NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. President Joe Biden pose with other leaders for a group photo during the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 29, 2022 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

NATO leaders gathered this week at a summit in Madrid to adopt a New Strategic Concept, a framework that sets out the alliance’s core priorities for the next decade. But the Madrid gathering was in other ways historic, ushering in further expansion of the alliance after Turkey lifted its veto of Sweden’s and Finland’s membership bids. The U.S. also pledged to deploy more troops, warplanes and naval vessels as part of the alliance’s largest military buildup since the Cold War, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The ramifications of the summit will be most obvious on NATO’s eastern flank, with […]

A pregnant woman looks at her smartphone near a logo marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party in Beijing, July 8, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which had guaranteed a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion since 1973, has brought the question of state involvement in reproductive rights issues on both sides of the Pacific into sharp focus. Abortion is not overtly central to debates about China’s One Child policy, a mass-scale reproductive control infrastructure introduced in 1980 that is now being gradually rolled back. But as in the post-Roe U.S., the Chinese state’s encroachment on individual autonomy and family planning choices nonetheless looms large when it comes to reproductive rights. Forced intrauterine devices, or […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shake hands during a welcome ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, June 22, 2022 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

Many optimists in the Middle East as well as in Washington have argued for some time that governments in the region will find new ways to embrace diplomacy and cooperate among themselves if foreign powers like the United States take a backseat and reduce their footprint in the region. In recent years, the region has seen a sustained round of diplomacy as well as conflict—two major themes that have been a frequent subject of this newsletter. The causes of conflict come from both within and outside the region. Unlike in other parts of the world where the great powers reduced […]

People protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Washington, June 24, 2022 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

In a bombshell decision, no less stunning for having been leaked in early May, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling that in 1973 guaranteed a woman’s constitutional right to choose to have an abortion. The 6-3 majority opinion marks the sudden culmination of what had been a gradual erosion in recent years of abortion rights and access in U.S. states governed by the Republican Party.  Some of those states already have laws to outlaw abortion on the books, but in abeyance, while others have similar laws prepared for legislative passage. As a result, the ruling […]

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson greet each other at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in Kigali, Rwanda, June 24, 2022 (AP photo by Muhizi Olivier).

After having been twice postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, or CHOGM, opened today in Kigali, Rwanda. The gathering will feature high-level meetings of government leaders from the Commonwealth of Nations, a 54-member association of countries, most of which are former territories of the British Empire. In addition to more than 35 heads of state and government from Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Americas and the Caribbean, this year’s meeting—the first in Africa since 2007—will be attended by an estimated 8,000 guests, including official delegations and top business executives. The leaders’ summit was also preceded by […]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy receives a questionnaire to begin the process for his country’s application for EU membership from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Kyiv, Ukraine, April 8, 2022 (AP photo by Adam Schreck).

The European Union’s 27 leaders have formally approved candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova to join the union, marking the first step toward full EU membership for the two countries. The move has renewed a contentious debate within the EU over expansion, given the longstanding assumption that there would be no movement toward any EU enlargement until at least 2024. “Even a month or so ago the idea that Ukraine might get candidate status seemed quite far-fetched to many,” noted one EU diplomat. EU members from the bloc’s east have pushed for Ukraine’s candidate status to be expedited since Russian […]

A delivery driver wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus waits at an intersection in Beijing, Nov. 26, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

For millions of Chinese citizens, delivery drivers have been key to surviving Beijing’s “zero COVID” coronavirus strategy. Amid rolling lockdowns and travel restrictions, e-commerce couriers have served as lifelines to communities under confinement, from massive cities like Shanghai and Chengdu to smaller provinces like Shenyang, all of which have implemented the strict isolation measures mandated under Beijing’s strict pandemic response. Under these conditions, in which leaving one’s residence for reasons unrelated to getting tested is impossible, access to food and other daily essentials has been scarce. Enter the gig worker. Delivery drivers, by and large, work under contract with courier […]

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meets with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at Al Salam Palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, June 24, 2019 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

U.S. President Joe Biden’s “reset” of Washington’s approach to the Middle East increasingly looks like a continuation of the policies of his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, with an added measure of piety and evasion about what’s really driving the administration’s decision-making process. But an unwitting admission might have come last week when a White House reporter asked Biden why he changed his mind about meeting Saudi Arabia’s once-blacklisted de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, known as MBS. “The commitments from the Saudis don’t relate to anything having to do with energy,” Biden responded, despite the fact that […]

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, as French President Emmanuel Macron smiles, Kyiv, Ukraine, June 16, 2022 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

For all its human tragedy and geopolitical drama, the war in Ukraine’s impact on the European Union’s retail politics includes comic elements worthy of a reality TV show. From week to week, the bloc’s leaders have vied to outdo one another in their declarations and demonstrations of support for Ukraine’s war effort, with the parade of European leaders visiting Kyiv to meet—and, as importantly, be photographed—with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at times resembling a geopolitical version of “The Bachelor.” While the support is needed and salutary, the performative aspects of it have created a dynamic in which, above all, European leaders […]

King Philippe of Belgium greets 100-year-old Albert Kunyuku, the last surviving Congolese veteran of World War II, during a ceremony at the Veterans Memorial in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, June 8, 2022 (AP photo by Samy Ntumba Shambuyi).

