French President Emmanuel Macron watches a signing ceremony between French and Chinese firms at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Jan. 9, 2018 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

From the United States to Australia, countries are tightening restrictions on investment in strategic sectors like energy and defense, with a wary eye toward China. There are mounting concerns globally about the pitfalls associated with Chinese investment and whether it is a Trojan horse for Beijing to gain access to critical technologies, data and infrastructure that it can use for its own military ends. Europe is not immune to these concerns, and late last year, the European Union passed an investment screening mechanism of its own that specifically targeted China. Yet the EU will still have to do more to […]

Catalan police officers clash with demonstrators during a general strike in Catalonia, Spain, Feb. 21, 2019 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

MADRID—Catalan pro-independence leaders and the Spanish government have intensified their efforts to take their family feud global as 12 Catalan leaders are being tried before the Supreme Court in Madrid. This fight now goes beyond the October 2017 referendum on Catalonia seceding from Spain, which was declared illegal by the Spanish government, and the subsequent declaration of independence from Catalonia’s regional parliament. In what has become a pitched battle between dueling messaging campaigns, Catalan separatists have upped their rhetoric, casting Spain as a “low-cost democracy” and the trial in Madrid as “an alarming act of state repression.” The Spanish government, […]

An anti-government protester holds a banner that reads “We want a European Romania” outside the Romanian Athenaeum concert hall, Bucharest, Jan. 10, 2019 (AP photo by Vadim Ghirda).

It seems that everywhere you look today, people are taking to the streets. Recent mass protests have exploded in a dizzyingly diverse range of countries, including France, Hungary, Romania, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Sudan, Venezuela, Greece, as well as Gaza, and most recently Algeria. Does this surge of citizen activism and anger, which is just the most recent swell in what has been a decade-long tide of large-scale protests, offer some broader lessons about the state of democracy? Some protests may look like a sign of democratic decay amid a rise of populism and alienation with the political status quo—for example, in […]

Demonstrators participate in a rally against terrorism in Bolivar Square, Bogota, Colombia, Jan. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

Last month, a man linked to the National Liberation Army, or ELN, rammed a truck laden with explosives into a school in Bogota where cadets were training for the Colombian National Police. The blast, which killed at least 21 people and injured 68 more, jolted Colombian society and brought back memories of similar attacks in the early 1990s. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians took to the streets to condemn terrorism. After the ELN claimed responsibility for the attack, President Ivan Duque suspended peace talks with the guerilla group indefinitely. Many observers worried about the prospect of a return to widespread […]

Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party in traditional attire shout slogans during a rally addressed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the outskirts of Guwahati, India, Feb. 9, 2019 (AP photo by Anupam Nath).

A year ago, there were premature predictions that the populist wave would soon crest around the world. Yet sure enough, populists then won elections in Brazil, Italy and Mexico. Now, some political observers are again arguing that populism has already peaked, even though populist leaders like the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte maintain extraordinarily high popularity, with one recent poll showing Duterte’s approval rating at 81 percent. Populism “faces its darkest hour” in 2019, Gideon Rachman recently predicted in the Financial Times. Max Fisher claimed in The New York Times that populism had a “rocky” time in the West last year, citing, […]

Traffic in Hanoi passes in front of a signboard announcing the upcoming summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, Feb. 23, 2019 (Kyodo photo via AP Images).

Final preparations are underway in Hanoi, Vietnam, for this week’s summit meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. U.S. officials hope that in addition to providing a venue and facilitating logistics, their Vietnamese hosts will offer a dose of potent symbolism. Near the end of the Cold War, Vietnam, like North Korea today, was an authoritarian one-party state with a military-driven command economy, diplomatically isolated and struggling to feed its population. Since introducing market-oriented reforms in the late 1980s, it has grown into a regional economic powerhouse while maintaining its closed political system. It also […]

Builders gather around a campaign poster of Senegalese President Macky Sall, who is running for re-election, in Ngor village, near the capital, Dakar, Feb. 20, 2019 (Photo by Anna Pujol-Mazzini).

DAKAR, Senegal—President Macky Sall’s face is ubiquitous along the Corniche, Dakar’s main seaside road. “Votez Macky,” billboards declare in capital letters between ads for Chinese-manufactured tea and energy drinks. With each poster comes a different reason to give the incumbent a second term in Sunday’s election: Because he started building a $1 billion high-speed train project from the capital to the newly built city of Diamniadio; because he is responsible for “rice self-sufficiency,” after Senegal’s rice production more than doubled to reach some 1.1 million tons during his presidency; because he built a modern Senegal. Further along the Corniche, one […]

French soldiers at a military outpost on the outskirts of Mosul, Iraq, Jan. 2, 2017 (AP photo by Christophe Ena).

The prospect of an abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, first announced by President Donald Trump last December, sparked fear and uncertainty for the other countries participating in the U.S.-led international coalition fighting the last remnants of the Islamic State there. Trump’s decision has affected France in particular, putting the presence of French forces in Syria, until now somewhat overlooked, in the spotlight. France’s military operations in Syria grew out of its involvement in Iraq, where it initially joined in the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS, at the request of the Iraqi government in September 2014. At […]

United Nations peacekeepers from Senegal attend the ceremony marking the end of operations in Haiti, Port-au-Prince, Oct. 5, 2017 (AP photo by Dieu Nalio Chery).

