Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez gestures to supporters outside the headquarters of the Socialist Party following Sunday’s election, Madrid, April 28, 2019 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

MADRID—Spain’s left breathed a collective sigh of relief Sunday night as right-wing parties failed to win enough seats in parliament to put them within striking distance of forming a government that would have included the ultranationalist and far-right Vox party. Instead, voters gave a clear win to the ruling Socialist Party, led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who is now the only party leader in a position to form a government. But there’s been no shortage of drama in what was Spain’s third national election in just four years. Since 2015, Spain’s political landscape has fractured, amid a backlash against […]

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, right, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal in Montreal, Canada, Jan. 29, 2018 (Canadian Press photo by Graham Hughes via AP).

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was elected last year after promising to tackle corruption and inequality and improve conditions for Mexican workers. So it was little surprise that one of his first acts upon taking office in late 2018 was to raise the minimum wage. AMLO, as the president is known, also had his advisers join the team renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement and encourage the acceptance of U.S. demands to embed key labor law reforms in an updated deal. The result was an annex to the labor chapter in the new NAFTA 2.0—which President Donald Trump […]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets the crowd during a visit to Varanasi, India, April 25, 2019 (AP photo by Rajesh Kumar Singh).

VARANASI, India—On a recent morning, Hindu pilgrims in white robes scurried through the dusty stone alleyways of this city on the Ganges River. They moved back-and-forth between various temples and the ghats, or piers, on the riverbank, and occasionally one or more of them would wade into the sacred waters, which are said to cleanse the soul. As the sunlight faded, a traditional folk band featuring tabla drums and a harmonium struck up a song as students and families sat on the steps to take in the early evening breeze. It was, in many ways, a fairly ordinary scene for […]

Mourners carry a flag-draped casket during a mass funeral for those killed in a suicide car bombing that targeted members of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard, in Isfahan, Iran, Feb. 16, 2019 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

Iranian celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution earlier this year were marred by a suicide bombing in southeastern Iran that killed 27 members of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The soldiers had been traveling near the Pakistani border in Sistan and Baluchistan province, where armed Sunni insurgents have waged a decades-long campaign to achieve greater autonomy from the Shiite-led government in Tehran. Iran accuses hostile foreign powers like the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan of supporting the insurgency in the predominantly Sunni region. In an email interview with WPR, Patrick Clawson, director of research […]

Soviet Union Premier Joseph Stalin, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at the Tehran Conference, Iran, Nov. 28, 1943 (British Official Photo via AP Images).

In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, Mira Rapp-Hooper and Rebecca Friedman Lissner make a compelling case for a more restrained U.S. foreign policy. The United States, they write, should abandon messianic liberal internationalism for the more realistic goal of an open world. Such a prudent policy has a lot to recommend it. It would also take America back to the future—to the grand strategy that President Franklin D. Roosevelt endorsed during World War II. As I argued in my 2009 book “The Best Laid Plans: The Origins of American Multilateralism and the Dawn of the Cold War,” it was […]

Construction work at the Fangchenggang Nuclear Power Plant, Fangchenggang city, China, May 23, 2018. China is increasingly viewed as a competitive threat to the Western nuclear energy industry. (ImagineChina photo by Hai Ou via AP Images)

China’s voracious appetite for new nuclear power plants has helped to slow the decline in recent years of an ailing nuclear energy industry long dominated by the United States and Europe. From a late and inauspicious start in the 1990s, China’s nuclear fleet has risen to become the world’s third largest. According to Chinese government projections, within the next decade China may surpass the United States as the world’s leading nuclear energy producer. Despite that growth, though, China is increasingly viewed less as the salvation of the Western nuclear power industry, and more as a competitive threat. Chinese companies have […]

Ugandan pop star Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 12, 2018 (AP photo by Brian Inganga).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s bid to position himself for a new term got a boost earlier this month when the Supreme Court upheld the removal of a constitutional age limit that would otherwise have barred him from staying in office. If all goes according to plan, Museveni, who is 74 and has been president since 1986, would be able to run again in 2021 and, assuming he wins another five-year mandate, see his tenure hit the 40-year mark. Yet […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un after their talks in Vladivostok, Russia, April 25, 2019 (Photo by Alexei Nikolsky for Sputnik via AP Images).

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first trip to Russia this week for a long-anticipated summit with President Vladimir Putin. Kim traveled by train to the far eastern port city of Vladivostok, about 75 miles from the North Korean border, where he and Putin met Thursday and discussed the North Korean nuclear issue, as well as bilateral economic engagement. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since Kim rose to power in 2011, although Putin is acquainted with the Kim family dynasty. He previously met with the young dictator’s father, Kim Jong Il, three times in […]

Former U.S. President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks during a town hall meeting at the European School For Management And Technology, Berlin, Germany, April 6, 2019 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

A decade ago, President Barack Obama came into office promising a different kind of American foreign policy, having been elected on a platform of ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, repairing America’s global image, and reviving American diplomacy and even restraint. Americans may have wanted their nation to adjust its global strategy, but for reasons that had more to do with domestic politics than world events, the debate over how to do so devolved into rancor and caricature under Obama. America was headed in the right direction until hyperpartisanship derailed everything, leaving the public convinced that something is wrong […]

Ukrainian president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky at his campaign headquarters following the presidential election in Kiev, Ukraine, April 21, 2019 (Sputnik photo via AP Images).

