A container ship participating in globalized trade is unloaded in California.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump upended what was once a relatively staid global economic and trade system. For all of the upheaval he created, though, Trump left office with only one clear-cut accomplishment: an updated NAFTA deal. And even as Trump sowed chaos in America’s trade relationships, most of the world reinforced its commitment to trade liberalization.

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China’s challenges at home and abroad have grown more pronounced in recent years—so much so that a longstanding debate over China’s intentions increasingly coexists with one over its trajectory: Is it on a path to global preeminence, or is it near the zenith of its power and perhaps even on the verge of systemic decline?

People in Cuba protest the US embargo and Biden's decision to keep it

In April 2021, Cuba experienced a watershed moment when Miguel Diaz-Canel became the leader of the Cuban Communist Party, completing a political transition that began three years earlier when Diaz-Canel was inaugurated as president. Now, for the first time since the 1959 revolution, a Castro leads neither the country nor the party, making way for a new generation of leaders to chart the island nation’s path forward.

A woman protests in Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini

The initial inability of many in the West to fully grasp the scale of what is now unfolding in Iran is the product of three dynamics that reflect deeper problems with how the EU and U.S. engage with the wider world. To avoid repeating those mistakes, the West needs to mitigate such distortions of perceptions and policy.

Kamala Harris with Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who recently committed to protecting human rights and improving US relations

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met in Manila over the weekend with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, whose visit was meant to show Washington’s high-level support for its Southeast Asian ally. But if security issues were front and center during Harris’ visit, the question of human rights was also on the agenda.

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President Joe Biden took office with an ambitious foreign policy agenda summed up by his favorite campaign tagline: “America is back.” Above all, that will mean repairing the damage done to America’s global standing by his predecessor, former President Donald Trump.

Donald Trump announcing a bid to be GOP nominee for president in 2024 with an anti-immigration messaging

Whether or not Donald Trump is on the way out as the leader of the Republican Party remains to be seen. But the policy views he espoused first as a candidate in 2016 and then as president from 2017 to 2021 are not. This will be especially evident when it comes to the cornerstone of “Trumpism”: opposition to immigration.

Violence and corruption in Central America, particularly in the Northern Triangle countries, is causing a wave of outward migration. The Trump administration’s restrictive measures and pressure on regional governments did nothing to address the root causes of the problem, which the Biden administration has now pledged to tackle. Meanwhile, efforts at reform across the region face opposition from entrenched interests that benefit from the status quo.

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As encouraging as the three-hour meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping was, it is but one stopping point in what promises to be a long and difficult road ahead for bilateral relations between the U.S. and China, especially against the backdrop of competition that characterizes the relationship.

Joe Biden promoting the Inflation Reduction Act

Financial incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles included in the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act are leading to renewed trade frictions with the EU. While those tensions are significant in and of themselves, they mask deeper problems with how the IRA and climate legislation more generally fit into the global trade regime.

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Even a narrow GOP majority in a single congressional chamber could stymie President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. From a foreign policy perspective, however, divided government does not necessarily hold presidents back. Unsurprisingly, the Biden administration portrayed the results of the midterms as a victory for his foreign policy.

Gvir after Israeli elections in 2022

The new Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu is anticipated to be different than its predecessors due to the likely inclusion of two ultra-nationalist and Jewish supremacist parties. That will present a challenge to the U.S., in terms of the new government’s more unsavory figures and the policies it is expected to implement.

Biden on the campaign trail trying to prevent a Republican-majority congress

The midterm congressional elections, like most in the U.S., came down to the domestic issues that voters care most about, namely their pocketbooks. But while the domestic impact of the elections will be most immediate, the midterms nevertheless do matter for U.S. foreign policy and global affairs more generally.

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As the remaining results of this week’s midterm congressional elections in the U.S. continue to trickle in, the EU’s leadership is assessing the outcome’s implications for the trans-Atlantic relationship, now that the opposition Republican Party appears on track to win back control of at least one, if not both, chambers of Congress.

Saudi Arabia arrested an activist for speech in another country, which is a human rights violations

Saudi Arabia has ramped up its crackdown on dissent, as recent cases make clear that the country is willing to surveil its citizens abroad and severely punish them for exercising their right to free expression within the jurisdiction of democratic countries, a worrying trend that appears to only be getting worse.

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Many observers have raised questions about whether Elon Musk’s cozy business ties to Chinese politicians will create conflicts of interest when it comes to how Twitter handles issues like account verification, data privacy and security, and content moderation to prohibit harassment campaigns against activists and dissidents.

G20 summit 2022 sign

Geopolitical tensions will dominate next week’s G-20 summit, as major world leaders convene amid Russia’s war in Ukraine, a heightened U.S.-China strategic rivalry and growing estrangement between the Global North and South. To save the forum from irrelevance, the West must deliver on priorities that matter to the Global South.

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