Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reviews a military honor guard during a welcome ceremony, in Ankara, Turkey, June 22, 2022 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

U.S. President Joe Biden’s recently announced trip to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has sparked a great deal of comment and no small amount of controversy. At issue is whether a U.S. president who loudly condemned Riyadh’s human rights record during his 2020 election campaign should be instrumental in helping Saudi Arabia cast off the pariah status it has labored under since its state-sponsored murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Upon taking office, Biden talked about reorienting U.S.-Saudi relations to put greater emphasis on human rights, and he has refused to meet with the kingdom’s de facto […]

Protest outside the Supreme Court after Roe v. Wade is overturned on June 25, 2022 in Washington D.C. (Photo by JT/STAR MAX/IPx 2022).

The threats to the longevity of democracy in the United States keep growing. Last week’s ruling by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, which for five decades guaranteed the right to abortion, has put the spotlight on that once-revered institution, which is now steadily losing credibility in the eyes of the U.S. public and adding instability to a system in crisis. The ruling came in the midst of dramatic public hearings by a select congressional committee investigating the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The hearings are presenting mountains of evidence indicating that former U.S. President […]

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. President Joe Biden pose with other leaders for a group photo during the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, June 29, 2022 (AP photo by Bernat Armangue).

NATO leaders gathered this week at a summit in Madrid to adopt a New Strategic Concept, a framework that sets out the alliance’s core priorities for the next decade. But the Madrid gathering was in other ways historic, ushering in further expansion of the alliance after Turkey lifted its veto of Sweden’s and Finland’s membership bids. The U.S. also pledged to deploy more troops, warplanes and naval vessels as part of the alliance’s largest military buildup since the Cold War, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The ramifications of the summit will be most obvious on NATO’s eastern flank, with […]

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong announce at a press conference that Wong will be the next prime minister, Singapore, April 16, 2022 (Singapore Press photo via AP Images).

When Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong named Finance Minister Lawrence Wong—his chosen successor—deputy prime minister as part of a Cabinet reshuffle on June 6, he asked Singaporeans to give their “full support to this important transition.” His request spotlighted a significant inflection point for Singapore, with the country simultaneously confronting a series of domestic and global challenges while it manages a critical leadership transition that will shape its future. Singapore is deservedly heralded for its success in turning itself from a tiny so-called third-world country after the country’s independence in 1965 into a first-world city state under the leadership of its […]

An image of a mock gallows on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol during the attack of Jan. 6, 2021, is shown during the a public hearing of the House select committee investigating the Capitol Riot, Washington, June 9, 2022 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

The belief that the United States is a uniquely youthful society in contrast to an aging and decadent Europe has become so entrenched that it is rarely questioned. Whether out of politeness or genuine belief, Europeans encountering this recurring trope often turn to their own, emphasizing their belief that a European point of view is more mature than that of the supposedly youthful and naive United States. Very rarely is there much consideration about what it means for a society to be “old” or “young.” Sometimes commentators point to the steady birthrates and higher immigration that once sustained a more […]

A pregnant woman looks at her smartphone near a logo marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party in Beijing, July 8, 2021 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, which had guaranteed a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion since 1973, has brought the question of state involvement in reproductive rights issues on both sides of the Pacific into sharp focus. Abortion is not overtly central to debates about China’s One Child policy, a mass-scale reproductive control infrastructure introduced in 1980 that is now being gradually rolled back. But as in the post-Roe U.S., the Chinese state’s encroachment on individual autonomy and family planning choices nonetheless looms large when it comes to reproductive rights. Forced intrauterine devices, or […]

Students standing behind a banner reading “Enraged Youth” hung on the facade of the Sorbonne, Paris, April 14, 2022 (Sipa photo via AP Images).

Three days after the first round of the French presidential elections in April, students occupied the Sorbonne University building in Paris. Their banners and posters displayed a recurrent slogan: “Neither Macron nor Le Pen,” referring to center-right President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who passed through to the second-round vote in a rematch of their 2017 contest. As police cleared the building after 30 hours of occupation, both presidential candidates vehemently criticized the demonstration. But the protests quickly spread, with students across France expressing their dissatisfaction at having to once again choose between candidates from the center-right and […]

Maya Iribarren participates in an abortion-rights protest at City Hall in San Francisco following the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, June 24, 2022 (AP photo by Josie Lepe).

Editor’s note: This will be Aishwarya Machani’s final weekly column for World Politics Review. We’d like to thank her for her forward-thinking coverage of the issues that affect young people around the world. We wish her the best of luck and are excited to continue working with her as a regular contributor.  On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States officially reversed its ruling on the 1973 case Roe v. Wade, thereby eliminating the constitutional right to abortion. It will now be up to individual U.S. states to decide whether abortion should be decriminalized in their jurisdictions. Reactions to this decision […]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman shake hands during a welcome ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, June 22, 2022 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

Many optimists in the Middle East as well as in Washington have argued for some time that governments in the region will find new ways to embrace diplomacy and cooperate among themselves if foreign powers like the United States take a backseat and reduce their footprint in the region. In recent years, the region has seen a sustained round of diplomacy as well as conflict—two major themes that have been a frequent subject of this newsletter. The causes of conflict come from both within and outside the region. Unlike in other parts of the world where the great powers reduced […]

Families of victims of the Ballymurphy massacre react after an inquest ruled that 10 people killed during a military operation in west Belfast 50 years ago were “entirely innocent,” Belfast, Northern Ireland, May 11, 2021 (AP photo by Peter Morrison).

