The erosion of democracy in places like Brazil, which votes in a presidential election Sunday, has led U.S. President Joe Biden to declare the contest between democracy and autocracy as the defining battle of our times. But if the past few years have seen a crisis of democracy, they’ve also seen a crisis of autocracy.
After an already dramatic week, West Africa’s governance crisis reached a fever pitch earlier today amid conflicting reports from Burkina Faso that raised fears of yet another military coup attempt in the region. It is now difficult to see a scenario that would bring an improvement in West Africa’s security and political landscape.
Speculation is heating up in Brussels over this week’s attack on the Nord Stream pipelines carrying Russian gas to Europe under the Baltic Sea. Many in the West suspect Russia to be behind the sabotage of the pipelines, but Moscow has denied any involvement, pointing the finger at the U.S. or Ukraine instead.
Beginning in 2020, the virtual #MilkTeaAlliance movement brought together a transnational group of citizens across the Asia-Pacific that were critical of censorship and nationalism. While the decentralized movement is limited by its lack of cohesion, it has become a force to be reckoned with, gaining the attention and ire of the Chinese government.
Women in Iran are taking to the streets to protest the imposition of the headscarf. The protests may not necessarily signal the beginning of the end for the theocratic regime that has held power since 1979. But they highlight the schism between the regime and the Iranian population, and the limits of its hold on society.
For anyone wondering how Russian President Vladimir Putin would respond to the Ukrainian military’s recent gains, this week offered a clarifying and horrifying answer. In a speech Wednesday, Putin announced a partial mobilization of Russia’s military reserves in an effort to shore up the Russian army’s collapsing front lines.
In their speeches to the U.N. General Assembly this week, African leaders reflected on the common theme of the continent’s place in the world, while emphasizing a message of equity and inclusivity in global governance. This was underlined by their now-familiar demands for reform of the Security Council.
British Prime Minister Liz Truss this week held her first set of bilateral meetings with world leaders since taking office earlier this month. But there are questions about whether London can forge productive partnerships in a post-Brexit world with the U.S. and EU, and Truss’ meetings did little to assuage those doubts.
At the early onset of the pandemic, the robot Baymax became an unlikely pandemic folk hero, on account of his strong resemblance to the protective gear worn by Chinese health care volunteers. But the suits have now become symbolic of Beijing’s top-down pandemic control measures—and the public’s frustration with them.
Egypt took another major step toward rapprochement with Qatar last week, as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi made a two-day visit to Doha. The improved relations serve different purposes for each country, though, as Cairo looks to bolster its economy while Doha attempts to boost its diplomatic clout.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, observers have been keeping a close eye on how much support China might lend its isolated partner. Though China has offered a much-needed diplomatic lifeline to Vladimir Putin in the face of Western efforts to make him a global pariah, Xi Jinping’s patience now seems to have worn thin.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is in Washington for a working visit to the U.S. at the invitation of President Joe Biden, a little over a month after the release of Washington’s “Africa Strategy” document. But Ramaphosa’s visit alone is unlikely to resolve the significant differences between Pretoria and Washington.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivered her annual State of the European Union speech to the EU Parliament this week, where she spoke of the EU’s solidarity and invigoration following the outbreak of war in Ukraine. But the rise of the far right in Italy and Sweden may undercut her message of unity.
For Disney and other U.S. corporations operating in China, an apolitical stance amounts to deference to the status quo. But the status quo shifts according to political winds, and worsening U.S.-China relations combined with Beijing’s heavy-handed approach to U.S. companies have made the status quo tougher to navigate.
Last week’s change of government in the U.K., followed by the death of Queen Elizabeth II, put the spotlight on the country’s global role. Many regions got their share of news coverage in the memorials of Elizabeth’s life, but not the Middle East, reflecting its low importance on the list of London’s priorities.
Just days after Liz Truss became the U.K.’s fourth prime minister in six years, Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in the country’s history, died at the age of 96. The wide range of reactions to her death, both within the U.K. and around the world, say a lot about the country, but also about current global politics.
Zambia has agreed to a $1.3 billion loan with the International Monetary Fund that is intended to bolster the debt-laden country’s macroeconomic stability. But the agreement’s conditions are evoking fears in Zambia and elsewhere across Africa of the debt crises of the 1980s and 1990s, and are likely to be unpopular with Zambians.