South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, is welcomed by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, second from left, at Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy, April 10, 2019 (AP photo by Alessandra Tarantino).

Last September, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, signed a power-sharing deal with rebel leader Riek Machar, promising to bring an end to the five-year civil war that has crippled the world’s newest country, which declared its independence from Sudan in 2011. It wasn’t the first time. A similar agreement signed in 2015 broke down the following year, leading to fighting that prompted Machar to flee the country. Observers predicted the new agreement would share the fate of its predecessor. What was billed as a “revitalized” peace plan was still silent on many of the underlying drivers of violence and seemed […]

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, left, and his predecessor, Joseph Kabila, during the presidential inauguration ceremony in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jan. 24, 2019 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Eight months after his contested election, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, finally has a Cabinet. But the list of new ministers released Monday has done little to dissuade critics who allege that Tshisekedi only won the election last December thanks to the intervention of his predecessor, Joseph Kabila, who had held onto power for years, subverting the constitution. Of the 65 positions in the new Cabinet, 42 are drawn from Kabila’s coalition, including plum roles running the […]

Czech President Milos Zeman, right, and Lubomir Zaoralek, a former foreign minister who was appointed as the new culture minister at Prague Castle, Czech Republic, Aug. 27, 2019 (Photo by Roman Vondrous for CTK via AP Images).

PRAGUE—A long political drama ended in the Czech Republic this week with the government narrowly averting collapse, but only by surrendering to what amounts to a presidential coup. When President Milos Zeman formally appointed Lubomir Zaoralek as culture minister on Aug. 27, it brought an end to more than 100 days of crisis. Zaoralek, a former foreign minister, was parachuted in after Zeman refused to confirm the previous nominee put forward by the left-leaning Social Democrats, the junior partner in the coalition government led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis and his populist Ano party. Since this standoff over the Cabinet […]

At a protest against President Juan Orlando Hernandez, a sign reads “Resign JOH” in Spanish, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Aug. 6, 2019 (AP photo by Elmer Martinez).

For the third time in four years, Hondurans are calling for the resignation of President Juan Orlando Hernandez, decrying him as a “narco dictator.” In early August, Hernandez was named in a 44-page court filing by the U.S. Southern District of New York, which alleges he funded his 2013 election campaign with $1.5 million in drug trafficking money. Hondurans have poured into the streets since the charges were announced, joining a protest movement against Hernandez that is entering its fifth month. Demonstrations kicked off in the spring against unpopular reforms his government proposed to health care and education. The U.S. […]

Members of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force aim their rifles towards the sky during a rehearsal ahead of a memorial ceremony commemorating those who died during World War II, as they sail past the Sulu Sea, June 28, 2019 (AP photo by Emily Wang).

In the wake of World War II, the U.S. helped Japan draft a new constitution that forever renounced the use of military force as a means of settling international disputes. Japan has nonetheless maintained a well-equipped military for the purposes of self-defense, even while largely relying on the security umbrella provided by U.S. forces in the region. In a book that came out in April, Sheila Smith, the senior fellow for Japan studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, makes a compelling case that Tokyo is now reevaluating that security posture in response to a militarily ascendant China, a nuclear […]

Protesters use bamboo sticks as they face riot police during a protest in Hong Kong, Aug. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

One of the first things that clinched my interest in China—and this will inevitably date myself—was its fierce and utterly unique political language, the stuff of endless campaigns of denunciation and ideological warfare. Think the bloodcurdling epithets used to attack enemies during the late Mao period, like “running dog of imperialism” or “capitalist roader,” and, when that long era finally wound to a close, “gang of four.” Language like this has almost entirely disappeared from the rhetorical lexicon of the Chinese state. But there is one important form of it that has remained on the shelf, in two words found […]

Migrant minors allowed to disembark the Open Arms rescue vessel wait to be taken to the Sicilian port of Porto Empedocle from Lampedusa, southern Italy, Aug. 19, 2019 (AP photo by Salvatore Cavalli).

Migration barely came up at the recent G-7 summit in France—a far cry from just two years ago, when Italy hosted the G-7 in Sicily, which has seen an influx of migrants and asylum-seekers given its proximity to North Africa. The most prominent mention of migration in Biarritz took place on the sidelines of the summit, when President Donald Trump’s adviser, Stephen Miller—the architect of the administration’s restrictionist immigration policies—defended Trump’s efforts to make migrating to the United States even more onerous than it already is. Yet even if migration has fallen off the front pages, each member of the […]

President Donald Trump during a working session on the global economy, foreign policy and security affairs, at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Aug. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

In a provocative new book, three scholars from the libertarian Cato Institute—John Glaser, Christopher A. Preble and A. Trevor Thrall—counsel the United States to abandon the pursuit of global primacy for a policy of prudence and restraint. “Fuel to the Fire: How Trump Made America’s Foreign Policy Even Worse (and How We Can Do Better)” is a scalding indictment not only of the 45th U.S. president, but also of a morally bankrupt national security establishment whose addiction to empire has embroiled the nation in misbegotten military misadventures. American foreign policy professionals may cast the United States as a benevolent hegemon, […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, holds a news conference with the leaders of Palau, the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia, in Kolonia, Micronesia, Aug. 5, 2019 (pool photo by Jonathan Ernst of Reuters via AP Images).

