A protester covered by an EU flag takes part in a demonstration to call on the European Union to stop buying Russian oil and gas, outside EU headquarters in Brussels, April 29, 2022 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

Editor’s note: This will be Candace Rondeaux’s final weekly column for World Politics Review. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Candace for her sharp analysis, compelling prose and passionate commitment to putting people at the heart of international security commentary. It’s been a pleasure offering her work to WPR’s readers for the past three years. We wish her the best of luck in her multiple endeavors moving forward. Russia’s move this week to cut off natural gas deliveries to Poland and Bulgaria, combined with growing fears that Moldova could be drawn into President Vladimir Putin’s militaristic machinations, invites a thought experiment: What […]

Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, left, speaks during a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, prior to their working lunch at the Elysee palace in Paris, April 29, 2021 (AP photo by Lewis Joly).

As the world held its breath for the results of France’s presidential election on Sunday, another pivotal vote took place elsewhere in the European Union. Voters in Slovenia chose a new government, and there, as in France, the result was a harsh blow to the far right. An election in Slovenia, a small country of just 2 million people, may seem like a minor sideshow on the geopolitical stage, but its significance should not be underestimated. It’s undeniable that a far-right victory in France could have proven calamitous for the EU and for the prospects of democracy around the world. […]

A woman holds up a banner during a protest against Tunisian President Kais Saied, in Tunis, Tunisia, April 10, 2022 (AP photo by Hassene Dridi).

In the fall of 2012, as Syria plunged into civil war and the Eurozone crisis generated panic across global markets, a parliamentary election in Ukraine signaled trouble ahead to those who were paying attention. The results that trickled out on Oct. 28, 2012, indicated that then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions had secured a strong position through dubious constitutional maneuvers and ballot manipulation. In the aftermath of the elections, Yanukovych’s corrupt and Russia-friendly clique tried to bend Ukraine to their whims. The simmering discontent among large parts of the population over Yanukovych’s power grab was the first escalation in political […]

Sri Lankans hold up their mobile phone torches during a vigil outside the president’s office to condemn police shootings of protesters, Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 19, 2022 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

The ongoing economic and political crisis in Sri Lanka demonstrates more than ever that geopolitical rivalry fosters myopic decision-making, and that peace is a prerequisite for intergenerational justice. Sri Lanka is facing an unprecedented emergency. Decades of financial mismanagement by governments dominated by the family of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, combined with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the  Russia-Ukraine war, have now left the country on the brink of economic collapse. For the first time since independence in 1948, Sri Lanka’s government announced that it will be defaulting on all $51 billion of its sovereign debt, as it seeks an urgent bailout […]

A sun halo is seen in the skies above Harare, Zimbabwe, Nov. 15, 2020 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

Whether April is truly the cruelest month, as T.S. Elliott wrote, is up for debate. What is undeniable is the poignancy of springtime in the age of global warming, when each year, the planet bursts forth with life, oblivious to what is in store. As the latest Earth Month draws to a close, it seems natural to take stock of where humanity is now in its struggle against climate change and, just maybe, take solace in a possible lifeline. The latest assessment reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, make clear what we are up against. The […]

Women gather to demand their rights under the Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 3, 2021 (AP photo by Wali Sabawoon).

A month ago, when all eyes were on the war in Ukraine, the Taliban quietly reneged on their promise to put school-age girls back in classrooms. This followed a six-month period in which women faced crippling restrictions on their employment, freedom of movement, dress, access to healthcare and participation in sports, plus gender-based violence, torture and arrest if they protested. But the international community’s initial response—to pull humanitarian aid, for instance—threatens to make matters even worse. Since the U.S. withdrawal in August 2021, U.S. government agencies and representatives, like the wider international donor community, have been struggling to determine how best to support women’s human rights in […]

Displaced Ukrainian refugees have lunch cooked by volunteers, at a restaurant that was transformed into a shelter for those who are fleeing the war from eastern region of the country, in Dnipro, Ukraine, April 20, 2022 (AP photo by Leo Correa).

Amid the horror that has befallen Ukraine and its people, one rare uplifting aspect of the tragedy is the remarkably warm and generous reception that Ukrainian refugees fleeing the carnage have received from European nations. Not only have governments across the continent rushed to develop the legal and logistical infrastructure to help, but individuals outside of Ukraine scrambled almost immediately after the bombs started falling, opening their homes and their wallets to the millions seeking to escape the Russian invasion. It’s an inspiring, heartwarming story. But it’s also one that stands in sharp contrast to the callous way much of Europe, including […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin listens as German Chancellor Angela Merkel answers a question during the news conference at the Russia-EU Summit in Volzhsky Utyos, May 18, 2007 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

Usually, parents don’t congratulate their children for ending up in detention at school. But for my Ukrainian mom in early-1990s Germany, there were some things that mattered more than what my teachers thought. Having opted to learn Russian at my high school in the city of Hanover, I quickly discovered that the version of history my teachers embraced did not square with what I had experienced growing up in the Ukrainian tradition. My Russian teachers espoused a deep commitment to promoting reconciliation between Germany and the Russian people, having embraced the idea that all of German society shared a collective […]

Amanda Darrow, director of youth, family and education programs at the Utah Pride Center, poses with books that have been the subject of complaints from parents in recent weeks on Dec. 16, 2021, in Salt Lake City (AP photo by Rick Bowmer).