King Philippe of Belgium completed a “landmark” six-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday that was characterized by Brussels as an attempt to grapple with its brutal colonial past in Congo. The “historic” trip, which marks Philippe’s first visit to Congo since he took the throne in 2013, came two years after the Belgian king wrote a letter to Tshisekedi to express his “deep regret” for the “wounds of the past” on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Congo’s independence from Belgium. In doing so, Philippe became the first Belgian royal to express remorse for the Belgian […]

Demonstrators protest outside Hillsborough Castle ahead of a visit by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in Hillsborough, Northern Ireland, May 16, 2022 (AP photo by Peter Morrison).

The European Commission yesterday launched legal action against the U.K. after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government tabled a bill that would undo major agreements the U.K. committed to as part of the Brexit divorce deal it signed with the European Union. The latest escalation in the dispute between London and Brussels could lead to a full cancelation of the EU-U.K. free trade deal, opening the door to the dreaded “no-deal Brexit” that the trade agreement was intended to avoid. The EU’s legal challenge comes in response to unilateral moves by the U.K to rewrite parts of the Northern Ireland protocol […]

Supporters hold banners as they wait for of Zhou Xiaoxuan outside at a courthouse in Beijing, Dec. 2, 2020.

When Zhou Xiaoxuan, a former intern at China’s state broadcaster, was groped by Zhu Jun, a prominent news anchor, in 2014, she was told by police to keep quiet about her ordeal and consider his status as a national “positive energy” icon. Simply put, Zhu’s value as a newscaster was deemed by law enforcement to be more important than justice for Zhou. Zhou, who also goes by the nickname of Xianzi, later filed a civil suit in 2021 to seek damages, a move that turned out to be unsuccessful. Though her civil suit was dismissed a year prior to the Johnny Depp-Amber […]

Motorists in Iraq drive past a poster bearing the image of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, June 13, 2022.

A political earthquake is underway in Iraq, as lawmakers from Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr’s bloc have resigned en masse from parliament. The move is ostensibly meant to end eight months of political paralysis, amid a prolonged stalemate over forming a government following last October’s parliamentary elections. But with no clear pathway toward a breakthrough in the government-formation talks, and the expectation of mass protests on the horizon, Iraq appears to be on the verge of perhaps the greatest political uncertainty it has faced since the first post-Saddam multiparty elections in 2005. First, what happened? On Sunday, Sadr announced the resignations […]

President Joe Biden speaks during the opening plenary session of the Summit of the Americas, in Los Angeles, June 9, 2022 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

This week’s Summit of the Americas, hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden in Los Angeles, would have been a challenging affair under the best of circumstances, given the wide-ranging crises the hemisphere faces. But poor planning by the Biden team and the region’s changing political landscape combined to make the summit a diplomatic fiasco. The run-up to the gathering was dominated by a controversy over the guest list, amid rumors that Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua would not be invited due to their nondemocratic governments. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, or AMLO, along with several Caribbean leaders threatened to boycott, […]

Former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar, center, waves to the crowd after declaring he will run for next year’s presidential election, Abuja, Nigeria, March 23, 2022 (AP photo by Gbemiga Olamikan).

Though the election isn’t until next year, the race to determine the next president of Nigeria is officially underway, as the country’s two main parties have nominated their flagbearers for the contest to succeed outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari. The ruling All Progressives Congress, or APC, has selected Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and a key player behind a 2013 merger of what were then Nigeria’s three biggest opposition parties, as its presidential candidate in the election scheduled for February 2023. Tinubu’s main challengers will be former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, or PDP, and Peter […]

European Commision President Ursula von der Leyen speaks in the European Parliament, Strasbourg, France, June 8, 2022 (DPA photo via AP Images).

Lawmakers in the European Parliament rejected three major pieces of climate legislation in a plenary vote held yesterday in Strasbourg, dealing a blow to the European Union’s efforts to meet a 2030 target to reduce carbon emissions by at least 55 percent. The proposals reforming the EU’s carbon market were killed by left-wing lawmakers not because they oppose a carbon border tax, but rather because they argue the legislation had been watered down by a number of industry-friendly amendments tacked on by conservative MEPs. The Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, a key component of the EU’s mammoth “Fit for 55” climate legislation […]

A protester lights candles to mark the anniversary of the 1989 military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests, outside the Victoria Park in Hong Kong, June 4, 2021 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

The events of June 4, 1989, in Tiananmen Square were part of a distinct moment in time. At the heart of what took place there that day was a question of succession hovering over Deng Xiaoping, the then-paramount leader whose stewardship of the Chinese Communist Party stood at a crossroads following the death of Hu Yaobang, the CCP’s former general secretary. June 4 was an opportunity for the protesters in Tiananmen Square to communicate not only to their political leaders, but also to Mikhail Gorbachev, the then-leader of the Soviet Union who was visiting China at the time. The square […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 211 2 Last