It’s common knowledge that the possibility of a second term for former U.S. President Donald Trump is sending shivers up the spines of Washington’s NATO allies. But the prospect of a second Trump presidency is also heightening anxieties among U.S. allies in Asia, which have also relied on U.S. security assurances for decades.

A patriotic mural in a Russian village.

Censorship of local Russian media, combined with diminished access for foreign reporters, has narrowed our understanding of the war in Ukraine’s impact on Russian communities outside big cities. Yet even with these limits, there are significant signals that undermine the image of invincibility the Putin regime works so hard to project.

Protesters in Haiti.

With no elected leadership currently in place, Haiti’s governance crisis would be helped by a new election to put in place a legitimate government that can begin solving the country’s challenges. It’s a simple recommendation that quickly becomes complicated by the country’s current situation as well as its recent and distant past.

Then-U.S. President Donald Trump.

How durable are alliances? And how believable are alliance commitments? Stated differently, if the U.S. under Donald Trump or another president ends up being an unreliable ally when push comes to shove, would it be consistent with what we should have expected all along? It turns out these are surprisingly difficult questions to answer.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni receives Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The latest European Union leaders meeting was the perfect illustration of how the far-right parties that are gaining popularity across the continent may converge in their positions on most domestic issues, particularly immigration, but remain sharply divided over the question of supporting Ukraine amid its war with Russia.

A woman touches a photo of Alexei Navalny.

Alexei Navalny’s death last week fueled despair among dissidents and emigres struggling to break President Vladimir Putin’s grip on Russia. Now, unless other leading activists can move quickly to revive the remnants of Russia’s democratic opposition, their influence is likely to fade away for the foreseeable future.

China's men's national soccer team.

Two recent controversies drew attention to the malaise and frustration regarding the state of soccer in China. But the travails of Chinese soccer are also helpful as a prism for understanding how Xi’s leadership style helps spawn corruption-fueled boom-bust cycles in the economy and the crackdowns that inevitably follow.

Ukrainian soldiers.

Nearly two years into Ukraine’s war with Russia, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made a major change last week, replacing the commander of the Ukrainian military. While we do not know the exact reason for the change, it is also unsurprising—without a clear path to military victory, a rethink of Ukraine’s strategy is necessary.

Geert Wilders.

Last week, negotiations in the Netherlands to form a government led by Geert Wilders and his Euroskeptic, anti-immigrant party collapsed, leaving the country’s political future uncertain. But even as Wilders’ chances of forging a strong governing coalition seemed to crumble, polls show he has become more popular than ever.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The recent panic over European military self-reliance has fostered an internal shift in attitudes toward the EU among far-right movements. As they warm to a more-powerful Brussels in the hope that they can shape the EU’s agenda, what once seemed like clear ideological battlelines have become increasingly blurred.

ICJ judges read a ruling about a case filed by Ukraine in the days after Russia’s invasion.

The International Court of Justice last week agreed to take up the question of whether Ukraine was committing genocide in the war against Russia. The ruling may have surprised some observers, but Ukraine actually asked the ICJ to rule on its own conduct in order to decisively repudiate Russia’s justification for invading.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela is unlikely to invade Guyana and destined to lose if it does. So why is it building up troops on the border, in violation of the two sides’ agreement not to do so? At least part of the answer relates to another deal Caracas recently broke that was supposed to lead to internationally monitored elections later this year.

U.S. President Joe Biden at a G-20 summit.

Amid the debates over U.S. President Joe Biden’s foreign policy, one thing is clear: Biden is an internationalist trying to keep the U.S. engaged globally actor. But should he be? More broadly, is it the United States’ place to be highly engaged in the world? Would the U.S. and the world be better off if Washington sat some things out?

People under an awning in Mexico City.

Over the past two decades, China became an increasingly powerful player in Latin America, displacing the U.S. as a top trading partner and strengthening its political influence in the region. But now, China’s growth has suddenly slowed, creating significant economic risks for Latin America—and opportunities for the United States.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Hungarian Prime Minister Orban’s capitulation in his standoff with the EU over aid to Ukraine revealed the extent to which his embrace of anti-liberal culture wars is a tactical gambit he is willing to ditch whenever it is necessary to protect EU handouts that fund the corrupt patronage networks on which his regime relies.

Residential areas in Nanjing, China.

A Hong Kong court ruled last week that the largest indebted property developer in the world, Evergrande, would be liquidated. The ruling opened up a slew of larger questions about the future of the Chinese economy, especially the relationships between the central government, local governments, the private sector and households.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele.

The past three decades of Latin American history are full of presidents who stretched the constitutional limits of power and extended their mandate. Most, but not all, left their country worse than they found it. El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele’s name can now be added to that list. His legacy depends on what happens in the coming five years.

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