BELFAST, Northern Ireland—For the past 15 years, Northern Ireland has held a special “Day of Reflection” on June 21, when people stop to remember the 3,500 people killed during “The Troubles.” That understated shorthand refers to the four decades of conflict pitting British soldiers, police and pro-British loyalist gunmen against the Irish nationalist Provisional Irish Republican Army, or PIRA—a conflict that finally ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This year, the Day of Reflection was particularly poignant, as it marked the 50th anniversary of the Troubles’ most bloody year, 1972, when 479 people were killed in the U.K. […]

Confetti explode over a screen showing photos of Gustavo Petro and his running mate Francia Marquez after they won Colombia’s presidential election, Bogota, Colombia, June 19, 2022 (AP photo by Fernando Vergara).

In 2022, it’s easy to be an opposition politician, party or political movement in Latin American democracies, where the political environment is about as anti-incumbent as it can get. Including the victory by Gustavo Petro in Colombia earlier this month, the parties of incumbent presidents have lost the past 14 consecutive democratic presidential elections in the region going back to 2018. Latin America has gone from a region where incumbent advantage was a major factor in elections to one where incumbent parties almost never win. Of course, there is an obvious catch to this phenomenon: Once the opposition wins, it is no longer the […]

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa looks on during the presentation of the final report of the Zondo Commission, Pretoria, South Africa, June 22, 2022 (AP photo by Themba Hadebe).

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa rose to power five years ago pledging to pursue a policy of “radical economic transformation” and to stamp out corruption in the country’s politics. In his first speech after becoming the leader of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress in 2017, which preceded his accession to South Africa’s presidency the following year, he said that “corruption must be fought with the same intensity and purpose that we fight poverty, unemployment and inequality.” He further vowed to initiate his war on graft within the ANC’s ranks. But after more than four years in office as president of South […]

People protest the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Washington, June 24, 2022 (AP photo by Jacquelyn Martin).

In a bombshell decision, no less stunning for having been leaked in early May, the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling that in 1973 guaranteed a woman’s constitutional right to choose to have an abortion. The 6-3 majority opinion marks the sudden culmination of what had been a gradual erosion in recent years of abortion rights and access in U.S. states governed by the Republican Party.  Some of those states already have laws to outlaw abortion on the books, but in abeyance, while others have similar laws prepared for legislative passage. As a result, the ruling […]

Then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uses a cartoonish diagram to dramatize his claim that Iran was close to enriching enough uranium for a nuclear weapon, at the U.N. General Assembly, New York, Sept. 27, 2012 (AP photo by Richard Drew).

Reports that Iran is nearing the point where it could conceivably develop a nuclear weapon are once again causing widespread alarm. The latest information suggests that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium, if significantly further enriched, is more than enough to provide the weapons-grade fissile material needed for a bomb. That alone wouldn’t be enough to build—or deliver—a working bomb, but it does put Tehran closer than ever to equipping one. The news comes as multilateral talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal—known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA—have stalled. Iran could return to […]

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson greet each other at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in Kigali, Rwanda, June 24, 2022 (AP photo by Muhizi Olivier).

After having been twice postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, or CHOGM, opened today in Kigali, Rwanda. The gathering will feature high-level meetings of government leaders from the Commonwealth of Nations, a 54-member association of countries, most of which are former territories of the British Empire. In addition to more than 35 heads of state and government from Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Americas and the Caribbean, this year’s meeting—the first in Africa since 2007—will be attended by an estimated 8,000 guests, including official delegations and top business executives. The leaders’ summit was also preceded by […]

A supporter of the Polisario Front and Western Sahara waves a flag reading “Free Sahara,” Logrono, Spain, June 8, 2021 (AP photo by Alvaro Barrientos).

On June 8, Algeria suspended its Friendship and Neighborliness Treaty with Spain, in response to Madrid’s recent alignment with Morocco on the Western Sahara conflict. While the suspension of the treaty so far excludes contracts for gas, of which Algeria is Spain’s biggest supplier, it could jeopardize relations with the European Union. But with the change in Madrid’s position, Algeria felt it had to act to send a message, even if it comes at considerable cost. At first glance, the tensions might come as a surprise. Algeria should be riding high from the recent increase in global gas prices that […]

President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone speaks during the U.N. Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 2, 2021 (Reuters pool photo by Hannah McKay via AP).

When Sierra Leone released the provisional figures of its population and housing census on May 31, the numbers suggested a population increase of 6.3 percent since the last count in 2015. That’s not an unexpected rise over a six-year period, given that the country’s estimated annual growth rate was 3.2 percent during the 10 years prior. Nevertheless, the way population growth was distributed across the country has sparked ongoing debate about the credibility of the census, particularly in anticipation of general elections next year. The country’s southern and eastern districts saw significant population jumps, with the biggest increases in Kenema, with […]

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