5 Top Reads

Our Top Weekend Reads

Funding for Trump’s border wall, populism in Ireland, and a repurposed Middle East peace plan.

Sections of the U.S.-Mexico border wall
Sections of the U.S.-Mexico border wall are pictured under construction in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, on Feb. 13. Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

As part of his effort to build a wall along the United States’ southern border with Mexico, U.S. President Donald Trump is planning to divert key funding away from the Department of Defense.

Meanwhile, confusion surrounding the Iowa caucus, the first primary of the U.S. presidential election, has led to a surge of conspiracy theories claiming that candidate Pete Buttigieg is a CIA asset.

And Trump’s Middle East peace plan is little more than a Cold War-era blueprint repurposed for modern realities.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.


U.S. soldiers reinforce the U.S.-Mexico border fence

U.S. soldiers reinforce the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, as seen from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on April 4, 2019. HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP via Getty Images

1. Trump to Raid Pentagon’s War Account to Build Border Wall

Trump is preparing to divert $3.8 billion in total from programs across the Department of Defense to help build his long-promised wall along the southern border, Foreign Policy’s Lara Seligman reports.


Angela Merkel and Friedrich Merz

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Oct. 15, 2019, in Berlin), left, and German corporate lawyer and former parliamentary group leader of the Christian Democratic Union Friedrich Merz (Oct. 31, 2018, in Berlin). AXEL SCHMIDT, jOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images

2. Friedrich Merz Is Ready to Bury Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel’s anointed successor as German chancellor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, will now preemptively pass the position to someone eager to use it as a weapon against Merkel and the entire era of German politics she presided over, Peter Kuras writes.


Sinn Fein’s Donnchadh O Laoghaire

Sinn Fein’s Donnchadh O Laoghaire celebrates being the first member of the Irish parliament elected in Cork, Ireland, on Feb. 9.Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

3. Ireland’s Populists Are Not Really Populist

Ireland’s Sinn Fein party scored a shocking victory in what many pundits are now calling a populist surge, but a closer look casts doubt on the party’s populist label, Mary C. Murphy writes.


Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg

Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg watch late primary results in Nashua, New Hampshire, on Feb. 11.Win McNamee/Getty Images

4. No, Pete Buttigieg Is Not a CIA Asset

Supporters of the U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders are right to be critical of American involvement in coups and regime change, but thumping the CIA as the ever-present bogeyman can become a meaningless crutch, Justin Ling writes.


A portion of the 1979 Drobles plan map.

A portion of the 1979 Drobles plan map. Foreign Policy illustration/Drobles Plan

5. Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Isn’t New. It Plagiarized a 40-Year-Old Israeli Initiative.

Trump and his top aides pride themselves on thinking outside the box and boldly challenging conventional wisdom, but the administration’s Middle East peace plan bears striking resemblance to one endorsed by an Israeli politician in 1979, Yehuda Shaul writes.

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

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