Zimbabwean pastor and activist Evan Mawarire talks to the press soon after his release from Chikurubi prison on the outskirts of Harare, Zimbabwe, Jan. 30, 2019 (AP photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi).

When the late Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe was ousted in 2017, celebrations broke out across the country as people cheered the end of his 37-year grip on power. Among them was Evan Mawarire, a pastor and pro-democracy activist who has been imprisoned and tortured for demanding political reforms and an end to rampant corruption and poverty. But the hopes of Mawarire and his fellow Zimbabweans were quickly dashed, as the country’s crisis only deepened under Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa. His government has brutally suppressed popular demonstrations, while subjecting dissidents and journalists to the threat of harassment, arbitrary detention and torture. […]

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying during a daily briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing, Sept. 1, 2020 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

Like their counterparts from around the world, Chinese diplomats tend to be well-credentialed, sophisticated, multilingual and knowledgeable about their host countries and institutions. Yet an increasing number of Chinese envoys and officials are adopting a stridently nationalistic, even belligerent tone in their official statements. Some of these “wolf warrior” diplomats, have even shown a willingness to spread conspiracy theories or use doctored images in order to score points. While this aggressive behavior often plays well back home, it tends to undermine the traditional goals of diplomacy by hardening foreign attitudes toward China. Peter Martin, a Bloomberg reporter who was previously […]

President Joe Biden, center, with European Council President Charles Michel, right, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, during the U.S.-EU Summit at the European Council in Brussels, June 15, 2021 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

“America is back at the table,” President Joe Biden said at a press conference Sunday in Cornwall following his first G-7 summit. That statement perhaps best encapsulated Biden’s message during his maiden voyage overseas. While he didn’t mention his predecessor by name, the contrast with Donald Trump couldn’t have been clearer. And it certainly came as a relief to the other G-7 leaders, as the summit was mercifully free of temper tantrums and Twitter tirades. The displays of comity and unity continued in Brussels this week, where Biden participated in a NATO summit Monday and a U.S.-EU summit Tuesday. But […]

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, right, now U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and then-President-elect Joe Biden, in Wilmington, Delaware, Nov. 24, 2020 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

During his first few months in office, President Joe Biden has largely followed through on his pledges to restore a more multilateralist U.S. foreign policy, rejoining a number of key international organizations and agreements that had been abandoned by his predecessor, Donald Trump. This new approach has come as a relief to many senior officials at the United Nations, particularly Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was nominated for a second term by the U.N. Security Council this week and is expected to cruise to reelection. This week on Trend Lines, Richard Gowan, the U.N. director at the International Crisis Group and […]

The USS Ronald Reagan and USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Groups sail together in formation, in the South China Sea, July 6, 2020 (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jason Tarleton for U.S. Navy via AP Images).

Over the past decade or so, a school of thought known as “restraint” has been steadily gaining currency in the U.S. foreign policy establishment. While the idea encompasses a wide range of views and assumptions, proponents of restraint generally argue that in the wake of the Cold War, America overcommitted to its global responsibilities and stretched itself too thin, undertaking ill-conceived and costly military adventures while underwriting the security of allies in Europe and East Asia at a time when the strategic rationale of those alliances was hard to justify. The so-called restrainers have been increasingly visible lately in media […]