Troops ride in a vehicle near central Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, March 2, 2018 (AP photo by Ludivine Laniepce).

On May 12, unknown attackers killed a Catholic priest and five worshippers in northern Burkina Faso, before burning the church. Two days later, four Catholics were killed in a separate attack in the region. It was the third attack on Christians in Burkina Faso in just three weeks. Then, two weeks later, gunmen raided another church in the region and shot four people dead. The targeting of both Catholics and Protestants in the country comes amid a wider unraveling of security that has killed and displaced Muslims and Christians alike. In this rising crisis, the escalation is outpacing the government’s […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses supporters at Bharatiya Janata Party headquarters, New Delhi, India, May 23, 2019 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

The Bharatiya Janata Party owes its dominating win in India’s general election to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is being sworn in for the second time today. The right-wing, Hindu nationalist BJP seemingly sought every vote in his name, as if Modi were running in every electoral district in the country. It worked, as many voters made their decision based on who they wanted as their next prime minister, rather than as their representative in parliament. It helped, too, that the opposition remained divided and undecided on whom to project as its candidate for prime minister. In winning 303 of […]

Presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez, left, and his running mate, former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, greet supporters during their kick-off campaign rally, Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 25, 2019 (AP photo by Gustavo Garello).

It sounds like the most improbable political script. Everyone is waiting for the candidate, a hardened political veteran backed by an army of loyal supporters, to declare her run for president. Opinion polls already place her ahead in the race. But then, unexpectedly and on an otherwise quiet Saturday morning, she announces it is actually the vice presidency, not the presidency, that she will seek. She announces a hand-picked nominee for president, someone who has been out of the limelight for nearly a decade. He quickly accepts. Her supporters seem a little startled but unfazed. Then, on the following Tuesday, […]

Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong is sworn in as Vietnam’s president, Hanoi, Oct. 23, 2018 (Vietnam News Agency photo by Nguyen Phuong Hoa via AP).

At 76, Nguyen Phu Trong is a man in a hurry, intent on saving Vietnam’s Communist Party from corruption, backsliding and irrelevance. The implications for Vietnam are considerable, since the party’s claim on a monopoly of political power largely rests on its presumed moral superiority. Trong, a Marxist theoretician, is an unlikely leader. For decades, he toiled in obscurity, railing against party members’ loss of Marxist-Leninist virtue and decrying the erosion of the party’s revolutionary legitimacy. Then, three years ago, Trong orchestrated the dismissal of his bete noire, two-term Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. Now he’s head of state as […]

Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Revolutionary Guard commanders in Tehran, Iran, Sept. 18, 2016 (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP Images).

In the high-stakes game between Tehran and Washington, it is often hard to tell who is really bluffing. This week, President Donald Trump threatened that a war would be “the official end of Iran,” responding in part to reports that Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, had urged leaders of Iranian-backed militias across the Middle East to “prepare for proxy war.” For those counting cards, however, Iran may already have tipped its hand. The recent return to Iran of a wave of fighters from Liwa Fatemiyoun, an Iranian-backed militia made up of ethnic […]

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, center, and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, right, attend a ceremony to destroy a haul of seized cocaine, in Katunayaka, Sri Lanka, Jan. 15, 2018 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about national drug policies in various countries around the world. In February, job advertisements appeared in Sri Lankan newspapers, soliciting male candidates between 18 and 45 years old. According to The Associated Press, the posting said applicants must be male Sri Lankan citizens of “excellent moral character” who can pass a test certifying their “mental strength.” The position? Hangman. For over four decades, majority-Buddhist Sri Lanka has maintained a moratorium on carrying out the death penalty, even as judges continued to hand down death sentences for murder and drug trafficking […]

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini poses during a group photo of foreign ministers from the EU and the Eastern Partnership, Brussels, May 13, 2019 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

Starting today and continuing through Sunday, voters across Europe head to the polls to elect a new European Parliament. But this year will bring about more than just a new group of lawmakers in the European Union’s only directly elected body. There will be bigger changes at the top of the EU, with both Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, and Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, leaving their posts in October. Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, will also step down in November. For foreign policy observers, however, all eyes are on […]

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa applauds as confetti is launched at the end of the election results ceremony, Pretoria, South Africa, May 11, 2019 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

If South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994 provided what observers called a “designer outcome” in which the three major parties at the time all secured significant prizes, the country’s sixth general election in early May was its polar opposite: a vote in which the three principal players all experienced setbacks and had reason to be disappointed. The 1994 electoral outcome helped stabilize the new political dispensation after apartheid. It remains to be seen if this year’s result will usher in a new era of instability and fragmentation. With 57.5 percent of the national vote, the ruling African National Congress […]

A police officer stands on the side of the road near the newly inaugrated Al-Fattah Al-Alim mosque, in Egypt’s New Administrative Capital, east of Cairo, Jan. 10, 2019 (pool photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds via AP Images)

It doesn’t seem like an accident that Egypt’s prime minister, Mostafa Madbouly, used to be the country’s housing minister and, before that, the head of the government agency that came up with elaborate, mostly unrealistic urban development plans, including one that reimagined Cairo as Dubai in the Nile Valley. Since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi took power in a coup in 2013, he has set out to build. Canals, bridges, cities—they are all part of an old school nationalist development agenda redesigned for the 21st century. Taking their cues from recent building sprees in China and the Gulf states, Sisi’s megaprojects […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping, right, shakes hands with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, April 28, 2019 (Pool photo by Madoka Ikegami via AP Images).

