When two drones, each equipped with a kilogram of powerful plastic explosives, were used on August 4 to attempt to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, it may have ushered in a foreboding new era—terrorism by unmanned aircraft.
After weeks of silence surrounding the substance of President Donald Trump’s July 16 discussions with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, some details are beginning to emerge. These fragments do not provide a comprehensive picture of the talks, but they give some indication of the possibilities for U.S.-Russia cooperation on issues of mutual interest. As such, they should not be discarded out of hand or forgotten in the uproar over Trump’s performance at Helsinki, but taken seriously as a way to preserve and strengthen strategic stability between Washington and Moscow during this tumultuous period in U.S.-Russia relations.
British Prime Minister Theresa May was in Northern Ireland yesterday and today to address what has become Brexit’s thorniest issue: the Irish border. A steady barrage of statements, agreements, and hot takes makes it challenging to follow the situation as it unfolds across the Atlantic. Here’s an update from the border.
This spring, Georgia marked—with understandable pride—the centennial of the first democratic republic founded on May 26, 1918. This brief, but shining, moment in the nation’s history, the beginning of a three-year period between its occupation by Czarist Russia and later the Soviet Union, sets it apart from the rest of the Caucasus region.
The Trump administration has launched a no-kidding trade war with China—and no one who knows Donald Trump well is surprised. If this president has one core belief, it is that the U.S. has been the victim of unfair trade practices by other countries aided and abetted by bad trade agreements signed by previous administrations. The most consistent focus of his often expletive-laden critiques has been China, and he has cited the yawning trade deficit the U.S. runs with China as “Exhibit A.”
It wasn’t the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and it wasn’t meant to be. Bono wasn’t there, nor was Beyoncé, but former U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair were. The event was the first Copenhagen Democracy Summit held on June 22, 2018. No glam, no glitz, just serious policy discussions from an array of former and current world leaders to discuss the precipitous slide in democracy and democratic values the world over. I had the privilege to attend as a board member of the Alliance of Democracies Foundation, which was supporting the conference. Here are my impressions.
Mahathir Mohamad is back. After serving as Malaysia’s prime minister from 1981 to 2003, the 92-year old Mahathir returned to his prior post in May 2018. He came back at the head of a new political coalition, Pakatan Harapan, that defeated his old political party, the United Malays National Organisation, and unseated its standard bearer, former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who had become entangled in a far-reaching corruption scandal involving Malaysia’s sovereign-wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un in Singapore lasted only a few hours. But it still stirred controversy. In a surprise move, Trump agreed to suspend the annual U.S.-South Korean military exercise called Ulchi Freedom Guardian. For decades, the exercise (and its prior incarnations) had been conducted to ensure that U.S. and South Korean forces were ready to fight together in a large-scale conflict on the Korean peninsula. As such, many regarded the exercise as a cornerstone of America’s alliance with South Korea.
Soon after the fall of the Soviet Union, Moscow sought to reassert its influence in Europe with calls for a “Slavic union” between Russia and parts of Eastern Europe. A few countries were initially receptive. But in the end, only Belarus was willing to forgo stronger ties with the West for ones with Russia, which was hardly a magnet for others at the time. Its economy was in tatters, and its government had just defaulted on its sovereign debt.