Theory

A Belarusian woman walks past security officers during a rally of opposition supporters in Minsk on Aug. 11, 2020.

Lukashenko’s Brutal Crackdown Has Lethal Help From Moscow

An investigation into the suppression of protests discovered the widespread use of Russian weapons.

A manned walking robot developed by robotics company Korea Future Technology in Gunpo, South Korea, on Dec. 27, 2016.

The World Must Regulate Tech Before It’s Too Late

We urgently need a global ethical consensus on how far technological advances can go.

A person wears a QAnon sweatshirt during a pro-Trump rally

America’s Conspiratorial Delusions Weren’t Born Under Trump

False realities have been part of the U.S. political scene for decades.

Director Terry George talks to Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame Celebrated ‘Hotel Rwanda’—Until Its Hero Criticized Him

Rwanda’s president once welcomed the Hollywood film. His recent attacks on the movie and its protagonist show that his government cannot handle dissent.

CIA Director-designate William Burns testifies during his Senate Select Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 24.

Biden’s Pick for CIA Director Singles Out China as ‘Biggest Geopolitical Test’

Bill Burns, a veteran diplomat, will helm the spy agency in an era of renewed great-power competition.

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer, delivers a virtual speech on his party’s vision for the country’s economic future at Labour headquarters in central London on Feb. 18.

Labour’s Dangerous Drift to the Right

Trying to rebound after painful losses, the British party appears to be courting conservative and white voters—and losing its core principles in the process.

A self-identified member of the Patriot movement flies an upside-down U.S. flag in Olympia, Washington, on Feb. 6.

Presumptive Patriotism, the United States’ Greatest Blindspot

The unquestioned assumption that some groups are more “patriotic” leads to dangerous security risks.

U.S. Army soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division arrive home from a 9-month deployment in Afghanistan on Dec. 8, 2020 at Fort Drum, New York.

Should Biden Ditch All of Trump’s Policies?

From Afghanistan to China, the new administration seems likely to hold on to some ideas from the previous one.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel deliberates with then-U.S. President Donald Trump at the G-7 summit Charlevoix, Canada, on June 9, 2018.

America Is Back. But Can Allies Ever Trust It Again?

Fears of another Trump make it even more urgent that allies work with Biden now.

Activist Irade Kashgary waves a flag of the Uighur region as she takes part in a protest outside of the Apple Store on K Street on July 30, 2020 in Washington.

Why Western Companies Should Leave China

Consumers will punish brands that rely on forced Uighur labor. While abandoning the Chinese market might hit profits, it will bolster reputations.

Production line at a GlaxoSmithKline factory involved in the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux in northern France on Dec. 3, 2020.

America’s Supply Chains Are Foreign Policy Now

Why the push to bring home manufacturing won’t work—and what Biden should do instead.

Then-presidential candidate Joe Biden meets workers at the Fiat Chrysler plant in Detroit on March 10, 2020.

Biden’s Trade Plans Will Boost China’s Power in Asia

Supporting the middle class at home and reasserting leadership abroad may be mutually exclusive, especially in Asia.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses a public meeting at Jerenga Pathar in Assam, India, on Jan. 23.

Modi Spent India’s Soft Power—and Got Little in Return

The prime minister has decided that international criticism is a price worth paying for pursuing his domestic agenda, but he shouldn’t be so sure.

Supporters of President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory in Washington on Jan. 6.

How to Live With Authoritarians

Democracies have to learn how to manage some people’s innate fears of change.

Ethiopian soldiers stand with children behind them

How to Stop Ethnic Nationalism From Tearing Ethiopia Apart

The 1994 Ethiopian Constitution celebrated self-determination, but it laid the groundwork for today’s violence. Devolution could offer a way out.

A Brazilian demonstrator takes part in a protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccination in São Paulo on Dec. 22, 2020.

In Brazil, QAnon Has a Distinctly Bolsonaro Flavor

A deluge of online conspiracy theories is dividing an already polarized country.

A cutout of the Goddess of Democracy stands out in a sea of light during a vigil to remember the Tiananmen Square movement on its 10th anniversary in Hong Kong, on June 4, 1999.

Autocrats Have a Playbook—Now Democrats Need One Too

With democracy still in retreat, it is time to get smart about fighting back.

People eat lunch in front of a billboard along a street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Aug. 6, 2019.

Cambodia’s Post-Pandemic Law and Order

Amid economic crisis, sweeping new legislation on “public order” would stifle dissent—and effectively criminalize people for being poor.

Jürgen Habermas

Why Jürgen Habermas Disappeared

The German philosopher was one of the 20th century’s most influential public intellectuals. But 21st-century politics has cut him adrift.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses a press conference at the end of a European People’s Party meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels on March 20, 2019.

How the European Parliament Entrenched the Region’s Autocrats

European parties were supposed to create a European democracy. Instead, they’ve given cover to bad actors.