Ukraine in limbo
Well into the fourth year after Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of hostilities in Donbas, Ukraine finds itself in a curious state of limbo. There is good news – the economy has bottomed out, the war in the east has frozen at low intensity, and the danger of yet another revolt in Kiev has receded. There is also bad news – rampant corruption is still strangling business, the Minsk peace process is going nowhere, and hopes for reintegrating the separatist-held areas have vanished into thin air.
Opinion: France and Europe
Emmanuel Macron may be a fresh face, but France’s new president poses much less of a threat to the cosy status quo than his vanquished Republican opponent, Francois Fillon. Now that Mr. Macron has a solid parliamentary majority behind him, he will have to make choices and take sides. Chances are that his eclectic program will prove a disappointment.
Opinion: The United Nations – missing in action
Dag Hammarskjold was one of the great secretary generals of the United Nations. The Swedish economist-turned-diplomat died in a plane crash in 1961, while trying to negotiate a ceasefire in the Congo. More than half a century later, his courage is missed. Is there any way for Hammarskjold's successors to reconnect the UN with its mission?
Colombia finds peace brings burdens
Fresh from winning a Nobel Peace Prize, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos must find a way to implement the complicated peace agreement that ended a 40-year civil war. Battling criminal gangs, restoring land to displaced people, and absorbing tens of thousands of guerrilla fighters back into society will be a difficult task. Coca and corruption remain huge problems, and Mr. Santos’ ruling party must fend off a powerful adversary in Alvaro Uribe, an opponent of the peace deal who will challenge in next year’s elections.
Opinion: Can Emmanuel Macron change France?
After winning France’s presidency, the easy part is over for Emmanuel Macron. Now he must shift from faux outsider to the country’s first real reformer in decades. To succeed, he will need to take on a political establishment only too eager to jump on his bandwagon.
Argentina’s Macri in the crosshairs
Argentina’s Mauricio Macri spent his first 16 months as president playing whack-a-mole with a host of problems – including a faltering economy, an incompetent and often corrupt bureaucracy, and rising public anger at utility price hikes. Now, with parliamentary elections looming, he needs to come up with a strategy to avoid becoming a lame duck for the rest of his term.
Progress and disillusionment in Mexico
The advent of Donald Trump has not come at a good time for Mexico. After a fast start, the reform-minded government of President Enrique Pena Nieto has bogged down in corruption scandals and a stagnant economy. But tensions with the U.S. may also create opportunities for Mr. Nieto, if he is skillful enough to use them.
Russia’s short-term resilience comes at a price
Just how badly have the oil slump and sanctions hurt Russia’s economy? On the evidence, not nearly as much as Western policymakers had hoped. Vladimir Putin has the resources to wait out Europe and the next U.S. president on sanctions, at least until he runs for reelection in 2018. But the long-term cost could be high.
Mongolia’s June elections and their impact
Fed up with economic and political drift, Mongolian voters handed the center-left opposition a crushing victory in the June 29 general election. What the new government does with its constitutional majority is another question. To keep the sputtering economy afloat, it will have to strike shrewd bargains with powerful neighbors and creditors.