Given the state of U.S.-China relations these days, most observers had low expectations for Thursday’s call between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping. The list of issues causing tensions is long, and the areas for cooperation have narrowed. Unsurprisingly, then, the call resembled a conversation from the terminal stage of a bad romance.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s trip to West Africa this week was billed by Paris as his latest effort to reshape France’s relations with its former colonies in Africa. But the visit’s short-term fanfare is unlikely to blunt deepening opposition to France or slow down its declining influence in the region.
While governments around the world have tried to coordinate their efforts to rein in the emissions causing climate change, critics rightfully argue that the targets they have agreed to are too modest. But structural obstacles to the kind of cooperation needed to address the problem make it unlikely that a solution will be reached.
The coronavirus pandemic and other global challenges have highlighted the importance of addressing the fractures and failures within the U.S. agencies tasked with implementing the Global Fragility Act. A good place to start is by applying some of the act’s components to the United States’ own institutions and programming.
European Union officials are putting on a brave face as the bloc approves a plan to ration natural gas this winter to avoid an energy crisis should Russia make additional cuts to its exports. But the discussions leading up to the plan’s approval revealed cracks in their public display of solidarity.
Farmers’ protests over the Dutch government’s plan to cut ammonia pollution highlight the political challenges of bringing farming practices in line with environmental objectives. But the problems the new policy is meant to address also serve as a warning to food producers everywhere: Factory farming is a dead end.
Myanmar’s return to the position of international pariah has created a new opening for Beijing. By moving in where the West, reeling from the junta’s shocking human rights abuses, has been reluctant to step in, Beijing hopes to boost China’s regional influence and secure access to vital natural resources.
A recent visit to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region marked Xi Jinping’s first notable public appearance since his trip to Hong Kong in late June. The visit’s choreography—from the emphasis on economic consumption and production to the racialized undercurrent of Han tourism in China—points to an unsavory truth.
In recent years, several European states have sought to project their precious naval assets in the Indo-Pacific region in ways that reflect widely accepted fashions in strategic thinking. But the underlying logic of this thinking now needs to be viewed more critically after the return of interstate war on European soil.
In early July, Sierra Leone’s Cabinet approved the decision to draft a bill conferring a constitutional right to safe abortion. But once passed, the law will only be the first step in ensuring access to safe abortions and other reproductive health services in a country where unsafe abortions have dire health consequences.
Corruption is rampant and inequality is endemic in the Republic of Congo. In many countries, these conditions, combined with the staggering price hikes caused by the war in Ukraine, have led to rises in public anger that have threatened world leaders from Sri Lanka to Ecuador. Yet, despite being in control during the decades when those conditions became entrenched in Congo-Brazzaville, President Denis Sassou Nguesso and his ruling Congolese Labor Party, or PCT, actually strengthened their grip on power in the country’s recent legislative elections, thanks both to domestic repression and international complacency. Provisional results released by the government indicate that the PCT won nearly 110 seats in the 151-seat National Assembly in the mid-July vote. A second round of voting is […]
Last week, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was in Istanbul for what he described as “probably the most important” event of his tenure at the U.N. to date. He visited Turkey for the signing of agreements by Russia and Ukraine that are meant to allow agricultural shipments to resume from Black Sea ports, helping to alleviate a growing global food crisis. While Turkish officials played a major part in these talks, Guterres has been personally involved in the negotiations “every day” since April. This initiative may come to be considered a turning point in his career as the U.N.’s top official. […]
After more than nine months of deadlock following parliamentary elections last year, Iraq appears to be on the verge of forming a government. The Coordination Framework, a parliamentary bloc that includes Iran-backed Shiite militias, has nominated Mohammed Shia al-Sudani as its candidate for prime minister. The nomination of al-Sudani by the Shiite bloc could thread the needle, as analyst Hamzeh Haddad writes, by producing an Iraqi government stable enough to make tough but necessary policy decisions, but not so polarizing as to spark a renewed round of civil conflict between rival Shiite camps.
Earlier this month, during a visit to Uganda, the Hollywood actor Terrence Howard held a press conference with local journalists and senior Ugandan government officials, including President Yoweri Museveni, in attendance. In a clip that was shared by Uganda’s state broadcaster and quickly went viral, Howard claimed to have invented a new hydrogen technology that could help Uganda “defend the sovereignty of a peaceful place and a peaceful people.” The dubious nature of Howard’s claims made for some comic relief among Ugandans and other observers alike, with many Twitter commenters—including me—making allusions to investment schemes promoted by the Senegalese-American singer Akon that have drawn comparisons to […]
The political left is not always a progressive choice in Latin America, as has become starkly evident in Peru, where the rights of women and the LGTBQ community have come under attack by political leaders from both the left and right. President Pedro Castillo, a former teacher and organizer from the rural province of Cajamarca, won election in 2021 against the right-wing candidate, Keiko Fujimori, with a radical-left platform that was pro-poor—but also socially conservative. Like his opponent, Castillo appealed to conservative religious sentiments that are gaining traction throughout the Americas. The policy impact of that religious stance is now evident, […]
Lately, energy companies have been acting as if U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s oil industry are likely to end soon. Last month, two U.S. investment firms—Gramercy Funds Management and Atmos Global Energy—formed a joint venture with the Venezuela-based Inelectra Group to engage in oil and gas exploration. The ownership of Citgo’s refineries in the country were a key point of contention for several years between Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his opposition, but the U.S. oil giant’s management has nevertheless said it would accept crude exported from Venezuela if sanctions are indeed lifted. Their apparent belief that sanctions will be lifted is a […]
Gabon has long flaunted its green credentials, enjoying a reputation as a leader in global efforts to combat climate change and environmental destruction. In June 2021, that image got another boost when Gabon became the first country in Africa to receive a payout for having reduced its carbon emissions. In disbursing the first payment of $17 million, the Central African Forest Initiative, on behalf of the Norwegian government, committed to providing Gabon’s government with $150 million in conservation financing over 10 years for lowering emissions from forest loss in 2016 and 2017, compared to baseline data from 2006 to 2015. […]