Our High Weekend Reads
With Linda Thomas-Greenfield set to take center stage at the United Nations, Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer chronicle her journey from the Jim Crow South to the heights of U.S. diplomacy. If confirmed as U.N. ambassador, Thomas-Greenfield will play a key role in repairing relations with Washington’s allies. One of her tactics? “Gumbo diplomacy”—the term she coined to advocate her brand of diplomacy, based on the practice of courting foreign dignitaries over the Cajun dish from her home state of Louisiana.
Meanwhile, Rihanna’s unexpected support for the farmers’ protests in India on Twitter has spurred celebrities worldwide to speak out about New Delhi’s crackdown on dissent. In response, the government’s battle against the protesters and their powerful supporters has taken a more serious turn.
And the foreign-policy experts who are waiting for Beijing to test the new Biden administration may have flawed ideas about the state of relations between the two giants. In short, what analysts see as provocations are just the routine churn of Chinese action.
Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.
1. Gumbo Diplomacy Comes to Turtle Bay
If confirmed by the Senate as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield will play a key role in President Joe Biden’s attempts to redirect U.S. foreign policy from his predecessor’s “America first” agenda, Foreign Policy’s Colum Lynch and Robbie Gramer write.
2. Why Rihanna and Greta Thunberg Are Taking on India’s Modi
Celebrities worldwide, from Rihanna to Greta Thunberg, have spoken out on social media in support of the farmers’ protests in India. Now, the government’s battle against the protesters and their celebrity supporters has escalated, Salil Tripathi writes.
3. What America Should—and Shouldn’t—Do About Myanmar’s Coup
Some observers have called the coup in Myanmar “an early test of American moral authority” under the new administration. But only a foreign-policy elite addicted to telling the world what to do would see it this way, Foreign Policy’s Stephen M. Walt writes.
4. Stop Looking for Beijing’s Big Test of the Biden Administration
Analysts and journalists have agonized for months over how the Chinese Communist Party might test the new U.S. administration. But Beijing doesn’t go out of its way to provoke new U.S. leaders, Blake Herzinger writes.
5. How the European Parliament Entrenched the Region’s Autocrats
The European Parliament’s transnational party infrastructure was meant to usher in an age of true European democracy. Instead, its parties have welcomed undemocratic national figures into their ranks and given them validation, Dalibor Rohac writes.