Foreign Policy

Our prime weekend reads

Washington, DC, hasn’t looked like this since rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The Capitol grounds remain closed behind barbed wire fences and concrete barricades, and more than 7,000 armed National Guards are on guard. With the tighter security, it’s easy to see why the country’s reputation overseas has been tarnished – but that impression may be wrong.

Meanwhile, amid the chaos of the last few weeks, the U.S. Department of Commerce made an overlooked announcement to the Trump administration that has the potential to derail China’s aviation industry. The Biden administration has to decide whether they want to work as usual again.

And the Dutch should be aware that undemocratic undercurrents in their society are not so different from those on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, albeit at an earlier stage, writes Caroline de Gruyter.

Here are Foreign policy‘s top weekend reads.

Members of the National Guard will continue to stand guard along the temporary security fence surrounding the U.S. Capitol on February 17.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

1. Washington is under siege. American democracy is not.

The U.S. Capitol has been barricaded since the January 6 siege. National Guard officials reportedly plan to keep vigil until the fall. But US democracy, apart from its bad looks, works the way it should, say Kelly Kimball and Katie Livingstone.

One protester gestures while holding a sign that reads ‘Never Give Up’ while another holds up a scarf with the colors of the Nigerian national flag during a demonstration in Magboro, Nigeria on October 20, 2020. Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP / Getty Images

2. Lessons from Nigeria for Peacebuilding in the United States

With such a strong polarization, it may be difficult for politicians and activists to overcome divisions. But the experience of the Nigerian city of Jos, which has seen waves of religious violence, shows a way forward, writes Jacob Choji Pwakim.

An airport employee walks through Daxing International Airport in Beijing on February 8.Jade Gao / AFP via Getty Images

3. China’s Potemkin aviation cannot survive without Washington’s help

China’s aviation industry only works when foreign companies sell it the equipment it needs to operate their aircraft. And if US President Joe Biden follows in the footsteps of his predecessor, the industry could be in crisis, writes Richard Aboulafia.

Street vendors, market vendors and self-employed people from all over Italy are protesting against the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic in Rome on February 11th.Simona Granati – Corbis / Corbis via Getty Images

4. Italians target the bureaucratic bourgeoisie

Class resentment in Italy is growing, but not directed against the rich. In the midst of the economic crisis, many Italians turn in frustration against public employees whose jobs are protected by contracts that exclude layoffs and vacations, writes Anna Momigliano.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte speaks to the press before leaving the first day of the European Council in Brussels on June 29, 2018.LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP via Getty Images

5. Mark Rutte’s legacy of failure – and winning

In the Netherlands, the government has collapsed as many citizens realize that real reform has become almost impossible. Despite his failure, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has learned to deal with the frustration, writes Caroline de Gruyter.

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