With U.N. peacekeeping open to attacks by those who call it “unproductive” and push for further cuts to its already diminished budget, peacekeeping must make a case for its own utility, using data already at its fingertips. Does international peacekeeping protect civilians caught up in civil wars? Do the 16,000 United Nations peacekeepers deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo actually save lives, and if so how many? Did the 9,000 patrols conducted by the U.N. Mission in South Sudan in the past three months protect civilians there? [marketing]blockbuster[/marketing] The answer is a dissatisfying “maybe.” Without a convincing story […]

Members of the Muslim community demonstrate, calling for the disarmament of Anti Balaka factions and for peace in the PK5 district of Bangui, Central African Republic, May 31, 2014 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

After seven years of war, the Central African Republic has taken a shaky step toward peace. The United Nations announced in early February that the Central African government and 14 armed groups had agreed to a draft peace accord after 10 days of negotiations in Khartoum. The deal is a promising first step, but the drivers of conflict in CAR need to be addressed for a lasting peace to take hold, as competition for natural resources, ongoing ethnic disputes and, to some extent, religious cleavages, have all complicated past peace efforts. The agreement, provisionally signed on Feb. 6, calls for […]

A man walks past a portrait of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Aleppo, Syria, Dec. 24, 2018 (Photo by Mikhail Voskresenskiy for Sputnik via AP).

As the Syrian civil war grinds to an end, the government in Damascus, propped up by Iran and Russia, is regaining its footing, with important implications for the balance of power in the Middle East. Syria’s neighbors and powers outside the region are now attempting to determine the appropriate level of engagement, if any, to have with President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. While Assad’s main foreign patrons will no doubt continue to deepen their military, political and economic ties, it is countries that stood against him over the past seven years that now have the most difficult decisions to make. If […]

Iranians wave national flags during a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

As Iran celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, the United States’ confrontational policy toward Tehran under President Donald Trump presents a real challenge for the Iranian political elite, particularly the moderates among them. Trump’s policy of reimposing economic sanctions aims to impose “maximum pressure” on Iran in order to provoke a change of behavior in Iranian regional policy. Far from accomplishing its goals, the U.S. approach is more likely to strengthen conservative factions within Iran and give the moderates, including President Hassan Rouhani, an excuse for not working toward their electoral promises of granting greater freedoms and pursuing […]

President Donald Trump meets with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, July 25, 2018 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Through most of the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency, there have been competing prisms through which to view the current state of trans-Atlantic relations. Is the glass half-full, or half-empty? Both perspectives still present a fairly grim picture of dysfunction and confusion between the United States and Europe, largely fueled by Trump—featuring interpersonal friction, provocative rhetoric and U.S. policy choices that have upended the established liberal international order. With the early start of a lengthy U.S. presidential election season, and the possibility of a hard Brexit in March and European parliamentary elections in May that could cause additional […]

U.S. soldiers leave Al Faw palace at Camp Victory in Baghdad, Iraq, Dec. 1, 2011 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

The culture of speaking truth to power is alive and well in the United States, despite the toxic environment in which analysts and other truth-tellers in the federal government operate these days. That is the main lesson of an important new history of the Iraq War released last month by the U.S. Army. The study takes on some of the established narratives about the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and its violent aftermath, while offering refreshingly honest assessments of the performances of both civilian and military leaders. America’s tragic engagement in Iraq is well-trodden terrain, with formidable and critical […]

Russia’s Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile blasts off during a test launch from the Plesetsk launch pad in northwestern Russia, March 30, 2018 (Russian government photo via AP Images).

On Feb. 2, the United States formally declared its intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty. The official declaration, which had been signaled by the Trump administration well in advance, set the clock ticking: Unless Russia unexpectedly returns to full and verifiable compliance with the treaty through the destruction of all its INF-violating missile systems, the U.S. withdrawal will become effective in early August. The formal termination of the treaty will have wide-ranging implications for European security, the U.S. military force posture in Europe, NATO deterrence and defense policy, and arms control. For over 30 years, […]

People walk past the gate of the Eastern Industrial Zone where Chinese company Huajian opened its first factory in Ethiopia in the town of Dukem near the capital, Addis Ababa, March 21, 2018 (AP photo by Elias Meseret).

DAKAR, Senegal—When National Security Adviser John Bolton unveiled a new U.S. strategy for Africa in December, commentators were quick to notice that its overarching purpose is containing China. According to Bolton, China, and to a lesser extent Russia, are “deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the United States.” He claimed that China’s “predatory practices stunt economic growth in Africa, threaten the financial independence of African nations, inhibit opportunities for U.S. investment, interfere with U.S. military operations, and pose a significant threat to U.S. national security interests.” A more deliberate reading of […]

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, Al-Hajj Murad, chair of Moro Islamic Liberation Front, left, and other leaders at a ceremony at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, July 17, 2017 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

In the fragile west of the Philippines’ war-ravaged southern island of Mindanao, voters in recent weeks overwhelmingly approved an historic peace accord aimed at ending five decades of bloody separatist conflict. The vote ratified a new law on expanded autonomy, known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law, paving the way for a new Muslim-majority self-governing region to replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which has been in place since 1989. The public stamp of approval, in a high-turnout, two-stage referendum on Jan. 21 and Feb. 6, marks the culmination of a lengthy peace process between the Philippine government and […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 261 2 Last