5 Top Reads
Our Top Weekend Reads
Turkey bombs Syrian Kurds, Poland goes to the polls, and the NBA bows to Chinese pressure.
This week, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was withdrawing all U.S. troops from northeast Syria, stepping back from a strategic relationship with Kurdish-led forces and allowing Turkey to initiate military operations against them.
Meanwhile, Russia’s growing presence in Venezuela is quietly opening a new area of conflict between Washington and Moscow in Latin America.
And the NBA allowed itself to become an arm of Chinese state censorship—joining the ranks of many other U.S. businesses.
Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.
After U.S. troops spent more than five years fighting alongside Kurdish forces against the Islamic State, Trump abruptly withdrew them from northeast Syria, opening the door for Turkey to launch a large-scale bombing campaign against Kurdish targets, Foreign Policy’s Lara Seligman reports. The move caught senior defense officials by surprise.
U.S. troops who served in Syria told Foreign Policy they were devastated by the decision. Defense Secretary Mark Esper defended the move. “We have not abandoned the Kurds,” he said. “Nobody greenlighted this operation by Turkey.”
The NBA is an outspoken defender of freedom of speech in the United States. But when it comes to China, it is guilty of upholding Beijing’s strict censorship laws, Foreign Policy’s James Palmer writes.
The Uighur scholar Nur Iman’s family was detained in China’s Xinjiang province more than two years ago. In an essay for Foreign Policy, she demands that the Chinese government release them.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is bolstering his country’s military and financial presence in Venezuela. As long as the United States remains averse to military action, Trump must extend his use of sanctions to protect its strategic backyard, Ryan C. Berg writes.
Poland’s ruling populist Law and Justice party is on the verge of another victory in parliamentary elections this weekend. The party’s perceived ability to provide better social services than the opposition is what sustains it popularity among the public, Slawomir Sierakowski writes.