U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis during a Senate hearing on the budget, Washington, May 9, 2018 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

The United States obsesses about its global strategy more than any nation on earth. This fixation is reflected in the fact that Congress requires the executive branch to produce regular reports on its security strategy. A year ago, the Trump administration published its inaugural National Security Strategy. A few months later, the Pentagon released its National Defense Strategy to explain how U.S. military power would be used to implement the National Security Strategy. As it has in the past, Congress then created a bipartisan National Defense Strategy Commission to assess the Pentagon’s strategy. This included an august team of top […]

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the Future Investment Initiative, the so-called Davos in the Desert, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

As international pressure builds on Saudi Arabia over the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its consulate in Istanbul early last month, the costs for Riyadh continue to rise. The damage to the country’s image and reputation will haunt its political elite for years, especially now that the CIA has blamed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for having authorized the operation. The backlash was already visible in late October, when many Western political and business leaders at the last minute canceled their trips to Riyadh for the big-ticket Future Investment Initiative, the so-called Davos in the Desert. While […]

Former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh at a festival in his home village of Kanilai, Gambia, May 13, 2014 (Photo by Jason Florio).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss global climate change diplomacy against the backdrop of the G-20 summit. For the Report, Louise Hunt talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about Gambia’s first tentative steps toward transitional justice for the crimes committed under former dictator Yahya Jammeh, and the potential pitfalls facing that process. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a […]

A migrant walks past anti-immigration posters that read in Spanish “No more illegal immigration. Solidarity begins at home,” Santiago, Chile, Aug. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on immigration and integration policy around the world. The Chilean government began sending Haitian immigrants back to Haiti this month under President Sebastian Pinera’s new “humanitarian repatriation program.” Two planeloads of Haitians have flown out so far under the policy, which provides a free ticket home for any Haitian immigrant who agrees not to return to Chile for nine years. According to Cristián Doña-Reveco, director of the office of Latino/Latin-American studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha, Pinera is making a populist appeal to rising anti-immigrant sentiment in Chile. In […]

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari waves to the crowd during Independence Day celebrations, Abuja, Nigeria, Oct. 1, 2018 (AP photo by Olamikan Gbemiga).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. For much of this year, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has tried to treat the Boko Haram insurgency and his upcoming re-election bid as two separate stories. As Obi Anyadike noted in an in-depth report for WPR last month, Buhari seemed to take his eye off the war in northeastern Nigeria, despite significant military setbacks, focusing instead on political jockeying in Abuja and elsewhere. One security analyst told Anyadike that the government’s priority was “regime security, not national security.” In […]

Central Americans riding atop a freight train in Ixtepec, Mexico, in 2012. Since a Mexican government crackdown, scenes like this are rare (Photo by Joseph Sorrentino).

MEXICO CITY—Geovanni Martinez Hernandez fled Honduras after being threatened by one of the most vicious gangs in the Americas: Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13. “It was because of my sexual orientation,” said Martinez Hernandez, who is gay. “I just want a place where I can live without being abused, where I can walk without discrimination or fear.” He had hoped to find that in Mexico. But, while traveling alone in late May through Tapachula, a city in far southwestern Mexico bordering Guatemala that is one of the first stops for Central American migrants and asylum-seekers making the trek north […]

Colombia's President Ivan Duque at the presidential palace in Panama City, Sept. 10, 2018 (AP photo by Arnulfo Franco).

Colombia’s young president, Ivan Duque, just passed his 100-day mark in office, and the results so far show that a deeply divided country, after decades of war with guerrilla groups, will remain tough to govern as a fragile peace struggles to take hold. In the years to come, the 42-year-old Duque is sure to face headwinds made even worse by the polarization resulting from years of bitter conflict. Duque’s approval ratings have collapsed during a period when a new presidency often benefits from open-minded optimism. One pollster, Invamer, recorded an approval rating of just 27 percent this month, down from […]

Supporters of the opposition Kuomintang cheer in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, Nov. 24, 2018 (AP photo).

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, suffered a historic defeat in local elections last weekend that were overshadowed by an extensive Chinese interference campaign. Taking responsibility for her party’s midterm drubbing, President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as DPP leader on Saturday night, casting doubt on her prospects for winning a second term in national elections set to take place in early 2020. Many observers had expected the opposition Kuomintang, or KMT, which favors closer ties with China, to make a comeback after losing both the presidency and a legislative majority in 2016. Anti-incumbency was in the air in the months […]

China’s President Xi Jinping, center, U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump attend a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, Nov. 9, 2017 (AP photo by Thomas Peter).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. As leaders from the Group of 20 begin their summit on Friday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, all eyes will be on President Xi Jinping of China and President Donald Trump of the United States, who have planned a much-anticipated face-to-face meeting over dinner Saturday night. The two leaders are embroiled in a damaging trade war, and the two countries’ broader bilateral relationship has deteriorated as well. Just last month, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence laid out America’s “new approach […]

Men duck for cover as heavy gunfire erupts in the Miskin district of Bangui, Central African Republic, Feb. 3, 2014 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

In the span of a year, the Central African Republic has gone from a country on the margins of international attention to a flashpoint. Russia’s expanding military presence and French attempts to retain influence over its former colony have ignited a competition for influence, threatening CAR’s already shaky peace process and its fledgling democratic government, which lacks much authority beyond the capital, Bangui. If Russia and France continue to recklessly prioritize their own interests, then CAR’s fragile security situation will only worsen. In late October, Moscow announced its second arms shipment to CAR and the deployment of 60 additional military […]

Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, New York, Sept. 26, 2018 (AP photo by Frank Franklin II).

