Cyber Flag 14-1 participants analyze an exercise scenario at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Nov. 5, 2013 (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Tam).

For decades military strategists have studied and refined what they call the “principles of war.” Drawn from the long history of armed conflict, these guidelines encapsulate the things that often lead to battlefield success. They are not immutable laws—bold commanders sometimes ignore them and get away with it. But they reflect the accumulated wisdom of warfighting, including things like concentrating combat power at the decisive place and time; the value of directing every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive and attainable objective; and the need to seize, retain and exploit the initiative, among others. Every budding military planner and […]

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speak at a press conference, Canberra, Nov. 17, 2014 (AP photo by Rick Rycroft).

Last month, Australia signed a free trade agreement with China, though it has yet to be implemented. Its ninth free trade deal with its neighbors came amid Australia’s active participation in ongoing negotiations over two major trade deals in the Asia-Pacific region, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). How does all this trade-related bustle fit together? And how much is politics, as much economics, involved? The current activity reflects a shift in global trade regimes. Australia used to be a strong supporter of multilateral trade, with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the center of […]

Young Israeli settlers scuffle with border police officers over the demolition of a building at the Jewish settlement of Beit El, near the West Bank town of Ramallah, Wednesday, July 29, 2015 (AP photo/Tsafrir Abayov).

On Wednesday, Israeli settlers clashed with security forces after the Israeli High Court declared two apartment blocks in the West Bank settlement of Beit El illegal and ordered their demolition, stoking outrage among settlers and right-wing members of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. Following the ruling, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly authorized 300 new construction units in East Jerusalem, reacting to pressure from the Likud and Jewish Home parties. The court had previously rejected an appeal—issued by settlers and backed by the government—to prevent the demolition. Right-wing members of the Knesset were outraged at the court ruling: Moti Yogev of […]

Turkish soldiers patrol near the border with Syria, outside the village of Elbeyli, east of the town of Kilis, southeastern Turkey, July 24, 2015 (AP photo).

When Turkey announced it had decided to join the war against the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria, it seemed like a major turning point in the fight against the radical Islamist group. But the actions Ankara has taken in the week since its policy reversal raise serious questions about its true intentions. Twin security operations, combining domestic sweeps with cross-border airstrikes, strongly suggest that the impetus behind the new policy has more to do with pushing back against Kurdish groups than against IS. The government’s domestic anti-terrorist campaign has targeted Kurdish activists more than IS members. Similarly, the airstrikes, […]

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, President Ashraf Ghani and Afghan chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, Kabul, Afghanistan, March, 9, 2015 (AP photo by Rahmat Gul).

Afghan officials were expected to enter into a second round of Pakistani-brokered talks with Taliban representatives this week, a highly contentious initiative upon which President Ashraf Ghani has staked his presidency. But that peace process became more uncertain with the announcement Wednesday by the Afghan government of the death of Mullah Omar, the militant movement’s reclusive leader, which prompted a Taliban spokesman to disavow talks and Pakistan to declare their postponement. Dealing with the Taliban insurgency, however, is far from the only domestic challenge facing the Ghani administration. Unresolved domestic rivalries and newly institutionalized tensions created by last year’s power-sharing […]

Republic of Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci shake hands in the northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, May 23, 2015 (AP photo by Petros Karadjias).

It has been a busy month in Cyprus, with visits from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And for the first time since the early 2000s, there seems to be real optimism that one of the longest-running conflicts in the world could finally be resolved. This newfound optimism is due in large part to the election of Mustafa Akinci as president of northern Cyprus last April. Akinci came to power on a pledge to reach an agreement on the reunification of Cyprus, which since 1974 has been divided between […]

Police Special Operations Battalion (BOPE) officers patrol as residents move about the Sao Carlos slum complex in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 15, 2015 (AP photo/Felipe Dana).

The investigation of an elite police unit in Brazil for allegedly trying to cover up the disappearance of a Rio de Janeiro man may represent an opportunity to restore the public’s trust in the rule of law, and perhaps repair the reputation of a controversial program to pacify favelas. The disappearance of Amarildo da Souza, a 47-year-old bricklayer who was last seen by witnesses in July 2013 being led into a local police base in Rio’s Rocinha favela, provoked immediate outrage. Residents and civil society groups demanded justice; prosecutors soon launched an investigation that ultimately resulted in charges of murder, […]

Congressmen speak together before Secretary of State John Kerry arrives to testify at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Washington, July 23, 2015 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Over the next few weeks, as Congress prepares to vote on the Iran nuclear deal, the American people are going to be bombarded with arguments both for and against it. The critics will argue that the United States has given Iran carte blanche to pursue nuclear weapons and destabilize the region; the supporters will say that the deal’s opponents offer no alternative for stopping Iran’s nuclear aspirations. The lobbying, the accusations of bad faith, the references to the Holocaust and the demonizing of critics will be intense. But here are the two dirty little secrets about the Iran deal: Congress […]

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi meets with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 14. 2015 (Photo from the Office of the Italian Prime Minister).

