Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2020 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).

Juan Guaido is on tour and looking presidential, visiting some of the more than 50 countries around the world that have recognized him as Venezuela’s legitimate interim president. In the past two weeks, the 36-year-old opposition leader made an official state visit to Colombia; met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London; addressed the European Parliament in Brussels and met with the EU’s new foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell; held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris; chatted with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European officials on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; […]

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, center, and Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich review an honor guard in Hanoi, Vietnam, Nov. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Hau Dinh).

With China-Vietnam relations deteriorating as a result of Beijing's provocations, Hanoi has signaled a possible shift in alliances. Whether Vietnam actually follows through, though, likely depends on who takes over the ruling Communist Party during next year's National Congress. In a major new defense white paper, its first in 10 years, Vietnam has begun signaling that it could abandon its long-standing foreign policy strategy of hedging between major powers like China and the United States and move more definitively into Washington’s orbit. These documents are generally full of turgid jargon, but this one, released late last year, is unusually blunt, […]

From left, U.N. Libya envoy Ghassan Salame, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the conference on Libya in Berlin, Germany, Jan. 19, 2020 (Pool photo by Axel Schmidt via AP).

At a recent conference in Berlin, more than a dozen outside powers, including Russia and Turkey, pledged to stop interfering in Libya’s civil war and respect the terms of a shaky cease-fire and a United Nations-imposed arms embargo. But just days after the meeting in Berlin, the U.N. warned that foreign materiel and personnel were continuing to flow into the country. The fragile truce that was first declared on Jan. 12 has now collapsed, as fierce fighting resumed in Libya this week between breakaway Libyan militia commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces and the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli. Fueled by increasing foreign […]

Demonstrators burn an effigy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while protesting against a new citizenship law, in Kolkata, India, Jan. 11, 2020 (AP photo by Bikas Das).

India’s new Citizenship Amendment Act, which passed last month and applies to migrants from three neighboring South Asian countries, has sparked domestic unrest as well as international outrage that has reverberated beyond the region. Less than a year after winning a landslide reelection, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly finds his global reputation stained. Though controversial on its own, the citizenship law has triggered such strong opposition because it epitomizes the sharp right turn Modi has taken in his second term. Since August, his government has implemented a series of divisive policies that align with long-held ideological goals of the […]

Isabel dos Santos and her husband, Sindika Dokolo, arrive for a ceremony at the City Hall in Porto, Portugal, Jan. 6, 2020 (AP photo by Paulo Duarte).

A recently released trove of more than 700,000 leaked documents illuminate the shocking extent of corruption and kleptocracy in Angola. The files, known as the Luanda Leaks and published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and dozens of partner media outlets, detail how the country’s former first daughter, Isabel dos Santos, abused her power for personal gain, amassing a fortune estimated at $2.2 billion and earning her the title of “Africa’s richest woman.” Dos Santos, who splits her time mostly between London and Dubai, allegedly exploited positions of influence given to her by her father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, […]

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, left, and Green Party leader Werner Kogler at a press conference in Vienna, Austria, Jan. 2, 2020 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).

VIENNA—When Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s conservative political boy wonder, and Green Party leader Werner Kogler stepped in front of the nation’s TV cameras to announce an unlikely new coalition government in early January, after months of talks, neither seemed very excited. The gaps between their parties were still wide, and the compromises many. Nevertheless, in the end, they had agreed on a governing program that emphasizes restrictions on migration and more border security, including a much-criticized ban on headscarves for girls under the age of 14 and preemptive detention for migrants who have not committed any crimes. There is also an […]

Pages from the Senate Intelligence Committee report that details Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, photographed in Washington, July 26, 2019 (AP photo by Jon Elswick).

As the United States girds for highly contentious and consequential elections later this year, federal agencies and local officials remain woefully unprepared to deal with the high likelihood of foreign interference. The House of Representatives has passed three bills to address election-related vulnerabilities, but none has been taken up by the Senate, leaving gaping deficiencies in election infrastructure and the balloting process. A congressional appropriation of $425 million for election security, enacted last month as part of a broader spending package, will help local officials with urgent needs, but it comes late in the cycle and fails to create a […]

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, second left, walks next to Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, second right, and First Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, left, at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, Jan. 14, 2020 (AP photo by Manu Fernandez).

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s new Cabinet was sworn in last week, marking the official start of Spain’s first coalition government since its democratic transition in the 1970s. Sanchez’s Socialist Party won a general election in November but failed to secure an outright majority in the legislature. After weeks of negotiations, the lower house of Spain’s parliament earlier this month narrowly approved Sanchez’s proposal for a coalition with the far-left Podemos party, by 167 votes to 165, with 18 abstentions. From a secessionist push in the northeastern region of Catalonia to the fracturing of its two-party system, long dominated by […]

Guinean President Alpha Conde arrives at the “Compact with Africa” conference at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Nov. 19, 2019 (Photo by Bernd von Jutrczenka for dpa via AP Images).

