Former President Desi Bouterse, center, and Suriname’s new president, Chan Santokhi, left, during the inauguration ceremony in Paramaribo, Suriname, July 16, 2020 (AP photo by Ertugrul Kilic).

On July 13, with a handshake and a smile, long-ruling President Desi Bouterse handed over the reins of power in Suriname to Chan Santokhi, a former police chief who has tenaciously pursued mass murder charges against Bouterse for the last 15 years. “It won’t be an easy job,” said Bouterse, who had a parting trick to play on his rival. When Santokhi turned up to work the following week, he found his new office stripped of its IT equipment. Aside from procuring some new phones and computers, Santokhi faces three main challenges in governing this former Dutch colony on the […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talks to American soldiers based in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Nov. 7, 2019 (AP photo by Jens Meyer).

According to Washington’s punditocracy, there are only two ways to interpret the Pentagon’s announcement Wednesday that it plans to move ahead with withdrawing nearly 12,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Germany. One view is that President Donald Trump is capitulating yet again to pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin and handing Putin a gift in the form of a weakened NATO. The other take is that the White House decision to pull troops out of Germany, as Trump has long wanted, is a foolish escalation in his standoff with German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the future of the trans-Atlantic alliance. […]

Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, center, prepares to cut the ribbon for the reopening of a stadium in Mogadishu, Somalia, June 30, 2020 (AP photo by Farah Abdi Warsameh).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. Somalia’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly to remove Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire in a no-confidence vote last Saturday, citing his failure to prepare the country for democratic elections by early next year. The surprise move, which was supported by 170 of Parliament’s 178 lawmakers, follows Khaire’s dispute with President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed over the timing of national elections. Though preparations have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing insecurity in Somalia, Khaire was pushing for the vote to take place by early […]

Protesters call for the removal of a statue of Cecil Rhodes, a Victorian imperialist, in Oxford, England, June 9, 2020 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

Black Lives Matter protests have erupted in cities across Europe in recent weeks, in solidarity with the uprisings in the United States following the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in May. Some European demonstrators have called on their governments to more formally acknowledge the connections between the slave trade and colonialism and racism in their countries today. In Europe’s two largest former colonial powers, France and the United Kingdom, there are signs that protests are eroding the popular indifference toward their history. While France and the U.K. have never apologized for their colonial past, they have […]

Demonstrators hold a Brazilian flag to support Operation Car Wash and former judge Sergio Moro, in front of Supreme Court headquarters in Brasilia, Brazil, Sept. 25, 2019 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).

Until recently, it was one of the brightest, most promising trends in Latin America, and one of the strongest arguments for optimism about its future. But tragically, the fight against corruption, which had made determined strides in its drive to uproot graft, influence peddling and venal misuse of resources, has not only stalled—it has shifted into reverse. The backsliding is now converging with the scourge of the coronavirus, adding to the many challenges that Latin Americans face, and raising the barriers to recovery after the pandemic ends. Latin America is not alone in hitting a wall in its attempts to […]

Burkina Faso’s president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, left, Chad President Idriss Deby, center, and French President Emmanuel Macron, right, during the G5 Sahel summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania (AFP pool photo by Ludovic Marin via AP Images).

When Idriss Deby first became president of Chad in 1990, deposing the notoriously brutal Hissene Habre in an armed rebellion, few observers expected his rule to last very long. The landlocked Central African country is deeply fragmented, with myriad ethnic groups and clans vying for power against each other. But against all odds, Deby has remained in power for 30 years, thanks in large part to his political cunning, his prowess as a military tactician and his use of oil revenues to build patronage networks and coopt political opponents. Under Deby, Chad has also taken on an important role in […]

People protest outside Parliament after a court ruling deciding Chagossians were not allowed to return to their homeland, London, Oct. 22, 2008 (AP photo by Matt Dunham).

The British government has been vocal about the issue of human rights in China in recent weeks. It recently delivered a joint statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council, on behalf of 27 countries, on abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. And Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has strongly criticized Beijing for imposing sweeping national security legislation that severely undermines the autonomy of Hong Kong, which the Chinese government promised to respect in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. Raab specifically called out Beijing for violating its international legal obligations, while announcing that the U.K. would not shirk from its “historic […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron walk to their press conference room at the end of an EU summit in Brussels, July 21, 2020 (AFP pool photo by John Thys via AP Images).

If the European Union were a cartoon, it would resemble an episode of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. The EU would be Wile E. Coyote, furiously paving a road with the help of some mail-order Rube Goldberg machine, patch by patch, just ahead of the car he is driving. The Road Runner would be the course of history speeding up alongside him, then zooming off into the distance. This half-finished structure constantly driven forward by the urgent necessity of events is no accident. It was one of the implicit assumptions of the EU’s early architects and builders, who […]

Chad President Idriss Deby takes part in a working session during the G5 Sahel summit, June 30, 2020, in Nouakchott, Mauritania (AFP pool photo by Ludovic Marin via AP Images).

