Fareed Zakaria

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Trump supporters stand outside the Clark County Elections Department in North Las Vegas on Nov. 7, 2020. (Wong Maye-E/AP)

It’s hard not to be fixated on the drama unfolding in the House of Representatives, where the Republican Party is having a nervous breakdown in full public view. This crisis is entirely of the party’s own making. For decades it has whipped its base into a righteous fury by promising radical policies that offer emotional satisfaction to their hardline constituents — from rolling back Medicare and Social Security to defaulting on the national debt to eliminating whole government agencies. But because these policies are totally unworkable, they never happen.

The lesson that the base has internalized is that cowardly moderates were constantly betraying it.…  Seguir leyendo »

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and President Biden wave during a ceremony at the White House on Dec. 1. (Alex Brandon/AP)

The United States and Europe find themselves in a closer alliance than at any point in many decades. France has long been the European nation most reluctant to play junior partner in an American-led enterprise. In his first years in office, President Emmanuel Macron did his best to display his Gaullist credentials, describing NATO as “brain dead” and declaring his greatest priority to be developing Europe’s “strategic autonomy”, which he defined, in part, as separate from the United States.

Contrast that with Macron’s remarks in November, when he talked about NATO as a cornerstone of French and European security. While in Washington last week, he described the new goal for the continent as “strategic intimacy” with Washington and spoke of the need for even deeper cooperation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Residents confront workers in protective suits who are blocking the entrance to a residential compound in Shanghai in this still image obtained from a social media video released Nov. 30. (Reuters) (Video Obtained By Reuters/via REUTERS)

Over the past few months, we have worried a great deal about the fragility of democracy. From the United States and Brazil to Sweden and Italy, the system seemed to be facing real challenges. In fact, in all of these cases, elections have had the effect of taming many of the most illiberal forces, and, at least for now, the center has held. Meanwhile, we are seeing signs of deep and structural weaknesses in some of the world’s most powerful autocracies.

The most striking example is China, where an extraordinary wave of protest is confronting the powers that be. At the heart of the problem is the unwillingness of the central government to change course on covid-19 policy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Media staff work in November 2021 next to TVs airing a speech from Chinese leader Xi Jinping. (Str/AFP via Getty Images)

In late 1992, I started my first full-time job, as managing editor of Foreign Affairs. I remember sorting through manuscript after manuscript arguing that Japan was going to take over the world. That claim was not unusual at the time. A big bestseller of the year was Michael Crichton’s novel “Rising Sun”, a call to arms for economic war with Tokyo. In 1991, the book “The Coming War With Japan” predicted inevitable and major military conflict. During the 1992 presidential primaries, one of the pithiest campaign slogans came from Democrat Paul Tsongas. “The Cold War is over”, he would say, “and the Japanese won”.…  Seguir leyendo »

A refinery in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on April 5. (Martin Meissner/AP)

Fiona Hill, a distinguished Russia expert, has argued that the West’s confrontation with Russia over Ukraine has brought us into World War III. That is dangerous hyperbole. What made the two world wars so devastating was that the major powers of the day got into direct and protracted military conflict with one another. We are not in that kind of battle today, and with nuclear weapons, one shudders to even think about the trajectory of a great-power war.

But she is right in one sense: The West is collectively waging economic war on Russia on a global scale that would have been unimaginable just a year ago.…  Seguir leyendo »

One of the few issues on which there is a consensus in Washington these days is that U.S. policy toward China was built on an intellectual error. Liberals and conservatives alike believed that Beijing’s embrace of free markets and its integration with the global economy would fundamentally change China. But they didn’t, and (so the consensus goes) we should recognize that this was a naive belief in the power of markets and trade.

In fact, viewing China on the eve of the pivotal 20th Party Congress, I am struck by how little that line of analysis captures what has actually happened in China over the past decades.…  Seguir leyendo »

Italy and Sweden are about as different as two European countries can get. One is Catholic, Mediterranean, sunny and chaotic; the other Protestant, northern, chilly and ordered. Over the decades, they have had very different political trajectories. But now, both are witnessing the striking rise of parties that have some connections to fascism.

