World Politics Review

U.N. officials are already starting to size up early candidates to replace Ban Ki-moon as secretary-general in 2017. The battle to succeed Ban could turn nasty, pitting Western-backed candidates against alternatives favored by Russia. If that sounds like a return to the Cold War, it’s because the U.N. has never fully shrugged off the old East-West divide.

Apr 01, 2013
Richard Gowan
United Nations

The border zone in the Golan Heights had been largely unaffected by Syria’s uprising until March 6, when Syrian rebels seized 21 Filipino members of a United Nations peacekeepingmission from a disputed demilitarized buffer zone between Israel and Syria that has been monitored by U.N. forces since 1974.

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Mar 08, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

Does China have any real interest in cooperating on international crisis management with the West? 

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Mar 11, 2013
Richard Gowan
China, Europe, Middle East, Syria

Diplomats are rarely dreamers or gamblers. The experience of grinding negotiations means that most ambassadors and their advisers dislike big ideas and unnecessary risks. But sometimes they have to take a gamble in pursuit of national goals.

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Mar 04, 2013
Richard Gowan

Will Ban Ki-moon leave a substantial legacy when he completes his second term as secretary-general of the United Nations at the end of 2016?

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Feb 25, 2013
Richard Gowan
United Nations

European soldiers, often mocked by American analysts in recent years, are back in fashion.

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Feb 11, 2013
Richard Gowan

Governments and independent experts have found countless metrics to evaluate the successes and failures of military interventions such as those in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, judging them on everything from casualty rates to the provision of public services. The number of girls attending school in Afghanistan, for example, has been a standard point of reference for supporters of the NATO mission there.

But what metrics can be used to evaluate a deliberate nonintervention?

Feb 04, 2013
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

Does Lakhdar Brahimi have any good options for ending the Syrian war? Brahimi has served as the United Nations-Arab League envoy to Syria for more than three months, having been chosen to replace Kofi Annan in August. Unlike Annan, who tried to mediate a resolution to the conflict under constant media scrutiny, Brahimi has adopted a low profile. But like Annan, he has struggled to find a way to bring the regime and rebels together.

Dec 10, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

As Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, reflects on the challenges ahead in 2013, he may wonder if he will be able to manage the consequences of a lost war.

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Dec 17, 2012
Richard Gowan
Middle East, Syria

The wars in Mali and Syria have followed very different trajectories over the past month. While Syria has become symbolic of international inaction, France’s use of force in Mali has shown that some Western governments are still willing to launch new interventions abroad.

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