5 Top Reads


The Problem With Sanctions

From the White House to Turtle Bay, sanctions have never been more popular. But why are they so hard to make work?

A large screen displays video of U.S. President Joe Biden (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping as people walk by during the evening CCTV news broadcast outside a shopping mall in Beijing on Nov. 16.

U.S.-China Relations Hit a Nadir in 2021

Relations between the world’s two largest economic powers are at historic lows.

U.S. President Joe Biden meets Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Five Major Diplomatic Disputes That Could Spell More Trouble in 2022

From the AUKUS fracas to China’s bullying tactics in Europe, here are some of the top diplomatic spats from the past year that could haunt us in the next.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing on July 1.

The Chinese Communist Party’s Big Year

China’s government wants the country to have one story, and Xi Jinping is at the center of it.


What 2021 Meant for the Fight Against Climate Change

Time to avoid climate change’s worse impacts is running out. What did 2021 change?

Quadrilateral Security Dialogue leaders have a virtual meeting.

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Biden pledged to restore the United States’ alliances. It’s been a bigger headache than he anticipated.

Members of Ethiopia’s Republican March Band stand on guard.

How Ethiopia’s Conflict Deepened in 2021

After more than a year of fighting, is peace on the horizon—or does wider war loom?

People take photographs of fireworks during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on July 23.

The Inevitably Awkward Tokyo Olympics

Athletes rebuked competitive norms as COVID-19 became the most normal part of the Tokyo Games.

An aerial view shows Beirut in darkness during a power outage on April 3.

In 2021, Lebanon Suffered While the World Looked On

Skyrocketing inflation, government corruption, and international apathy defined a country in economic free fall.


The Best of 2021, to Read and to Watch

From a semi-fictionalized account of the Netanyahus to a meditation on ancient Rome’s stabbiness, here are the best book and film reviews Foreign Policy published this year.

Angela Merkel

The Year Germany Said Auf Wiedersehen to Angela Merkel

Germany said goodbye to a generational leader—and hello to an entirely new era.

A protester in a helmet and breathing apparatus holds a poster in front of barricades.

Myanmar’s Tumultuous Year

A stunning military coup in early 2021 kicked off a year of unprecedented change.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

How Narendra Modi Nearly Lost His Way in 2021

India’s farmers’ protests and COVID-19 catastrophe may have slowed the prime minister’s rise.


Our Best Long Reads From 2021

Here are some of Foreign Policy’s best deep dives from the past year.

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