In each country, this rise has coincided with a collapse of support for the center-left. And it all centers on an issue that the Biden administration would do well to take very seriously: immigration.

Giorgia Meloni, likely the next prime minister of Italy, is a charismatic 45-year-old politician.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ucrania, Rusia, Conflicto armado, Conflicto territorial,

Let’s not play down what has happened this week. The leader of the world’s largest nuclear power publicly threatened to use nuclear weapons. In an address in Moscow on Wednesday, Vladimir Putin declared that Russia would use “all weapon systems available to us” to defend the country. He emphasized, “This is not a bluff”.

It might be. Putin’s threat is at odds with traditional Soviet military doctrine, which once ruled out “first use”. Under his leadership, the Russian military now contemplates scenarios in which it could use nuclear weapons. But Putin knows that the West has powerful nuclear weapons of its own; and he knows that the doctrine of “mutually assured destruction” has prevented any power from deploying them since 1945.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, on Wednesday visits Izyum, one of the largest cities recaptured from Russia. (AFP Photo/Ukrainian Presidential Press-Service via Getty Images)

At first glance, Kyiv looked strangely normal. There were a few barricades here and there, but mostly the streets were busy, traffic was moving, shops were open and restaurants were full. You could buy French wines, American energy drinks and Swiss chocolates at the local grocery store. The city looked much as it had on my last visit a year ago, though getting there this time was far more complicated. I flew to Poland, drove to the Polish-Ukrainian border and then took a 12-hour overnight train to Kyiv.

Scratch beneath the surface, however, and find a society profoundly scarred by the Russian invasion.…  Seguir leyendo »

Psychologists tell us that human beings are hard-wired with a “negativity bias” — meaning that we’re overly sensitive to bad news. And there is lots of it out there these days: the war in Ukraine, democratic travails in the United States, floods in Pakistan, drought in China (among other grim stories). But we often miss the good news, especially if it doesn’t come in the form of a single event. One of the most striking positive trends in the world these days can be found in the democratic strength, character and leadership of Germany.

This came to mind as I was reading German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s speech this week in Prague, in which he promised that his country would support Ukraine “reliably and for as long as it takes”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tourists watch as a Chinese military helicopter flies past China's Pingtan Island on Aug. 4. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images) (Afp Contributor#afp/AFP/Getty Images)

How did the world’s two most powerful nations find themselves in a hair-raising crisis that could spill into a military conflict? The strangest aspect of the current conflict over Taiwan is how predictable it was.

Taiwan has been known to be the most sensitive issue for both the United States and China, one that has been carefully managed for five decades. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) recent visit to the island — which triggered the current conflict — was something she signaled she intended to do months ago.

On the American side, several errors — many of them tactical and driven by domestic politics — have resulted in a dangerous reality: There is no serious working relationship between the 21st century’s two most powerful actors.…  Seguir leyendo »

Residents spray water at fire east of Athens on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

“It was getting hotter”. So opens “The Ministry for the Future”, the disturbing novel by science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson. The opening chapter, set in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, depicts a heat wave that kills millions across the subcontinent and galvanizes people to radical action.

Such dire warnings may seem far-fetched today. But the heat waves we are now experiencing are going to get worse. That, of course, will have dire consequences. More likely than mass death is mass migration. As Bill Gates points out, the area around the equator could become too hot for people to work outdoors; that could mean a decline in farming, the most common occupation in low-income countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

There’s a famous saying that no military plan survives its first contact with the enemy. The greatest theorist on war, Carl von Clausewitz, often explained that strategy must be dynamic, constantly changing and rejuvenating itself. In his famous treatise “On War”, he wrote that some generals “consider only unilateral action, whereas war consists of a continuous interaction of opposites”. The West needs to take these lessons to heart in its struggle with Russia and adjust its strategy — which is in danger of failing.

The core of the West’s strategy has been two-pronged: to provide Ukraine with arms, training and money, as well as imposing massive sanctions on Russia.…  Seguir leyendo »

A mother and daughter walk past a residential building on Thursday that was destroyed as a result of shelling in Irpin, Ukraine. (Sergei Chuzavkov/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1942, Winston Churchill tried to ready the British people for a long conflict. “This is not the end”, he said, referring to the Allied victory in Egypt. “It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”. When we think in those terms, what phase are we witnessing in the war in Ukraine?

