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Democracy Lab

About Democracy Lab

Democracy Lab is Foreign Policy's home for coverage of transitions to democracy, published in partnership with the Legatum Institute. Democracy Lab also runs Transitions, a blog featuring on-the-ground coverage of transitioning countries.

Editor, Christian Caryl
Assistant Editor, Ilya Lozovsky

Learn more about Democracy Lab here.

Security officials place flowers on the coffin of a police officer who was killed in an ambush in Pakistan.
Security officials place flowers on the coffin of a police officer who was killed in an ambush in Pakistan.

Pakistani Taliban Go to War While People March for Peace

Twenty years of double-dealing with insurgents has consequences.

Protesters hold up white pieces of paper in Beijing.
Protesters hold up white pieces of paper in Beijing.

Beijing Scrambles to Quell Mass Protests

The sweeping demonstrations posed a major challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s authority.

Afghan money changers calculate at the currency exchange Sarayee Shahzada market in Kabul on June 29, 2015.
Afghan money changers calculate at the currency exchange Sarayee Shahzada market in Kabul on June 29, 2015.

Don’t Release Foreign Reserves to the Taliban

Unfreezing billions of dollars while huge revenues flow to Kabul risks legitimizing an extremist regime.

Kishida frowns as he stands at a podium in front of a screen showing financial data in Japanese.
Kishida frowns as he stands at a podium in front of a screen showing financial data in Japanese.

Japan’s Weaker Yen Is Here to Stay—for Better or Worse

The country’s government and central bank have adamantly opposed too much intervention in the yen despite the economic consequences.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a press conference at the NATO summit in Madrid.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses a press conference at the NATO summit in Madrid.

Turkey Is NATO’s Pivot Point Over Ukraine

Erdogan is trying to strike a balance of being pro-Ukraine but not anti-Russia.

A member of Ukraine’s 59th Motorized Brigade walks through the devastation in Posad-Pokrovske in Kherson Oblast.
A member of Ukraine’s 59th Motorized Brigade walks through the devastation in Posad-Pokrovske in Kherson Oblast.

The Ukrainian Village That Sacrificed Itself for Kherson

One small town in Ukraine held off a Russian attack and helped liberate a key regional capital.

Police keep watch on a road in Beijing.
Police keep watch on a road in Beijing.

China’s Police Are Catching Up to Protesters

An initially soft approach was probably due to confusion, not policy.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (right) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang inspect honor guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 9, 2019.
Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare (right) and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang inspect honor guards during a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Oct. 9, 2019.
A protester holds a placard with the words “Russians are against Putin and the war.”
A protester holds a placard with the words “Russians are against Putin and the war.”
A woman with her arms raised holds up a blank white sheet of paper while a man nearby holds a megaphone to his mouth.
A woman with her arms raised holds up a blank white sheet of paper while a man nearby holds a megaphone to his mouth.
Mehrdad Minavand of Iran in action during the World Cup first round match against the United States at the Stade Gerland in Lyon, France on June 21, 1998. Iran won the match 2-1.
Mehrdad Minavand of Iran in action during the World Cup first round match against the United States at the Stade Gerland in Lyon, France on June 21, 1998. Iran won the match 2-1.
Volunteers work without electricity in Dnipro.
Volunteers work without electricity in Dnipro.
Protesters march during a rally against China's harsh COVID-19 restrictions in Beijing on Nov. 28.
Protesters march during a rally against China's harsh COVID-19 restrictions in Beijing on Nov. 28.
Protesters hold up white paper as a symbol against censorship during a protest in Beijing.
Protesters hold up white paper as a symbol against censorship during a protest in Beijing.
Two men in suit sit side-by-side. One is pointing past the camera.
Two men in suit sit side-by-side. One is pointing past the camera.
A monument by South African artist Marco Cianfanelli, representing the 27 years former South African President Nelson Mandela spent behind bars, in Howick, South Africa.
A monument by South African artist Marco Cianfanelli, representing the 27 years former South African President Nelson Mandela spent behind bars, in Howick, South Africa.
Power-Broker-Robert-Moses-Robert-Caro-China-illustration
Power-Broker-Robert-Moses-Robert-Caro-China-illustration
A man sits behind a glass case full of colorful bills.
A man sits behind a glass case full of colorful bills.

Galleries

Protesters—many of them armed—try to enter the Michigan House of Representatives chamber and are stopped by state police during a protest April 30 demanding that businesses be reopened. An “American Patriot Rally” organized by Michigan United for Liberty was held earlier in the day on the steps of the state Capitol in Lansing. JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images
Protesters—many of them armed—try to enter the Michigan House of Representatives chamber and are stopped by state police during a protest April 30 demanding that businesses be reopened. An “American Patriot Rally” organized by Michigan United for Liberty was held earlier in the day on the steps of the state Capitol in Lansing. JEFF KOWALSKY/AFP via Getty Images

The Week in World Photos

Global protests against government-imposed lockdowns, gang violence in El Salvador, and hat tips to medical staff.

Muslims offer prayers on April 23, the first night of Ramadan, in Bireuen, Indonesia. AMANDA JUFRIAN/AFP via Getty Images
Muslims offer prayers on April 23, the first night of Ramadan, in Bireuen, Indonesia. AMANDA JUFRIAN/AFP via Getty Images

The Week in World Photos

A prayerful start to Ramadan, medical workers on the front lines of a pandemic, and the annual Lyrids meteor shower.

In the Magazine

In the Magazine

foreign-policy-magazine-cover-coronavirus-globalization-spring-2020
foreign-policy-magazine-cover-coronavirus-globalization-spring-2020
deglobalization-localization-lego-globe-ben-fearnley
deglobalization-localization-lego-globe-ben-fearnley

How to Save Global Capitalism From Itself

Decentralizing decision-making can help left-behind regions get back on track.

brexit-deglobalization-brian-stauffer-illustration
brexit-deglobalization-brian-stauffer-illustration

Britain’s Post-Brexit Identity Crisis

Boris Johnson has contradictory ideas for his country’s future—and no clear paths for getting there.

The Ugly End of Chimerica

The coronavirus pandemic has turned a conscious uncoupling into a messy breakup.

The 3 Most Polarizing Words in India

“Jai Shri Ram” was meant to be a celebration of a Hindu deity. But the phrase is turning into hate speech—and a dog whistle for attacks on Muslims.

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Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran, testifies about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations on Capitol Hill May 25, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
Robert Malley, Biden administration special envoy for Iran, testifies about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) during a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations on Capitol Hill May 25, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Robert Malley, U.S. Special Envoy for Iran

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The Biden administration came into office promising to reinstate the Iran nuclear deal. Almost two years later, momentum has dissipated, and the deal has all but been derailed. Meanwhile Ira...Show more

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JULY 15: EU Commissioner for European Green Deal - First Vice President and Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans talks to to media in the Berlaymont building, the EU Commission headquarter on July 15, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium. EU Commissioners talked about making transport greener. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - JULY 15: EU Commissioner for European Green Deal - First Vice President and Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans talks to to media in the Berlaymont building, the EU Commission headquarter on July 15, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium. EU Commissioners talked about making transport greener. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

Europe’s Top Climate Negotiator on the Road After COP27

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Frans Timmermans returned from COP27 with his dreams dashed. Europe’s top climate negotiator says the global climate summit was a disappointment: The pledges made were simply not aggressiv...Show more

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Reporters-notebook-FPLive-site-3-2

Reporters’ Notebook: Winter and the War

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As Russia’s war in Ukraine continues into 2023, the weather will have an important impact. Ukrainians, of course, are more vulnerable than usual to power outages and energy shocks. But Rus...Show more