Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People, Beijing, July 19, 2017 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

When Chinese President Xi Jinping met privately in Beijing on July 18 with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, he floated the idea of three-way talks in which the Chinese government would attempt to mediate between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. At a time when it seems the United States under President Donald Trump is disengaging from global leadership, Xi’s proposal hints at the possibility of reshaping the political landscape of the Middle East. Can China actually supplant the U.S. as the primary external diplomatic force in the region? It is a question that loomed over Xi’s posturing even […]

Donald Trump appears to push his way past Montenegro’s prime minister, Dusko Markovic, during a NATO summit in Brussels, May 25, 2017 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

It is time to start making serious plans to reconstruct U.S. diplomacy once the Trump era ends. The U.S. president has only been in office for six months. If he can shake off the specter of impeachment, Donald Trump will direct American foreign policy until 2021 or 2025. But it is now utterly clear that he will leave the international system, at the very best, in disarray. The only really intriguing question about his remaining time in the White House is whether or not the U.S. will enter into a major war due to his miscalculations. If Trump has followed […]

Belgium Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and Netherlands Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation Lilianne Ploumen discuss the She Decides initiative, Brussels, March 2, 2017 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

Three days after his inauguration, U.S. President Donald Trump issued a memorandum reinstating the Mexico City Policy, which was first adopted during the Reagan administration to block recipients of U.S. aid from providing abortions or abortion counseling. While family planning experts have consistently noted the harmful effects of the policy, known as the “Global Gag Rule,” they also warned that the Trump administration’s version is much worse, as it applies to a wider range of U.S. global health assistance. Other donors have tried to step up and provide aid that would otherwise be lost as a result of the policy. […]

People stand behind burned-out cars after a suicide bombing in Maiduguri, northeastern Nigeria, Feb. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Hamza Suleiman).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Associate Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Last week, AFP reported on Nigeria’s search for oil in the country’s northeast, the home base of the Boko Haram insurgency. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation described the effort, which is being aided by Chinese technical expertise, as a priority for the country. But analysts warned of the security implications, noting that any discoveries could create potential new targets for an insurgency that is still very much active. Those warnings are looking prescient today. Bloomberg reported Thursday that Boko […]

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly speaks during an appearance with Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong in Mexico City, July 7, 2017 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

It has been more than 14 years since the U.S. military last fought large formations of conventional enemy troops. Unless the unthinkable happens with North Korea, American forces may not see a large-scale traditional war for many more years to come, if ever. Yet, every day, the military, intelligence community, law enforcement and other government agencies face a plethora of shadow enemies, ranging from complex criminal-terrorist networks to ideologically motivated individuals. While the risk of conventional war or gray-zone aggression from an adversary state is not gone entirely, the 21st-century security environment is dominated by nonstate challenges. This is an […]

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen delivers a speech during an offshore anti-terrorism drill outside Keelung harbor, New Taipei City, June 10, 2017 (AP photo by Chiang Ying-ying).

Late last month, the Trump administration approved its first package of arms sales to Taiwan. For Taipei, this welcome news was long overdue, but not nearly enough to stop its slide toward international isolation. Taiwan recently lost Panama, one of its few remaining diplomatic allies, to China, when the Panamanian government severed its diplomatic ties to Taipei and officially recognized Beijing instead. The tiny African island nation of Sao Tome and Principe made the same decision in late December. Other countries are likely to follow Panama, as China continues to woo Taiwan’s remaining friends with economic incentives. China still views […]

Cuban President Raul Castro and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos review troops during a welcome ceremony, Havana, Cuba, July 17, 2017 (AP photo by Ramon Espinosa).

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos traveled to Havana this month for a visit that regional outlets described as focused on economic cooperation. In addition, Santos again thanked Cuban President Raul Castro for having hosted the talks that led to a peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). In an email interview, Adam Isacson, a senior associate for regional security policy at the Washington Office on Latin America, explains how the talks led to warmer ties between Bogota and Havana, and how this could pose trouble for U.S.-Colombia relations given the Trump administration’s Cuba policy. WPR: Historically, what […]

Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh arrives to attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, Maryland, Aug. 3, 2014 (AP photo by Cliff Owen).

Just weeks after sending troops to its first overseas military base in the tiny East African nation of Djibouti, China has come forward with a curious offer: to dive headlong into a dispute that illustrates the complex rivalries of the Horn of Africa region. In an interview with the Associated Press published July 21, Kuang Weilin, China’s ambassador to the African Union (AU), said China would consider sending peacekeeping troops to a border area contested by Djibouti and Eritrea. The dispute over the area, known as Ras Doumeira, dates back to the late 19th century, when Eritrea was colonized by […]

An Ache family poses for a portrait at their home, Kuetuvy, Paraguay, Jan. 20, 2013 (AP photo by Jorge Saenz).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss recent tensions between Israel and Palestine, and the vanishing voice of the Trump administration in the conflict. For the Report, Max Radwin talks with Peter Dörrie about the challenges facing Paraguay’s Ache people as they continue their transition into a sedentary agricultural lifestyle, and explains how the Ache’s rainforest traditions might be the key to navigating them. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines, as well as what you’ve seen on WPR, please think about supporting our work by subscribing. Listen: Download: […]