Earlier this month, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was in Kenya to discuss trade ties and pledge support for counterterrorism operations in East Africa. In an email interview, Mattia Toaldo, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, discussed Italy’s outreach to Africa. WPR: How extensive are Italy’s ties with Africa, and what are the main areas of cooperation? Mattia Toaldo: After the end of the Cold War, and with development aid money drying up, the Italian presence in sub-Saharan Africa quickly waned. But following a policy review conducted two years ago under then-Foreign Minister Emma Bonino, Italy […]

Ed Miliband speaks at a British Labour Party campaign rally in May, 2015 (U.K. Labour Party photo).

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. Over the past decade, social democratic parties across Western Europe have been in ignominious retreat. The center-left’s electoral decline has been remarkable. Even where social democrats have attained governmental power, often in coalition with other parties, their experience has been unhappy and often quickly followed by defeat. As a result, many commentators insist that social democracy as a social movement and a political tradition has lost its vitality and is destined to […]

President Barack Obama delivers a speech at the Safaricom Indoor Arena, Nairobi, Kenya, July 26, 2015 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

On his current visit to Kenya and Ethiopia, U.S. President Barack Obama has been wise to promote stronger business ties between Africa and the United States. The U.S. has lagged behind rivals, notably China, when it comes to commercial engagement with the continent. The Obama administration is well aware of the problem, and the president’s trip is not the first attempt to fix it. But meaningful progress will require Washington to go beyond rhetoric and actively help to enhance governance frameworks that currently prevent U.S. companies from competing effectively in many African countries. For several years now, the Obama administration […]

Titan II ICBM missile silo at the Titan Missile Museum, Arizona, June 2, 2012 (photo by Flickr user jurvetson licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license).

Last week, I discussed why the Iran nuclear deal offers limited—if any—lessons for making progress on other regional nonproliferation issues. This week, I thought it would be valuable to assess the obstacles and opportunities that exist for making further global nonproliferation and arms control progress. One reason for the failure of this spring’s Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was the growing effort by some non-nuclear weapons states to highlight the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. This initiative seeks to mobilize support behind a Nuclear Weapons Convention that would mandate immediate nuclear disarmament. The existing nuclear weapons states […]

The Iran Deal is announced by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015 (European Union External Action Service photo).

Washington is in full gear for an intense 60-day debate over the Iran nuclear deal, and one important feature of the discussion is the contributions made by diverse civil society organizations. It’s one of those moments where information and analysis are in high demand, highlighting the interplay between government and nongovernment actors. Think tanks in particular are playing a prominent role in educating the public and engaging with journalists and congressional offices, whether to amplify, endorse or critique the Obama administration’s position. The decade of on-again, off-again negotiations with Iran in some ways serves as a good illustration of the […]

A Chinese investor sits near a displays of stock information in a brokerage house, Beijing,, July 10, 2015 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

Extreme volatility in China’s financial markets has forced emergency interventions by financial regulators and thrown up major new challenges to Chinese policymakers. Following what amounted to a complete suspension of both onshore stock exchanges three weeks ago, market operations have begun to normalize, but confidence remains fragile. With emergency policies still in place, the broader institutional fallout is unclear, but potentially huge. The seeds of the stock market collapse were sown almost exactly a year ago. Following an 8-year bear market, a major slowdown in the real economy and increasing corporate debt-repayment obligations, it suited policymakers both politically and economically […]

Syrians gather in a street that was hit by shelling, in the predominantly Christian and Armenian neighborhood of Suleimaniyeh, Aleppo, Syria, April 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Syrian official news agency SANA).

The world has done a dreadful job of managing the civil war in Syria. Could it do any better at rebuilding peace there, if and when hostilities eventually slow down? This prospect still seems sadly remote. The Syrian government indicated last week that it is still not ready for new peace talks led by the United Nations. Yet there are signs that the regime is getting nervous. President Bashar al-Assad admitted this weekend that his army is depleted and has deliberately withdrawn from some battlefronts. In the event of a series of further defeats, the regime could yet conclude that […]

A worker walks alongside rows of solar panels at the Horus photovoltaic power station, Chiquimulilla, south of Guatemala City, Feb. 3, 2015 (AP photo by Moises Castillo).

Last week, officials from the United States and Central America met in El Salvador to discuss energy cooperation, including developing a regional energy market. In an email interview, Alexis Arthur, an energy policy associate at the Institute of the Americas, discussed U.S. energy cooperation with Central America. WPR: What is the current state of Central America’s energy infrastructure, and how extensive is U.S. cooperation with the region on energy issues? Alexis Arthur: Central America has become a model for the Latin American region with the interconnection of power grids across six countries. The Central American Electrical Interconnection System, or SIEPAC, […]

A militiaman allied with the Iraqi security forces dismantles a weapon from a destroyed vehicle belonging to the Islamic State group, southern Ramadi, Anbar province, Iraq, July 20, 2015 (AP Photo).

For decades U.S. policy in the Middle East focused on two things: Israel and oil. Helping to keep Israel secure was not hard since the Israelis themselves had it well under control. Making sure that oil flowed was more challenging since most of it was owned by brittle monarchies or dictators, but the United States and its allies found a way. This emphasis on Israel and oil led to an American strategy that was remarkably consistent even when the White House changed hands. Its goal was stability built on partnerships with local states when possible and direct action if necessary. […]

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