We are likely in the middle, explains Gideon Rose, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of an excellent book, “How Wars End”. He points out that every war begins similar to a chess game, with a dramatic attack and a defense.…  Seguir leyendo »

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the audience from Kyiv during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on May 23. (Markus Schreiber/AP)

The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is usually fixated on the future. Most years, the attendees are dazzled by some country, company or technology promising to burst forward, force change and dominate the next decade.

This year, the focus has not been on the future but the past. People delved into history to debate what caused Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Swedish finance minister explained why his country, which hasn’t been at war since the Napoleonic era, was breaking its more than 200-year tradition of neutrality with its bid to join NATO. The Finnish foreign minister recalled Finland’s resistance to Moscow’s aggression in the Winter War of 1939 to 1940.…  Seguir leyendo »

Abortion rights advocates demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in Washington on May 5. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

As the prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned looms large and the United States braces for another round of culture wars, I have been puzzling about why clashes over values seem to be more intense in this country than elsewhere, and why the competing camps seem more divided than before.

One key to this might be found in a 2020 Pew Research Center survey, showing that on many cultural issues, the American political divide was the widest among rich countries surveyed. Asked whether the country would be “better off in the future if it sticks to its traditions and way of life”, 65 percent on the right said “yes”, vs.…  Seguir leyendo »

At first glance, the war in Ukraine would seem to confirm President Biden’s oft-expressed view that the world today is marked by a contest between democracies and autocracies. After all, autocratic Russia is waging a savage assault on democratic Ukraine, and the latter enjoys the staunch support of Western democracies. On closer examination, however, that framework turns out to be neither accurate nor helpful as a guide for U.S. foreign policy.

It’s true that many of the world’s democracies have lined up to support Ukraine. But the world’s most populous democracy, India, has neither condemned the Russian aggression nor promised to abide by the sanctions against Moscow.…  Seguir leyendo »

Pedestrians pass an antitank obstacle on a street in the port city of Odessa, Ukraine, on April 13. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

Ukraine’s brave and brilliant response to Russia’s attack is rightly being celebrated across the world. But it might be obscuring a growing danger. While the assault on Kyiv and the surrounding region has failed, Moscow’s strategy in the south and east of Ukraine could well succeed. If it does, Russia will have turned Ukraine into an economically crippled rump state, landlocked and threatened on three sides by Russian military power, always vulnerable to another incursion from Moscow. It will take much more military assistance from the West to ensure that this catastrophic outcome does not come to pass.

As Can Kasapoglu, a military scholar and strategist, presciently pointed out in the first few weeks of the war in an essay for the Hudson Institute, there are two distinct wars taking place in Ukraine, one in the north and one in the south, and the latter has been “radically more successful” for Moscow.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban leaves a polling station in Budapest after voting on April 3. Orban, a right-wing nationalist, was reelected. (Akos Stiller/Bloomberg)

When Russia launched its attack on Ukraine, a wide variety of commentators believed there was at least one silver lining in this catastrophic cloud. Vladimir Putin’s assault on the liberal order, they hoped, would expose and delegitimize the illiberal, populist forces that have been surging for years. One speculated that the war in Ukraine could end the age of populism. Another, the scholar Francis Fukuyama, saw it as an opportunity for people to finally reject right-wing nationalism. Alas, six weeks into this conflict, such notions look like wishful thinking.

In Europe, two pivotal elections — in Hungary and France — tell the tale.…  Seguir leyendo »

Firefighters work on a bombed building in the town of Chuguiv in eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24. (Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images)

Russia’s utterly unprovoked, unjustifiable, immoral invasion of Ukraine would seem to mark the end of an era — one that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. In that post-Cold War age, Western ideas about politics, economics and culture spread across the world largely uncontested, and American power undergirded the international system. It was not a period of tranquility — think of the wars in Yugoslavia and the Middle East. But it was a time in which American power and liberal democracy seemed triumphant, and the international system seemed to work more cooperatively than at any previous point in history.…  Seguir leyendo »