Brazil's president Bolsanaro ahead of elections

The erosion of democracy in places like Brazil, which votes in a presidential election Sunday, has led U.S. President Joe Biden to declare the contest between democracy and autocracy as the defining battle of our times. But if the past few years have seen a crisis of democracy, they’ve also seen a crisis of autocracy.

soldiers fight in the ukraine war

Alarm over a potential Russian nuclear strike in Ukraine has reawakened debate in the U.S. between those who favor continued military assistance to Kyiv and those who argue for seeking to end the war to head off the risks of escalation. At the root of the debate is a fundamental question: What’s at stake for the U.S. in Ukraine?

a semiconductor in china

On Aug. 9, U.S. President Joe Biden helped bolster the United States’ technological lead over China by signing the CHIPS Act. Despite the hype, though, the history shows that governments’ best-laid plans to develop technology often falter amid bureaucracy, inefficiency and an over-reliance on state control.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss listens to U.S. President Joe Biden.

As Britain changes both head of state and government, it’s fair to ask if, moving forward, the US and UK’s “special relationship” will remain all that special. Skepticism among the British foreign policy community, imperial nostalgia and the harm a relationship of unquestioning loyalty has done in the past point toward no.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss meets with U.S. President Joe Biden.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss this week held her first set of bilateral meetings with world leaders since taking office earlier this month. But there are questions about whether London can forge productive partnerships in a post-Brexit world with the U.S. and EU, and Truss’ meetings did little to assuage those doubts.

United Nations members vote on a resolution concerning the Russian invasion of Ukraine during an emergency meeting of the General Assembly.

It is tempting to think that the liberal international order might have stood a better chance absent Russian revanchism and Chinese ambition. But to do so ignores the degree to which the globalization narrative disregarded globalization’s real impact on local communities. If the war in Ukraine represents a meaningful change, it is about reasserting the centrality of the state in globalization’s violent practices.

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President Joe Biden’s first priority upon taking office was to reassure U.S. allies of America’s ongoing security commitments, promising that “America is back.” Despite some missteps along the way, that effort has paid off during the current standoff with Russia over Ukraine. But Biden still has a lot of work to do when it comes to shoring up America’s security partnerships to deal with a rising China.

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is in Washington for a working visit to the U.S. at the invitation of President Joe Biden, a little over a month after the release of Washington’s “Africa Strategy” document. But Ramaphosa’s visit alone is unlikely to resolve the significant differences between Pretoria and Washington.

The family members of those killed in the US drone strike that spurred the US military into creating a plan to reduce civilian casualties

In August, the U.S. military announced a plan to reduce civilian casualties, embedding it as a concern at every level of preparation and operations. But the U.S. has always professed to take civilian casualties seriously, which raises the question of why it is now issuing a formal plan to do so and what changes might result from it.

A screen at a Chinese box office advertises Disney's "Mulan"

For Disney and other U.S. corporations operating in China, an apolitical stance amounts to deference to the status quo. But the status quo shifts according to political winds, and worsening U.S.-China relations combined with Beijing’s heavy-handed approach to U.S. companies have made the status quo tougher to navigate.

A protester affected by tear gas fired by police splashes water on his face, during a protest in Haiti.

Across Haiti, mass protests are erupting against insecurity and government impunity. But Prime Minister Ariel Henry seems more interested in protecting his power than in addressing Haiti’s crisis. Since 2021, however, Haitian civil society has been working to develop local solutions to the country’s problems.

A demonstrator participates at a rally to raise awareness of anti-Asian violence and anti-China rhetoric in Los Angeles.

In Western liberal democracies, anti-China rhetoric seeks to embolden patriotism among Western citizens and provide a clear framework around which to rally the public. In practice, however, this pattern of behavior reveals more about the West than it does about Beijing. It also works to undermine key premises of liberal democracy.

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Many Americans were reminded last week that the United States remains actively engaged in military combat. But this conflict is not in Afghanistan, where the U.S. withdrew its forces last August. Nor is it in Ukraine, where President Joe Biden has gone out of his way to avoid direct military involvement. It’s in Syria.