Earlier this month, the American Library Association released a list of the “top 10 banned books” of 2021 to mark an unprecedented surge in attempts to drop books from school curricula in the United States. The list included best-selling titles such as “This Book is Gay” by Juno Dawson and “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas, which have been criticized for, respectively, “providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content” and for promoting an “anti-police message.” Book banning is not a new phenomenon. Adam Laats, a historian of American education, told Vox that when it comes to book banning, “history repeats itself.” Since the early […]

Armed Houthi fighters attend the funeral procession of Houthis who were killed in recent clashes with the Yemeni government, in Sanaa, Yemen, Nov. 24, 2021 (AP photo by Hani Mohammed).

Earlier this month, the lead U.N. representative for Yemen announced a two-month cease-fire, the first major breakthrough since 2015 in the conflict between the Houthi rebels and Iran on the one side and the Yemeni government and its Gulf backers on the other. The news was a ray of hope in an otherwise unremittingly troubling international context. Or was it? Coming on the heels of the Taliban’s assumption of power in Afghanistan and the normalization of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, the cease-fire, which appears to be the product of Houthi advancement rather than international diplomacy, suggests that, in many cases, it […]

Afghan men sit in a bus ahead of a 300-mile trip south to Nimrooz near the Iranian border, Herat, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2021 (AP photo by Petros Giannakouris).

If you have ever wondered what hell might feel like, ask an Afghan refugee. While you may not personally know any, there is a good chance that if you live near a major urban center in Europe, Canada or the United States, you’ve unknowingly passed someone on the street or stood in line behind someone at the grocery store who has recently fled Afghanistan. In Washington, where I live and work, it is not uncommon to run into an Afghan immigrant who just a few months ago had a house, a car and a salaried job in Kabul that would […]

Chile's new President Gabriel Boric poses for a photo for journalists after posing for an official group photo with his Cabinet, at La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, March 12, 2022 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Barely a month into his presidency, Chile’s young leftist leader, Gabriel Boric, is running into unexpected turbulence. The 36-year-old former student leader aims to overhaul the country’s conservative political and economic system in order to tackle chronic inequality, and hopes to usher in a new constitution as the vehicle for that transformation. But the constitution-writing process, once launched with high expectations, is now losing favor among the Chilean people. Last week, Boric announced the official date for the plebiscite in which Chileans will cast a mandatory vote on a proposed constitution, which is now being drafted by a constitutional assembly. […]

A Ukrainian soldier takes a selfie standing on a destroyed Russian tank after Ukrainian forces overran a Russian position outside Kyiv, Ukraine, March 31, 2022 (AP photo by Vadim Ghirda).

At a time when old certainties have been shaken and the pace of events is overwhelming, it can be difficult to assess what the long-term impact of a geopolitical shock might be for the global order. In the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the widespread shock that such a calamity could befall millions of people made it difficult to think through the unanticipated consequences of such a profound rupture of the international state system. Yet after five weeks of brutal war triggered by a criminalized Russian state under President Vladimir Putin, there are now a few indicators that […]

Matumelo Manosa works in a garment factory in Maseru, Lesotho, Feb. 24, 2022 (AP photo by Neo Ntsoma).

In the second quarter of 2022, economic forecasts are looking positive, and analysts are especially hopeful about new power dynamics emerging in Western economies and job markets. According to Forbes, for instance, 2022 has encouraged a “buyers market” in which “employees are demanding better work-life balance and companies are taking note.” There is much evidence to support this claim. With the ball in their court, workers are now demanding more flexible work schedules, as well as better pay and benefits, and companies seem to be responding positively. Many have extended work-from-home policies implemented at the onset of the pandemic, while a […]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks via remote feed during a meeting of the UN Security Council at United Nations headquarters, April 5, 2022 (AP photo by John Minchillo).

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivered an impassioned rebuke to the United Nations Security Council for its failure to prevent Russia’s invasion of his country. “Where is the security that the Security Council needs to guarantee?” he demanded. “It’s not there.” Rather than taking forceful action to arrest or even condemn Russia’s behavior, he said, the body had devolved into a venue for “conversation.” It was obvious to all that “the goals set in San Francisco in 1945 for the creation of a global security organization have not been achieved,” Zelenskyy concluded. Zelenskyy’s indictment, which cited evidence of horrific atrocities committed by Russian forces, […]

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian refugees during a visit to PGE Narodowy Stadium in Warsaw, Poland, March 26, 2022 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Two weeks ago, the White House announced that the United States would open its doors to 100,000 refugees from Ukraine. To many observers, this was the very least the U.S. could do to protect civilians from a war characterized by displacement, atrocity and siege, and on which the West has largely decided to sit it out. But there are several enormous problems with Biden’s refugee relief plan. The first is that there is no actual plan. The announcement was made in a fact-sheet that has not yet been backed by an Executive Order. In fact, the homepage of the U.S. Embassy in Hungary […]

An anti-government demonstrator sits on a barricade carrying a Peruvian flag during clashes with police in downtown Lima, Peru, April 5, 2022 (AP photo by Aldair Mejia).

Just before midnight on Monday, Peruvian President Pedro Castillo appeared on television to declare an unprecedented state of emergency for Lima, the capital. All the city’s residents, he said, were to stay indoors for 24 hours, beginning just two hours after his announcement. The controversial decision, which would later be rescinded after protesters ignored it, came in response to widespread demonstrations by truck drivers and transportation syndicates against the spike in fuel prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Peru’s new crisis came just after Sri Lanka’s president declared a state of emergency in his own country. The Indian Ocean nation […]

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