5 Top Reads

Our Top Weekend Reads

China’s growing influence in the U.N., protests around the world, and a far-right candidate flops in the Canadian election.

Chinese candidate to head the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Qu Dongyu makes an address in Rome.
Qu Dongyu, who is now the director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, in Rome on June 22. Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images

This week, protests against corruption and mismanagement erupted in Lebanon and Iraq, representing a major challenge to Iran’s influence in the region. Chile and Ecuador also saw ongoing mass protests.

Elections in Canada saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau retain his position, but with left-wing parties on the rise and his power significantly curtailed, Canadians could well be returning to the polls sooner rather than later.

And China’s chosen candidate to head a prominent U.N. agency notched a surprise victory over the U.S. favorite. Foreign Policy explains what happened—and what it could mean for the future of U.S. influence in the U.N.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.


Qu Dongyu, the new director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Qu Dongyu, the new director-general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.Foreign Policy illustration/AP

1. Outfoxed and Outgunned: How China Routed the U.S. in a U.N. Agency

As U.S. President Donald Trump reduces the United States’ role in international institutions, China is increasingly filling the void. Its victory in the recent election for head of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization is part of this trend, Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer report.


Lebanese women take part in a demonstration in downtown Beirut on Oct. 21.

Lebanese women take part in a demonstration in downtown Beirut on Oct. 21.Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images

2. Iran Is Losing the Middle East, Protests in Lebanon and Iraq Show

Iran is skilled at using Shiite Islamist insurgent groups to establish footholds across the Middle East, but the protests that erupted in Lebanon and Iraq this week show that it is still incapable of ruling effectively, Hanin Ghaddar writes.


New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh (from left), Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and People's Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier take part in a French-language debate at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, on Oct. 10.

New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh (from left), Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier take part in a French-language debate at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, on Oct. 10. Adrian Wyld/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

3. The Cure for Populism Is Equal Opportunity

The right-wing populist Maxime Bernier threatened to shake up Canadian politics after this week’s federal election. But Bernier lost his seat and his party flopped, largely because Canada combines free market competition with a robust social welfare system to produce equal opportunity and tangible rewards for all, Eric Protzer and Paul Summerville write.


Demonstrators march in Santiago, Chile, on Oct. 23.

Demonstrators march in Santiago, Chile, on Oct. 23.PABLO VERA/AFP via Getty Images

4. Why Chileans Are Still Protesting Despite Reform Promises

In Chile, a student protest over subway fares ballooned into mass demonstrations against economic inequality. President Sebastián Piñera promised significant reforms, but it did little to quell public disorder, Foreign Policy’s Elizabeth Miles and Robbie Gramer write.


Afghan men gather outside the main gate of the Moria camp as migrants wait to be processed on the Greek island of Lesbos on Oct. 22, 2015.

Afghan men gather outside the main gate of the Moria camp as migrants wait to be processed on the Greek island of Lesbos on Oct. 22, 2015. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

5. The Next Syrian Refugee Crisis Will Break Europe’s Back

Another European refugee crisis emanating from the Middle East looms, but overpopulated and ill-equipped refugee camps in Greece suggest that Europe is grossly underprepared, Yiannis Baboulias writes.

Dan Haverty is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @dan_haverty

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