• Iran-Afghanistan Water Dispute: A Test of Tehran's Ties to Taliban

    An old dispute over water rights could be the first test of Iran’s planned pragmatic cooperation with the Taliban. Without a functioning environmental agency, though, it is unclear who in Afghanistan can address the conflict.

  • China’s Response to the Taliban’s Takeover

    “The primary interest for China in Afghanistan is ensuring stability so that no unrest would spill over into the wider region and China in particular. In this sense, the U.S. presence in Afghanistan has been a positive for China as it has played the security role at no cost to China. Now, China will have to develop its own relationships with the Taliban,” says Harvard’s China expert Tony Saich.

  • China Used Vaccines, Trade to Get Ukraine to Drop Support for Xinjiang Scrutiny

    On 22 June, Ukraine signed a UN-sponsored document, along with more than 40 other countries, calling for China to allow independent observers immediate access to Xinjiang, where Beijing is operating a camp system that UN officials estimate has interned more than 1 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Muslim minorities. Two days later, Ukraine withdrew its signature after China threatened to limit trade with Ukraine and withhold Ukrainian access to COVID-19 vaccines.

  • EU Agrees on Global Infrastructure Plan to Rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative

    On Monday the EU announced an ambitious global infrastructure plan which aims to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Western governments fear that China’s project encourages countries to take on large Chinese loans which can turn into “debt traps,” allowing China to leverage these debts for political purposes. Monday’s initiative continues a recent phase of greater assertiveness by the EU towards China.

  • Can Europe Escape Gazprom's Energy Stranglehold?

    When it comes to gas supplies to the EU, Russia’s state-owned corporation Gazprom steps on the brakes, and natural gas reservoirs are unusually low. Is Russia building up political pressure in order to push through the operation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline?

  • Islamic World “Actively Collaborating” with China's Global Campaign against Uyghurs: Researchers

    A new report documents how governments — predominantly from Muslim-majority countries across the Middle East and Asia — have cooperated with Beijing to surveil, detain, and repatriate Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities from China who have fled Xinjiang.

  • Assessing China’s Presence and Power in the Caribbean

    Foreign policy discussions around China-Caribbean engagement have been uniformly skewed toward speculation on China’s intentions in the Caribbean. Rasheed Griffith writes that it is not too late for the U.S. to arrest the deepening of China-Caribbean engagement, which could result in policies which are contrary to U.S. strategic interests. “But assessing U.S. interests in this area requires wrestling with the facts on the ground and countering Chinese influence with realistic and robust alternatives,” he writes.

  • From Visits to Vaccines: The Evolving Nature of China’s Military Diplomacy

    A new report details the growing role of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) military-to-military cooperation in response to the global coronavirus pandemic – a move which signals the greater involvement of the PLA in China’s diplomatic activities.

  • Can the West Devise an Alternative to China's Belt and Road?

    Since it was announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has channeled hundreds of billions of dollars into foreign infrastructure, boosting trade, and clearing the way for China to forge political and economic links around the world. But a combination of growing disillusionment among partner countries with the resulting projects, room for more investment, and increased unease about the strategic implications of the BRI might have opened the door for an alternative to emerge.

  • Next Major War Will Be “Very Different”: Def. Sec. Austin

    Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has warned of emerging cyber and space threats, along with the prospect of much bigger wars. “We can’t predict the future,” he added. “So what we need is the right mix of technology, operational concepts and capabilities — all woven together in a networked way that is so credible, so flexible and so formidable that it will give any adversary pause.” His remarks come amid concerns over China’s growing military assertiveness.

  • Money Alone Can’t Fix Central America – or Stop Migration to U.S.

    To stem migration from Central America, the Biden administration has a $4 billion plan to “build security and prosperity” in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador – home to more than 85 percent of all Central American migrants who arrived in the U.S. over the last three years. The Biden plan is based on a sound analysis of Central America’s dismal socioeconomic conditions. As a former president of Costa Rica, I can attest to the dire situation facing people in neighboring nations. As a historian of Central America, I also know money alone cannot build a viable democracy.

  • China: Crimes Against Humanity in Xinjiang

    The Chinese government is committing crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Monday. The Chinese leadership is responsible for widespread and systematic policies of mass detention, torture, and cultural persecution, among other offenses.

  • U.S. “Monitoring” as Iran Sends Fuel Tankers to Venezuela in Defiance of Sanctions

    As Iran sent three gasoline shipments to fuel-starved Venezuela in recent months in defiance of U.S. sanctions, the Biden administration apparently did nothing to stop the tankers, signaling a reticence to enforce the sanctions and a savviness by the anti-U.S. allies in evading them.

  • Shining Light on China’s Secretive International Lending Program

    A new study and dataset reveal previously unknown details about China—the world’s largest official creditor—and its lending practices to developing countries. A cache of documents shows that Chinese loan contracts have unusual secrecy provisions, collateral requirements, and debt renegotiation restrictions.

  • Increased Migration at U.S. Border Linked to Climate Change, Violence in Central America

    Thousands of families and children from Central America continue to arrive at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the Biden Administration is developing strategies to address these migration challenges. Given that the number of migrants is expected to increase, policy research and analysis on the drivers for migration are vital for implementing long-term solutions.