In last week’s column I raised the question of whether the United States can succeed in achieving its strategic objectives with regard to stability in Afghanistan and curtailing Iran’s nuclear ambitions through negotiations with the Taliban and the new government of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani. But if the reaction of U.S. pundits to the Obama administration’s efforts to get accused NSA leaker Edward Snowden extradited are any indication, then the sort of protracted diplomatic efforts needed to resolve the Iran and Afghanistan crises are likely to run into considerable domestic political resistance. American commentators on the left and the right […]

The protests that began in Istanbul last month and soon spread throughout Turkey have become a globally watched demonstration against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his recent policies. By their nature and, most importantly, because this crisis was so badly managed by the prime minister, the protests will undoubtedly represent a turning point in the country’s political life, affecting Turkish society and democracy. However, the past month’s events, while alarming, do not necessarily represent the worst-case scenario for Turkish democracy that many have made them out to be. In fact, the protests in Turkey are reinvigorating public debate in […]

The Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), commonly known as the Pakistani Taliban, has claimed responsibility for an attack over the weekend that killed nine foreign mountain climbers and their local guide, calling it retribution for a U.S. drone strike last month that killed Waliur Rehman, the deputy head of the terrorist organization. Trend Lines spoke with three leading experts on Pakistani security about what the attack indicates about Pakistan’s fight against the Pakistani Taliban. “The militants killed the nine foreign tourists because they knew that this would make headlines in Pakistan and abroad, which would embarrass the government greatly,” Mansur Khan […]

One year ago this Sunday, on June 30, 2012, Mohammed Morsi became president of Egypt, 18 months after revolutionary euphoria had flooded Cairo’s sweltering streets. The Muslim Brotherhood stalwart had come to power in the wake of the Tahrir Square pro-democracy uprising that toppled the three-decades-old dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak. It would count as a massive understatement to call Morsi’s first year in office a disappointment. To see just how thoroughly Egyptians feel Morsi has let them down, follow events in Cairo and elsewhere in the country this Sunday, as the country marks the anniversary with expected massive protests calling […]

As the people of Zimbabwe steel themselves for another election cycle and their leaders argue over the timing of the poll, international investors are watching political developments with interest. Excitement about the economic opportunities in Zimbabwe, combined with frustration at the lack of good policy options to hasten the departure of President Robert Mugabe, has fueled a growing desire to explore alternatives to the political stalemate. The European Union has already shown its willingness to open a new chapter in its relations with Zimbabwe. In March, Brussels suspended sanctions against 81 officials and eight companies linked to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. […]

This week, followers of a radical Sunni cleric fought for two days with Lebanese security forces in the southern city of Sidon, in clashes that reportedly killed 18 soldiers and up to 40 of the cleric’s followers. In an email interview, Oren Barak, associate professor of political science and international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explained the Lebanese armed forces’ position within Lebanese society and its efforts to maintain stability amid spillover from Syria’s civil war. WPR: What is the Lebanese army’s position within Lebanon’s factional society, and who does it answer to? Oren Barak: The Lebanese armed […]

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who turned over a trove of information about U.S. surveillance programs to the media and foreign government agencies, continues to dominate the news. His story, like that of U.S. Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, is a complex tangle of important issues involving the privacy rights of Americans during the conflict with transnational terrorism; the process by which the U.S. government decides what information is classified and what is open; and the building of a massive national security bureaucracy that necessarily gives low-level, inexperienced people the power to do great damage to programs they […]

If there was ever a threat to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s leadership in recent months, it was annihilated last weekend. Not a single candidate from Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lost in the latest Tokyo municipal government elections, while the biggest national opposition party even fell behind the Communists. Though Abe’s political dominance could bring an end to Japan’s stretch of political instability, the country’s economic future remains shaky at best, and the lack of any meaningful opposition to the LDP can only bode ill for the country’s longer-term prospects. Voters in Tokyo, who are generally regarded as […]

