Our Top Weekend Reads

Wuhan virus continues to spread, Trump's Middle East peace plan is unveiled, and calls for Scottish independence grow.

A passenger receives a temperature check before taking a flight bound for Wuhan, China, at Haneda airport on Jan. 31, 2020, in Tokyo, Japan.
A passenger receives a temperature check before taking a flight bound for Wuhan, China, at Haneda airport on Jan. 31, 2020, in Tokyo, Japan.
A passenger receives a temperature check before taking a flight bound for Wuhan, China, at Haneda Airport in Tokyo on Jan. 31. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread outside of China, highlighting the potential adverse effects of the Belt and Road Initiative.

But researchers are working toward building a tentative clinical profile of the virus in order to keep it from spreading further.

Rather than being concerned about the germs and their spread, however, Beijing seems mostly motivated by a desire to manage the public’s reaction to the disease, a fact that leaves much to be concerned about.

The Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread outside of China, highlighting the potential adverse effects of the Belt and Road Initiative.

But researchers are working toward building a tentative clinical profile of the virus in order to keep it from spreading further.

Rather than being concerned about the germs and their spread, however, Beijing seems mostly motivated by a desire to manage the public’s reaction to the disease, a fact that leaves much to be concerned about.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump released his much-awaited Middle East peace plan, detailing a settlement that heavily favors Israel.

And now that the United Kingdom has officially departed from the European Union, the calls for Scottish independence will intensify.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.


A vendor (C) wearing a facemask offers meat at a near-empty market on the eve of the Lunar New Year in Wuhan on January 24, 2020.
A vendor (C) wearing a facemask offers meat at a near-empty market on the eve of the Lunar New Year in Wuhan on January 24, 2020.

A vendor wearing a face mask offers meat at a near-empty market on the eve of the Lunar New Year in Wuhan, China, on Jan. 24.Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

1. Don’t Blame Bat Soup for the Wuhan Virus

A conspiracy theory made rounds on the internet claiming that the coronavirus started as a result of supposedly “dirty” Chinese eating habits, but the true cause of the outbreak probably has more to do with unsafe food regulations, Foreign Policy’s James Palmer writes.


U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he arrives at the White House on January 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he arrives at the White House on January 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he arrives at the White House in Washington on Jan. 22. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

2. Why Trump Will Get Off

Trump’s lawyers are effectively arguing that the president’s propensity for blending his personal interest with the national interest is not impeachable because Trump’s reelection itself is in the public interest, Foreign Policy’s Michael Hirsh writes.


U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint statement in the East Room of the White House.
U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint statement in the East Room of the White House.

U.S. President Donald Trump (right) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint statement in the East Room of the White House in Washington on Jan. 28.Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

3. Trump’s Peace Plan Aims to Make Israeli Occupation Permanent

Beyond a thin veneer of acceptability, Trump’s Middle East peace plan is designed to do away with a genuine two-state solution while normalizing permanent Israeli occupation and annexation within a de facto one-state reality, Khaled Elgindy writes.


Protesters take part in a pro-independence march on Jan. 11 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Protesters take part in a pro-independence march on Jan. 11 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Protesters take part in a pro-independence march in Glasgow, Scotland, on Jan. 11. David Cheskin/Getty Images

4. A New Scottish Independence Vote Seems All but Inevitable

Spurred by widespread Scottish opposition to leaving the European Union and a fresh electoral mandate from the Scottish public, the Scottish National Party plans to intensify its campaign for independence in the coming months, Jamie Maxwell reports.


People carry a giant Belarusian historical white-red-white flag during a rally against a Belarusian-Russian integration project in Minsk on Dec. 7, 2019.
People carry a giant Belarusian historical white-red-white flag during a rally against a Belarusian-Russian integration project in Minsk on Dec. 7, 2019.

People carry a giant Belarusian historical white-red-white flag during a rally against a Belarusian-Russian integration project in Minsk on Dec. 7, 2019. Sergei Gapon/AFP/Getty Images

5. The Birth of Belarusian Nationalism

Belarus is often held up as the most pro-Russian of the post-Soviet states, but as unification talks with Russia intensify, Belarusians are beginning to discover their own national identity, Tomasz Grzywaczewski writes.

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

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.