Guinean President Alpha Conde announced plans in December to replace the country’s constitution via a referendum, a move that critics say will allow him to stay in power beyond the current two-term limit. Guinea’s existing constitution requires the 81-year-old Conde, who was first elected in 2010, to step down after finishing his second and final term later this year. But the proposed draft document is replete with vague language on term limits that would likely allow him to run for reelection. Conde has not stated explicitly whether he plans to do so, but many Guineans believe he is clearing a […]

A protest against President Jimmy Morales' decision to end the work of a U.N. anti-corruption commission, Guatemala City, Sept. 20, 2018 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

The Trump administration is due to soon formally release its findings from a review of U.S. foreign assistance programs, aimed at “realigning” them for “a new era of great-power competition,” which critics have described as an effort to curb foreign aid overall. Given this context, aid and development organizations must be prepared to show how their work serves America’s strategic interests. Anti-corruption efforts do just that by striking at the heart of what keeps leaders of adversaries like China and Russia in power. Both countries are increasingly weaponizing corruption by using flows of illicit money and opaque deals to gain […]

Bolivia’s interim president, Jeanine Anez, arrives to administer the oath of office to the new military hierarchy at the presidential palace, in La Paz, Bolivia, Nov. 13, 2019 (AP photo by Juan Karita).

For an interim president charged with overseeing Bolivia until new elections can be organized later this year, Jeanine Anez has acted like anything but the head of a caretaker government. Anez ascended to power unexpectedly last November following the ouster of then-President Evo Morales, who resigned at the “suggestion” of the country’s military amid a disputed election. Although she hails from a political party that managed to win a meager 4 percent of the popular vote in that October ballot, the right-wing former senator entered the presidential palace claiming a much bigger mandate. Flanked by two other outspoken opposition leaders, […]

Indonesian President Joko Widodo inspects troops at Selat Lampa Port, Natuna Islands, Indonesia (Indonesian Presidential Office photo via AP Images).

By reigniting a dispute with Indonesia over control of the Natuna Islands, China appeared to be asserting its expansive territorial claims and challenging Indonesia's newly re-elected president. The move could backfire, though, by undermining Beijing's regional diplomatic goals. China sparked a major maritime confrontation with Indonesia near the South China Sea last month when dozens of Chinese fishing vessels, along with a coast guard escort, entered waters off the Natuna Islands, which are within Jakarta’s exclusive economic zone but are also claimed by China. Indonesian authorities responded swiftly, summoning China’s ambassador on Dec. 30 to lodge a protest and subsequently […]

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev poses for a photo during parliamentary elections, at a polling station in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Dec. 22, 2019 (screengrab image from UZREPORT Government TV Channel via AP Images).

Last month, The Economist boldly labeled Uzbekistan its “country of the year,” declaring that “no other country travelled so far in 2019.” It is a remarkable achievement for a state that perennially finds itself at the bottom of international rankings on corruption, governance and human rights issues. But while Uzbekistan certainly is changing, the government’s quest for economic stability, not democracy, is driving the process. After taking power in 2016, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev quickly recognized that growing socioeconomic discontent could destabilize his regime. He saw that resentment toward a corrupted status quo could push angry populations into the streets, as […]

Lebanese marine special forces soldiers march during a military parade to mark the 76th anniversary of Lebanon's independence, at the Lebanese Defense Ministry, Beirut, Nov. 22, 2019 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).

The Trump administration created yet another stir in Washington last fall when it mysteriously froze $105 million in military aid to Lebanon for several months. While the hold was quietly lifted on Dec. 2 after pressure from members of Congress, it ignited a debate over how the United States should engage with Lebanon amid an ongoing revolutionary protest movement that has already forced one prime minister in Beirut to resign. There are also signs that Lebanon views the U.S. as an increasingly unreliable security partner, allowing Russia to gain influence in this small but strategically important country in the Middle […]

Workers disinfect a passing vehicle after the latest incident of African swine flu outbreak on the outskirts of Beijing, China, Nov. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Imagine this scenario: A viral disease emerges and spreads rapidly across borders. It has a nearly 100-percent fatality rate, with symptoms that include high fever, blotchy skin lesions, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting and hemorrhaging. There is no treatment or preventative vaccine for the disease, so it results in widespread loss of life and a staggering economic toll. The international system struggles to come together to stop it from spreading even further. This might sound like any of a number of infectious diseases among humans, including SARS, Ebola and H5N1 influenza, also known as bird flu. But it actually describes African swine […]

Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, left, and his predecessor, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, center, during Ould Ghazouani’s inauguration in Nouakchott, Mauritania, Aug. 1, 2019 (AP photo by Elhady Ould Mohamedou).

When Mauritania’s ruling Union for the Republic met for its party congress in late December, it marked a new stage in the deepening rupture between President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani, who was elected last summer, and his predecessor, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. The two men have gone from close associates to bitter rivals in the space of just five months. For now, Ould Ghazouani clearly has the upper hand, as the party congress made clear, when his preferred slate of candidates won the various contests for party leadership. Yet amid the two men’s rivalry, which has added a sour note to […]

Protesters hold pictures of slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia outside Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s office, in Valletta, Malta, Nov. 29, 2019 (AP photo by Rene Rossignaud).

Investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia spent her career cataloguing what she believed to be endemic corruption among the political elite in Malta, the European Union’s smallest member state. When she was murdered in a car bomb in October 2017, it was, in the words of one of her three sons, “an assassination to match the scale of the crimes on which she was reporting.” Now, more than two years later, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is set to resign amid growing concerns over his handling of Caruana Galizia’s murder investigation. Partly due to a long delay by Maltese authorities, evidence has […]

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