Donald Trump’s recent comments on America’s alliances, coinciding with the Republican convention last week, have further raised the anxiety levels of US allies about Washington’s global role after the US presidential election.
World events of the past decade have put the international refugee system under great stress. The challenges include a dramatic increase in the number of forced migrants, a significant shortfall in needed funding, and inadequate international burden-sharing.
In April 2015, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would be seeking a third-term of office—a move that his opponents decried as unconstitutional. Protests and clashes between opposition supporters and security forces followed.
This week, the UN Security Council plans to hold its first, non-binding straw poll in the process of recommending the next Secretary-General. In our polarized, confrontational political climate, the choice matters greatly. The leader of our sole truly global intergovernmental body must bring singular qualities to the task of being a brake and a buffer against forces pulling the world apart, bridging big-power divisions while supporting the excluded peoples of the world.
The ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague against China’s claim on the South China Sea in a case brought before the court by the Philippines should prima facie have remained a bilateral matter between the litigants. In reality, however, it has become an exemplar of China’s role in the ongoing contest to determine the world order. China’s shrill and bellicose response during and after the ruling has only served to heighten alarm over Beijing’s intentions and behaviour among all the major powers, including India.
When I was in Poland this year, I asked everyone how a nation that exemplified the commitment to liberal democracy had elected a party, called Law and Justice, which openly appealed to nationalism, xenophobia, and religious traditionalism. Quite a few people responded with a question of their own: “What about Donald Trump?” Wasn’t the United States, that is, heading in the same direction? Yes, I came back, but since liberal principles are more deeply embedded in American voters and institutions, Trump won’t win.
During German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent visit to China, the two countries agreed to jointly fund a disaster response centre in Afghanistan. It was just the latest sign of China’s increasingly prominent role in that country, which also includes trying to jump-start peace talks with the Taliban.