5 Top Reads

The World This Weekend

Japan and South Korea continue a historic dispute while Turkey exits the F-35 program amid tensions with the United States.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 29.
South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 29. KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

Japan and South Korea, two key U.S. allies in Northeast Asia, are still at odds over Tokyo’s restrictions on critical exports for Seoul’s high-tech industry. But the dispute between the two countries goes back decades, with World War II-era grievances that have continued to pervade the relationship.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Defense Department officially booted Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program after Ankara purchased a Russian-made missile defense system, a move that serves as a testament to decades-long mistrust between the United States and Turkey.

And U.S. President Donald Trump once again stirred controversy with a racist tweet Sunday, telling four Democratic congresswomen of color—one of whom was born abroad—to “go back” to where they came from. Trump doubled down on his rhetoric at a rally Wednesday, as the crowd chanted, “Send Her Back.”

Here are Foreign Policy’s top five weekend reads.


Protestors sit next to a statue symbolizing former “comfort women,” who were forced into sexual slavery by Japan during World War II, during a weekly rally near the Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Jan. 10, 2018.Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

1. Japan’s Trade War Is as Futile as Trump’s

Japan’s recent move to turn its historical conflict with South Korea into a trade war is an escalation—and it’s reminiscent of Trump’s own trade conflicts, S. Nathan Park writes.

Although Japan claims it has national security concerns about exports to South Korea, Tokyo’s rift with Seoul has roots dating back to World War II, Foreign Policy’s Keith Johnson writes.


A Russian Ilyushin Il-76, carrying the first batch of equipment for the S-400 missile defense system, arrives in Ankara, Turkey, on July 12. Turkey National Defense Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

2. Who Lost Turkey?

Turkey’s antagonistic stance against the United States has been building since 2003. Decades of bitter distrust and misunderstandings have left both Ankara and Washington to blame for their sour relationship, Foreign Policy’s Keith Johnson and Robbie Gramer report.


From left, U.S. Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez pause between answering questions during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on July 15.Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

3. America’s Road to Reputational Ruin

Trump’s racist rhetoric only accelerates the decline of U.S. soft power and influence abroad, Foreign Policy’s Michael Hirsh writes.


Protesters demonstrate bill on June 16, 2019 in Hong Kong.Carl Court/Getty Images

4. Ich Bin Ein Hong Konger

Protests have rocked Hong Kong for weeks, first calling for the end of a controversial extradition bill and now demanding universal suffrage. The ideological crisis makes Hong Kong almost like the West Berlin of this era, Melinda Liu writes. 

The tactics used by Hong Kong’s police to control the recent riots have strong colonial roots, Jack Hazlewood writes.


Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan, second right, attends a meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in Beijing on April 28.Kyodo News / Madoka Ikegami

5. Imran Khan Mustn’t Let Trump Make Pakistan a Scapegoat

As Trump and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan prepare to meet next week, the future of Washington and Islamabad’s relationship remains unclear. But Pakistan shouldn’t keep its hopes too high, Sherry Rehman writes. 

Isabel Guarco is an intern at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @ibguarco

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

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