A pro-democracy protester is detained by riot police

50 Photos That Defined Foreign Policy in 2021

The desperate crossed rivers seeking asylum. The hopeful stood in lines waiting for vaccines. The devastated emerged from fires, floods, and earthquakes. And countries from Afghanistan to the United States experienced unrest that changed the course of history. This, in photos, was 2021.

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A medical worker wears personal protective equipment

A medical worker wears personal protective equipment marked with the words “Happy New Year 2021” to encourage COVID-19 patients at the Bogor City Hospital in West Java, Indonesia, on Jan. 1.

ADITYA AJI/AFP via Getty Images
Kabul airport plane evacuates

Afghans climb atop a plane as they attempt to flee Taliban rule at the airport in Kabul on Aug. 16.

WAKIL KOHSAR/AFP via Getty Images
Exhausted grave diggers in Indonesia

Exhausted grave diggers rest in between funerals at a cemetery designated for COVID-19 victims in Bandung, Indonesia, on June 15.

TIMUR MATAHARI/AFP via Getty Images
A sea of flags representing COVID-19 victims in Washington

People walk through a sea of flags that are part of the “In America: Remember” public art installation commemorating Americans who have died from COVID-19 on the National Mall in Washington on Sept. 19.

Al Drago/Getty Images
Brussels COVID protest

A man is doused by a water cannon during clashes with police as people gather in defiance of Belgium’s COVID-19 social distancing measures and restrictions in Brussels on May 1.

Yves Herman/REUTERS
Israeli Iron Dome

The Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system (left) intercepts rockets (right) fired by the Hamas movement from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip toward southern Israel as seen in the sky above the Gaza Strip overnight on May 14.

ANAS BABA/AFP via Getty Images
Burning pyres in India

Burning pyres of COVID-19 victims are seen at a cremation ground in New Delhi on April 26.

JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images
Fire in Greece

A resident holds an empty water hose during an attempt to extinguish forest fires approaching the village of Pefki on the Greek island of Evia on Aug. 8.

ANGELOS TZORTZINIS/AFP via Getty Images
A girl looks out a car window

A girl leans out the window of a vehicle loaded with suitcases as it waits at the Rafah border crossing in the Gaza Strip to travel into Egypt on Feb. 9.

SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images
Man reacts at fire in COVID ward in Iraq hospital

A man reacts at the ravaged coronavirus isolation ward of Al-Hussein Hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq, on July 13 after a massive fire killed nearly 100 people.

ASAAD NIAZI/AFP via Getty Images
A man gets a COVID vaccine

A health care worker administers a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to a man in Fier, Albania, on Feb. 19.

Florion Goga/REUTERS
A Shiite fighter reloads his gun in Lebanon.

A Shiite fighter reloads during clashes in Tayouneh, Lebanon, a southern suburb of Beirut, on Oct. 14.

ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images
A firefighter wipes her brow

Haley Agnew wipes sweat from her brow as she works with fellow firefighters to battle the moorland and gorse fire on the slopes of Slieve Donard mountain in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, on April 24.

Charles McQuillan/Getty Images
Russians dance as building burns behind them

Couples dance samba as smoke rises from a burning pyrotechnics warehouse in Moscow on June 19.

DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images
A young boy holds grocery bags

A young boy holds grocery bags as he walks away from a burnt and looted Auchan supermarket in Dakar, Senegal, on March 6. The fire took place amid protests following the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko on rape charges.

JOHN WESSELS/AFP via Getty Images
Insurrectionists climb the walls of the U.S. Capitol

Insurrectionists climb the walls of the U.S. Capitol in Washington during a riot seeking to cancel the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results Jan. 6.

Stephanie Keith/Reuters
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars helicopter took this shot while hovering over the Martian surface on April 19—the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet.

NASA/JPL-Caltech via Getty Images
A pro-democracy protester is detained by riot police

A pro-democracy protester is detained by riot police officers during a rally against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on Feb. 27.

REUTERS
A girl reaches from a tent in the rain

Children play in the Umm Jurn camp for the displaced, near the village of Kafr Uruq, in Syria’s northern rebel-held Idlib province on Jan. 17.

DULAZIZ KETAZ/AFP via Getty Images
A U.S. Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19.

PAUL RATJE/AFP via Getty Images
Protester raises hands against South Africa police

A protester asks South Africa Police Service officers not to shoot in Johannesburg on July 11 following a wave of unrest.

LUCA SOLA/AFP via Getty Images
Taliban fighters

Taliban fighters stand guard in a vehicle along a roadside in Kabul on Aug. 16 after taking the capital.

AFP via Getty Images
Injured resident of Togoga, Ethiopia, after an airstrike

An injured resident of Togoga, Ethiopia, arrives on a stretcher at a hospital in Mekele, the capital city of the Tigray region, on June 23, a day after a deadly airstrike on a market in Ethiopia’s war-torn northern Tigray region.

YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images
A family receives medical attention after the rescue boat that saved them from rising floodwaters capsized in Sydney on March 23. Loren Elliott/REUTERS

A family receives medical attention after the rescue boat that saved them from rising floodwaters capsized in Sydney on March 23.

Loren Elliott/REUTERS
French firefighters protect a painting at a museum during a fire drill.

French firefighters protect a painting with a fireproof blanket during a drill aimed at preserving artwork in the Saint-Andre cathedral in Bordeaux, southwestern France, on Oct. 12.

PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images
A Ukrainian serviceman walks in a trench

A Ukrainian serviceman walks in a trench near a mannequin as he works his post on the front line with Russia-backed separatists near the town of Zolote, Ukraine, on April 8.

AFP via Getty Images
Astronauts walk in the Israeli desert in their spacesuits.

Two astronauts from Europe and Israel walk in spacesuits during a Mars training mission at the Ramon Crater in Israel’s southern Negev desert on Oct. 10. Six astronauts from Portugal, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Israel were cut off from the world for most of October, only able leave their habitat in spacesuits as if they were on Mars.

JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II sits at the funeral service of her husband, Britain’s Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, inside St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle in England on April 17. Philip, who was married to Queen Elizabeth II for 73 years, died April 9 at the age of 99.

JONATHAN BRADY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Forest fire in Turkey

Dark smoke drifts over a hotel complex during a massive forest fire on Turkey’s southern coast near the town of Manavgat on July 29.

ILYAS AKENGIN/AFP via Getty Images
A hospital patient is taken across the street to the beach

Medical personnel take COVID-19 patient Marta Pascual, 72, back to Hospital del Mar after getting some fresh air at a beach in Barcelona on March 4.

LLUIS GENE/AFP via Getty Images
The Taiwan-owned MV Ever Given

The Taiwan-owned MV Ever Given, a 1,300-foot-long vessel, is lodged sideways in the Suez Canal, impeding all traffic across the waterway, on March 24. The giant container ship ran aground after a gust of wind blew it off course, the vessel’s operator said. It was finally dislodged March 30.

Suez Canal Authority/HO/AFP via Getty Images
George Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd

A man reaches out to George Floyd’s sister Bridgett Floyd as she walks past messages written by protesters upon leaving the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on March 8. It was the first day of jury selection in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who would be convicted of George Floyd's May 2020 murder.

CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images
A young resident helps clean up outside his home following heavy rains and floods in Rochefort, Belgium, on July 17. JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images

A young resident helps clean up outside his home following heavy rains and floods in Rochefort, Belgium, on July 17.

JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images
A child tosses a surgical mask into a fire

A child tosses a surgical mask into a fire during a mask-burning event at the Idaho Statehouse in Boise on March 6. Citizens and politicians, including Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, gathered in at least 20 cities across the state to protest COVID-19 restrictions.

Nathan Howard/Getty Images
A man carries a young victim

A man carries a young victim at the scene of an explosion in the town of Azaz, in the rebel-controlled northern countryside of Syria’s Aleppo province, on Jan. 31.

NAYEF AL-ABOUD/AFP via Getty Images
A man in a red wig smokes a cigar in Haiti

Demonstrators protest against the government of President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Feb. 14.

VALERIE BAERISWYL/AFP via Getty Images
Residents of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, flee

Residents of Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, flee the city following sudden activity at the Mount Nyiragongo volcano May 22.

GUERCHOM NDEBO/AFP via Getty Images
A migrant father grips his children while walking ashore

A migrant father grips his children while walking ashore on the bank of the Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border in Roma, Texas, on April 14.

John Moore/Getty Images
Rescuers look for people in landslide in Japan

A police officer and rescue dog search the area around a landslide in Atami, Shizuoka, Japan, on July 4.

Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images
Hikers watch as lava flows

Hikers watch as lava flows from the Fagradalsfjall volcano about 25 miles west of Reykjavik, Iceland, on March 21.

JEREMIE RICHARD/AFP via Getty Images
Woman evacuates California fire with dog

April Phillips of Chester, California, wipes her face while watching a family dog at an evacuation center in Susanville, California, on Aug. 6. The growing Dixie Fire forced Phillips and her family to evacuate; they have been living in their cars.

JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images
Migrants walk at Belarus-Poland border

Migrants gather in Kuznica, Poland, near the Belarusian–Polish border crossing on Nov. 15.

OKSANA MANCHUK/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images
A border agent holds a baby

A member of the National Border Service carries a migrant boy at the Migrants Reception Station in Lajas Blancas, Darien Province, in Panama on Feb. 9. Migrants from Haiti and several African countries were stranded at the Panama-Colombia border.

LUIS ACOSTA/AFP via Getty Images
A man in India gets oxygen

Amid surging coronavirus cases in India, a man is given oxygen provided by a gurdwara, a place of worship for Sikhs, along a roadside in Ghaziabad, India, on April 26.

SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images
Afghan refugee children

Children wait to board a bus at a processing center for refugees evacuated from Afghanistan at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia, on Aug. 24.

Joshua Roberts/Getty Images
A person sleeps on empty oxygen cylinders

A person sleeps on empty oxygen cylinders while waiting to get them refilled in Villa El Salvador, on the southern outskirts of Lima, Peru, on Feb. 25. Relatives of COVID-19 patients are desperate for oxygen to keep their loved ones alive during a fierce second wave of the pandemic.

ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images
Trump supporters clash with police

Supporters of former President Donald Trump clash with police and security forces as they storm the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6.

ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images
Women dance to mark China’s 100th founding of Communist Party

Performers dance during a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China at the Bird’s Nest National Stadium in Beijing on June 28.

NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images
Brazilian coronavirus patients

Brazilian coronavirus patients are set up in a field hospital at a sports gym in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo, on March 26.

MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP via Getty Images
Flight crew members wave American flags at an airport in Germany

A flight crew in traditional Bavarian costume waves to a plane bound for Miami at Munich Airport in Freising, Germany, on Nov. 8. It was the first day tourists from Europe were allowed to enter the United States since COVID-19 restrictions went into effect.

Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
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