President Idriss Deby of Chad is one of the world’s longest-ruling national leaders, having first taken power in an armed rebellion in 1990. Since then, the country has continued to struggle with high rates of poverty and severe developmental challenges, even as security forces ruthlessly suppress every sign of dissent. Under Deby’s enduring rule, Chad has also taken on a number of important roles in regional security and counterinsurgency efforts that are backed by Western governments, including France, Chad’s former colonizer. Those efforts have earned Deby considerable loyalty in Paris and other Western capitals, but they may also be testing […]

World Politics Review is looking for a freelance writer to contribute the lead story to our weekly China newsletter, China Note. In 600-750 words, the lead story usually highlights a major news development from China, but can also look at other aspects of Chinese politics and society that may not be covered as widely in Western media. In recent weeks, China Note has focused on China’s ongoing military build-up; Chinese censorship on Zoom; the Indian border standoff; and the U.S.-China “tech war.” China Note is published every Wednesday. Its full archive is here. The ideal candidate is a journalist or […]

A worker tries to remove the plaque next to a Chinese paramilitary policeman from outside the United States Consulate in Chengdu, China, July 26, 2020 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China. Plummeting relations between the United States and China hit a new low after the tit-for-tat closures of consulates in Houston and Chengdu last week. Though the closures are mostly symbolic, any détente between Washington and Beijing looks even more unrealistic now. With the U.S. presidential election just months away and President Donald Trump suffering in the polls, it has become increasingly difficult to guess what comes next. When the Trump administration ordered China to shut its consulate in Houston […]

A protester prays near a poster showing Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi analyst who was shot dead near outside his home in Baghdad in early July, Baghdad, Iraq, July 12, 2020 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

Earlier this month, a prominent researcher and security expert in Iraq, who was close to the new prime minister and to Western governments, was gunned down outside his home in Baghdad. While the identify of his assailants remains unknown, Hisham al-Hashimi had many enemies, given his history of speaking out against the Islamic State and against Iraq’s powerful Shiite militias. In the weeks leading up to his murder, he told friends and relatives that he had received serious threats from both Sunni and Shiite extremists. His associates, as well as Iraqi government officials, have focused in particular on Kataib Hezbollah, […]

Anti-Brexit campaigner Steve Bray holds up a sign showing Vladimir Putin’s face outside Parliament in London, July 21, 2020 (AP photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth).

Editor’s Note: Guest columnist Neil Bhatiya is filling in for Kimberly Ann Elliott, who will return next week. Two developments last week, in the United Kingdom and the United States, highlighted how their common adversaries are still exploiting the global financial system, using long-known loopholes to raise and move illicit money in order to undermine international security and the rule of law. While American and British authorities have often been slow to realize the full magnitude of this threat, their recent actions suggest they may finally be taking it more seriously. First, the British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee released […]

A nearly empty beach in the usually crowded resort town of Ayia Napa, Cyprus, July 20, 2020 (AP photo by Petros Karadjias).

Earlier this year, as the effects of a deadly new virus rippled across the world, international travel was thrown into a frenzy. Images of frantic business travelers, passengers on cruise ships and study abroad students all scrambling to return home filled the news. But these were soon followed by images of quite a different nature: silent streets in Barcelona, deserted piazzas in Rome, empty beaches in Greece and Thailand, vacant airport terminals in Boston and Singapore. Eventually, international travel ground to a halt. Reservations for hotels, resorts and Airbnb stays evaporated. International flights were canceled, borders were closed, and museums, […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, July 15, 2020 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

How can you square the doctrine of “America First” with the promotion of human rights? It’s a question that has bedeviled the Trump administration since it first took office. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo provided his own answer on July 16, when he unveiled the much-anticipated draft report of the U.S. Commission on Unalienable Rights. In a strident and tendentious speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pompeo attacked the “proliferation” of “new rights” claims to cover an ever-expanding set of groups and issues, saying it was time to get back to basics. Henceforth, U.S. human rights policy should […]

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al-Saud at a joint news conference after the 7th OPEC+  meeting in Vienna, Austria, Dec. 6, 2019 (Sputnik photo by Alexey Vitvitsky via AP).

The global clout of OPEC, never one of the world’s most admired institutions, reached a nadir in April when a dispute between Saudi Arabia and Russia triggered a price war just as global oil demand was collapsing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Three months later, the cartel has re-emerged as a model of transnational cooperation and collective sacrifice, implementing historic production cuts in an effort to stabilize prices. Oil markets have noticed. After cratering below $20 a barrel in April, Brent crude, the international benchmark price, has hovered between $42 and $45 so far this month, even as demand remains […]

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sits under a portrait of the late revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Khomeini, during a meeting in Tehran, June 31, 2020 (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader photo via AP Images).

Will the next U.S. president have any incentive to revive the Iran nuclear deal? The status of the agreement has steadily eroded since the U.S. unilaterally pulled out of it in May 2018 and subsequently reimposed punishing economic sanctions on Iran and any entities that do business with it. And Iran’s gradual and escalating breaches of the limits the deal imposed on its uranium enrichment program have led many to conclude that the clock is running out on the value of the deal. Skeptics of the deal’s chances clearly have the stronger argument at present, whether they ascribe the original […]

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