Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron said that NATO was experiencing "brain death," citing a lack of coordination and America's fickleness under Donald Trump as reasons to doubt the alliance's commitment to mutual defense. NATO – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization – was formed in the wake of World War II as a counterweight against Soviet dominance in Europe and beyond. Its cornerstone is that an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. But disagreements over sharing the cost of maintaining military readiness have caused friction between the alliance's members in recent years. In 2014, the bloc agreed that each member state would increase their own defense spending to 2% of their respective GDP over the next decade. But so far, only seven of 29 members have forked out the money. Here's a look at who pays what.
It's not quite 1968, true, but the past few months have seen an extraordinary outburst of popular protests in all corners of the world. In some places, protesters are mainly demanding more political freedoms. In others, they are sick and tired of corruption and unemployment and want to throw the old guard out. Here's a map of the locations, and primary causes, of recent unrest around the world.
Women make up just over half the human population, and yet the overwhelming majority of policymakers and political leaders in the world's governments are men. In fact, there are just three countries on earth where women make up more than 50% of the national legislature, and only 21 countries (out of 193 UN member states) in which a woman is either head of state or head of government. Only one G7 country currently has an elected female leader. While some countries have introduced controversial gender quotas at various stages in the electoral process as a bid to increase female participation, there's lots of progress still to be made. Here's a look at the facts and figures as of January 2019 and October 2019.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently warned that the organization is in danger of going broke because its members still haven't forked over their annual dues for 2019. Here's a map of who's paid up on time, late, or (shame!) not at all.
Since Syria's brutal civil war began eight years ago, millions of Syrians have fled their country to escape the bombs and bullets. But hundreds of thousands have been displaced within Syria's borders, where they languish in packed refugee camps. The al-Hol camp in northern Syria is sprawling, and of its nearly 70,000 residents, some 11,000 are family members of foreign ISIS fighters, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The surprise American withdrawal from northern Syria last week paved the way for Turkey and Syria's Bashar al-Assad to move in. Some 160,000 civilians have now fled the border region that Turkey is bombarding, deepening a humanitarian crisis in a stretch of Syria that had been relatively secure since the defeat of ISIS's self-declared caliphate back in March. Here's a look at the camps for displaced people in the area.
Donald Trump announced a fresh "phase 1" trade deal with China last week, part of his ongoing bid to reduce the United States' huge trade deficit with China. The US has been buying more from China than China buys from the US for decades, but since coming into office Trump has made reducing that deficit central to his "America First" agenda. It's not easy to do. Consider that in 2018, after two full years of the Trump administration, the trade deficit with China actually swelled to its highest level since the Clinton years. That's because many perfectly healthy economic factors contribute to a trade deficit: stronger economic growth under Trump has meant more demand for foreign goods, so as long as the economy keeps humming along, it will be hard for Trump to reduce the deficit. Likewise, the strong US dollar makes foreign goods cheaper for US consumers to import, while China's own economic slowdown in 2018 decreased Chinese demand for American goods. For a historical perspective on all of this, here's a look at how the US-China trade balance has developed under each US president going back to 1993.
China's leaders are intent on making the country into a global power these days, but as Beijing advances on the world stage, its image has taken a hit in many countries. A recent survey of around 35,000 people across 32 countries shows that majorities in most places agree that China's international clout is on the rise, but in half of countries surveyed from Western European the share of people who see China positively has dropped by double-digits over the past year. North America shows the most negative opinions of China on record, with less than 20 percent of people holding a positive view of the country. Meanwhile, majorities or pluralities in Middle Eastern, Latin American and sub-Saharan African countries recorded a favorable view of China. Here's a look at the numbers, by country, in 2018 vs 2019.
Although there has recently been a small uptick in popular support for impeachment (especially among Republicans), it's still a deeply polarizing issue with no majority for or against. The Democrats are hoping that the investigations' findings will convince more of the public to support impeachment, making it easier for fence-sitting Representatives on both sides of the aisle to vote in favor. At the same time, the White House and most Republicans are banking that the continuing unpopularity of impeachment will mean the process turns into a political trainwreck for the Democrats as the 2020 election approaches. Here's a look at how popular sentiment on impeachment has evolved over the past year, and where things stand now.