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July 16, 2019

Nigeria
The Post-Presidential Legacy of Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s international reputation has improved since conceding the presidency in 2015. What does that say about democracy in the country?

Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks to the media as part of the National Democratic Institute's election monitoring delegation in Liberia on December 26, 2017.

November 30, 2016

United States
Michel Temer’s Shrinking Presidency

When he officially became president three months ago, Michel Temer’s game plan was simple and bold: in the roughly eighteen months before the 2018 presidential campaign ramped up, he would undertake …

Brazil's President Michel Temer looks on during a news conference at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia

June 20, 2019

Botswana
Personal Rivalries Overshadow Botswana's Democracy

The feud between current President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor and former boss, Ian Khama, sometimes reads like highlights of an overwrought soap opera. The latest dramatic turn saw Khama renouncing his membership in the party his revered father helped found, complaining that his legacy was being dismantled, and encouraging others to throw away their BDP membership cards.

Former Botswana President Ian Khama at the Botswana-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Pretoria, South Africa, November 11, 2016.

June 18, 2019

Ethiopia
U.S. Should Acknowledge Critical Challenges for Ethiopia’s Transition

Anyone fishing for a good news story out of Africa recently has, rightly, celebrated Ethiopia, where dynamic young Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has dramatically opened political space, departing from decades or repressive, tightly controlled government. But Ethiopia faces real and urgent challenges, and it is critical that well-wishers not ignore them. Abiy has lifted the lid off of a pressure cooker—one his predecessors held in place with sometimes brutal force—and in some cases the result has not been euphoria, but rather messy, complex eruptions of communal violence.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sits at a desk in parliament and responds to questions

July 1, 2019

Japan
Seoul and Tokyo: No Longer on the Same Side

While many focus on the drama of President Donald J. Trump’s meeting with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un, a far more worrisome transformation in Northeast Asian geopolitics is underway. Washington…

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe upon his arrival for a welcome and photo session at G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28, 2019.

June 11, 2019

Sudan
Sudanese Opposition Needs Stronger International Support

The news out of Sudan, so recently full of fragile hope, is now deeply troubling. For over a week, the Transitional Military Council, or TMC, has been violently suppressing the very protestors whose bravery and persistence created the conditions for the security services to seize power from disgraced former President Omar al-Bashir. Over a hundred civilians have been killed, many more wounded, and the façade of shared goals and commitment to reform between citizens and security elites irreparably broken. 

Sudan-Protest-TMC-Support

April 1, 2019

News Release
Japan Is Reassessing Its Military Power as U.S.-Japan Alliance Is Tested, Writes Sheila Smith in New Book

April 1, 2019—“Tokyo’s approach to military power”—restraining its own use of force and relying on the United States for security—“is being tested,” writes Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fe…

May 23, 2019

Japan
Forty-Two and Counting…The Trump-Abe Connection

Yesterday the Washington Post reported that Japanese government officials who tracked the metrics of the Abe-Trump relationship tallied forty-two conversations, in person and on the phone. This is an…

U.S. President Donald Trump greets Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 26, 2018.

March 29, 2019

Mozambique
Cyclone Idai and the New Reality of Climate Change in Africa

As Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi continue struggling to cope with the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, it’s worth noting while the storm was exceptional in its destructive power, the risk of flooding in…

Locals look on after Cyclone Idai in Buzi district outside Beira, Mozambique, March 22, 2019.

May 28, 2019

Japan
During Trump Visit, Abe Aims to Reinforce Ties and Smooth Trade Strains

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe designed an elaborate visit for President Trump, complete with golf, a sumo championship, warship tours, and a meeting with the new emperor and empress. But the pag…

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump upon his arrival at Mobara Country Club in Chiba prefecture, Japan, on May 26, 2019.