Ukrainian soldiers.

What would happen if the U.S. abandoned Ukraine? Former President Donald Trump has suggested he would do so if he returns to the White House next year and predicted he would end the war quickly, most likely by pressuring Kyiv to negotiate. But even if the intent is to bring peace, the practical effect would be to prolong the war.

Video screens at the European Parliament building promote the upcoming European elections.

One of the biggest elections in this “ultimate election year” is the one scheduled for June, when more than 400 million people in 27 countries will be eligible to vote for a new European Parliament. The elections will have considerable impact not only for the people who live in Europe but also for the rest of the world.

U.S. President Joe Biden.

There are few impulses more deeply rooted in the U.S. political imaginary than the urge to remain aloof from the turmoil that often engulfs the wider world. With the possibility of another era of U.S. withdrawal from aspirations to be the world’s “indispensable nation” now looming, Washington’s allies in Europe need to prepare for it.

An Afghan man in Kabul.

Congressional hearings on the Biden administration’s controversial withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021 have become a renewed focal point for political narratives about blame. But they also create an opportunity to consider counterfactual hypothetical scenarios that could expand our understanding of the U.S failure in Afghanistan.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro.

Last week, Colombian President Gustavo Petro threatened to call for a constitutional convention, reopened peace talks with a notorious criminal group and canceled a cease-fire with a dissident FARC faction. Announcements like these would normally create months’ worth of media coverage. Under Petro, they have become almost uneventful.

Uyghur advocates calling for TikTok to divest from ByteDance.

Late last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill with overwhelming bipartisan support requiring TikTok’s China-based parent company, ByteDance, to sell off the app or face a ban in the United States. The concerns are ostensibly about security, but the potential ban is also about a lot more than the app itself.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russia’s latest electoral charade secured President Vladimir Putin a fifth term in office, meaning he could stay in power until 2036 or even beyond. But what if Putin suddenly dies or decides to step down? Barring a palace coup or a revolution, a half-dozen people within his inner circle are considered possible successors.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

As the U.K.’s Conservative Party hurtles toward an extinction-level event in elections later this year, some observers have pointed to Canada’s elections in 1993 as a fitting precedent for the total collapse of a once-dominant conservative party. Yet for all the similarities, the differences between the two cases are also revealing.

A lithium battery factory in China.

Though notably quiet this year, China’s annual legislative “two sessions” were still helpful in confirming the direction of Beijing’s economic policies under President Xi Jinping. Rather than implement economic reforms, China will double down on manufacturing and exports, a decision that may exacerbate existing trade tensions.

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Last week, Brazil’s Supreme Court published documents showing that the country came close to a coup in late 2022. Transfers of power are supposed to be routine formalities in democracies. Yet, from Brazil to Guatemala to the U.S., the hemisphere has seen incumbent presidents attempt to undermine democracy after losing elections.

A special session of the Oakland City Council.

In recent months, city councils across the U.S.—from Chicago to Boston to San Francisco—have passed resolutions calling for a cease-fire in Gaza. And this is just the most recent occasion in which municipalities have waded into global politics by taking a stand on an issue of war and peace. Why do cities do this? And is it effective?

Torn electoral posters in Tehran.

On March 1, Iran held parliamentary elections that, as expected, were neither free nor fair. And yet, despite the ballot being an exercise that was entirely devoid of democratic legitimacy, the event and the results were far from meaningless. Iranians managed to make their voices heard, loudly rejecting the status quo.

U.S. President Joe Biden.

As the U.S. enters an election year, concerns in Europe are growing over Washington’s ability to project power in Europe and the Middle East. Yet this focus often draws attention away from how much the foundations of U.S. global power are anchored in its ability to exert effortless dominance over the Western Hemisphere.

The mushroom cloud from the test detonation of the world’s first full-scale thermonuclear device.

Nuclear brinksmanship has been on the rise in recent years, even as anti-nuclear sentiment has never been higher. That makes this moment in the U.S. a good one for reckoning and reassessment. Political science scholarship can guide journalistic efforts in refocusing the national conversation on the perils of a nuclear world.

U.S. President Joe Biden.

Although President Joe Biden’s approach to Latin America has notched a few victories, pretty much nobody is happy with it. A few big challenges have dominated the agenda for the past few years, without any progress to show for it. They are fueling perceptions of a broader failure that will possibly worsen in the coming months.

Polish and French forces train together.

The European Union is making efforts to step up in security, proposing a joint defense spending program and setting targets for increased joint weapons purchasing and procurement. But can the EU actually become a security provider, rather than a security consumer dependent on the U.S.? There are good reasons to remain skeptical.

A banner showing Mexican presidential candidate Claudia Sheinbaum and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

As the strong favorite to win Mexico’s presidential election, Claudia Sheinbaum owes much of her support to the popularity of her mentor, populist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. But the echoes of AMLO in Sheinbaum’s campaign conceal significant differences that will shape the path forward for Mexico under its next president.

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