Neither Summit, nor Sidebar: Assessing the Biden-Xi ‘Virtual Meeting’

Neither Summit, nor Sidebar: Assessing the Biden-Xi ‘Virtual Meeting’

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

By: Carla Freeman, Ph.D.;  Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.;  Jennifer Staats, Ph.D.

To address growing tensions between the United States and China, particularly over Taiwan, President Joe Biden and General Secretary Xi Jinping met virtually on Monday night (Tuesday morning in Beijing) for a three-hour discussion that covered a wide array of contentious issues. Both sides downplayed expectations for the session beforehand and have been relatively subdued albeit somewhat positive in their respective post-meeting statements and spins. Less formal than a summit and more structured than a sidebar, what if anything did the extended virtual top-level bilateral discussion achieve?

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

It’s Time to End ‘Business as Usual’ With Nigeria

It’s Time to End ‘Business as Usual’ With Nigeria

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

By: Oge Onubogu

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit this week to Nigeria is timely, for Africa’s demographic giant is shuddering with its most dangerous instability in 50 years: insurgencies, uncontrolled criminality and constrictions of freedom of expression. Nigeria is failing to fulfill basic tasks of a nation-state, and its partners need to halt “business as usual” to open an honest dialogue about the current failings. For the United States, this means dropping some old practices in the way America engages Nigerians. U.S. engagements must center more on Nigeria’s citizenry, notably the 70 percent who are younger than 35, and with Nigeria’s 36 disparate states. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceGlobal Policy

Key to Afghan Relief Efforts: Financial Engineering for Private Sector, Economy

Key to Afghan Relief Efforts: Financial Engineering for Private Sector, Economy

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

By: William Byrd, Ph.D.

The U.S. government needs to urgently prioritize saving Afghan lives, meeting basic human needs and stemming the free-fall of the Afghan economy. The unprecedented evacuation of some 100,000 people from Kabul airport in August demonstrated what clear objectives and a whole-hearted, government-wide focus can accomplish under the worst of conditions. While that scale of mobilization is not required now, a similar unity of effort and focus, this time on financial engineering, will be needed to deliver aid to the Afghan people and limit further economic damage in coming months.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Economics & Environment

¿Es irreversible el descenso de Nicaragua a una dictadura?

¿Es irreversible el descenso de Nicaragua a una dictadura?

Monday, November 15, 2021

By: Keith Mines;  Mary Speck, Ph.D.

Después de reclamar una victoria decisiva en las elecciones del 7 de noviembre, Daniel Ortega, quien ha estado en el cargo desde 2007, ahora podría liderar Nicaragua hasta 2027, convirtiéndolo en el gobernante con más tiempo en el poder en toda América Latina. El gobierno sandinista aseguró su victoria reprimiendo cualquier disidencia y arrestando a decenas de opositores al régimen. Para Estados Unidos, contrarrestar la corrupción y la represión en Centroamérica es un desafío no solo en estados hostiles como Nicaragua, sino también entre antiguos aliados como El Salvador, Guatemala y Honduras.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Is Nicaragua’s Descent into Dictatorship Irreversible?

Is Nicaragua’s Descent into Dictatorship Irreversible?

Monday, November 15, 2021

By: Keith Mines;  Mary Speck, Ph.D.

After claiming a decisive win in the November 7 elections, Daniel Ortega — who has been in office since 2007 — could now lead Nicaragua until 2027, making him Latin America’s longest serving ruler. The Sandinista government ensured its victory by shutting down dissent and arresting dozens of regime opponents. For the United States, countering corruption and repression in Central America is a challenge not only in unfriendly states like Nicaragua but also among erstwhile allies like El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Winter is coming in Afghanistan. Are the Taliban ready?

Winter is coming in Afghanistan. Are the Taliban ready?

Thursday, November 11, 2021

By: Adam Gallagher

Nearly three months after the Taliban’s rapid takeover, Afghanistan is descending toward one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises with an economy in freefall. As the harsh winter season looms, aid agencies have warned that over half the country’s population — a staggering 22.8 million people — will face acute food insecurity, including 3.2 million children under five. Now in power, the Taliban’s failure to deliver basic services is exacerbating this dire humanitarian situation. But immediate relief is a distant prospect as the Taliban deliberate on how to govern the country and the international community mulls over how to engage and pressure the fledgling government.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceHuman Rights

What’s Behind the Lebanon-Gulf Diplomatic Row?

What’s Behind the Lebanon-Gulf Diplomatic Row?

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

By: Dr. Elie Abouaoun

Already in the throes of existential political and economic crises, Lebanon is now facing a diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia and several of its allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Following critical comments made by Lebanese Minister of Information George Kordahi about the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, Riyadh expelled Lebanon’s ambassador, banned all Lebanese imports, and recalled its ambassador to Lebanon. In solidarity, the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait summoned their ambassadors in Lebanon. This current crisis reflects the Gulf’s broader concerns over Iran’s influence in the region and the powerful role of its ally Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

U.S. Urges Ethiopia to ‘Give Peace a Chance’

U.S. Urges Ethiopia to ‘Give Peace a Chance’

Thursday, November 4, 2021

By: Ashish Kumar Sen

The United States’ top priority is the “unity and integrity of the Ethiopian state” and its “commitment to the Ethiopian people,” U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Jeffrey Feltman said at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington on November 2. Noting that the average civil war lasts 20 years, Feltman said a war that long would be disastrous for Ethiopia and urged all parties to the conflict to “give peace a chance.”

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Fragility & ResilienceHuman Rights

A New Myanmar Forum Aims to Unite Democratic Forces

A New Myanmar Forum Aims to Unite Democratic Forces

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

By: Aye Chan;  Billy Ford

Since the Myanmar military overthrew the country’s elected government early this year, the forces of resistance have set two immediate objectives: Prevent the generals from gaining military and administrative control of the country, and unify their own diverse and fractious democracy movement. The movement has made progress toward the first goal. On the second, a shared vision of the future is yet to emerge, as divergent stakeholders struggle to overcome historical grievances. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceMediation, Negotiation & Dialogue