QUETTA, Pakistan—In the early hours of April 18, a group of militants in southwestern Pakistan blocked the coastal highway that connects the port of Gwadar, near the Iranian border, to Karachi farther east. The militants stopped six buses near a mountain pass and checked the identity cards of all the passengers. They singled out 14 members of Pakistan’s armed forces, and then executed them all. People across Pakistan woke up to the disturbing news the next morning. Hours later, a coalition of three Baloch separatist groups, known as Baloch Raaji Aajoi Sangar, or BRAS, claimed responsibility for the attack. A […]

A man watches TV screens showing North Korean weapons systems, top right, in Seoul, South Korea, May 10, 2019 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

The long-standing goal of U.S. policy on North Korea has been the “complete, verifiable and irreversible” dismantling of its nuclear weapons program and arsenal. While the Trump administration remains committed to pressuring North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons, the U.S. should begin to consider its policy options in the event North Korea decides to keep them. Why have the Trump administration’s efforts to convince North Korea to relinquish its nuclear weapons program so far been unsuccessful? To begin with, the normal processes for working these types of international disarmament issues have been lacking. The integration of the U.S. […]

Matteo Salvini, the Italian deputy prime minister, right, gestures during a news conference with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Milan, Italy, Aug. 28, 2018 (AP photo by Luca Bruno).

Could next week’s European Parliament elections lead to a grand realignment of the continent’s politics, with the populist right wielding unprecedented influence? Hungary’s pugnacious and controversial prime minister, Viktor Orban, certainly hopes so. Poland’s de facto leader, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the ruling, arch-conservative Law and Justice party, PiS, is also eyeing the leadership of an invigorated right. So too Italy’s deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, the figurehead for a potential new bloc of hard-right populist parties and governments opposed to immigration and aiming to reconstitute European politics. But even if they all do as well as predicted next […]

A man and a woman look at images of people who have been disappeared in the context of Mexico’s fight against drug cartels and organized crime, Mexico City, May 10, 2019 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

Mexico’s drug policies could be in for some sweeping changes, and with them the country’s relations with the United States. Last week, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced that his administration would seek to revise the Merida Initiative, the $3 billion U.S. aid package that has largely funded Mexico’s war on drugs. In a press conference May 9, Lopez Obrador, widely known in Mexico as AMLO, said his administration does not “want aid for the use of force, we want aid for development.” The announcement came shortly after the Mexican government released a National Development Plan for the next five […]

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, left, arrives for a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019 (Photo by Kenzaburo Fukuhara for Kyodo via AP Images).

Although divisive internationally, President Rodrigo Duterte has remained popular at home in the Philippines despite a deeply illiberal streak. And with this week’s midterm elections, he has amassed even more political power—probably more than any Philippine leader since dictator Ferdinand Marcos. After pro-Duterte candidates dominated elections for the Senate—the only real remaining source of resistance to Duterte’s agenda—his allies control both chambers of the Philippine Congress. There will now be even fewer constraints on Duterte, who has already been working to weaken the checks on his powers, including by reshaping the Supreme Court. By the end of the year, he […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he arrives to deliver a speech to members of his ruling Justice and Development Party, Ankara, April 27, 2019 (Presidential Press Service photo via AP Images).

ISTANBUL—After 17 years in power, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his governing Justice and Development Party, the AKP, face perhaps their toughest test yet. Voters in Istanbul will head to the polls again on June 23 to elect a mayor for the second time in three months, after Turkey’s Supreme Election Council controversially canceled the results of the March vote, which the opposition narrowly won. The Supreme Election Council cited irregularities, backing a complaint brought by Erdogan and his party. All 11 of the board’s members were appointed under Erdogan’s government. Just as the opposition’s surprising win in Istanbul […]

Gabriela Hernandez, executive director of the nonprofit New Mexico Dream Team, holds up an image of Roxana Hernandez, a Honduran transgender woman who died in U.S. custody, Albuquerque, N.M., June 6, 2018 (AP photo by Mary Hudetz).

The desperation of daily life in Honduras is driving thousands of people to join other Central American migrants in their long march northward toward what they hope is asylum and safety in the United States. Yet the situation is especially grave for those who are LGBT, in particular gender non-conforming men and minors. Perhaps that was why the first people to reach the U.S. border in the widely publicized migrant caravan last November were 85 LGBT people. “LGBT people band together to protect each other,” says Aaron Morris, the executive director of Immigration Equality, which advocates for LGBT immigrants to […]

Sailors stand on the deck of the new Type 055-class destroyer known as Nanchang during a parade marking the Chinese navy’s 70th anniversary, Qingdao, China, April 23, 2019 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

In late March, China held an international fleet review to mark the Chinese navy’s 70th anniversary. In addition to the large Chinese contingent, 13 countries sent warships to the port city of Qingdao, on the coast of the Yellow Sea, while some 60 countries sent delegations to participate in the commemorations. The fleet review provided an opportunity to showcase the various advances in the Chinese navy and served as another public display of China’s growing military might. At the same time, though, it also exposed some of the Chinese navy’s enduring shortcomings. The fleet review, which involved 32 Chinese naval […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 261 2 Last