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October 11, 2019

United States
Happy 244th Birthday to the U.S. Navy!

The U.S. Navy turns 244 years-old this weekend. On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress commissioned two ships, each with eighty sailors, “for intercepting such transports as may be laden with …

U.S. Navy

October 31, 2019

Elections and Voting
Southern Africa’s Tale of Two Elections: Mozambique and Botswana

Southern Africa recently wrapped up two dramatically different elections. In Mozambique, presidential, parliamentary, and regional elections were characterized by irregularities and even violence, but not by suspense. The ruling FRELIMO party had ensured its victory in the pre-election period, in part through the presence of “ghost voters” on the voters’ roll, and through a campaign of intimidation aimed at challengers to its power.

A woman casts her ballot at Moshupa village, in the Southern District of Botswana, October 23, 2019

September 25, 2019

China
The President’s Inbox: Admiral William McRaven on Technology, Innovation, and Special Operations

The latest episode of The President’s Inbox is now up. My guest was Admiral William McRaven (Rtd.), a member of CFR’s Board of Directors and the co-chair of the recent CFR Independent Task Force on I…

Admiral William McRaven (Rtd.) speaks during a Reuters Newsmakers event in New York in May 2019.

August 19, 2019

Military Operations
Sea Power: The U.S. Navy and Foreign Policy

The U.S. Navy’s dominance of the world’s oceans has made it an indispensable foreign policy tool as well as a guarantor of global trade, but a mix of challenges is raising difficult questions about i…

A U.S. cruiser and aircraft carrier during a replenishment-at-sea.

October 18, 2019

West Africa
Worrying Trends in Côte d'Ivoire

Several successive years of being one of the world’s fastest-growing economies have made Côte d'Ivoire a darling of investors bullish about Africa. But the country’s strong economic performance has not been matched by political progress in overcoming the divides that drove the country into civil war twice in the last twenty years. With elections scheduled for 2020, many of the same antagonists that featured in those earlier conflicts are jockeying for position, giving observers and citizens an unwelcome sense of déjà vu.

Ivory Coast's President Alassane Ouattara of the Rally of the Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) party talks after casting his vote at a polling station during a presidential election in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire on October 25, 2015

September 6, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa
Mugabe and the Zimbabwe He Left Behind

Robert Mugabe, who ruled over Zimbabwe for 37 years, died on September 6. His was an undeniably epic life of glaring contradictions. He was a passionate voice for the liberation of the Zimbabwean people from the injustice and humiliation of white minority rule, but a brutal oppressor when those same people sought to exercise political freedom.

Zimbabwe's former President Robert Mugabe looks on before casting his vote in Highfields outside Harare July 31, 2013

October 8, 2019

Sub-Saharan Africa
A New Challenge to Confront: Rising Illicit Drug Use

New research suggests that African policymakers focused on the future have yet another pressing issue to add to their already full plate: A study released on the margins of the UN General Assembly meeting and funded by the European Union indicates that Africa will be the site of the world’s largest increase in illegal drug use over the next few decades.

A recovering drug addict receives his dose of methadone at a Medication Assisted Therapy clinic run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) at Karuri Level 4 hospital in Kiambu, Kenya October 3, 2019.

October 3, 2019

Somalia
Diplomatic Progress in Somalia

The re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, is welcome news to many who have worked on U.S. policy issues in the Horn of Africa for decades. It represents not just a positive step in strengthening bilateral relations, but also a victory over those who would prioritize risk-aversion  ahead of the actual work of diplomacy

Italian and Somali security forces are seen near armored vehicles at the scene of an attack on an Italian military convoy in Mogadishu, Somalia September 30, 2019

November 1, 2019

Chile
What’s Behind the Chile Protests?

Political unrest is sweeping Chile, as impatience with inequality grows in what has been one of Latin America’s most prosperous and stable countries.

September 16, 2019

Eritrea
How Long Must Eritrea Wait for Change?

Last week, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Eritrea "the most censored country in the world." That unsurprising conclusion is only the latest dubious distinction for Eritrea, a state that often seems frozen in an authoritarian limbo in the midst of region characterized by profound changes. 

Eritrean refugees participate in a demonstration in support of a U.N. human rights report accusing Eritrean leaders of crimes against humanity in front of the Africa Union headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, June 23, 2016