Ukraine’s hybrid conflict with Russia over the past five years has not just unfolded in annexed Crimea and the regions of eastern Ukraine where Russia continues to back separatist groups. It has also been felt in Kiev and across the rest of the county, as Russian interference continues to destabilize Ukrainian politics. In an effort to defend against Russian disinformation and propaganda, Ukraine’s government has responded with measures that have led to a substantial erosion of digital freedoms for journalists, activists and the wider Ukrainian public. A country once heralded as one of the most progressive in Eastern Europe for […]

A Sri Lankan soldier stands guard at the damaged St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 26, 2019 (AP photo by Manish Swarup).

In this week’s editors’ discussion episode of the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief Judah Grunstein, managing editor Frederick Deknatel and associate editor Elliot Waldman talk about the challenges facing Sri Lanka in the wake of the Easter bombings and what that attack says about the evolving threat of terrorism. In light of the U.S. decision to stop issuing waivers for major importers of Iranian oil this week, the editors also analyze the Trump administration’s arbitrary and ultimately counterproductive use of sanctions against Iran. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can […]

A Sri Lankan police officer patrols outside a mosque, Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 24, 2019 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

Large-scale terrorist attacks destroy lives, but they also have the power to upend political realities. That, after all, is their goal. The Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka are no exception. Whatever the larger objectives of the perpetrators of the suicide bombings at three churches and three hotels, their actions have sent political shockwaves across Sri Lanka, just as it prepares for presidential elections later this year. The political reverberations of the attacks were almost immediate. As Sri Lankans grappled with the human toll—more than 350 dead and hundreds more injured—revelations that authorities had received detailed warnings about an impending […]

Anti-Brexit demonstrators protest at the Irish border, Carrickcarnon, Ireland, March 30, 2019 (AP photo by Peter Morrison).

While the recent six-month extension of the deadline for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union has delayed any Brexit fallout, for now, it has not alleviated renewed tensions in Northern Ireland over the possible return of a hard border with the Republic of Ireland. The EU’s recent receptiveness to a so-called Irish backstop in any Brexit agreement that would prevent the reintroduction of a hard border was nevertheless a good sign for Belfast, given that during the 2016 Brexit referendum, 56 percent of Northern Irish voters opted to remain in the EU. Irrespective of whether that Irish backstop is implemented […]

Cameroon’s president, Paul Biya, casts his vote during the presidential elections in Yaounde, Cameroon, Oct. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Authorities in Cameroon are jailing opposition politicians and barring their supporters from holding rallies. Security forces and separatist groups continue to carry out atrocities in the country’s restive Anglophone regions. More and more civilians are being forced from their homes, adding to a tally of displaced people that already exceeds half a million. These problems and more were cited in a speech delivered last week to the European Parliament by Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s top foreign policy official. Her words painted a picture of an increasingly volatile country, just six months after 86-year-old President Paul Biya coasted to reelection […]

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, right, shakes hands with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, April 9, 2019 (AP photo by Vincent Thian).

The prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore met for their annual leaders’ retreat earlier this month, an ongoing tradition that is now in its ninth year. The summit allowed the two neighbors to calm some recent diplomatic disputes tied to long-standing issues over territory and shared water resources. In an interview with WPR, Ja Ian Chong, an associate professor of political science at the National University of Singapore, discusses the recent chill, and thaw, in relations between Malaysia and Singapore. World Politics Review: What caused the rift in recent months between Malaysia and Singapore? Ja Ian Chong: The exact reasons […]

Iranian oil workers at an oil refinery south of Tehran, Iran, Dec. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

History’s judgment of the Trump administration’s foreign policy is likely to be unkind, with the biggest question for now being whether it is the intended or unintended consequences that will warrant the most severe rebuke. There are plenty of examples of how the administration’s approach risks both catastrophic success and catastrophic failure, but its policy on Iran is particularly illustrative. The latest case in point is the announcement Monday that the U.S. would not extend the waivers it had granted to five major importers of Iranian crude after reimposing unilateral sanctions on Iran’s oil sector last year. The countries—China, India, […]

Melton Roy prays amid the graves of Easter Sunday bomb blast victims, Negombo, Sri Lanka, April 23, 2019 (AP photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe).

As Christians around the world were flocking to churches for Easter services Sunday, Sri Lanka was already in mourning. A string of deadly, coordinated explosions early Sunday, which tore through churches and luxury hotels in Colombo and across the island nation, killed over 321 people, including some 38 foreigners, and injured around 500 others. Seven of the eight attacks were suicide bombings. A ninth explosion was prevented late Sunday when security personnel defused an improvised explosive device on the road to Colombo International Airport. Among the churches attacked on Sunday morning was the 18th-century St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, St. […]

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