Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido addresses the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2020 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).

Juan Guaido is on tour and looking presidential, visiting some of the more than 50 countries around the world that have recognized him as Venezuela’s legitimate interim president. In the past two weeks, the 36-year-old opposition leader made an official state visit to Colombia; met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London; addressed the European Parliament in Brussels and met with the EU’s new foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell; held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris; chatted with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European officials on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland; […]

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a sermon during Friday prayers at Imam Khomeini Grand Mosque in Tehran, Iran, Jan. 17, 2020 (Photo by the Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP Images).

In three weeks, Iranians will go to the polls to choose a new parliament. For President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate and ardent supporter of the now-moribund international agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear program, the parliamentary vote on Feb. 21 could be the first note in his political swan song. With some 90 percent of Iran’s reform candidates disqualified in a decision issued by the hard-line Guardian Council this week and reformists threatening an election boycott, it seems highly unlikely that Iran’s pro-reform bloc will be able to stitch together much of a showing at the polls. That’s bad news for […]

President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House, Washington, Jan. 28, 2020 (Photo by Oliver Contreras for Sipa via AP Images).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein and Freddy Deknatel talk about the Trump administration’s long-anticipated Israel-Palestine peace plan, which after numerous delays was rolled out this week, and why it is a gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli right. They also discuss how the deal reflects the shifting dynamics of regional geopolitics, and the options available to the Palestinian leadership moving forward. 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 […]

Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, center, arrives at the national conference for the ruling CNDD-FDD party in Gitega, Burundi, Jan. 26, 2020 (AP photo by Berthier Mugiraneza).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Burundi’s ruling party has selected a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza to stand in May’s presidential election, fueling concerns that an ongoing government crackdown on political opponents, civil society groups and journalists will only continue. At a party conference over the weekend, the ruling CNDD-FDD selected Evariste Ndayishimiye as its candidate after Nkurunziza confirmed he will step down after 15 contentious years in office. Ndayishimiye is a retired army general who serves as the party’s secretary general and heads the department […]

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, center, and Vietnamese Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich review an honor guard in Hanoi, Vietnam, Nov. 20, 2019 (AP photo by Hau Dinh).

With China-Vietnam relations deteriorating as a result of Beijing's provocations, Hanoi has signaled a possible shift in alliances. Whether Vietnam actually follows through, though, likely depends on who takes over the ruling Communist Party during next year's National Congress. In a major new defense white paper, its first in 10 years, Vietnam has begun signaling that it could abandon its long-standing foreign policy strategy of hedging between major powers like China and the United States and move more definitively into Washington’s orbit. These documents are generally full of turgid jargon, but this one, released late last year, is unusually blunt, […]

A stencil of former President Evo Morales adorns a wall in La Paz, Bolivia, Dec. 6, 2019 (AP photo by Juan Karita).

When towering political figures are suddenly ousted from power, what role will they play in their country’s future? That question is at the heart of what is unfolding in Bolivia some 10 weeks after former President Evo Morales resigned at the “suggestion” of the military amid mass public protests over a disputed presidential election. Morales, who fled into exile, first to Mexico and then Argentina, still insists he will lead the charge to topple the current, interim government. But he has faced a new and unexpected challenge to his political influence in Bolivia: an increasingly powerful current in his own […]

A building with posters of former Asian and African leaders before the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference in West Java, Indonesia, April 23, 2015 (AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim).

Not so long ago, nations of what was once called the Third World commonly looked to each other as prospective allies and partners, even extending their diplomatic ties across the oceans in order to advance their shared interests and protect themselves amid the dangers and complexities of the Cold War. The most famous moment of this period was undoubtedly the Bandung Conference in Indonesia in 1955, which brought together 29 Asian and African states with a combined population of 1.5 billion people and led to the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement. The momentum of Bandung was seriously blunted by the […]

A paramilitary policeman wears a face mask as he stands guard near the large portrait of Chinese leader Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing, Jan. 27, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

The Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in China, where more than 6,000 cases have now been confirmed and more than 100 people have died from the disease. Dozens of cases have also been reported in other parts of the world, including other Asian countries as well as Europe and North America. Chinese authorities have moved swiftly to contain the outbreak, placing travel restrictions on more than 48 million people in over a dozen cities, including the central metropolis of Wuhan. The director-general of the World Health Organization says he is confident that China is taking appropriate response measures, and […]

The British headquarters of Huawei in Reading, United Kingdom, June 12, 2018 (Photo by Steve Parsons for Press Association via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. The European Union on Wednesday recommended its member states limit the involvement of “high-risk” 5G vendors like Huawei in their telecommunications infrastructure, but it did not suggest banning the Chinese company outright. The EU’s new guidelines come a day after the United Kingdom announced it would not ban Huawei from its 5G network, a serious blow to the U.S. pressure campaign against China’s telecom giant. In a package of recommendations it refers to as its “5G toolbox,” the European […]

From left, U.N. Libya envoy Ghassan Salame, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas at the conference on Libya in Berlin, Germany, Jan. 19, 2020 (Pool photo by Axel Schmidt via AP).

