A year after Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Zeitenwende speech, progress has been made in remaking Germany’s defense strategy on multiple fronts. But the lingering concern is whether Scholz has the political capital—and courage—to break away from the structural incentives that have guided Germany’s security posture since reunification.
Many observers expect Thailand to return to a state of economic normalcy in the year ahead. But as the country gears up for what will arguably be its first free and fair election since a military coup deposed the government of then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014, few expect the poll will usher in political stability.
In his State of the Nation address Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated familiar themes of his propaganda narrative on the war in Ukraine, from protecting Russia from Western cultural “degeneration” to fighting “neo-Nazis” in Kyiv. But propaganda only works if audiences want to believe in what is being promoted.
In 2007, the African Union launched the Great Green Wall project, an attempt to combat expanding desertification in the Sahel by planting a barrier of trees 10 miles wide across 4,500 miles by 2030. But the wall has so far produced disappointing results and shows the complexities of implementing a grand continent-wide scheme.
The devastating earthquakes that struck southern Turkey on Feb. 6 spell trouble for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ahead of elections that polls already suggested would be no easy win. Within days, the disaster had reshaped electoral calculations by directly challenging key elements of Erdogan’s narrative claim to leadership.
The SDG summit in September and several others in the years ahead offer the U.N. a chance to construct a plan of action for the future—and position itself at the core of both. But without a change in how the U.N. approaches the problems it must address, the summits could end up being another missed opportunity.
For the past month, France has been in the grip of protests against pension reforms proposed by the government of President Emmanuel Macron, with close to a million people demonstrating across the country on Feb. 11. The protests have so far been entirely orderly. But with the government sticking to its guns, tension is mounting.
Thirty years after the atrocities committed under former dictator Alfredo Stroessner were revealed, Paraguayans are still seeking justice. The current government, headed by Stroessner’s own Colorado party, appears more interested in forgetting the past than pursuing accountability, lest the party fall into broader disrepute.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos recently announced that Manila will implement a defense agreement signed with the U.S. in 2014 and grant U.S. forces access to additional military bases. After six years of acrimonious relations, the Philippines is poised once again to play a pivotal role in Washington’s Indo-Pacific strategy.
Acute water stress around the world has galvanized efforts to find new approaches and innovative solutions to access and maintain increasingly scarce water supplies. But critical questions about such trade, particularly with regard to the application of international trade law to untreated water, remain unresolved.
Bollywood has long played a significant nation-building role in India. But over the past decade, both onscreen and off, it has increasingly fed into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s particular brand of nation-building, by both reinforcing anti-Muslim sentiment and engaging in Hindu-nationalist revisionist history.
To become Malaysia’s prime minister after last year’s general elections, Anwar Ibrahim was forced to form a government with the scandal-tainted UMNO party. Though perplexing given Anwar’s reformist agenda, the coalition was considered the least bad option. But looking ahead, he might not be able to take UMNO’s support for granted.
Vietnam’s years-long anti-corruption drive has reached the upper echelons of government as a result of prominent pandemic-related scandals. A series of recent high-profile resignations has led some to wonder where the campaign might lead next and how dramatically it will impact the country’s international positioning.
The problem with debates over the effectiveness of sanctions on Russia is that commentators often refer to other countries targeted by Western sanctions, as if these cases hold universal lessons that might be applicable to Russia. But Russia is an entirely different beast, and it presents a unique test case for Western sanctions.
Last month, China’s Foreign Minister Qin Gang continued a decades-long tradition of Chinese foreign ministers starting the year with a trip to Africa. The visit comes at a time of ramped up engagement between African states and the U.S., highlighting the U.S. tendency to characterize Africa’s relations with China in patronizing terms.
Now that Xi Jinping has cemented his position as the unrivalled leader of China, the country’s foreign policy increasingly reflects his personality: insecure, controlling and aggressive. This is apparent in the uncompromising vision for building a 21st-century PLA that Xi laid out at last year’s Party Congress.
Washington has recently stepped up engagement with Africa, focusing on areas such as investment, climate adaptation and health. But good governance is necessary for progress to be made on these other important issues. That should be reflected in the language U.S. officials use to discuss them, but so far it has been absent.