This month, there were reports that Ukraine was considering seeking arms deals with both Mexico and Turkey. In an email interview, Taras Kuzio, a fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and an expert in Ukrainian security and politics, explained the recent history and current state of Ukraine’s arms industry. WPR: Who are the main buyers of Ukrainian arms, and in which categories of arms? Taras Kuzio: Developing countries such as Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, countries in the Middle East and former Soviet client states are the main buyers of Ukrainian arms. The main products are light […]

After many months of false starts, Afghan peace talks may finally officially begin in Doha, Qatar, where the Taliban opposition has established a quasi-official presence. But a newly published study (.pdf) by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR) should again remind us that the likelihood of negotiating a sustained peace deal with the Taliban remains small. The report’s authors undertook a comprehensive study of almost three decades of negotiations with Afghan resistance movements, reviewing Soviet-era talks with the mujahedeen guerrillas as well as Western and Afghan government negotiations with the Afghan Taliban. Although generalizing lessons from history […]

In Kuwait, where the Constitutional Court has ordered the dissolution of parliament for the second time in a year, the Cabinet decided in an emergency meeting to call parliamentary elections for next month. Now the timing of those elections is in question after the Cabinet moved Monday to delay the vote. Initially scheduled for July 25, when held the elections will be the sixth in seven years for the Persian Gulf state, where, as Al Jazeera reported, “political upheaval has stalled infrastructure development and delayed economic reforms.” “Kuwait is passing through a period of extended political turbulence and uncertainty, as […]

The European Union is widely considered by students of international relations to be the most successful experiment in international cooperation in human history. According to this view, the EU has demonstrably fostered unprecedented peace, prosperity and power on the European continent. The award of the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the Union, on the grounds that it had “for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe” vindicates this view. Yet, the Union is also the subject of increasingly vitriolic criticism by populist parties across Europe, who have made political gains—sometimes […]

When U.S. Vice President Joe Biden took to the podium at last February’s Munich Security Conference, he decided to err on the side of caution. Washington’s strategic shift toward Asia, Biden said, would have no impact on the thriving relationship between the United States and Europe. This was music to the ears of Europeans in the packed banquet hall of the Bayerische Hof Hotel. Biden’s words were clearly aimed at reassuring Europe that despite some difficulties, the trans-Atlantic relationship was intact. Biden said that America and Europe had never been so close. The relationship was alive and well. Nothing could […]

Then-European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, with Singapore’s prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, center, and former Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, left, at an ASEAN-EU summit, in Singapore, Nov. 22, 2007 (AP photo by Chitose Suzuki).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. One of the key differences between Western and Asian cultures is their view of time: Whereas history is linear and consequential as seen from the West, Chinese and other Asian cultures perceive time as being cyclical. In the latter view, the emerging Asian century is simply a natural phase within this recurring flow. As renowned economist Angus Maddison showed, China and India were the world’s largest economies for centuries. Only upon the […]

When Pakistan’s newly elected prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, appointed his Cabinet, he decided to keep two major portfolios for himself: foreign affairs and defense. The move was widely interpreted as emanating from the civil-military imbalance that defines decision-making on foreign and security policy in Pakistan. Senior members of Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) explained that Sharif wanted to prevent the kind of “misunderstandings” between the prime minister and the military on matters of foreign affairs that had occurred in the past, and added, “We’ve been dominated by the military for decades. And they still think they are superior to the […]

Pakistani and Indian officials met earlier this month to discuss cross-border energy cooperation, perhaps signaling that the new government in Islamabad aims to follow through on plans its predecessor spent years talking about. That would be good for both countries. Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party swept Pakistan’s parliamentary election in May, and Sharif took over as prime minister early this month, pledging—among other things—to improve relations with India and address his country’s crippling energy shortage. On June 11, the prime minister’s younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, the head of government in Pakistan’s largest province, Punjab, reportedly met officials from […]

When South Sudan formally declared its independence from the Republic of Sudan in July 2011, jubilant celebrations in the world’s newest country were almost equally matched by gloomy predictions about a failed state in the making. The past two years have done little to dispel the dire predictions that institutions in the South would not be able to cope with the enormous challenges of building a viable state. While not formally ranked in the 2012 Fund for Peace Failed States Index, the available data suggest that only three countries in the world score worse on indicators of state failure. This […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 661 2 3 4 Last