Sweden has long had a kind of healthy global image: home to Ikea, Pippi Longstocking and meatballs in cream sauce. But that reputation took hold during the coronavirus pandemic as the country became a lonely advocate of herd immunity and wavered accordingly. Now the government has put some restrictions in place, but confusion remains about how Swedes should react to the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, progressive groups have developed a robust strategy for taking root in the foreign policy ranks of US President-elect Joe Biden.
And a decade after the Arab Spring, a look at the persistence of a permanent, but never completed, revolution.
Here are Foreign policy‘s top weekend reads.
1. Sweden’s second wave is a failure of government – and leadership
Swedes, rocked by a staggering second wave of coronavirus infections, are less against mask recommendations and social distancing guidelines and more against their government’s chronic mixed news – a result of disputes between the Prime Minister and public health official Carl- Johan Karlsson writes.
2. Progressives try to influence Biden on key foreign policy jobs
Although Progressives recently won several key positions in Biden’s cabinet, their foreign policy team is still fairly established. But the left isn’t worried yet – cabinet posts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to political appointments and they have a plan to take root on a lower level, reports Jack Detsch of FP.
3. Betrayed by their leaders, failed by the West, Arabs still want democracy
The Arab Spring was less of a coordinated, democratic movement than a series of local struggles against decades of failed governance. Ten years later, the fact that these struggles instead provoked further repression is an indictment not only of brutal Arab dictatorships but also of the western countries who adopt them, writes Oz Katerji.
4th The war in Tigray is a struggle for Ethiopia’s past – and future
There are fears that the burgeoning civil war in Ethiopia could lead to one of the largest state collapses in modern history. This is ironic in view of what the conflict is about: Not whether Ethiopia should exist, but how it should be governed, writes Teferi Mergo.
5. China will not save Iran
China is making progress in Iran. However, observers shouldn’t worry about the prospect of a robust alliance between Beijing and Tehran. China cares far more about wooing the West than wooing Iran, and it will not risk further US sanctions by saving Iran from its own financial peril, writes Wang Xiyue.