At a recent conference in Berlin, more than a dozen outside powers, including Russia and Turkey, pledged to stop interfering in Libya’s civil war and respect the terms of a shaky cease-fire and a United Nations-imposed arms embargo. But just days after the meeting in Berlin, the U.N. warned that foreign materiel and personnel were continuing to flow into the country. The fragile truce that was first declared on Jan. 12 has now collapsed, as fierce fighting resumed in Libya this week between breakaway Libyan militia commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces and the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli. Fueled by increasing foreign […]

Demonstrators burn an effigy of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi while protesting against a new citizenship law, in Kolkata, India, Jan. 11, 2020 (AP photo by Bikas Das).

India’s new Citizenship Amendment Act, which passed last month and applies to migrants from three neighboring South Asian countries, has sparked domestic unrest as well as international outrage that has reverberated beyond the region. Less than a year after winning a landslide reelection, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suddenly finds his global reputation stained. Though controversial on its own, the citizenship law has triggered such strong opposition because it epitomizes the sharp right turn Modi has taken in his second term. Since August, his government has implemented a series of divisive policies that align with long-held ideological goals of the […]

President Donald Trump listens as Chinese Vice Premier Liu He speaks during a press conference at the White House, in Washington, Jan. 15, 2020 (SIPA photo by Oliver Contreras via AP Images).

Two weeks after it was signed, President Donald Trump’s phase-one trade deal with China, which the White House typically hyped as a “landmark” and “historic agreement,” is looking more suspect. There were always questions about what was left out of the deal—especially industrial subsidies in China and continued tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in imports from China. But now there is growing skepticism about the value of what is actually in the deal. What happened to the $40 billion to $50 billion in additional sales that Trump promised American farmers? Can Beijing really deliver on its commitment to […]

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont at a campaign rally in Sioux City, Iowa, Jan. 26, 2020 (AP photo by John Locher).

Bernie Sanders’ remarkable staying power in the Democratic Party’s presidential primaries—including narrow leads in polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, and now a slight edge over former Vice President Joe Biden in a recent national poll—has unsettled the U.S. political establishment. His revived presidential campaign increases the possibility that Democrats will select, and Americans elect, a left-wing nominee who could upend America’s global role, but in a very different way than President Donald Trump. In contrast to his 2016 presidential run, which treated foreign policy as an afterthought, the Vermont senator’s 2020 campaign has been actively challenging longstanding shibboleths of […]

Isabel dos Santos and her husband, Sindika Dokolo, arrive for a ceremony at the City Hall in Porto, Portugal, Jan. 6, 2020 (AP photo by Paulo Duarte).

A recently released trove of more than 700,000 leaked documents illuminate the shocking extent of corruption and kleptocracy in Angola. The files, known as the Luanda Leaks and published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and dozens of partner media outlets, detail how the country’s former first daughter, Isabel dos Santos, abused her power for personal gain, amassing a fortune estimated at $2.2 billion and earning her the title of “Africa’s richest woman.” Dos Santos, who splits her time mostly between London and Dubai, allegedly exploited positions of influence given to her by her father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, […]

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, left, and Green Party leader Werner Kogler at a press conference in Vienna, Austria, Jan. 2, 2020 (AP photo by Ronald Zak).

VIENNA—When Sebastian Kurz, Austria’s conservative political boy wonder, and Green Party leader Werner Kogler stepped in front of the nation’s TV cameras to announce an unlikely new coalition government in early January, after months of talks, neither seemed very excited. The gaps between their parties were still wide, and the compromises many. Nevertheless, in the end, they had agreed on a governing program that emphasizes restrictions on migration and more border security, including a much-criticized ban on headscarves for girls under the age of 14 and preemptive detention for migrants who have not committed any crimes. There is also an […]

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 18, 2019 (Pool photo by Mandel Ngan via AP).

The stunning allegation this week that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hacked the phone of Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, according to a report by United Nations investigators, may come as a shock to some. But for most people tracking the rise of Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler over the past five years, it’s business as usual. From his disastrous proxy war in Yemen to the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, the young crown prince, known as MBS, has demonstrated time and again his hubristic belief that there are no limits […]

World Economic Forum founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab listens as President Donald Trump delivers opening remarks at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 21, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein and Freddy Deknatel talk about the recent evolution of the World Economic Forum, which was held this week in Davos, Switzerland. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the elite crowd at Davos has tried to critically engage with the negative consequences of globalization, particularly the brand of globalization it has championed. That reflects the degree to which income and wealth inequality, the climate crisis and the downsides of new technologies have become central topics in political debates around the world. But how much of the newfound social […]

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