The TV show "Diplomat" on Netflix is a political drama that features references to Russia's war in Ukraine.

In modeling the foreign policy dynamics depicted in “The Diplomat” on the dynamics of the real world, the popular new Netflix political drama inadvertently ends up doing as much educating as entertaining. That can be a problem for a series that has neither the capacity nor the narrative requirement for nuanced explanations of these issues.

France's strategy in the Sahel region of West Africa involves Mali and Niger.

Two factors will have significant implications for the future of France’s military intervention in the Sahel and the region’s fight against violent Islamist extremists: Niger’s emerging role as the linchpin of France’s reconfigured strategy and the diplomatic tensions that have emerged in recent years between Niger and Mali.

In Germany, Chancellor Scholz and his coalition are preparing a new foreign policy and bigger defense budget.

Germany’s recently released National Security Strategy serves as a roadmap for the so-called Zeitenwende, or turning point, in Berlin’s national security posture following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the painstaking effort that went into preparing it brought to light the challenges Germany faces in developing a “strategic culture.”

In Indonesia, Jokowi will leave office after next year's elections without having made many political or economic reforms.

Unable to run in next year’s election due to the constitutional two-term limit, Indonesian President Joko Widodo will leave behind a complex legacy. Jokowi took office as a scrappy outsider to national politics pledging progressive reform. He leaves as an entrenched insider who rarely delivered on those initial promises.

China has partnered with numerous Middle East countries to invest into renewable energies amid the fight against climate change.

In recent years, the GCC member states have made efforts to shift toward renewable energies, while turning to China as a key partner in doing so. But while that partnership has proved fruitful in terms of investments in renewables, it has also paradoxically alleviated the pressure the GCC countries feel to abandon hydrocarbons.

The conflict, crisis, and civil war in Sudan is the result of a failed democratic transition.

The current conflict in Sudan between the armed forces and the RSF paramilitary group is a security and humanitarian crisis. But more importantly, it is a political crisis, one that grows out of the failure to build a sustainable democratic transition after the removal of former dictator Omar al-Bashir from power in April 2019.

In Myanmar, a civil war erupted following a military coup in 2021.

Almost two and a half years since the February 2021 coup, Myanmar’s military junta is losing control of much of the country. Having already lost large swathes of territory to ethnic militias and People’s Defense Militias, it now faces threats even in the biggest cities, where it had until recently maintained a degree of brutal control.

In Spain, politics between the vox and Podemos parties will likely affect the country's foreign policy, especially related to the Ukraine war.

With Spain set to take over the European Union’s rotating presidency on July 1, and snap parliamentary elections scheduled for three weeks later, the country’s position on the war in Ukraine has become more relevant—and more contentious, with both sides of the political spectrum facing internal divisions over the issue.

South Sudan's UN peacekeeping mission has failed to protect human rights in the country.

In recent years, civilians in South Sudan have been the victims of attacks by both rebels and government forces, and the U.N. mission has a poor record of protecting them from this violence. To change this, the international community needs to hold the mission’s civilian and military leadership accountable for their failures.

In Benin (in West Africa), the military is taking on jihadist violence in undemocratic ways.

Since 2021, Benin has been battling a violent jihadist insurgency in the north of the country, fueled by a complex mix of political marginalization, religious ideology and intercommunal conflicts. Unfortunately, in doing so, it is repeating the same mistakes made over the past decade by its West African neighbors, Mali and Burkina Faso.

Indonesia's politics have informed leaders' foreign policy on Russia's war in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto proposed a plan to end Russia’s war in Ukraine. Though quickly dismissed as unfeasible by Kyiv and many Western commentators, the proposal is significant for what it reveals about Jakarta’s attempts to navigate the politics of the war in Ukraine.

Vietnam's military and foreign policy strategy involves relations with the US, China, and other powers.

In response to the war in Ukraine and amid growing tensions with China, Vietnam has doubled down on its strategy of multi-alignment, by simultaneously courting closer relations not only with the U.S. and China, but also with likeminded regional powers and neighbors. As a result, Vietnam has forged a new strategic sweet spot.

The conflict between Oromo Liberation Army and Ethiopia has escalated in recent months.

Peace talks between the Ethiopian government and rebels from the country’s Oromia region ended in April without an agreement to halt their hostilities. Since the end of the Tigray war in November 2022, the fighting in Oromia has escalated. The stakes are high, raising questions about Ethiopia’s territorial integrity and stability.

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Ecuador might be caught up in a political crisis, with President Guillermo Lasso having dissolved the National Assembly and called snap elections for later this year. But if you ask most Ecuadorians what they are worried about, they won’t tell you politics. They will say crime and public authorities’ inability to stop it.

The countries of Central Asia have become increasingly important economically to China.

Last month, Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted an in-person summit with the presidents of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. The gathering was the latest demonstration of China’s growing geo-economic role in Central Asia, marking what Xi called a “new era” in Beijing’s relations with the region.

The complex web of politics and international relations involves the ANC-led government in South Africa navigating its relationships with the US, Russia, and Ukraine, while President Ramaphosa plays a crucial role in shaping these dynamics.

South Africa’s stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates that the country’s crisis of governance is not confined to the domestic scene. President Cyril Ramaphosa’s approach to the war has been afflicted by the same blend of ineffectual leadership and ideological grandstanding that characterizes his domestic performance.

Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan's political party PTI, has been advocating for nationalism and striving to break the cycle of military rule in the country's political landscape.

For a moment in May, former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan looked as if he was the country’s most powerful man. Having seemingly won his standoff with Pakistan’s military, Khan chided the generals, saying their coercion would achieve nothing. But for the generals, coercion achieved quite a bit. Khan’s moment on top was ephemeral.

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