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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.

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Historical comparisons with contemporary events are always risky, particularly with regard to warfare. But two historical patterns in the use of mercenaries in Europe can provide insights into the role that private military contractors like the Wagner Group play within the Russian political system, and how that might evolve over time.

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Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has maintained a bipartisan consensus on New Zealand’s relationship with China, which was nurtured over decades by successive governments. In return for a lucrative trading relationship, criticism of China has remained muted. Yet Ardern has likely sensed that the public mood on China is hardening.

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The great environmental benefit of electric vehicles, no matter where they are produced or driven, is that they generate zero tailpipe emissions. That’s a huge plus, given that transportation accounts for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and about 8 percent in China. But the environmental news isn’t all good.

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The Nicaraguan regime has a new target. Not content with jailing leading opposition figures, the regime has now taken aim at the Catholic Church. The message, it seems, is that there is room for only one church in this majority-Catholic country: the one that worships President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo.

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During U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken recent visit to the African continent, he unveiled a strategy document framing Washington’s new approach to relations with Africans. But the lofty ambition expressed in the document is unlikely to be realized, due to contradictions between Washington’s words and actions.

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The Lima Group came together in 2017 with the goal of improving human rights and humanitarian conditions in Venezuela. Today, it is clear that the Lima Group failed to achieve its lofty goals. But its experience can offer lessons to Latin America on the challenges similar projects could face in the future.

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Since Brexit, the U.K. has worked to reenergize its ties with Israel, as part of its wider “Global Britain” ambitions. Last month, it launched negotiations to establish a new bilateral free trade agreement—the outcome of which will be shaped by the winner of the Conservative Party’s leadership race.

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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.

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A suspected Russian intelligence operation on the soil of NATO ally Albania may have been the first direct confrontation between NATO and Russia since Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine six months ago. If so, it could force the United States to act in some manner, given its past promises to respond to a threat on NATO soil.

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Canadians have worked hard to develop distinct institutional traditions and international ties, but have undoubtedly benefited from the trade and security guarantees offered by the U.S. If Washington retreats from its role as global guarantor, Canadians will struggle to cope with the ensuing disruptions.

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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.

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Recent arrests of priests in Nicaragua would seem to offer a moment for the Catholic Church, which remains influential in Latin America, to galvanize regional governments against the repressive rule of President Daniel Ortega. But while local priests speak out, church leaders have appeared unwilling to do more.

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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.

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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.

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Critics call the Afghanistan withdrawal one of the biggest failures of President Joe Biden’s administration. Afghanistan was indeed a failure of U.S. foreign policy. But the failure was not in how the U.S. left Afghanistan in August 2021. Rather it was in the fact that U.S. forces were still in Afghanistan in August 2021.

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