A week and a half after Afghan presidential polls, the results remain unclear. But, we do know that turnout was historically low, largely due to dire security conditions. Meanwhile, with the peace process stalled, USIP’s Scott Worden says the upsurge in U.S. military operations against the Taliban is a “pressure tactic, not a victory strategy.”
The crisis in Venezuela and increasing tensions between the Colombian government and the Maduro regime threaten the security of the region and the implementation of Colombia’s 2016 FARC peace accord. USIP’s Steve Hege discusses recent obstacles to implementation of that accord and how the U.S. can support a democratic transition in Venezuela.
Last week, Tunisians voted for “a wholesale dismissal of everyone who’s governed before” in the first round of presidential elections, said USIP’s Leo Siebert. And with parliamentary and runoff elections upcoming, a string of free and fair elections could help Tunisia “prove to the world, and be a model to its neighbors, that democracy is possible.”
Ahead of the International Day of Peace on September 21, USIP’s Jill Welch talks about how the Institute’s annual Peace Day Challenge gives people around the world “the opportunity to take an action, however big or small, to make peace possible together.”
Eighteen years after 9/11, USIP President and CEO Nancy Lindborg reflects on the continued spread of violent extremism and points to the Task Force on Extremism in Fragile States as a blueprint for a new, preventive approach, saying, “I think we’ve all realized this is not a problem we can bomb our way out of.”
Iraqi leaders are concerned that efforts to improve governance and build durable institutions are being overwhelmed by rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the potential of a proxy war in the country. “This pressure has definitely undermined the Iraqi government,” says USIP’s Sarhang Hamasaeed.
A peace agreement between the U.S. and Taliban is rumored to be imminent. But USIP’s Scott Worden says any deal would only be “the first step, the tip of the iceberg” for lasting peace in Afghanistan, as the conflict stems from political issues “that have been going on for about 40 years.”
Once U.S.-South Korean joint exercises conclude next week, USIP’s Frank Aum believes working-level negotiations with North Korea will resume. Despite the lack of progress over the last year, Aum says, “We need to be able to resolve [issues] within the framework of a deal rather than scrapping the deal altogether.”
Amid the escalating Hong Kong crisis, USIP’s Jacob Stokes says China’s history of breaking deals has created a basic credibility problem that “relates to Hong Kong, it relates to territorial disputes in the South China Sea, on hacking and cyber theft, and on certain parts of the World Trade Organization.”
The death of President Essebsi was a major loss for Tunisia, but the U.S. remains deeply invested in advancing democracy in the country. Alternatively, looking to the instability in Libya, Hill says, “The U.S. is not involved at all, [even though some] Libyans are pressing for the U.S. to do more … The most productive way the U.S. can be involved is not militarily or financially, but rather diplomatically.”