Security forces at a checkpoint to enforce a curfew aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus in Algiers, Algeria, April 8, 2020 (AP photo by Toufik Doudou).

The coronavirus pandemic is challenging Algeria’s aging health care system, as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 approach 45,000, with some 1,500 deaths. Yet rather than the virus itself, it is the Algerian regime’s use of the pandemic to quell popular dissent that is pushing the country deeper into crisis. The authorities have seized on the public health emergency to arrest activists and clamp down on the flow of information, actions that will likely only worsen Algeria’s long-running political stalemate. Anti-government demonstrators calling themselves Hirak, or “movement” in Arabic, had been taking to the streets on a weekly basis […]

Graffiti written by Lebanese citizens in front of the scene of the explosion at Beirut’s port, Lebanon, Aug. 9, 2020 (AP photo by Hussein Malla).

The devastating explosion that tore through Beirut earlier this month exposed the elite corruption at the heart of Lebanese governance. The blast itself, which was almost certainly caused by a stockpile of highly explosive ammonium nitrate that had sat unguarded at Beirut’s port since 2013, may not have been deliberate. But it had everything to do with Lebanon’s history of conflict and the elderly politicians, many of them former warlords, who still hold power in its dysfunctional, sectarian and clientelist political system. With the public mobilizing against the country’s kleptocracy, the survival of the status quo is in question. But […]

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is shown on a screen addressing the 2020 Republican National Convention in the Rose Garden of the White House, Washington, Aug. 25, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Is Mike Pompeo the Teflon Don reincarnated? If you watched the U.S. secretary of state’s pre-recorded speech to the Republican National Convention on Tuesday, you’ll know your answer doesn’t matter, because Pompeo doesn’t really care about what you, many Americans or the world thinks. Pompeo delivered his address from Jerusalem while on an official diplomatic trip to the Middle East, breaking decades of political norms, and likely federal ethics laws. In this new era of American gangster diplomacy, what matters is always being right—as Pompeo sees it—and always being unapologetic in strong-arming the world into accepting the Republican Party’s isolationist […]

Health officials administer a polio vaccine to children at a camp for people displaced by Islamist extremists in Maiduguri, Nigeria, Aug. 28, 2016 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent. After a decades-long eradication campaign, health officials declared Africa free of wild poliovirus this week, even as they called for ongoing vigilance against a rare mutation of the virus that still circulates on the continent. Wild poliovirus, which is usually transmitted through contaminated water, primarily affects children under five years old, causing irreversible paralysis and even death. As recently as 1996, the virus affected 75,000 African children. That was the year health officials launched the ambitious eradication effort, coordinating continent-wide immunization campaigns […]

A nearly empty shopping street in Seoul, South Korea, Aug. 23, 2020 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

South Korea, deservedly well-known for one of the world’s most successful initial responses to the coronavirus pandemic, is now seeing a dangerous spike in COVID-19 cases. On Thursday, 441 new infections were reported, the largest daily increase since March. The country has now seen triple-digit increases in new cases for 15 consecutive days, and patients have tested positive in all 17 provinces. Authorities have placed new restrictions on restaurants and ordered schools and kindergartens to close in Seoul, the bustling capital that is now the epicenter of the outbreak. The situation shows just how difficult it is to control this […]

Protesters carry Bulgarian flags during a demonstration in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 29, 2020 (AP photo by Valentina Petrova).

Karate coach, firefighter, bodyguard, Interior Ministry chief and now prime minister. Boyko Borissov has had an eclectic career, and if the protesters on the streets of Bulgarian cities have their way, he’ll soon leave the prime minister’s office for the third time. The burly, pugnacious politician is accused of presiding over a state that has been captured by a cabal of oligarchs and corrupt officials. Antigovernment demonstrators say the situation should shame the European Union, which Bulgaria has been a member of for over a decade and which provides billions of euros in development funds each year. Borissov’s time as […]

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, center left, and his wife Yulia, during a march in Moscow, Russia, March 29, 2020 (AP photo by Pavel Golovkin).

From the moment Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny abruptly fell ill last week, the top suspect in what immediately looked like a case of poisoning was President Vladimir Putin and his regime in Moscow. That suspicions quickly centered on a possible assassination attempt by the Kremlin is another damning indictment for a president who has sought to earn international respect. A government whose critics routinely die mysterious deaths, or survive attempts on their lives, reveals itself to be outside the bounds of legitimate democratic behavior. That people suspect Putin orders the assassination of his domestic foes shows the grotesque image […]

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).

“From our vantage point, the transition from empire to nation in the 20th century appears inevitable,” writes the political theorist Adom Getachew. In the 30 years after World War II, membership in the United Nations expanded from 51 to 144 countries, an astounding transformation. But in her recently published book, “Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination,” Getachew argues “against the standard view of decolonization as a moment of nation-building,” painting a picture of anti-colonial nationalist movements that sought not only to build independent states, but also to undo global structures of hierarchy and subjugation that had become […]

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and French President Emmanuel Macron during a round table meeting at an EU summit in Brussels, July 21, 2020 (Pool photo by Stephanie Lecocq via AP Images).

