Supporters of the ruling party gather for the start of the election campaign, Bugendana, Burundi (AP photo by Berthier Mugiraneza).

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso—Burundi’s ruling party celebrated Monday after its candidate, Evariste Ndayishimiye, was declared the winner of last week’s presidential election. But the leading opposition party says it will contest the results, prompting fears of a return to the violence that plagued the country after President Pierre Nkurunziza’s disputed reelection in 2015, which sparked widespread protests that were met with a government crackdown. Since then, at least 1,200 people have been killed in intermittent clashes with security forces, while 400,000 have been forced to flee the country. Burundi’s election commission announced that Ndayishimiye won handily, with nearly 69 percent of […]

A Russian instructor trains Syrian soldiers and militia members at a training camp in Aleppo province, Syria, Jan. 25, 2019 (Sputnik photo by Mikhail Voskresenskiy via AP Images).

Is Russia’s lucky streak in Syria and Libya finally running out? The Kremlin has gambled big on proxy warfare in both countries, deploying thousands of private military contractors with the so-called Wagner Group to back its favorite strongmen. But after a recent run of misfortunes for Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, and Gen. Khalifa Haftar, the head of the breakaway Libyan National Army, it is starting to look like Russia may not be able to cash in real wins in the Middle East and North Africa anytime soon. The most significant sign that Russia’s support for private paramilitaries in Libya may […]

Food delivery workers near a TV screen showing Chinese leader Xi Jinping attending the closing ceremony of the National People’s Congress, in Beijing, China, May 28, 2020 (AP photo by Andy Wong).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein and Freddy Deknatel talk about China’s latest encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy, and how it might affect U.S.-China relations. They also discuss the Trump administration’s latest move to finish off the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, and the outdated logic guiding the administration’s Iran policy more generally. Listen: Download: MP3Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | RSS | Spotify Relevant Articles on WPR:Why China’s Xi Opted for the ‘Nuclear Option’ in Hong KongChina’s Aggression Amid the Pandemic Has Little to Do With COVID-19Trump’s Iran Strategy Is Still Just an Anti-Obama VendettaThe Trump […]

Two U.N. soldiers stand guard in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 30, 2012 (AP photo by Jerome Delay).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Violence is escalating once again in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ituri province, a region long beset by militant groups and intercommunal conflict. The United Nations reported that an ethnic militia operating in the northeastern province might have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity beginning late last year. Meanwhile, another rebel group slaughtered dozens of civilians in a series of raids this week. Between disease outbreaks and inter-ethnic clashes, the mineral-rich province has been a flashpoint for decades. But starting in […]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel inspect an honor guard during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Sept. 6, 2019 (pool photo by Roman Pilipey via AP Images).

The European Union has struggled mightily in recent months to assert itself as a strategically autonomous and relevant actor in response to an increasingly aggressive China. In April, the EU drafted a report critical of Chinese disinformation efforts related to the spread of the novel coronavirus in Europe, but it bowed to pressure from China and removed most of the criticism leveled at Beijing that had been included in the initial draft, which leaked to the press. The subsequent public criticism led the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, to receive a tongue-lashing at a hearing of the […]

Doctors and nurses attend to COVID-19 patients at the Guillermo Almenara hospital in Lima, Peru, May 22, 2020 (AP photo by Rodrigo Abd).

Few governments acted more decisively to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic than Peru, whose president, Martin Vizcarra, mobilized the country’s resources even before the World Health Organization formally declared COVID-19 a pandemic. By most objective measures, Vizcarra did almost everything right. Most importantly, and in contrast to other leaders, he took action early, something that epidemiological models confirm is vital for preventing widespread contagion. And yet, tragically, Peru still stands as one of the world’s COVID-19 hotspots today, with the second-highest number of confirmed cases in South America. Only Brazil, where President Jair Bolsonaro has put on a […]

Municipality workers disinfect the grounds of the historical Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey, May 26, 2020 (AP photo by Emrah Gurel).

In a national address earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the start of a “normalization plan” to gradually ease restrictions on movement that had ground much of Turkey to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic. After spreading rapidly during March and April, infection and death rates have decreased recently in Turkey, which currently has nearly 160,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including about 4,400 deaths. Erdogan trumpeted his government’s success in tackling the public health crisis, but warned that “much harsher measures” will be required if cases spike again. Pro-government media outlets insist that Turkey’s fight against the […]

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro arrives for a press conference at the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela, March 12, 2020 (AP photo by Matias Delacroix).

The U.S. Justice Department’s indictment of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in March did not go over well at Miraflores Palace, the president’s official workplace and residence in Caracas. In remarks just hours after the indictment was announced, Maduro swatted away the allegations of drug trafficking and money laundering, and assailed President Donald Trump as a “racist cowboy” and “New York mafia con artist.” Even many of Maduro’s critics in the United States were quick to question the move. Understandably, they fear the criminal charges undermine negotiations between Maduro and his domestic opponents, including Juan Guaido, the opposition leader who is […]

President Donald Trump listens during a session at Ford’s Rawsonville Components Plant, which is now manufacturing personal protection and medical equipment, Ypsilanti, Michigan, May 21, 2020 (AP photo by Alex Brandon).

