5 Top Reads

The World This Weekend

Trump’s Washington celebrates a militaristic Fourth of July, protests surge in Hong Kong, and the European Union chooses new leadership.

Members of the U.S. Army park an M1 Abrams tank in front of the Lincoln Memorial on July 3 ahead of the Fourth of July "Salute to America" celebration.
Members of the U.S. Army park an M1 Abrams tank in front of the Lincoln Memorial on July 3 ahead of the Fourth of July "Salute to America" celebration. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

This week, U.S. President Donald Trump celebrated the 243rd anniversary of U.S. independence with a display of military might on the National Mall in Washington. The festivities, which included tanks and fighter jets in addition to the traditional fireworks, has been criticized heavily for politicizing the military.

In Hong Kong, protests resurged as demonstrators stormed the city legislature building Monday, a day that also marked the anniversary of the island’s handover to China from the United Kingdom. Demonstrations began last month in opposition to a contentious extradition bill backed by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Consideration of the proposed bill has since been suspended.

Meanwhile, the European Union chose new leadership, selecting the French IMF chief Christine Lagarde as head of the European Central Bank and German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen as president of the European Commission. David Sassoli, an Italian socialist member of the European Parliament, was elected president of the body on Wednesday.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top five weekend reads.

A worker washes one of two M1A1 Abrams tanks that are loaded on rail cars at a rail yard in Washington on July 2. MARK WILSON/GETTY IMAGES

1. Celebrating the Trump of July

Trump’s decadent July Fourth military parade encapsulates his vision of soaring American might, but declining American leadership on the global stage, Foreign Policy’s Michael Hirsh writes.


Protesters confront police after the Legislative Council building was damaged in Hong Kong on July 2. Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images

2. Hong Kong on Strike

As protests resume in Hong Kong, the city’s business community has joined the movement, with the first general strike in decades—a potentially powerful tool, Dominic Chiu and Tiffany Wong write.

Focusing the narrative only on the drama of the protests risks ignoring everyday acts of resistance in Hong Kong, Karen Cheung writes.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde as she arrives to attend the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 7, 2017.

3. Christine Lagarde Won, But This Isn’t a Game

After dramatic debates over EU leadership, Lagarde and von der Leyen emerged in the top jobs. But the new head of the European Central Bank will have to face looming policy questions, Adam Tooze writes.


European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini (L); Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif (C) take part in a ministerial meeting on the Iran nuclear deal on July 6, 2018 in Vienna, Austria. HANS PUNZ/AFP/Getty Images

4. Iran Isn’t Trying to Build a Bomb Tomorrow. It Wants Sanctions Relief.

Iran breached limitations on its stockpile of enriched uranium set by the 2015 multiparty nuclear deal, which Trump withdrew the United States from last year. The move raised concerns that Iran is making a beeline for nuclear weapons. But really, Tehran is trying to force Europe to double down on the nuclear agreement, Gérard Araud and Ali Vaez write.

While experts agree Iran could build a nuclear weapon within a few years, that it intends to do so has not been clearly established, Foreign Policy’s Lara Seligman reports.


Muslim worshippers walk around the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Mecca on Aug. 17, 2018.AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

5. Mohammed bin Salman Is Making Muslims Boycott Mecca

The Saudi crown prince’s role in Yemen and his involvement in the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi have compelled Muslims across the world to boycott the hajj, the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia Ahmed Twaij writes.

Maya Gandhi is an intern at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @MDGANDHI

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