Is the European Union becoming an effective diplomatic force in the Security Council? Advocates of a common EU foreign policy have long called on the bloc to play a greater role at the United Nations. Germany is even formally committed to the idea of an EU seat on the council. The union has gradually become more prominent in the General Assembly as well as in debates on development aid over the past two decades. But it has not had the same impact in the Security Council. Britain and France have defended their special status as permanent members and been wary […]

Ibrahim Solih speaks after being sworn in as the Maldives’ new president in Male, Nov. 17, 2018 (AP photo by Mohamed Sharuhaan).

The new president of the Maldives, Ibrahim Solih, was sworn in earlier this month, only to find that the state coffers had been “looted” by his autocratic predecessor, Abdulla Yameen. Solih has pledged to rein in corruption and realign the small island nation’s foreign policy, moving away from Yameen’s reliance on China and cultivating closer ties with India. But according to David Brewster, a senior research fellow at the Australian National University’s National Security College, that won’t be easy. In an interview with WPR, he explains why. World Politics Review: What were the factors that propelled Solih to victory in […]

A girl removes scales from a fish in her home in Belle Anse, Haiti, May 22, 2013 (AP photo by Dieu Nalio Chery).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series on food security around the world. Over the past 30 years, as economies in the region developed and democratic gains were made, Latin America has undeniably seen major progress in the fight against hunger. Since 2000, the number of Latin Americans suffering from undernourishment has dropped from more than 60 million to 39 million. From Mexico to Argentina, leaders have felt optimistic. Compared to Africa and Asia, few places in the developing world were tackling food security and nutrition-related health risks with quite the same rigor and effectiveness. It was […]

Garment workers sew clothes in a factory as they wait for a visit by Prime Minister Hun Sen outside of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Aug. 30, 2017 (AP photo by Heng Sinith).

What price should workers in Cambodia and Myanmar, two of the poorest countries in the world, pay because of their governments’ severe violations of human rights? The European Union is currently grappling with this question. Under its Everything But Arms trade preference program, the EU provides duty-free, quota-free market access for all imports, except weapons, from states designated by the United Nations as “least developed countries.” On paper, eligible countries are supposed to respect democracy and human rights; in practice, many do not. In Cambodia, the government of longtime ruler Hun Sen has squelched democracy, while in Myanmar, the military […]

Relatives of victims of the regime of former Gambian President Yahya Jammeh participate in a demonstration to demand information about what happened to their loved ones, Banjul, Gambia, April 17, 2018 (Photo by Jason Florio).

Nearly two years after Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh fled into exile, the transitional justice process is taking multiple forms. But as officials prepare for potential prosecutions and truth commission hearings, there are fears that their work could roil Gambian society, and that Jammeh could evade accountability. BANJUL, Gambia—In July 2005, Martin Kyere, a 25-year-old shoe-seller from Kumasi, in northern Ghana, set off for what he hoped would be a better life in Europe. He took with him a small bag containing some clothes and biscuits, and $1,400 sewn into his underpants. First he traveled to Dakar, the capital of Senegal, […]

A young man smokes marijuana to celebrate the International Day for Cannabis in Mexico City, April 20, 2018 (AP photo by Eduardo Verdugo).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about national drug policies in various countries around the world. The incoming administration of Mexico’s left-leaning president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has proposed legalizing the possession and recreational use of small amounts of marijuana, building on a string of recent decisions by the Mexican Supreme Court that found the drug’s prohibition to be unconstitutional. Legislation to regulate the production and commercial distribution of cannabis has been submitted to the Mexican Congress and a referendum on the issue is expected within the next three years. In an interview with WPR, David […]

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, right, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sept. 2, 2018 (Pool photo by Nicolas Asfouri via AP Images).

Earlier this month, on Nov. 7, the State Department announced what appeared to be a significant step forward in relations between the United States and Sudan. A spokesperson said the U.S. would consider removing Sudan from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list if it helps Washington advance some of its foreign policy priorities in Africa and beyond—including cooperating on counterterrorism, ending Sudan’s internal conflicts and isolating North Korea. The statement also called on Sudan to improve its human rights record, respect religious freedoms and meet legal claims related to its previous support of terrorist attacks against American citizens. Removal of […]

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