President Donald Trump prepares to swing a Marucci bat, from Baton Rouge, La., as Vice President Mike Pence looks on during a "Made in America" product showcase at the White House, Washington, July 17, 2017 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

For many of the United States’ friends and allies, the Trump administration’s foreign policy has been the source of confusion and anxiety. Nowhere is that sentiment more acute than in Eastern Europe, the region that endured decades of Soviet domination and strived since the end of the Cold War to come under the West’s protective umbrella. It is there, in the territories closest to Russia, where President Donald Trump’s efforts to transform Washington’s relationship with Moscow is most worrisome, particularly during a time when Russia is flexing its military muscle beyond its borders with increasing brazenness. In an effort to […]

A Turkish army tank stands in the village of Esme in Aleppo province, Syria, February 22, 2015 (AP photo by Mursel Coban).

Relations between the United States and Turkey are continuing down a turbulent path. In the most recent incident, on July 18, Turkey’s state news agency, Anadolu, published in both Turkish and English sensitive information about the U.S. military footprint in northern Syria. Anadolu’s report included the troop levels and precise locations of 10 American military bases stretching across the Kurdish-controlled regions of Syria. Although the news agency claims the information was discovered through regular reporting by its journalists in Syria, Washington clearly believes the Turkish government was behind the leak. “We would be very concerned if officials from a NATO […]

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Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on LGBT rights and discrimination in various countries around the world. The recent court ruling paving the way for same-sex marriage in Taiwan prompted speculation about similar measures elsewhere in Asia. It was unclear, though, whether the ruling would help or hinder the same-sex marriage cause in China. Still, Chinese activists have been scoring victories of their own, among them increased cultural visibility and heightened popular awareness of the harms caused by “conversion therapy.” On Thursday, a court in the city of Guiyang ruled in favor of a transgender […]

Rwandan President Paul Kagame addresses supporters at an election campaign rally in the Nyabugogo area of Kigali, July 19, 2017 (AP photo by Eric Murinzi).

In May 2016, five months after voters approved changes to Rwanda’s constitution that would allow him to spend up to 17 more years in office, President Paul Kagame sat down for a telling conversation with two of his most high-profile foreign admirers: former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and American philanthropist Howard Buffett. The venue, the 2016 World Economic Forum for Africa, held in Rwanda’s tidy capital, Kigali, was the sort of spectacle that the 59-year-old Kagame, who is almost certain to win re-election next week, relishes. Over three days of discussions and panels, African and global business elites frequently […]

Venezuelan opposition lawmakers brawl with pro-government militias at the National Assembly, Caracas, July 5, 2017 (AP photo by Fernando Llano).

At the end of 2015, South American political and economic prospects were promising. Just 18 months later and the situation has been upended, leaving a region whose future is not nearly as bright as it once appeared to be. SANTIAGO, Chile—Imagine an Obama administration official looking out at the world from the vantage point of December 2015. The Middle East is engulfed in bloody conflict and crackdowns on domestic dissent. Africa is muddling through a humbling correction to the “success story” narrative that had been used to portray the continent’s preceding decade of dynamic growth and democratic progress. Asia is […]

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila, right, and Minister of Finance Petteri Orpo attend a press conference, Helsinki, Finland, June 12, 2017 (Lehtikuva photo by Jussi Nukari via AP).

Finland is currently conducting a trial to measure the effects of Universal Basic Income (UBI), though the project has been criticized by some as poorly designed. Writing in the New York Times last week, Antti Jauhiainen and Joona-Hermanni Makinen said the sample size was “too small to be scientifically viable.” In an email interview, Heikki Hiilamo, a professor of social policy at the University of Helsinki, describes the concepts underpinning UBI, how Finns are responding to the trial and what it is intended to measure. WPR: What is the objective of Finland’s pilot study on universal basic income, how much […]

Unemployed Tunisians protest amid unrest that led to a nationwide curfew, Tunis, Jan. 22, 2016 (AP photo by Riadh Dridi).

Tunisia is a paradox. It is the Arab Spring’s one fragile success story, still committed to a democratic path. It is also the largest recruiting ground for Islamist terrorist groups, revealing deep fault lines in the country’s efforts to provide its citizens with more political and economic opportunity. The Trump administration is currently sending mixed signals in terms of its approach to the country, highlighting the key role Congress can play in ensuring a balanced and productive policy. Tunisia—small, relatively homogeneous and endowed with strong human development indicators rather than natural resources—is the last Arab Spring country standing. It has […]

Activists with signs that read in Spanish, “Stop violence against women,” during a march against gender violence, La Paz, Bolivia, Oct. 19, 2016 (AP photo by Juan Karita).

Latin American countries have consistently ratified international conventions to protect women. They are falling behind in implementation, though, despite some of the worst rates of gender-based violence and femicide in the world. Why aren't these agreements being translated into policies? Protecting women against gender-based violence is too often overlooked as a global human rights issue. On the surface, Latin America may look like an exception. All of the region’s countries have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and 14 have ratified the convention’s optional protocol that permits a special U.N. committee […]

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