5 Top Reads

The World This Weekend

Theresa May steps down, Narendra Modi steps back up, and Sebastian Kurz cleans house.

In Hyderabad, India, supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) join in a celebration rally on May 24.
In Hyderabad, India, supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) join in a celebration rally on May 24. DIPTENDU DUTTA/AFP/Getty Images

This week, British Prime Minister Theresa May resigned. “Compromise is not a dirty word,” she said in her farewell announcement, despairing of her inability to reach a path forward for Brexit.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party returned to power after a sweeping election victory. And Austria’s government—built on a coalition between Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz’s Freedom Party of Austria and the country’s far-right movement—collapsed, leaving a cloud over the May 23 to 26 European Parliament elections.

Meanwhile, trade tensions between the United States and China continued to mount. Beijing intimated that it could limit supplies of rare earth minerals, which are widely used in the United States.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top five weekend reads.


British Prime Minister Theresa May announces her resignation outside No. 10 Downing St. in London on May 24.Leon Neal/Getty Images

1. Theresa May Broke Britain

May’s prime ministership was a historic failure that will not be recalled with any fondness, even by those closest to her, Alex Massie writes.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech at an election rally ahead of Phase VI of India’s general election in Allahabad on May 9. SANJAY KANOJIA/AFP/Getty Images

2. It’s Modi’s India Now

Modi’s election victory signifies changes for India’s democracy that will be difficult to reverse, Foreign Policy’s Ravi Agrawal writes.


Actor Chen Xuedong, actor Zheng Kai, singer and actor Lu Han, actor Zhang Hanyu, actor and singer Andy Lau, actress Jing Tian, director Zhang Yimou, American actor Matt Damon, Chilean-born American actor Pedro Pascal, American actor Willem Dafoe, actor Eddie Peng, actor Lin Gengxin, singer and actor Wang Junkai attend the premiere of Zhang Yimou’s film “The Great Wall” on December 6, 2016 in Beijing, China. Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

3. Chinese Film Studios Are Blacklisting Americans

U.S. actors who have made their way into China’s highly unregulated television industry are feeling the implications of the trade war. Now, some are being cast aside as scripts are hastily rewritten and producers murmur about hiring freezes, Robert Foyle Hunwick writes.


A campaign billboard for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AFD) in eastern Berlin on May 17. Europeans vote this week for a new Parliament, with strong gains expected for extreme right-wing parties.Sean Gallup/Getty Images

4. ‘The Dominant Voter’ in European Elections Is the ‘Confused Voter’

Foreign Policy’s Keith Johnson spoke with Mark Leonard, the co-founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, about why the pan-European elections are often misunderstood.


A battle scene in HBO’s Game of Thrones.Helen Sloan/HBO

5. IR Theory and ‘Game of Thrones’ Are Both Fantasies

Ever since international relations theorists started watching Game of Thrones, scholars have competed to test their intellectual frameworks in Westeros. One explanation for their obsession with the show is that it mirrors the same narrow and distorted slice of European history that forged the discipline in the first place, Paul Musgrave writes.

Jefcoate O'Donnell is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @brjodonnell

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