U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin walk to participate in a group photo at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019 (AP photo by Susan Walsh).

A key arms control treaty that limits the number of strategic nuclear weapons the United States and Russia can deploy is set to expire in February 2021. Without it, the two countries could be locked into a nuclear arms race not seen since the height of the Cold War. Fortunately, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as New START, is popular in both Washington and Moscow, and it can be extended for an additional five years with just the signatures of Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Renewing it should be the easiest foreign policy decision Trump can make. […]

Women and children related to fighters of the Islamic State group wait to board buses and trucks to leave the al-Hol detention camp, Hasakeh province, Syria, June 3, 2019 (AP photo by Baderkhan Ahmad).

ISTANBUL—A German woman suspected of supporting the Islamic State was repatriated from Syria along with her three children last month, in the first case of an adult European ISIS member brought home through official channels. On Nov. 22, the family was released from the overcrowded detention camp in northern Syria where they’d lived for almost a year and transferred to the Iraqi city of Erbil, where they boarded a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. The mother, known only as Laura H., had her passport confiscated upon arrival. She cannot leave Germany, as she is being investigated for belonging to a terrorist […]

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, center, and his wife Iriana, walk with his new Cabinet ministers and their spouses after the swearing-in ceremony of the new Cabinet at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, Oct. 23, 2019 (AP photo by Dita Alangkara).

Two months into his second term, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, has announced some bold new economic plans. He has vowed to push through major legislation on deregulation—modeled on the Trump administration’s agenda in Washington—and launch a staggering number of new infrastructure projects. It is all part of a push to attract foreign investment, which has provoked backlashes in Indonesia before, but which he said “no one should be allergic to” in a speech after winning reelection. Whether Jokowi can implement this economic agenda remains unclear. He has built a vast, 50-member Cabinet, including vice ministers, from […]

Forensic officers at the scene of the murder of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili, a Georgian asylum-seeker believed killed by Russian agents, Berlin, Germany, Aug. 23, 2019 (Photo by Christoph Soeder for dpa via AP Images).

The German government announced earlier this month that it believed Russian agents were responsible for the killing of a Georgian asylum-seeker who was murdered in Berlin last summer in broad daylight. The incident had all the hallmarks of a Russian state-orchestrated assassination: The target was a known anti-Kremlin rebel, and the prime suspect, who was taken into custody just hours after the murder, was a Russian man with a criminal record who had traveled to Germany on a fake passport less than a week before the killing. Yet despite ample evidence, the German government for months was cautious in publicly […]

Sudanese people celebrate in the streets of Khartoum after ruling generals and protest leaders announced they have reached an agreement on the disputed issue of a new governing body, July 5, 2019 (AP photo).

Is there any current world leader who faces a more imposing set of challenges than Sudan’s prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok? Four months after taking charge of a transitional government that was formed in the wake of Sudan’s popular revolution, Hamdok—a veteran diplomat with a doctorate in economics—has the unenviable task of repairing a divided, unstable and economically ravaged country with both hands tied behind his back. He is constrained by everyone from partners in the security forces who are resistant to change, to former regime hard-liners, to an expectant Sudanese public, as well as an international community that has offered […]

COP25 party members talk ahead of the closing plenary in Madrid, Dec. 15, 2019 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

The annual United Nations Climate Change Conference wrapped up Sunday in Madrid, after nearly two weeks of wrangling. Despite a two-day extension that made this the longest round of U.N. climate talks ever, the meeting was a massive failure. Instead of setting more ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, negotiators went home mostly empty-handed, having punted the most difficult climate-related questions to next year’s conference in Glasgow, Scotland. “The international community lost an important opportunity to show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation & finance to tackle the climate crisis,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres declared in a tweet Sunday. The […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump at the NATO summit in London, Dec. 4, 2019 (Photo by Michael Kappeler for dpa via AP Images).

The recent NATO summit in London underscored how Turkey’s relations with its allies are becoming increasingly confrontational. In the run-up to the meeting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to veto the alliance’s defense plan for Poland and the Baltic states unless key Western powers became more attentive to Turkish interests in Syria. Although Erdogan eventually signed on to the summit’s final communique, the Turks are continuing to stonewall approval of the plan until the West agrees to designate the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish militia, as a terrorist group. Turkey has been vocally complaining about Western support for the YPG […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit at the Itamaraty palace in Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 14, 2019 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).

Natural gas started flowing from Russia to China for the first time on Dec. 2 when Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, officially launched the initial phase of a huge new pipeline known as the Power of Siberia. Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned energy giant, claims it is expected to generate $400 billion in revenue—its largest export contract ever. The potentially lucrative pipeline also has clear geopolitical undertones, accelerating the strategic entente between the world’s second-largest gas producer and Asia’s biggest economy at a time when both Russia and China are pushing back against the global influence of the […]

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks outside 10 Downing Street after his Conservative Party won a commanding majority in parliamentary elections, London, Dec. 13, 2019 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

LONDON—In the weeks leading up to the British general election last Thursday, all the opinion polls suggested that the Conservative Party was on course for a large parliamentary majority, with the Tories enjoying an average lead of 10 points over the opposition Labour Party. Yet despite the polls having pointed in that direction all along, few observers expected such a crushing victory. In the end, the Conservatives took 365 seats, handing them an 80-seat majority and dealing Labour its most brutal defeat since 1935. But it isn’t simply the scale of the Tories’ victory that provoked disbelief. It was the […]

An antigovernment protester chants during a demonstration in Bogota, Colombia, Nov. 27, 2019 (AP photo by Ivan Valencia).

