A Chinese People's Armed Police Force member conducts tactical training in Guiyang, China, on July 28, 2020.

China Is Losing Influence—and That Makes It Dangerous

The best thing Biden can do is lighten up on China and let gravity take its toll.

A temporary fence surrounds the U.S. Capitol

America’s Forever Wars Have Come Back Home

It’s no coincidence that, after years of fighting abroad, the United States is beset with paranoia, loss of trust, and increasingly bitter divisions.

A Salvadoran police officer guards a crime scene where a member of the National Civil Police was allegedly killed by gang members, in Santa Tecla, El Salvador, on October 17, 2017.

El Salvador’s Homicide Rate Hit a Historic Low in 2020

But the reasons behind the drop are unclear, and broader security and economic reforms are urgently needed.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s book, translated into foreign languages, is on display during the opening ceremony of a high-level meeting held by the Chinese Communist Party at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on Dec. 1, 2017.

The One-Sided War of Ideas With China

As Washington ramps up to defend democracy, Beijing is still motivated mostly by geography.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele poses for a selfie with a supporter after voting during parliamentary and local elections in San Salvador,  Salvador, on Feb. 28.

In El Salvador, Broken Promises Have Forced the Establishment Out

In Sunday’s legislative elections, voters overwhelmingly backed a popular president promising change, despite criticisms of democratic backsliding.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C), Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) attend a joint press conference in Ankara on Sept. 16, 2019.

The Middle East’s Next Conflicts Won’t Be Between Arab States and Iran

The Arab moment has passed. Competition between non-Arab powers—Turkey, Iran, and Israel—will shape the region’s future.

Women mourn the victims of a massacre allegedly perpetrated by Eritrean soldiers in the village of Dengolat, in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, on Feb. 26.

Did Eritrea Commit War Crimes in Ethiopia?

The Ethiopian government is facing mounting allegations that foreign soldiers and Amhara regional forces committed atrocities during the war in Tigray.

Then-U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman

Obama’s Iran Deal Looms Large in Senate Hearings for Key Biden Picks

Wendy Sherman and Colin Kahl will likely get grilled by Republicans over their role in the 2015 nuclear pact.

Protesters chant slogans and hold up flags in support of China’s Uyghur minority in Istanbul, on July 12, 2009.

Why Erdogan Has Abandoned the Uyghurs

As Ankara grows more economically dependent on Beijing, the Turkish government is no longer offering a safe haven or defending Uyghur rights.

A man walks past a billboard for the construction of an oil refinery and storage facility in the port city of Hambantota, Sri Lanka, on March 24, 2019.

Chinese Belt and Road Investment Isn’t All Bad—or Good

As Sri Lanka shows, when it comes to Chinese debt, small states have agency and great powers have responsibilities.

Policemen inspect the facilities at a coal mine in Changji in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Feb. 21.

Meet Today’s Masters of the Universe

“The World for Sale” peels back the cover on the secretive—and sometimes shady—people who make the modern world go around.

In the Magazine

In the Magazine

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America and the World: How to Build Back Better

Looking back on 50 years of U.S. foreign policy and the lessons they hold for Washington today.

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A New Pivot to Asia

The fuzzy goodwill between Biden and America’s Asian allies will soon be tested by China’s growing power.

Foreign Policy Begins at Home

The best way for Biden to build better partnerships abroad is to get America’s own house in order—that starts with human rights.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

The Kremlin’s Latest Target Is Online Media

Why the Russian government is now equating digital journalism with foreign espionage.

Workers pack syringes at the Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices factory in Faridabad, India, on Sept. 2, 2020.

To Democratize Vaccine Access, Democratize Production

U.S. and European COVID-19 shots aren’t enough. It is time to tap into Africa, Asia, and Latin America’s enormous production capacity.

The offices of banking giants HSBC and Barclays are pictured at Canary Wharf in London, on Dec. 28, 2020.

In the City, the Bluffing Is Over

During crisis after crisis, London’s financial giants cried wolf about leaving. Now the wolf is at the door.

