5 Top Reads

Our Top Weekend Reads

Volodymyr Zelensky’s first year in office, the new Iraqi prime minister is choosing reform over revolution, and the challenges facing Israel’s new government.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He after announcing a "phase one" trade agreement with China in Washington on Oct. 11, 2019.
U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He after announcing a "phase one" trade agreement with China in Washington on Oct. 11, 2019. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has killed U.S. President Donald Trump’s highly publicized trade deal with China.

Meanwhile, protesters in Iraq are demanding immediate change, but the country’s new prime minister is planning to move at an incremental pace.

And as Israeli politics settle into a new normal, the new coalition government should make healing the country’s deep divisions one of its top priorities.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.


U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the signing ceremony for the U.S.-Chinese trade agreement at the White House in Washington, DC, on Jan. 15, 2020.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the signing ceremony for the U.S.-Chinese trade agreement at the White House in Washington, DC, on Jan. 15, 2020. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

1. Trump’s China Trade Deal Is as Dead as Can Be

Trump’s much-touted trade victory over China has crashed and burned with the coronavirus pandemic, and nothing more dramatically signals that than the almost certain failure of the energy part of the deal, Foreign Policy’s Jason Bordoff writes.


Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi makes a speech before the Iraqi Parliament in Baghdad on May 6.

Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi makes a speech before the Iraqi Parliament in Baghdad on May 6. Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

2. Iraq’s New Prime Minister Is Taking Things Slow

Mustafa al-Kadhimi is neither a revolutionary who will overhaul the system nor a strongman who will centralize power. Instead, he is seeking incremental reform within the existing system, Renad Mansour writes.


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky holds a press conference marking his first year in office at Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv, Ukraine, on May 20. Sergey Dolzhenko / POOL / AFP) (Photo by SERGEY DOLZHENKO/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

3. One Year On, Zelensky Survives Impeachment (Trump’s, That Is) and Blunted Hopes

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky celebrates the first anniversary of a roller-coaster presidency no one saw coming, Foreign Policy’s Amy Mackinnon, Robbie Gramer, and Jack Detsch report.


Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Jan Hamacek (third from left), speaks at the Prague Airport in the Czech Republic on March 20. A China Eastern Airlines plane carrying 1.1 million respirators purchased by the Czech Republic from China is behind him.

Czech Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Jan Hamacek (third from left), speaks at the Prague Airport in the Czech Republic on March 20. A China Eastern Airlines plane carrying 1.1 million respirators purchased by the Czech Republic from China is behind him.Xinhua/Yang Xiaohong via Getty Images

4. China’s Mask Diplomacy Won’t Work in the Czech Republic

China’s lobbying efforts have proved effective in Hungary and other countries with illiberal governments that are receptive to its message, but it will still have a tougher time in the Czech Republic, Tim Gosling writes.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) greets Benny Gantz, the leader of Blue and White party, at a memorial ceremony for the late Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Sept. 19, 2019.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) greets Benny Gantz, the leader of Blue and White party, at a memorial ceremony for the late Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem on Sept. 19, 2019. GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images

5. Israel’s Cease-Fire Government Should Promote Healing, Not Division

The new Israeli government is deeply flawed, but it can succeed in reminding Israelis that while they may have different visions for the future, the challenges of the present demand cooperation right now, Yohanan Plesner writes.

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

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