5 Top Reads

Our Top Weekend Reads

America’s democracy demotion, U.N. peacemaking in the age of plague, and Biden’s Putin challenge.

Young activists and supporters of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden gather and dance on Black Lives Matter Plaza just outside the White House on Nov. 4.
Young activists and supporters of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden gather and dance on Black Lives Matter Plaza just outside the White House on Nov. 4. Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump is not the first world leader to try to steal an election, but he may be the leader who has received the least international pushback. As Trump works to erode American democracy, most of the world’s leading pro-democratic bodies—from the European Union to the United Nations—have remained silent.

Meanwhile, as Switzerland becomes one of the world’s worst COVID-19 hot spots, staffers and diplomats at the United Nations’ headquarters in Geneva worry that the organization will struggle to keep the coronavirus at bay amid in-person peace conferences later this month.

And liberal Chinese Americans are fighting back against the racism and fake news that have dominated Chinese-language social media this U.S. election cycle.

Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.


Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) stands with dozens of people calling for stopping the vote count in Pennsylvania due to unfounded charges of fraud on the steps of the State Capitol on Nov. 5 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan stands with dozens of people calling for stopping the vote count in Pennsylvania due to unfounded charges of fraud on the steps of the State Capitol in Harrisburg on Nov. 5. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

1. America’s Democracy Demotion

Much more worrying than President Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the U.S. election is the world’s failure to condemn Trump’s actions and call him out for what he is—a sore loser and an angry autocrat, Nic Cheeseman writes.


United Nations Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen puts on his face mask

United Nations Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen puts on his face mask during U.N.-backed talks on a new constitution for Syria at the U.N. Office in Geneva on Aug. 27.FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images

2. U.N. Peacemaking in the Age of Plague

COVID-19 cases are soaring in Geneva, the site of the European headquarters of the United Nations. But the organization is still forging ahead with plans for peace conferences, fueling concerns about a bigger outbreak, Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch reports.


A mask of Russian President Vladimir Putin on sale at a souvenir stall in Saint Petersburg on Jan. 29, 2020.

A mask of Russian President Vladimir Putin on sale at a souvenir stall in St. Petersburg on Jan. 29. OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images

3. Biden’s Putin Challenge

Too often, Washington seems to want better relations with Moscow than Moscow wants with Washington. Come January, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden shouldn’t make that mistake, David J. Kramer writes. 


Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the governor's mansion to protest the results of the U.S. presidential election in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Nov. 7.

Supporters of President Donald Trump gather outside the governor’s mansion to protest the results of the U.S. presidential election in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Nov. 7. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

4. Liberal Chinese Americans Are Fighting Right-Wing WeChat Disinformation

Liberal Chinese American voices have taken up the WeChat battleground to counterbalance right-wing conspiracy content, engaging a minority bloc that has become increasingly influential in U.S. elections, Shen Lu writes. 


Kenyan daily newspapers with the headlines “Donald Trump fired” and “Biden wins” in Nairobi on Nov. 8.

Kenyan daily newspapers with the headlines “Donald Trump fired!” and “Biden wins!” in Nairobi on Nov. 8. Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

5. Biden’s Priority in Africa Should Be Debt Relief

Tipped into crisis territory by the economic knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa’s debt threatens to push the continent further into China’s hands—unless Western powers step in, Theodore Murphy writes.

Chloe Hadavas is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @Hadavas

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