U.S. President Joe Biden steps off Air Force One upon arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on March 1.

Can Biden Finally Put the Middle East in Check and Pivot Already?

The new administration, like previous ones, has a Middle East quagmire. But it’s trying some nuanced moves to break free.

Protesters wearing traditional “thanakha,” a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark applied on the face, hold placards and shout slogans during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on Feb. 25.

Why China Favors Democracy Over Dictatorship in Myanmar

For Beijing, a reliable democratic government is better than an unpredictable and expansionist military junta.

After waiting for hours, Nazir Ahmad Kondoo rows his boat toward other fishermen on Anchar Lake in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, on Feb. 16.

The Last Fishermen of Kashmir

Once teeming lakes are fast disappearing and with them, a lucrative career for tens of thousands of people in the region.

Members of Congress wear white to honor the women’s suffrage movement and support women’s rights as U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Feb. 28, 2017.

Representation Isn’t Enough

The number of women in elected office is on the rise, but that hasn’t necessarily translated into more power.

Director Terry George talks to Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame Celebrated ‘Hotel Rwanda’—Until Its Hero Criticized Him

Rwanda’s president once welcomed the Hollywood film. His recent attacks on the movie and its protagonist show that his government cannot handle dissent.

Voices

Indian soldiers patrol along a barbed-wire fence near Baras Post on the Line of Control on Dec. 4, 2003.

War Is Over Between India and Pakistan—for Now

A new cease-fire at the Line of Control must avoid problems that have derailed past attempts at peace.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden

Biden’s Plan to Lead From Alongside

The new U.S. president believes in the legitimacy of American power. Does the rest of the world?

Commuters sleep while waiting for the Otay Mesa Port of Entry to open to cross to the United States from Tijuana, Mexico

The Human Cost of Endless Pandemic Border Closures

One year after the world declared borders shut, there is still no plan to reduce the toll on millions of lives.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei delivers remarks on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action for Iran in Tehran on Feb. 17.

Who Is Hot and Who Is Not in the Middle East

The Biden administration wants to downgrade the region. Here are the countries he can ignore—and the ones he can’t.

A FOCUS ON RACE AND FOREIGN POLICY

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Why Is Mainstream International Relations Blind to Racism?

Ignoring the central role of race and colonialism in world affairs precludes an accurate understanding of the modern state system.

Black Lives Matter Protest London

When Did Racism Become Solely a Domestic Issue?

International relations theorists once explored racism. What has the field lost by giving that up?

Nelson Mandela visits Hlengiwe School in Johannesburg on May 1, 1993.

Put Racial Justice at Center of the Biden-Harris Transition Plan

The new administration can learn from South Africa’s experience with transitional justice.

Economic Freedom Fighters supporters gather in front of the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, on June 8 in solidarity with the global Black Lives Matter movement.

The Legacy of American Racism

Domestic racism has long impacted U.S. foreign policy. It’s time to open up about it.

Special insights on the post-pandemic world

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The World After the Coronavirus

Twelve leading thinkers on geopolitics after the pandemic.

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The Future of Travel

Seven predictions for how tourism will change.

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Will Schools and Universities Ever Return to Normal?

Nine experts on the future of education after the pandemic.

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The Future of the State

Ten leading global thinkers on government after the pandemic.

visual stories

A pro-democracy protester is detained by riot police officers during a rally against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on Feb. 27. Stringer/REUTERS

The Month in World Photos

February brought unrest in Myanmar after a military coup—plus a spectacular volcanic show in Italy, a reopened border for asylum seekers in the United States, and a celebrated landing on Mars.

A protester embraces a member of the Belarusian Interior Ministry troops who was standing guard during a demonstration against police violence and rejecting the presidential election results in Minsk, Belarus, on Aug. 14. Vasily Fedosenko/REUTERS

Rising Up in Protest: A Year in Photos

Fists raised and voices lifted, people around the world took to the streets in 2020—to stand up against police brutality, demand democracy, and confront other injustices. A look at some of the photos that captured the year’s most defining movements.