Foreign Policy

Our high weekend reads

With Linda Thomas-Greenfield at the center of the United Nations Foreign policyColum Lynch and Robbie Gramer share their journey from Jim Crow South to the heights of US diplomacy. If Thomas Greenfield is confirmed as UN Ambassador, he will play a key role in restoring ties with Washington’s allies. One of their tactics? “Gumbo Diplomacy” – the term she coined to advocate her style of diplomacy, based on the practice of wooing foreign dignitaries from her home state of Louisiana for the Cajun court.

Meanwhile, Rihanna’s unexpected support for the peasant protests in India on Twitter has led celebrities around the world to speak out about New Delhi’s crackdown on dissent. In response, the government’s struggle against the protesters and their powerful supporters has taken a more serious turn.

And the foreign policy experts waiting for Beijing to test the new Biden administration may have misconceptions about the state of relations between the two giants. In short, what analysts see as provocations is just the routine brain drain of Chinese measures.

Here are Foreign policy‘s top weekend reads.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield answers questions during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington on Jan. 27. Greg Nash / Getty Images

1. Gumbo diplomacy is coming to Turtle Bay

If Linda Thomas-Greenfield is confirmed as US Ambassador to the United Nations by the Senate, she will play a key role in President Joe Biden’s attempts to divert US foreign policy from his predecessor’s America first agenda, write Colum Lynch, and Robbie Gramer of Foreign Policy.

Activists of the United Hindu Front held pictures of the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and the Barbadian singer Rihanna in New Delhi on February 4th.MONEY SHARMA / AFP via Getty Images

2. Why Rihanna and Greta Thunberg compete against India’s modes

Celebrities around the world, from Rihanna to Greta Thunberg, have spoken out in favor of farmers’ protests in India on social media. Now the government’s fight against the demonstrators and their prominent supporters has escalated, writes Salil Tripathi.

An anti-coup protester holds up a portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi outside the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok on February 4. Lauren DeCicca / Getty Images

3. What America should and shouldn’t do against 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 that way, writes Stephen M. Walt of Foreign Affairs.

Shane Osborn, Lt. of the US Navy, describes the role of the US electronic surveillance aircraft that he piloted after encountering a Chinese fighter aircraft during a press conference at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii on April 14, 2001. George Lee / AFP via Getty Images

4. Stop looking for Beijing’s big test of the Biden administration

Analysts and journalists have tormented for months over how the Chinese Communist Party might test the new US administration. But Beijing is not doing everything it can to provoke new US leaders, writes Blake Herzinger.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks to a press conference at the end of a meeting of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament in Brussels on March 20, 2019. Emmanuel Dunand / AFP / Getty Images

5. How the European Parliament anchored the region’s autocrats

The transnational party infrastructure of the European Parliament should usher in an age of real European democracy. Instead, their parties have taken undemocratic national figures into their ranks and given them approval, writes Dalibor Rohac.

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