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Here’s How the 2020 U.S. Elections Resemble Those of Fragile Democracies

A veteran observer of elections in troubled countries describes the undeniable parallels.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, and moderator Kristen Welker participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22.

Campaign Debates Are Democracy Theater

A once-meaningful event has been hollowed out. Here’s how to fix it.

Tibetan flags are displayed as protesters gather in front of the Consulate General of China in Los Angeles on March 10, 2019, to mark the 60th Global Tibetan National Uprising Commemorations.

Beijing’s Human Rights Victims Shouldn’t Support Trump

Tough on China or not, a second term would only spell more misery for Tibetans and other communities victimized by Beijing.

Early voters line up outside of the Vienna Community Building to cast their ballots for the Nov. 3 election, in Vienna, West Virginia, on Oct. 21, 2020.

There’s Still Time (Barely) for America to Have a Free and Fair Election

Some hard-won active advice for staging a national vote during a pandemic.

An Agni-III nuclear-capable missile is paraded on Republic Day in New Delhi on Jan. 26, 2009.

Is India Overturning Decades of Nuclear Doctrine?

The country has good reason to want first-strike capabilities. But the actual state of its arsenal suggests that it won’t get them.

In this photo illustration, a mobile phone displays the logos for the Chinese apps WeChat and TikTok in front of a monitor showing the flags of the United States and China in Beijing on Sept. 22.

The Era of Full-Spectrum War Is Here

China won round one, and round two went to Russia. Can the United States and its allies take the third?

The South Korean Navy Aegis destroyer King Sejong the Great sails during a drill on the Dokdo/Takeshima islets on Aug. 25, 2019.

Trump, Not Biden, Wrecked American Power in the Pacific

The damage done to U.S. standing in Asia will take decades to repair.

Diplomacy-board-game-foreign-policy-Trump-Kissinger-JFK-Barr-Nikole-Rifkin-illustration

The Game That Ruins Friendships and Shapes Careers

For me, Diplomacy is an addictive quarantine hobby. For my high school frenemy, it was training for the Trump administration.

An Islamic State billboard is seen destroyed in the middle of the road in Qaraqosh, Iraq, on Nov. 8, 2016.

Foreign Fighters’ Life After the Caliphate

In interviews with former Islamic State members in hiding, religious concerns have been replaced with more quotidian worries.

U.S. President Donald Trump kisses German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the annual G7 summit in Biarritz, France, on Aug. 25, 2019.

What Would a Less Europhobic Trump Look Like—if He Wins?

Transatlantic relations are at a low point. But there are reasons why even Trump might want to mend them.

Supporters of newly appointed Prime Minister Sadyr Japarov wave Kyrgyz flags during a rally in support of Japarov in Bishkek on Oct. 14.

Kyrgyzstan’s Protests Won’t Keep Corrupt Criminals Out of Politics

Members of the criminal underworld have long turned to politics to avoid prosecution. Ousting one set of corrupt leaders in favor of another won’t end the country’s crisis.

A military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing

China’s Nuclear Program Baffled Soviet Intelligence

Declassified documents show how Moscow struggled to understand Beijing’s efforts.

Then-Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga (right) presents flowers to Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Abenomics Can Flourish Without Abe

Japan’s new prime minister has the skills to take on the country’s bureaucrats.

South African police officers hold protesters back during the funeral procession for Nathaniel Julies—who was shot by police—in Eldorado Park, near Johannesburg, on Sept. 5.

In South Africa, Police Violence Isn’t Black and White

The killing of a coloured teenager in Johannesburg exposed the fraught state of race relations in South Africa—and how the racial hierarchies created by apartheid continue to plague the country.

U.S. forces patrol the area of the town of Tel Tamer, in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province on Aug. 17.

The United States Can Counter Putin and Assad With a Light Footprint in Syria

Washington can reduce Moscow’s influence and support Kurdish allies without a large troop presence in the region.

Pedestrians walk by Google's offices in downtown Manhattan on Oct. 20.

Why Action Against Google Is Not Enough

The United States can lead the way on innovation in technology regulation—but instead it has fallen far behind.

A woman carries washing on her head inside the historical neighborhood in Praia, Cape Verde, on Oct. 8, 2019.

Cape Verde Is Emerging as a Global Pivot Point

Tangled in a geopolitical, economic, and global health storm, these African islands have charted a course to break free.

A demonstrator holds up a placard reading “Fake News: Trump Tested Positive” in Konstanz, Germany, on Oct. 3, 2020.

The Case Against Big Tech’s Election Strategies

Misinformation is hyperlocal. Attempts to counter it should be, too.

Members of BTS attend the 2019 Mnet Asian Music Awards at Nagoya Dome in Nagoya, Japan, on Dec. 4, 2019.

China Backs Off From Fight With K-Pop Fans

South Korea’s soft power should be a model for Beijing.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan (C) listens to a representative at the Russian pavilion during a visit to the Dubai Airshow on Nov. 17, 2019.

The UAE Is Turning Into the World Capital for Weapons Makers

Years of quiet development are finally paying off, and Abu Dhabi’s defense industry can largely stand on its own feet.

Pope Francis prays as he addresses the crowd from the window of the apostolic palace overlooking St. Peter's Square during his Angelus prayer at the Vatican on Oct. 18.

The Pope’s Latest Encyclical Is Beautiful—and Hypocritical

“Fratelli Tutti” lays out a set of principles that the Vatican doesn’t apply to its own China deals.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang shake hands during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Aug. 30, 2019.

Duterte Will Fight Anyone but Beijing

The Philippine president is curiously willing to put China’s interests over his country’s.

Voters line-up to cast their ballots at a polling station set up at Noonday Baptist Church for the mid-term elections on November 6, 2018 in Marietta, Georgia.

Americans Are Officially Giving Up on Democracy

New polling shows that a growing share of U.S. citizens want leaders who wouldn’t “bother with” elections.

A view of the construction site of Turkey's first nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, pictured during the opening ceremony in the Mediterranean Mersin region on April 3, 2018.

To Prevent Proliferation, Stop Enrichment and Reprocessing in the Middle East

There is a risk of a nuclear cascade across the region. The United States can stop it by enforcing the gold standard of nonproliferation.

A burned-out Armenian Army BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle

No, Drones Haven’t Made Tanks Obsolete

Wrecked armor in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was down to bad training and terrain, not magical technology.

Abandoned machinery in Pulacayo, a former mining center in Bolivia

Clean Energy Can’t Have Dirty Roots

Securing human rights in the supply chain of critical minerals is vital for a green future.

A handout picture provided by the Iranian Army's official website on Sept. 11 shows an Iranian Simorgh drone carrying a weapon during a military exercise in near the Strait of Hormuz.

A Partial Ban on Autonomous Weapons Would Make Everyone Safer

Great powers stand to lose the most from weapons like drone swarms and should back a limited ban on the most dangerous systems.

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