5 Top Reads

Our Top Weekend Reads

Belarus is not another Ukraine, Israeli prime minister scores important victory, and Venezuelan autocrat uses coronavirus pandemic to assert power.

A man holds a picture of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko reading "Go away!" during a protest rally against police violence during recent rallies of opposition supporters.
A man holds a picture of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko reading "Go away!" during a protest rally against police violence during recent rallies of opposition supporters. Photo by SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images

The unrest in Minsk may resemble the Kyiv protests of six years ago—but Belarus is a whole different story.

Meanwhile, by choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has shown that he will chart his own foreign policy.

And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scores a personal victory with the deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.


A protester walks in front of riot police making a heart gesture with his hands, one of the symbols used by the leading opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, in Minsk, Belarus, on Aug. 9.

A protester walks in front of riot police making a heart gesture with his hands, one of the symbols used by the leading opposition candidate, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, in Minsk, Belarus, on Aug. 9.Celestino Arce/NurPhoto

1.  Why Belarus Is Not Ukraine

After a sham election last weekend, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko’s grip on power may be slipping in the face of massive popular protests. The situation looks a lot like Ukraine in 2014, when the Maidan protests toppled the pro-Russian government, but Foreign Policy’s Amy Mackinnon explains why Kyiv is an unreliable road map for what’s to come.


U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L), chats with his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (left) chats with his Chinese counterpart, Li Yuanchao, before heading to their luncheon at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Dec. 5, 2013.Andy Wong/Pool-Getty Images

2. Biden’s China Policy Can’t Help but Be Incoherent

One of Joe Biden’s virtues is the promise of consistency and prudence where the Trump administration delivers chaos and incompetence. But despite his reputation as a rational statesman, Biden is set to pursue a China policy full of contradictions, Van Jackson writes.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference on a deal to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates in Jerusalem on Aug. 13.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference on a deal to normalize relations with the United Arab Emirates in Jerusalem on Aug. 13. Abir Sultan/AFP/Getty Images

3. In Historic Deal With the UAE, Israel Is the Biggest Winner

The Middle East surely stands to gain from any cooling of tensions and constructive diplomacy. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the Israel-UAE deal’s biggest winner, Bilal Y. Saab writes.


U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden in 1987

U.S. Sen. Joe Biden announces on Sept. 23, 1987, that he is withdrawing from the race for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination. JEROME DELAY/AFP via Getty Images

4. Biden Picks Harris for Veep—and Bush Sr. for Himself

When former U.S. President Barack Obama chose Biden to be his vice president, he knew the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s foreign-policy experience would come in handy. But by choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate, Biden is stating that he doesn’t need his own Biden clone, Foreign Policy’s James Traub writes.


Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro gives a speech to government supporters at Palacio de Miraflores in Caracas on Jan. 23.Carolina Cabral/Getty Images

5. Under Cover of Coronavirus, Maduro Is Consolidating Control

As hospitals become overrun and confidence in government collapses, Venezuela is bracing for chaos. But President Nicolás Maduro has been treating this crisis as an opportunity, Joe Parkin Daniels writes.

Augusta Saraiva is an intern at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @gutavsaraiva

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