Kazakhstan has stabilized after protests broke out to start the new year. USIP’s Gavin Helf says while the sudden unrest was driven by “real, honest-to-goodness protests … what we really saw was the weakness of authoritarian systems,” as loyalists of the previous and current leaders clashed amid the public upheaval.
While Ukraine’s military is in much better shape than when Russia first invaded in 2014, USIP’s William Taylor says it’s “not able to hold off the entire Russian military” alone, and that the United States and NATO must “make it clear to President Putin that the costs of invading will be much greater than the benefits.”
Despite the military junta’s imprisonment of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, USIP’s Billy Ford says there’s an opening for more inclusive narratives within the resistance movement — and if the movement can “unify around those [narratives] … it could come together and potentially defeat this regime.”
Despite a “near-total loss of faith in the political process” going into 2022, USIP’s Keith Mines says Venezuelans have not lost hope for a better future — and that underneath the polarization and dissatisfaction, you can “find a vision for the country that is shared by most Venezuelans.”
Three decades after President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, beginning the dissolution of the Soviet Union, USIP’s Donald Jensen says, “The collapse is still continuing. It didn’t fall apart at once … and in many ways [it] shapes our relationship with Eastern Europe and Russia today.”
While China’s influence in Southeast Asia is inevitable, the region welcomed Secretary Blinken’s recent trip as a counterweight to Beijing, says USIP’s Brian Harding: “[The region] wants balance, which means they want the United States to be as engaged as possible.”
With the vote likely to be postponed, USIP’s Elie Abouaoun says frustrations are high over Libya’s political and economic stagnation as the international community tries to “generate a new political agreement … just to make sure the elections can happen without a major outbreak of violence.”
As Russia continues its military build-up along the Ukrainian border, USIP’s Ambassador William Taylor says diplomatic talks are the best path toward a peaceful resolution — but that we still don’t fully understand Putin’s intentions: “Is he bluffing? Is he trying to intimidate … or is he serious about invading?
Amid a global democratic recession, USIP’s Joseph Sany says President Biden’s Summit for Democracy is an important “statement of solidarity,” but that “if [democracies] want to regain or strengthen their legitimacy,” they must deliver for their people, adding: “If you lose the citizens’ trust, you lose everything.”
It’s been 40 years since the U.N. adopted a resolution to end persecution based on faith and defend religious minorities. USIP’s Knox Thames says decades later, “It’s a work in progress … While the situation is bleak, there is a global movement that is starting to build and trying to meet this challenge.”