5 Top Reads

Our Top Weekend Reads

Election chaos could be a boon for U.S. adversaries, what Europe’s anti-lockdown protesters really want, and musings on the state of the nation.

Counterprotesters debate a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump
Counterprotesters debate a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump during demonstrations outside of the TCF Center in downtown Detroit on Nov. 5. SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images

The now dayslong wait for the results of the U.S. presidential election remains the top trending story in many countries around the world. Some foreign leaders have even expressed concern following President Donald Trump’s unfounded claims about voter fraud. But whether or not the United States’ present fixation on the election and the mayhem it has provoked would go so far as to constitute a national security threat is yet to be determined. 

Meanwhile, the latest wave of coronavirus lockdowns in Europe hasn’t come without popular backlash. But demonstrators don’t want less government intervention—they want more of it.

And—because we really can’t help ourselves—more reflections on the consequences of the election, from Florida to Yemen.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads. 


Counterprotesters debate a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump during demonstrations outside of the TCF Center in downtown Detroit, Michigan on Nov. 5.

Counterprotesters debate a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump during demonstrations outside of the TCF Center in downtown Detroit on Nov. 5. SETH HERALD/AFP via Getty Images

1. Is an Undecided U.S. Presidential Election a National Security Threat?

As the Trump administration files lawsuits and some states announce recounts, all eyes are glued to MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki and his electoral map. But what about fears that adversaries like China could use the chaotic U.S. election as cover to, say, move on Taiwan? Emma Ashford and Matthew Kroenig discuss.


A protester wearing a yellow vest, oven mitts and a protective visor with a sign reading "500,000 euros of tableware, that's a lot of masks Brigitte" faces gendarmes during a demonstration in Paris, on July 14, 2020.

A protester wearing a yellow vest, oven mitts, and a protective visor with a sign reading “500,000 euros of tableware, that’s a lot of masks Brigitte” faces gendarmes during a demonstration in Paris on July 14. ZAKARIA ABDELKAFI/AFP via Getty Images

2. Europe Doesn’t Want Lockdowns. It Wants Government.

Throughout the course of the coronavirus pandemic, Europeans’ support for their governments has increased, perhaps due to a rally-around-the-flag impulse seen in moments of crisis. Anti-lockdown protests are less a stab at the state than a plea for more protection, Caroline de Gruyter writes. 


Joe Biden speaks with U.S. Marine generals before a development meeting between Iraqi and American government officials and Sunni sheikhs September 6, 2007 in Ramadi, Anbar Province, Iraq.

Joe Biden speaks with U.S. Marine generals before a development meeting between Iraqi and American government officials and Sunni sheikhs in Ramadi, Iraq, on Sept. 6, 2007. John Moore/Getty Images

3. Trump Promised to End America’s Wars. Biden Might Actually Do It.

Joe Biden has long been critical of Saudi Arabia. As president, he likely wouldn’t be able to completely halt arms exports to the country—largely because of the revenue they generate for the United States. But Biden could probably push Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman toward real concessions on the war in Yemen, Anchal Vohra writes.


Supporters shout and wave flags at President Donald Trump's motorcade

Supporters shout and wave flags as President Donald Trump’s motorcade departs after the “Latinos for Trump Roundtable” event at Trump National Doral Miami golf resort in Doral, Florida, on Sept. 25. Marco Bello/AFP via Getty Images

4. Trump’s Anti-Communist Foreign Policy Won Florida Hispanics

However ill-founded Republicans’ claims that a Biden-Harris administration would be tantamount to socialism may be, they did shore up Trump votes among Florida’s Colombian, Cuban, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan communities—a rare demographic for whom foreign policy is a top election priority, Nancy San Martín writes. 


U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris after being introduced by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as his running mate in Wilmington, Delaware, on Aug. 12.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris after being introduced by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as his running mate in Wilmington, Delaware, on Aug. 12. Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images

5. Biden and Harris Could Be Bad News for India’s Modi

A Vice President Kamala Harris would be good for Indian Americans, but not necessarily for India. Unlike Trump, Harris is deeply critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s hard-line Bharatiya Janata Party—and has voiced public opposition to members of his government, Salvatore Babones writes. 

Allison Meakem is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @allisonmeakem

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