Six months after the emergence of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China, and four months after it became a global outbreak, its political and economic fallout continue to take shape. As government policies adapt and evolve in real time to the changing features of the pandemic, so too do the geopolitical implications. So far, three scenarios have been advanced with regard to COVID-19’s potential impact on the international order. They can be broadly characterized as a change at the top, in which a triumphant and capable China replaces the bungling U.S. as the world’s dominant power; a descent into multipolar […]

A boy paddles a kayak down a flooded street in Midland, Mich., May 20, 2020 (Photo by Katy Kildee for Midland Daily News via AP Images).

Historic floods washed over swaths of Michigan after a dam breach earlier this month, just days after a major typhoon struck the Philippines. Last week, Cyclone Amphan slammed into eastern India and Bangladesh, killing dozens of people. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a busier-than-normal Atlantic hurricane season, which officially kicks off on June 1. The timing, obviously, couldn’t be worse. For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, WPR’s Elliot Waldman is joined by Samantha Montano, an assistant professor of emergency management at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, for a conversation about the challenges of preparing for, and responding […]

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, center, and other officials attend a press conference in Hong Kong after returning from the National People’s Congress in Beijing, May 22, 2020 (AP photo by Kin Cheung).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. China’s decision last week to impose controversial national security legislation on Hong Kong was stunningly brazen, bypassing the territory’s legislative process and undermining its autonomy. Though risky for the Chinese Communist Party, the move falls in line with the aggressively nationalist agenda it has pursued ever since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012. The sweeping legislation, which is expected to pass Thursday at the National People’s Congress, the annual meeting of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, will criminalize “foreign interference” […]

Flags with the logo of the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei in Bonn, Germany, April 6, 2020 (Photo by Horst Galuschka for dpa via AP Images).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Edward Alden is filling in for Kimberly Ann Elliott this week. During the Cold War, the United States created and led two quite different international trading systems. The first, and by far the better known, was the open, multilateral trading system. Its aim was to expand free trade and market principles around the world, and it culminated after the Cold War in the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1995. What began with just 23 nations in the aftermath of World War II, with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, today includes 164 countries […]

Sacristan Michael Seewar prepares the altar for a livestream Easter service at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, Washington, April 12, 2020 (AP photo by Elaine Thompson).

An article published earlier this month in the largest English-language newspaper in Bangladesh, the Daily Star, inadvertently revealed a lot about different perspectives on religion’s role in society, including during the coronavirus pandemic. The writer argued that religious actors play a “vital stabilizing role” during such global crises and can “offer a beacon of hope” amid “the ravages of this pandemic.” But in the comments, a reader took a starkly different stance with what he called “a rude question”—a few of them, in fact. First, can faith and science go together? Second, how can faith actors help when they fight […]

Peruvian Foreign Minister Gustavo-Meza Cuadra, left, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, Nov. 29, 2019 (pool photo by Florence Lo via AP).

The coronavirus pandemic has yet to peak across Latin America and the Caribbean, but China is already maneuvering to try and capitalize on the crisis and bolster its position and influence in the region. The heated blame game between Washington and Beijing over the coronavirus’s origins will eventually fade from the headlines, and Chinese leaders are quietly working to ensure that when it does, the strategic ground will have shifted in their favor. At the heart of these efforts is a campaign for ideological supremacy, to show the moral equivalence and even the supposed superiority of the Chinese communist system […]

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a news conference at the State Department in Washington, April 29, 2020 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Whether the world knows it now or not, how the U.S. Congress handles the White House’s abrupt firing of the State Department’s top watchdog could be more than a make or break moment for the future of “America First” diplomacy. It could also determine the trajectory of American presidential politics for years to come. If Secretary of State Mike Pompeo survives the escalating scandal surrounding President Donald Trump’s decision last week to force out State Department Inspector General Steve Linick—at Pompeo’s request—Pompeo’s much-anticipated run for the presidency in 2024 is all but assured. On Wednesday, Pompeo bluntly stated in a […]

An Avangard intercontinental ballistic missile lifts off from a truck-mounted launcher somewhere in Russia (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP).

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration found itself defending proposed cuts in funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its 2021 budget request to Congress. The cuts, which were the latest in a consistent pattern of reductions in CDC funding over the past 10 years, threaten to further hamper the government’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. But they are part of a much broader trend of gradually deprioritizing critical institutions, one that threatens key government functions meant to provide stability in an unpredictable world. Like the CDC, the State Department […]

Muslim worshippers walk outside the Grand Mosque after noon prayers in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, March 7, 2020 (AP photo by Amr Nabil).

Saudi Arabia announced harsh new austerity measures last week, including the suspension of a cost of living allowance for public workers and the tripling of its value added tax, from 5 percent to 15 percent. While the new policies are intended to plug a gaping hole in state finances amid the coronavirus pandemic and after a historic collapse in oil prices, they are risky for an absolute monarchy that has worked to guarantee affluent lifestyles for its citizens in exchange for their obedience. The government’s response appears to place a disproportionately heavy burden on everyday Saudis rather than the political […]

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