report invoking the group’s Democratic Charter against Venezuela. Almagro’s report underlined not only Venezuela’s democratic deficits—including the lack of separation of powers, the jailing of political opponents, and the crackdown on protest—but also scarcities of food and medicine, inflation, and dramatic rates of crime and violence. At the very same time, 1,800 miles to the south, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Rodrigo Leon Echeveri, the leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), signed a historic cease-fire agreement calling for an […]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, at a ceremony marking the national day of nuclear technology, Tehran, April 7, 2016 (Iranian Presidency Office via AP).

July 14 was the first anniversary of the historic nuclear accord between Iran and the group of world powers known as the P5+1—the U.S., China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and Germany. For the first time, the deal put in place significant curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from crippling international sanctions. The deal, and its subsequent implementation so far, have been hailed by a wide number of national security luminaries, nuclear nonproliferation analysts and the vast majority of the global community. But opposition to it, particularly among foreign policy hawks in the United States, Israel and […]

A welcome ceremony for Adm. John Richardson, chief of U.S. naval operations, at the Chinese navy's headquarters, Beijing, July 18, 2016 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

On July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague issued a resounding ruling that was three years in the making. In early 2013, the Philippines brought a case to the tribunal against China, contesting many of Beijing’s maritime claims in the South China Sea. The Philippines asked the tribunal to reject China’s claims based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which both Beijing and Manila have signed. The Philippines was widely expected to prevail in the judgment, despite the fact that China has refused to participate in the tribunal’s proceedings and had […]

People gather at a new memorial in a seaside park on the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France, July 18, 2016 (AP photo by Claude Paris).

The July 14 massacre in Nice, in which a Tunisian-born man living in France, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, drove a truck through densely packed crowds celebrating Bastille Day along the waterfront, came just one week after a parliamentary committee called for an overhaul of the French intelligence services. That call followed an investigation by a nonpartisan parliamentary commission into the response to the two attacks France suffered in 2015: first at the offices of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket that killed 17 in January; and subsequently at a number of sites in and around Paris, including the Bataclan […]

A supporter of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at a rally in Bindura, Zimbabwe, July 8, 2016 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

Things are not going well in Zimbabwe. Although its economy experienced some recovery in the early part of the 2010s, after nearly a decade of hyperinflation and political violence, it has again hit the skids. In recent weeks, the country has seen the largest street protests in a decade. Local banks are limiting withdrawals to $100 per day—when they actually have cash. This lack of hard currency has also led to the introduction of restrictions on the imports of many goods, and local storekeepers have said they are unable to pay their suppliers. The export market for natural resources is […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Thail Prime Minister and junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha before their meeting, New Delhi, June 17, 2016 (AP photo by Saurabh Das)

Last month, the head of the Thai junta, Prayut Chan-o-cha, visited India for the first time since he seized power in a military coup in May 2014. Though India and Thailand have long been diplomatic partners, the visit saw an uptick in their cooperation as they prepare to commemorate the 70th anniversary of their relationship next year. India and Thailand have long made a commitment to enhancing their bilateral ties, recognizing the value of the relationship both for its own sake as well as part of their regional strategies, whether India’s current “Look East” policy or its corollary, Thailand’s “Look […]

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