Demonstrators have taken to the streets over the past three weeks in a series of massive antigovernment rallies in Colombia, making it the latest Latin American country to be convulsed by protests. While the ongoing unrest has not yet reached the scale of other recent crises elsewhere in the region, such as Bolivia or Chile, it nonetheless poses a stiff challenge to conservative President Ivan Duque, who has come under criticism in recent months for his unpopular economic and security policies. The demonstrations began with a general strike on Nov. 21, with hundreds of thousands of people gathering in cities […]

A ship that ran aground during Hurricane Dorian is seen through the broken wall of a house, in Abaco, Bahamas, Sept. 27, 2019 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

When Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm, struck the Bahamas in September, it killed dozens of people, displaced tens of thousands more and, according to a recent report, inflicted $3.4 billion worth of damage—roughly a quarter of the country’s GDP. It was the latest sign of the outsized impact that climate change is having on the Caribbean. Many of the region’s small island nations have limited habitable land, much of it barely above sea-level, which is one reason why storms like Dorian, which are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change, can have such a devastating impact. The […]

Farmers opposed to the Tia Maria open-pit mine, which they fear will contaminate irrigation water in the farming-rich Tambo valley, march in Cocachacra, Peru, May 15, 2015 (AP photo by Martin Mejia).

In mid-October, Peruvian authorities declared a 30-day state of emergency in the copper-rich province of Chumbivilcas, where anti-mining protesters had blocked a stretch of a vital highway called the Southern Runway for almost a month. The blockade, led by indigenous farmers and laborers known as comuneros, caused major disruptions to local commerce and large-scale mining efforts nearby, and nearly forced a halt in operations at Las Bambas, one of Peru’s largest copper mines. It was just the latest in a series of anti-mining protests by comuneros in Peru this year, which have held up hundreds of millions of dollars in […]

Demonstrators take to the streets to protest against the government and reject the upcoming presidential elections, in Algiers, Algeria, Dec. 11, 2019 (AP photo by Toufik Doudou).

For 10 months, weekly mass protests have rocked Algeria, as demonstrators have taken to the streets with sweeping demands that the country’s entire entrenched regime step aside. This standoff between protesters and Algeria’s generals is about to enter a new phase with Thursday’s presidential election. Rather than a genuine chance to elect a new government, the vote, forced through by the generals over popular objections, is an attempt to rebuild the political structure that Algerians have been trying to bring down since their protest movement erupted in February: a military dictatorship with a civilian façade. The results of the election […]

People stroll in a park along the Caspian Sea in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, Sept. 17, 2019 (Kyodo photo via AP Images).

Azerbaijan’s parliament voted to dissolve itself last week, triggering legislative elections on Feb. 9. Some observers speculate that the move sets the stage for President Ilham Aliyev to eventually hand over power to his wife, First Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva. She has assumed a much higher profile on policy issues in the past few years, most recently highlighted by a six-day solo diplomatic mission to Moscow in late November. It is unclear why Aliyev would want to transfer power, but he has been in office for more than 15 years, and the opposition has peddled unsubstantiated rumors about his health. […]

The new director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, addresses the media during a news conference in Vienna, Austria, Dec. 2, 2019 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).

Rafael Grossi, a veteran Argentine diplomat, took the helm of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Dec. 3, promising to bring renewed vigor and a higher profile to the world’s nuclear watchdog after the illness and death of his predecessor, Yukiya Amano of Japan. Grossi, who has previously served as Argentina’s permanent representative to the IAEA and the agency’s effective chief of staff, most recently has been heading preparations for next year’s review conference of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. In a fall contest that stretched over several rounds, Grossi bested Romanian diplomat Cornel Feruta and two other competitors to win […]

A demonstrator wearing a mask in front of a burning barricade during a protest in Santiago, Chile, Nov. 28, 2019 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

A season of discontent has descended across Latin America, where economies have stalled, politics have become more polarized and poisonous, and millions of newly middle-class citizens have begun to wonder whether they will be able to hold on to their hard-won gains. Sparked by a stolen election here, an increase in the price of gasoline or subway fares there, people from Ecuador to Chile to Bolivia and now Colombia have spilled into the streets angry with their leaders. Where mass protests haven’t erupted—in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico—voters have instead registered their mounting frustrations against incumbents at the ballot box. It […]

French police officers evacuate a migrant during a large operation to dismantle makeshift migrant camps in the north of Paris, Nov. 7, 2019 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

French President Emmanuel Macron has maintained a frosty rapport with the national media since taking office in 2017, giving just two press conferences and accusing journalists of “no longer seeking the truth.” So it was a bit out of character when in late October he sat down for a lengthy interview with the magazine Valeurs Actuelles, to outline his priorities for the second half of his five-year term. Immigration—notably, how to reduce it—was chief among them. Valeurs Actuelles isn’t mainstream or widely read. It’s a conservative weekly magazine known for alarmist tropes against migrants and Muslims, so it seemed like […]

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