2022 marks nearly five decades since the death of Chinese leader Mao Zedong, but the legacy of his Great Leap Forward lingers on for Chinese farmers that raise livestock and fish or grow crops. Chinese history has made many demands of the country’s agricultural workers, relying on their labor while granting few benefits in return.
Voters in Angola cast ballots on Wednesday to give President Joao Lourenco and his ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, or MPLA, another five-year mandate in office. But the MPLA’s dwindling share of the electorate points to trends that may spell trouble for its fortunes going forward.
During the 15 months I wrote the Middle East Memo newsletter, I sought to explore the myriad challenges the Middle East faces, from authoritarianism, to human rights abuses, to the climate crisis, to poor governance. In the end, I remain more certain than ever that the region’s future depends mainly on its people.
The ongoing talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal seem to have entered a critical stage in the past several days, with no small amount of optimism that a breakthrough is near. The problem both sides now face is that the deals underlying logic no longer holds, whether as an arms control agreement or as a confidence-building measure.
Last week, Kigali played host to the second Kigali Global Dialogue, which brought together more than 150 people from 45 countries to ponder solutions to critical issues the world faces. For countries in the Global South, the conference sought to ponder how they can navigate development challenges amid great-power competition.
As energy supplies from Russia to Germany dwindle because of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Germans are grappling with the prospect of an unprecedented energy crisis that could last months, as well as with the implications it could have for food supply shortages, droughts and security concerns.
In recent years, press secretaries in China’s Foreign Ministry have increasingly ventured beyond their podiums and onto social media, conducting rapid-response interventions on Western platforms like Twitter and YouTube. This reflects the emphasis Beijing is putting on finding creative ways to “tell better Chinese stories.”
Antony Blinken was in Africa this week for a three-country tour, where he unveiled the Biden administration’s new approach for deepening ties with African nations. The strategy seems to hit all the right notes. But to implement it, the U.S. will have to break long-established habits in its relations with the continent.
A debate is raging across Europe over whether all Russians should be banned from entering the EU. Politicians are debating whether that would unfairly hold the Russian people collectively responsible for the war in Ukraine, and conversely whether it is fair to let them in while Europeans cannot safely travel to Russia.
In the aftermath of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan last week, much of the commentary in the U.S. has been on the visit’s impact on U.S.-China relations. Unfortunately, the reactions within Taiwan and China have attracted less attention, as they are revealing of domestic factors driving decision-making on both sides of the strait.
In the wake of Joe Biden’s Middle East visit in mid-July, some U.S. officials suggested that critics of the trip should reserve judgement until they see the “deliverables” agreed upon by the regional leaders Biden met with. Hopefully many such deliverables do materialize, beginning with reviving the multilateral Iran nuclear deal.
At least 32 people were killed in a July 29 attack by suspected cattle thieves in a village approximately 47 miles north of Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital. While the country’s president has vowed to bring the killers to justice, the roots of Madagascar’s cattle theft problem date back decades and defy obvious solutions.
In the aftermath of Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, China has responded with an unprecedented range of diplomatic, economic and military measures. The entire episode suggests that the One China policy, the diplomatic sleight of hand that has governed U.S.-China relations for over 40 years, might be reaching its expiration date.
The first ship exporting grain from Ukraine since February left Odessa’s port this week thanks to a deal brokered by Turkey and the U.N. The agreement aims to ease the global food crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but there are doubts as to whether it will hold for long enough to make a difference.
A video depicting a chained woman in a dark shack in the Chinese city of Xuzhou went viral, racking up more than 1.9 billion views on Chinese social media. But the reaction by authorities to the video show how online outrage is often corralled and stripped of its more systemic critiques of the state.
The political impasse in Iraq has reached an ominous phase that underscores the danger of litigating politics through displays of force. And in Lebanon, the many twists and turns in its deadlocked politics demonstrate that negotiation through violence can give way to a sustainable—if bloody—alternative to civic democracy.