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May 8, 2020

United States
Five Points about U.S. Trade Over the Last Thirty Years

A few things that jumped out at me about the U.S. trade data. Some no doubt are controversial. 

Five Points about U.S. Trade Over the Last Thirty Years

March 12, 2020

China
China’s State Media Outlets: The White House Cracks Down, But How Much of a Threat Are They?

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has taken increasingly tough measures against Chinese state media outlets operating in the United States. The White House has forced state broadcasters like …

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to China's Vice Premier Liu He as Vice President Mike Pence looks on during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on January 31, 2019.

February 5, 2020

Sub-Saharan Africa
Eighty Years of U.S. Policy Toward Africa, Now in One Place

Until now, there has not been a comprehensive survey of U.S. policy toward Africa for either the specialist or the general reader. Now, happily, there is. Herman J. Cohen (‘Hank’) has just published U.S. Policy Toward Africa: Eight Decades of Realpolitik, covering fourteen U.S. administrations. It is hard to think of anyone as qualified as Ambassador Cohen to undertake such a work. A career Foreign Service Officer, Hank Cohen was, inter alia, charge in the Democratic Republic of Congo, ambassador to Senegal, senior director for Africa at the National Security Council, and assistant secretary for Africa at the U.S. Department of State.

U.S. President George W. Bush and his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame cut a ribbon to officially open the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Kigali, on February 19, 2008.

January 3, 2020

Cameroon
Lessons From the Past on Cameroon’s Crisis

The violent conflict in Cameroon, still rarely discussed in Washington, is becoming increasingly dire. Both President Paul Biya’s Francophone regime in Yaounde and the Anglophone separatists in the southwest region are accused of brutal human rights abuses, including the burning of villages, attacks on schools, and the killing of men, women, and children. Despite mediation attempts by the Swiss government and sanctions by the Trump administration, there are no signs of any progress towards a negotiated settlement. 

A sign saying " Speak English or French for a bilingual Cameroon" outside a now abandoned school in rural southwest Cameroon, on May 22, 2019.

December 2, 2019

Election 2020
Meet Joe Walsh, Republican Presidential Candidate

Buyer’s remorse. That is perhaps the best description of the situation that former Illinois Congressman and radio talk show host Joe Walsh finds himself in. Back in 2016, he championed Donald Trump’s…

Joe Walsh

October 24, 2019

South Africa
Leader of South Africa’s Opposition Quits Party and Parliament

On October 23, Mmusi Maimane resigned as the leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA). His resignation was preceded by that of the DA mayor of Johannesburg, Herman Mashaba on October 21, and immediately followed by that of the party’s federal chairperson, Athol Trollip.

Mmusi Maimane casts his vote at a polling station

February 28, 2018

China
China Is Likely to Enter Another Long Period of Severe Dictatorship

Term limits for the leadership are not usually found in dictatorships. The Chinese Communist Party’s proposed abolition of China’s presidential term limit means that it has forgotten one of the main …

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks as China's new Politburo Standing Committee members meet with the press at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China October 25, 2017.

May 9, 2019

Sudan
The Roots of Sudan's Upheaval

While the Sudanese military expelled President Omar al-Bashir from office, the people of Sudan are ultimately responsible for toppling his regime, and the leaders of the protest movement have promised not to let up until civilian rule is secured. They well know that any persistence of military control represents a continuation of the Bashir regime, and in particular, the Arabic-speaking population’s monopoly of power.

Sudan-Protest-Bashir-Transition

October 18, 2016

Elections and Voting
Is it Still 1968? A Conversation with Michael A. Cohen

Today, I spoke with Michael A. Cohen, regular contributor at The Boston Globe, about his new book, American Maelstrom: The 1968 Election and the Politics of Division (also available on iTunes here). …

american-maelstrom

February 8, 2019

Democratic Republic of Congo
An Alternative Perspective on the U.S. Decision to Recognize Tshisekedi

In the daily Africa in Transition blog, on February 6, 2019, Ambassador Michelle Gavin, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Program, harshly criticized the United States government’s policy toward the December 2018 presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

DRC-Congo-Kinshasa-Tshisekedi-Inauguration