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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?

Russian war refugees immigrate to Kazakhstan

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, two successive waves of Russian “war refugees” have descended upon countries in Central Asia and the Southern Caucasus. The response from the receiving countries to date has been mixed, ranging from a welcoming attitude to downright hostility, in part due to the economic impact of the new arrivals.

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.

Argentina's President, amid a crisis in its economy and rapid inflation, made a deal with China

On the sidelines of last week’s G-20 leaders’ summit, Argentina and China struck a deal to increase their currency swap program. By doing so, however, China is playing to the worst economic instincts of Argentina’s Peronist government, for which every economic problem can be solved by simply throwing yet another currency plan at it.

In Sri Lanka, a protest over the economy and debt crisis created by the Rajapaksa brothers

As Sri Lanka tries to regain its footing after its economic collapse this year, legislators have introduced changes to the constitution, limiting the power of what was a dominant presidency. The question is whether Sri Lanka will be able to implement more wide-ranging reforms needed to prevent another disaster in the future.

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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.

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Pakistan has become embroiled in a political stalemate, as Former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s followers have resumed their march on Islamabad ahead of a change in military leadership that is set to be contentious. The question at the heart of the crisis is whether there’s any way out that doesn’t lead to unrest and violence.

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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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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken spoke by telephone Sunday, ahead of a possible meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden. The two sides appear to be trying to lower the temperature on their relationship, which has recently been characterized by escalating tensions.

In May 2022, Australia’s Labor Party swept back to power with promises to get down to the business of modern climate leadership, and they’ve largely followed through on that promise. But the Labor Party faces an even more daunting challenge in its bid for global climate leadership: Australia is a major fossil fuel exporter.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol trying to repair relations with the US amid a foreign policy reset

Since taking office in May, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has sought to follow through on campaign promises to reorient the country’s foreign policy, including with the U.S., China and Japan. But if Yoon and his advisers were correct in their premises, they were naive about how this promised reorientation would work in practice.