Our Top Weekend Reads

Reaction to elections in the United Kingdom, international leaders won't back Trump over impeachment, and forced labor in use in Xinjiang.

By , a former editorial fellow at Foreign Policy.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech outside No. 10 Downing St. in London on Dec. 13, following his Conservative Party's general election victory. Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

The U.K. election on Thursday delivered an overwhelming Conservative majority and, with it, a clear mandate for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. As he turns his attention to the final stages of Brexit, the European Union is happy to take a step back.

The U.K. election on Thursday delivered an overwhelming Conservative majority and, with it, a clear mandate for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. As he turns his attention to the final stages of Brexit, the European Union is happy to take a step back.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump will be left wanting international friends as he faces an impeachment vote in the House of Representatives next week. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton didn’t have the same problem.

And detained Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang province are being released into “poverty alleviation” programs. But these are merely a cover for forced labor.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top 5 weekend reads.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech outside 10 Downing Street in London, United Kingdom, on Dec. 13, 2019, following his Conservative Party's general election victory.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech outside 10 Downing Street in London, United Kingdom, on Dec. 13, 2019, following his Conservative Party's general election victory.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers a speech outside No. 10 Downing St. in London on Dec. 13, 2019, following his Conservative Party’s general election victory.Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

1. Boris Johnson’s Victory Is Exactly What the EU Wants

The European Union can sleep happily with the outcome of the U.K. election. By handing U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson a clear mandate to deliver Brexit, the issue is now confined to the island of Britain. London must now contend with a rejuvenated separatist movement in Scotland, but the EU can stay at a comfortable distance, Garvan Walshe writes.


U.S. President Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly
U.S. President Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly

U.S. President Donald Trump at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 24.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

2. World Leaders Stood Behind Bill Clinton When He Was Impeached. Not So Trump.

When former U.S. President Bill Clinton faced impeachment in 1998, he drew on his carefully cultivated network of friendly world leaders for political support. But Trump has spent his presidency trampling over long-standing U.S. allies, so he can expect to find little international support as his own impeachment picks up speed, Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch reports.


A farmer transports cotton sacks at a cotton factory in Shihezi in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
A farmer transports cotton sacks at a cotton factory in Shihezi in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

A farmer transports cotton sacks at a cotton factory in Shihezi in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China, on Sept. 23, 2007.China Photos/Getty Images

3. Xinjiang’s New Slavery

In China’s Xinjiang province, detained Uighurs are being released into “poverty alleviation” programs. But similar to the way “reeducation camps” and “job training” simply serve as rhetorical veils for more sinister tools of repression, these programs mask a widespread, burgeoning system of forced labor, Adrian Zenz writes.


Somalis wait at a food distribution center outside Mogadishu.
Somalis wait at a food distribution center outside Mogadishu.

Somalis displaced by drought wait for food aid at a distribution center outside of Mogadishu on April 6, 2017. Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP via Getty Images

4. U.S. Bureaucratic Blunder Could Cost Somalia Desperately Needed Debt Relief

Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire pushed through a number of unpopular reforms to secure IMF and World Bank aid. But funding disbursements require U.S. authorization, and lawmakers didn’t include Somalia in Congress’s upcoming spending bills, leaving U.S. officials scrambling, Foreign Policy’s Robbie Gramer and Keith Johnson write.


Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (C) arrives at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Nov. 11.
Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (C) arrives at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Nov. 11.

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok (C) arrives at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Nov. 11. JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images

5. Sudan’s New Government Can’t Succeed If It Remains on the U.S. Blacklist

Despite the end of the presidency of known al-Qaeda enabler Omar al-Bashir, Sudan remains on the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list. This isolates the country from potential international support and undermines genuine efforts at democratization, Hala al-Karib and El Sadig Hassan write.

Dan Haverty is a former editorial fellow at Foreign Policy.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows the Statue of Liberty holding a torch with other hands alongside hers as she lifts the flame, also resembling laurel, into place on the edge of the United Nations laurel logo.
An illustration shows the Statue of Liberty holding a torch with other hands alongside hers as she lifts the flame, also resembling laurel, into place on the edge of the United Nations laurel logo.

A New Multilateralism

How the United States can rejuvenate the global institutions it created.

A view from the cockpit shows backlit control panels and two pilots inside a KC-130J aerial refueler en route from Williamtown to Darwin as the sun sets on the horizon.
A view from the cockpit shows backlit control panels and two pilots inside a KC-130J aerial refueler en route from Williamtown to Darwin as the sun sets on the horizon.

America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want

Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, seen in a suit and tie and in profile, walks outside the venue at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Behind him is a sculptural tree in a larger planter that appears to be leaning away from him.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, seen in a suit and tie and in profile, walks outside the venue at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Behind him is a sculptural tree in a larger planter that appears to be leaning away from him.

The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy

Beijing’s representatives are always scared they could be the next to vanish.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomes Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman during an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on June 22, 2022.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomes Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman during an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on June 22, 2022.

The End of America’s Middle East

The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.