The Trump administration and the Russia probes

Special Counsel Robert Mueller heads the most aggressive of five investigations of possible collusion between US President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 US presidential election. Trump will probably continue to attack the special counsel's legitimacy and avoid unequivocally acknowledging Russian interference for as long as possible.

Iran under Rouhani: increasing constraint

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani faces a confrontational United States, an aggressive Saudi Arabia, and Iranian hardliners who have been emboldened to constrain his reformist agenda.

High noon for Libya’s Potemkin government

Strongman Khalifa Haftar is challenging Libya's Government of National Accord for effective control of the country and has substantial outside support from Egypt and the UAE.

The Ban Treaty arrives

The recently negotiated nuclear 'Ban Treaty' marks a more invigorated and unified opposition to the customary consensus-based approach of nuclear-weapons states.

Venezuela’s deepening crisis

Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro is increasingly autocratic and the country appears to be moving towards a political tipping point in favour of the opposition.

Trump’s erratic Middle East policy

The Trump administration's Middle East policy has become impulsive and inconsistent, as with its intervention in Qatar's dispute with other Gulf Arab states.

NATO’s continuing adaptation

Despite Donald Trump's noted hectoring on European NATO defence spending, several European NATO countries have been modestly increasing their spending for some time.

China’s strategic power in Asia-Pacific grows

Despite recent diplomatic efforts by Washington and Beijing to keep the bilateral relationship on an even keel, China has continued to behave assertively in the Asia-Pacific. In the absence of a robust or coherent US policy for the region, China appears to have gained the upper hand in the balance of power.