Something about the idea of Europe becoming a strategic actor in global affairs brings to mind the old Irish saying: May you be in heaven a half hour before the devil knows you’re dead. Strategic autonomy has long been a recurring refrain for advocates of a more forceful Europe, one that is a rule-maker, rather than a rule-taker, in the shifting world order. But the European Union never seems to get any closer to realizing that goal, mainly due to internal divisions between member states over what interests to defend and advance, and wariness over the loss of sovereignty in […]

Kwame Nkrumah, the first president and prime minister of Ghana, during a press conference at the White House, in Washington, March 8, 1961 (AP photo).

In a recent article for The New York Times, the political theorist Adom Getachew observes that in “the past few years, decolonization has gained new political currency—inside the borders of the old colonial powers.” In many European capitals, statues of former imperialists have been defaced, toppled by protesters or removed by authorities, contributing to a resurgence of discussions about what “decolonization” means and how it can be put into action today. This week on Trend Lines, Getachew joins WPR’s Elliot Waldman to talk about the history of anti-colonial nationalist movements that tried to remake the world in an egalitarian mold, […]

A staff member works on a mobile phone production line at a Huawei factory in Dongguan, China, March 6, 2019 (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. Guest contributor Lavender Au wrote the lead story in China Note this week. When the U.S. tightened restrictions on Huawei’s access to semiconductor chips last week, the Trump administration’s goal became clear, if it wasn’t already: kneecap the Chinese telecom giant’s technological advancement. Under a previous round of U.S. trade restrictions in May, Huawei was blocked from using American technology to make its own semiconductors, but the company found workarounds by obtaining chips designed by third parties. The latest […]

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 23, 2019 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

The heads of Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook fended off tough questions from lawmakers last month at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee. To help allay concerns about monopolistic business practices, each CEO sought to portray his company as representing American values and serving American interests. They all did so in part by pointing to a threat supposedly bigger than their own companies: China. “If you look at where the top technology companies come from, a decade ago the vast majority were American. Today, almost half are Chinese,” Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said in his opening remarks. “There’s […]

President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He hold a lunch after the signing of the phase-one U.S.-China trade deal, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Washington, Jan. 15, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Not long ago, The New York Times labeled President Donald Trump the “biggest obstacle” to his own administration’s China policy. Trump’s trade war with China, which he launched as part of his campaign promise to get tough on its unfair trade practices, has always had unclear and shifting goals, while producing minimal results. Even as his administration has taken a relatively tough line against China’s high-tech industrial policies, Trump’s odd affinity for authoritarian leaders, including his “good friend” in China, Xi Jinping, kept getting in the way of a coherent policy, especially when it came to protecting human rights. Any […]

President John Magufuli speaks at the national congress of the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party in Dodoma, Tanzania, July 11, 2020 (AP photo).

The last time veteran opposition leader Tundu Lissu left Tanzania, he was unconscious, aboard a medical flight to Nairobi. Unidentified gunmen had fired 16 bullets into his body outside his residence in the capital, Dodoma, in September 2017. He spent nearly three years in exile, first in Kenya, and then in Belgium, undergoing some 20 surgeries. Lissu returned to his homeland last month, greeted at the airport by cheering crowds of supporters waving green palm fronds. “I was overwhelmed by the reception I received,” he told World Politics Review in an interview. “It was absolutely thrilling and humbling at the […]

A supporter of Uganda’s opposition holds posters of pop star-turned-lawmaker Bobi Wine, in Kampala, Uganda, Sept. 20, 2018 (AP photo by Ronald Kabuubi).

KAMPALA, Uganda—When Maria Ledochowska Nnatabi wears a red beret in her village in eastern Uganda, her neighbors whisper warnings. “My daughter, you’re going to be killed,” they tell her. “Please remove that beret—your life comes first.” She keeps it on anyway. As a 25-year-old youth leader in People Power, a political movement that is shaking up Uganda’s stifled politics, she has decided to stop being afraid. “The thing we have to do as a movement is see how can we get fear out of these people,” she says. Red emerged as the color of political resistance in Uganda in 2017, […]

Pro-democracy protesters raise three fingers, a symbol of resistance, during a rally in Bangkok, Thailand, Aug, 16, 2020 (AP photo by Sakchai Lalit).

Towering over a traffic circle in downtown Bangkok, the Democracy Monument has borne witness to Thailand’s tumultuous political history. Built over eight decades ago, it features arching white wings that stand seven stories tall. At their base are militaristic images commemorating the country’s bloodless revolution of 1932, which ended the absolute monarchy and began a rocky transition to democracy. Since then, Thailand has gone through 18 constitutions and 13 coups. Along the way, the Democracy Monument has become a site of frequent popular protest—and violent suppression. In 1973, for example, security forces killed dozens of protesters who had gathered near […]

A man and a boy walk past graffiti against AFPs, Chile’s pension system, in Santiago, July 22, 2020 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

The coronavirus pandemic will likely push Latin America into its worst-ever recession, with the region’s economy expected to shrink by more than 9 percent in 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund. But in a part of the world with few economic bright spots, Chile is forecast to perform relatively well, with a 7.5 percent contraction this year and growth of 5 percent in 2021, which would be one of Latin America’s more vigorous economic recoveries. At first glance, this is surprising, as Chile is among the most open economies in the region and is sensitive to volatility in commodity […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 701 2 3 5 Last