As efforts to resume nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang go nowhere, the concept of an end-of-war declaration for the Korean Peninsula has become a polarizing topic in both Washington and Seoul. USIP’s Frank Aum explains how it could serve Washington and Seoul’s interests, how such a declaration could advance the peace process between North and South Korea, what risks it could pose and how the U.S. Congress could play a role in shaping such a declaration.
Even as the debate over the lessons learned by the U.S. government in Afghanistan continues, several clear conclusions have emerged. One is that U.S. agencies repeatedly underestimated the time and resources needed to support a nation wracked by decades of war, while they failed to follow a consistent plan for civilian recovery efforts. U.S. personnel also lacked the training needed to be successful in the field, and monitoring and evaluation efforts did not receive the policy attention required to enable course corrections and learning.
Los hondureños hicieron historia el 28 de noviembre al elegir a la líder de izquierda Xiomara Castro como la primera presidenta en la historia del país. En un país plagado por inestabilidad política y polarización, los hondureños también demostraron cómo se debe transferir el poder presidencial en una democracia al recibir Castro gentilmente a su oponente conservador, quien luego emitió un comunicado pidiendo "reconciliación y unidad". El nuevo gobierno enfrenta enormes desafíos, que incluyen altas tasas de violencia criminal, corrupción endémica, inseguridad alimentaria crónica y migración irregular. Castro podría verse tentada a tomar atajos políticos y éticos para abordarlos. Pero el número récord de votantes el fin de semana pasado mostró un fuerte deseo de trabajar en los problemas del país en las urnas, no a través de la violencia o medios fuera de lo legal.
Hondurans made history on November 28, electing leftist Xiomara Castro as the country’s first woman president. In a country plagued by political instability and polarization, Hondurans also demonstrated how presidential power should be transferred in a democracy as Castro graciously received her conservative opponent, who then issued a statement calling for “reconciliation and unity.” The new government faces enormous challenges, including high rates of criminal violence, endemic corruption, chronic food insecurity and irregular migration. Castro could be tempted to cut political and ethical corners in managing them. But the record numbers of voters last weekend showed a strong desire to work on the country’s problems at the ballot box, not through violence or extra-legal means.
When the United Nations began its annual campaign to end violence against women 30 years ago, no one had Myanmar on their radar. But in recent years, Myanmar’s military has escalated its use of sexual and gender-based violence to terrorize women and girls — most infamously against ethnic minorities, notably the Rohingya. Confronted by these atrocities, the international community has issued widespread demands for accountability and justice that have yet to come to fruition.
Anniversaries serve as natural inflection points, opportunities for introspection, to take stock and to consider where to go next. November 25 marked the 40th anniversary of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Despite its unwieldy name, the aim was simple: to promote freedom of religion or belief and condemn discrimination based on faith. The 1981 Declaration was a culmination of almost four decades of U.N. efforts to develop international legal protections for freedom of belief to defend minorities from persecution. Forty years later, however, almost two-thirds of humanity live in countries with restrictions on the practice of faith.
Venezuelans elected governors, mayors and local officials November 21 in a vote condemned by many as stacked hopelessly against the opposition or simply fraudulent. An increased turnout over elections last year appears to reflect many Venezuelans’ growing belief that they have gained little with voting boycotts. They believe participation in even a flawed election advances the concept of “re-institutionalization,” which aims to progressively reform the machinery of democracy after years in which it has been undermined by the ruling party. Advocates of this strategy say that restoring democracy must be a long game of incremental advances.
The United States must ensure that its focus on the Indo-Pacific region does not come at the cost of its interests in other parts of the world where China also poses a challenge, according to U.S. National Security Council Coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell.
After 20 years of an ambitious, costly international state-building effort, the government of Afghanistan collapsed in the summer of 2021 in a matter of weeks. The Afghan security forces’ remarkably rapid defeat earned significant attention, but the Taliban victory over the internationally backed Afghan republic stemmed equally from deep-seated political and governance factors. Across all the facets of the Western state-building endeavor in Afghanistan, there is now an enormous need to assess how the international project fell so far short of its aims.
When the 26th Conference of Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change closed over the weekend in Glasgow, delegates and observers left with both disappointment that so little had happened and relief that so much had. As the world now weighs the results of the Glasgow climate summit, the global peacebuilding community should do the same. We should analyze where the summit might alter risks of violent conflict and opportunities for the community—including peacebuilding organizations, local civil society groups and policymakers—to respond.