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February 26, 2021

Nigeria
Nigeria’s Internal Security Problem

The Nigerian minister of defense recently enjoined Nigerians to take up arms to defend themselves against marauding bandits in their communities. Nigeria has experienced devastating attacks from armed bandits for more than two years.

A blanket is seen on the ground of a school stormed by kidnappers in Nigeria.

February 24, 2021

Iran
Biden and Iran: Two Questions

As the Biden administration enters its second month in power, two very large questions about its Iran policy remain unanswered. The first relates to nuclear negotiations. At the State Department p…

February 19, 2021

Cybersecurity
Cyber Week in Review: February 19, 2021

New activity from and against North Korean hackers; Russian hackers target French IT monitoring company; Cambodia adopts China-style internet firewall; Facebook blocks Australian news outlets; and Mo…

A person uses a smartphone to look at the Facebook page of Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen.

February 18, 2021

Human Rights
Kidnapping and Ransom Payments in Nigeria

On February 17, a gang of gunmen kidnapped more than forty students, teachers, and administrators from a secondary school in Niger State. At least one student was killed. President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered all four service chiefs to go to Niger State.

A picture of the interior of an abandoned school in Kagara, Nigeria after gunmen kidnapped dozens of students, relatives, and administrators. Several wooden desks and chairs are seen, while the wall is covered in graffiti.

February 17, 2021

International Organizations
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: A Well-Qualified New Leader for the WTO

Organization (WTO), the trade body’s top leadership position, former Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala quickly became the universal favorite to land the top job—except for among members of the Trump administration.

A picture of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the incoming head of the WTO. She is wearing traditional dress of the Igbo ethnic group from present-day Nigeria.

February 16, 2021

Democracy
Trump Still Casts a Shadow Over Biden’s Pro-Democracy Ambitions

The rationale behind Biden’s democracy summit is not idealistic but deeply realistic. It reflects a conviction that a world order based on a core of resilient democracies is likely to be a safer, mor…

A Capitol police officer stands behind a large black fence with the Capitol off in the distance, securing the area ahead of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, in Washington, DC, on January 16, 2021.

February 10, 2021

United States
TWE Celebrates Presidents’ Day

Today is Presidents’ Day. It is a TWE tradition to recognize the forty-five men—and they have all been men—who have been president on Presidents’ Day with the following essay. If you are lucky enough…

White House

February 12, 2021

Transnational Crime
Nigeria's Enduring "Gold Wars"

Conflicts in northwest Nigeria over access to minerals—especially gold—are heating up. Illicit mining also causes environmental damage, thus exacerbating land and water shortages that cause further conflict.

A man standing in a small pool of water is using a plastic sheet with holes to filter gold dust.

February 9, 2021

LGBTQ+
Are Latin American Nations Turning Their Backs on LGBTQ+ Rights?

Despite much progress over the past decade, the tide may be shifting. But U.S. partnership can help revitalize the expansion of LGBTQ+ protections in the Western Hemisphere.

An individual dances in a run-down bare concrete room while another person sits among a pile of suitcases under a rainbow pride flag.

February 9, 2021

Yemen
Biden and the Houthis

After two years at the State Department as Special Representative for Iran and Venezuela, I have returned to the Council on Foreign Relations and will start this blog going again.  Here is the first …