Earlier this month, Mike Pompeo became the first American secretary of state to visit the Federated States of Micronesia, where he announced that Washington had begun negotiations to renew important security pacts that it maintains with several Pacific island nations. These agreements, known as Compacts of Free Association, grant the U.S. exclusive military access to the land, air and sea routes of Micronesia, as well as Palau and the Marshall Islands. China has recently tried to deepen its economic and diplomatic ties with these countries, which together are known as the Freely Associated States. In an email interview, Michael S. […]

President Donald Trump holds up a chart documenting land lost by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as he delivers remarks in Lima, Ohio, March 20, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein, Frederick Deknatel and Laura Weiss talk about a recent Pentagon report documenting the Islamic State’s resurgence in Iraq and Syria. They also discuss a controversial abortion case in El Salvador, and prospects for the G-7 summit in France. 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 free preview article every day of the week, plus three more complimentary articles in […]

Fighters from the Ambazonia Defense Forces, an Anglophone militia, at a camp in South West region, Cameroon, June 2018 (Photo by Emmanuel Freudenthal).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. The separatist crisis in Cameroon deepened this week after a military tribunal handed down life sentences to the separatist movement’s leader and nine of his followers. As observers warned that the sentences would make it harder to bring the two-year conflict to an end, separatist militias launched reprisal attacks that killed at least two people and forced dozens more to flee their homes. The conflict has its roots in concerns within Cameroon’s minority English-speaking population that they have been historically marginalized by […]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy talks with servicemen as he visits the war-hit Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine, May 27, 2019 (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office photo via AP Images).

Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is on a roll. In April, he trounced incumbent Petro Poroshenko at the polls. Last month, Zelensky’s Servant of the People party won a majority mandate in a snap parliamentary election, so it can press ahead with much-needed reforms. But a bigger challenge looms: finding a path to negotiate an end to the war in eastern Ukraine. Zelensky’s winning streak could be tested when he meets with U.S. President Donald Trump in September. He is seeking more leverage over Russia in an attempt to resolve the conflict that has raged in eastern Ukraine since Russia […]

Thai bomb squad officers examine the wreckage of a car after an explosion outside a hotel in Pattani province, southern Thailand, Aug. 24, 2016 (AP photo by Sumeth Panpetch).

At the height of the morning rush hour on Aug. 2, as Bangkok hosted foreign dignitaries attending a high-profile regional security summit, six small bombs exploded across the city, injuring four people. Thai police linked the blasts to southern insurgents, whose leaders denied responsibility. Two weeks later, reports emerged that the main rebel group leading that insurgency, the Barisan Revolusi Nasional, or BRN, had met Thai government officials for secret talks. The rebels reportedly set out their demands for resuming formal peace negotiations, including “the release of all people detained over suspected links to the insurgency and a transparent investigation […]

Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, at a rally in Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic, April 25, 2019 (CTK photo by Michal Kamaryt via AP Images).

AMSTERDAM—It wasn’t long ago that the far right was surging in the Netherlands. Anti-immigrant politicians were dominating the political debate and energizing their followers with an intensity that traditional mainstream politicians appeared incapable of matching. The Dutch seemed on track to move away from their near-legendary penchant for compromise, ready to trade it in for the kind of resurgent nationalism seen in other parts of Europe and across the Atlantic. But then something unexpected happened. The energy suddenly drained out of this far-right populist movement. The Dutch far right has had at least two high points in recent years. In […]

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives for the eurozone summit in Brussels,  June 20, 2019 (AP photo by Olivier Matthys).

It is a question that has lingered since the European debt crisis: Can the European Union and eurozone shore up their institutional crisis-response capabilities without another political or economic emergency to provide the impetus? If June’s eurozone summit in Brussels was any indication, the answer remains no. At the meeting, the eurozone leaders agreed to establish the Budgetary Instrument for Convergence and Competitiveness, or BICC, a mechanism that ostensibly allows the eurozone to redistribute funds among member states. But compared to the lofty ambitions of French President Emmanuel Macron and others who have long advocated for a centralized eurozone budget, […]

Demonstrators with Russian and various political party flags stand in front of a police line during a protest in Moscow, July 20, 2019 (AP photo by Pavel Golovkin).

Every weekend for the past month, throngs of protesters have gathered in central Moscow to demand that the government allow opposition candidates to stand in elections for the city council that will be held on Sept. 8. Authorities have responded by arresting thousands of demonstrators, some of whom face jail sentences of up to eight years. In an email interview with WPR, Anna Arutunyan, senior analyst for Russia at International Crisis Group, explains what it will take for the recent protests in Moscow to evolve into a broader challenge to President Vladimir Putin’s legitimacy. World Politics Review: What are the […]

President Donald Trump approaches reporters before boarding Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J., Aug. 15, 2019 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

It’s easy to imagine the reaction of Republican critics of former President Barack Obama if tiny, semi-autonomous Gibraltar had released an impounded Iranian oil tanker in direct defiance of his administration’s request to turn it over to American authorities. “No one fears him, not even Gibraltar,” we would have heard. Or perhaps, “Obama lost Britain.” Curiously, there have been no such attacks so far on President Donald Trump, on whose watch this actually happened Sunday. But it has become fashionable to pin all of the world’s current troubles on Trump’s mishandling of U.S. foreign policy. These attacks do echo Republican […]

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