Last year was a strange mix of chaos and continuity for the United Nations. Yet, despite the general rancor between the West and Russia, a lot of U.N. business ground on much as before. Now, U.N. officials and diplomats remain uncertain if the months ahead will involve more chaos or more business-as-usual. Three questions stand out.
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Germany has been weening itself off of its dependence on Russian energy, despite grave predictions about the potential fallout, including fears of a financial meltdown. But as the winter cold has descended on Europe, these concerns of rationing and shortages have not been borne out.
Latin America should be watching the current protests in Peru and Venezuela nervously. The two crises have long and deep roots in local dynamics, but the anger seen in both countries over the past month is a reaction to causal factors that aren’t exclusive to them. Protesters are angry at political systems that are failing them.
Instead of repairing cross-strait relations, Beijing seems content to maintain its uncompromising approach toward the government of President Tsai Ing-wen in Taiwan. Beijing is hoping that a more amenable government will be elected in 2024, when Taiwan holds its next presidential election. But that might be a losing bet.
For over five years, she has been the global face of a different kind of leadership. But when she resigned as New Zealand’s prime minister Thursday, Jacinda Ardern’s face looked gaunter and more drawn than usual, revealing the strain of having governed the country through the Christchurch shooting and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ADF, regarded as an Islamic State affiliate, claimed responsibility for a bomb attack at a church in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on Jan. 15 that killed at least 17 people and wounded 39 more. It’s the latest high-profile incident in Congo’s eastern region, where a complex security challenge threatens regional stability.
The Russia-Ukraine war will drag on for some time more, but it will end someday. So, what will that ending look like? It’s appalling to think that Ukraine should ever grant anything to Russia in order to end the war. But in all likelihood a deal ending the war will be brokered, with both sides making concessions.
Uruguay is known for boasting a squeaky-clean democracy that tops indices measuring government transparency in South America. Now a corruption scandal with mafia-esque overtones has severely damaged President Luis Lacalle Pou, potentially hampering his reform agenda and sidelining him ahead of elections in October 2024.
European Commission officials are crafting a response to the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, as it becomes more apparent that Washington is unlikely to adopt changes to assuage European concerns. This week in Davos, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen laid out some of the steps the union will take to keep Europe’s industry competitive.
Vladimir Putin has worked diligently to thwart any threat to his rule from liberal critics, using intimidation and exile to clear his left flank. The real threat to his hold on power, and to the cohesion of the Russian state, now comes from active and outspoken players on the far right with their own battle-hardened militias.
Mongolia ended 2022 with a bang when protesters stormed the seat of government in the capital in December. The demonstrations fizzled out, but the corruption allegations that triggered them continue to rankle. Combined with other problems at home and complex relations with China and Russia, 2023 is shaping up to be a challenge.
Charles Ble Goude, a close associate of Cote d’Ivoire’s former President Laurent Gbagbo, formally announced his return to politics last week. His homecoming and reentry into politics recalls that of Gbagbo, who returned to the country in June 2021, and is sparking intrigue ahead of the 2025 presidential contest.
Throughout the EU’s history, the “Franco-German engine” has been viewed as central to European integration. But Germany’s weakness on defense means that European strategic autonomy hinges on France’s ability to develop close partnerships with other member states, similar to the Franco-German engine, but in the realm of security.
New Delhi’s latest effort to establish “peace and normalcy” in the Jammu and Kashmir region has muzzled even the most vocal of Kashmiris. So if silence is the goal of the campaign, it has worked. Yet the false sense of peace created by improvements in the economy and security landscape belies the stark reality on the ground.
Libya remains stuck in an intractable crisis, as efforts by the United Nations Support Mission there have so far failed to bridge the divide between the internationally recognized Tripoli-based Government of National Unity, or GNU, and its rival, the Sirte-based Government of National Stability, or GNS.
In recent years, formerly colonized countries have been advancing a confident and militant movement for reparatory justice, and it has seen results. But the breakthroughs made have been met with a stubborn resistance by the countries responsible for colonization and slavery to avoid framing the issue as reparations.
In early January, the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. And a once unthinkable meeting between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Assad is now also in the works. Clearly, 2023 has begun with the momentum for normalizing ties with the Assad regime growing.