5 Top Reads
Our Top Weekend Reads
EU member states find commonality in crisis, Afghans accuse donor countries of hypocrisy on corruption, and how Biden’s climate plans could shape energy markets.
Previous instances of European anxiety—like the crises over the fate of the eurozone and refugees—didn’t bode well for the cohesion of the continent. In both cases, European Union member states reverted to exclusive, nationalist impulses, and the bloc’s future looked more precarious than ever. But the coronavirus pandemic is different: Miraculously, a public health catastrophe has managed to turn the EU from a mere “space” to a meaningful “place.”
Meanwhile, Afghan leaders are livid that international aid to their country is conditioned on stamping out corruption while Western donors’ contractors in Kabul are themselves accused of embezzlement schemes.
And read a sneak peek of how President-elect Joe Biden’s plans on climate may impact the global economy.
Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.
After initially precipitating chaos—and an uptick in Euroskepticism—across the EU, the coronavirus pandemic has underscored the importance of the common market and revitalized a once waning solidarity-based European identity, Caroline de Gruyter writes.
Andrew Rathmell, a top NATO official in Kabul, co-founded a now-defunct U.K. development contractor that allegedly stiffed subcontractors. Now, the West has the gall to demand Afghan leaders clean up their act, Lynne O’Donnell reports.
Any doubts about the seriousness of Biden’s promises to act on climate change were quelled by his selection of former Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as the special international envoy for climate, FP’s Jason Bordoff writes.
November saw one of Cuba’s largest documented anti-government demonstrations since the Maleconazo in 1994. Led by artists, it was the result of months of economic hardship and a marked uptick in repression—capped off by the warrantless arrest and imprisonment of rapper Denis Solís González, James Bloodworth writes.
The United States is seeing daily coronavirus caseloads hit over 200,000, but that isn’t stopping Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from hosting lavish holiday events that expose catering and waitstaff—most of whom don’t have employer-sponsored health insurance—to potential infection, FP’s Robbie Gramer reports.