As former Yankees baseball star Yogi Berra once said, it's déjà vu again. Almost a year ago, on October 29, 2019, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri – a symbol of the country's corrupt and ineffective political class – yielded to protesters' demands for his resignation. But only two days ago, on October 22nd, Hariri took over the Premier League again. It may be unpopular, but after months of unprecedented turbulence in Lebanon, there does not seem to be anyone willing or able to rule the fragmented country. The political reality of Lebanon has closed.
Meanwhile, international relations scholars – including many avowed Republicans – are backing Joe Biden in next month's presidential race and giving incumbent Donald Trump bad marks on his foreign policy record. To the likely chagrin of the president, 71 percent of the experts say that there are no international policy areas in which Trump did better than his predecessor Barack Obama.
Plus, an addicting quarantine hobby that, if played right (or very wrongly), could get you into the upper echelons of politics.
Here are Foreign policy’s Top weekend reads.
1. Why is Saad Hariri responsible for Lebanon again?
Lebanon's sectarian political system, which requires the Prime Minister to be a Sunni Muslim, severely limits the pool of candidates. With Lebanon's interim prime-designate failing to form a cabinet, the only man left for the job appears to be the embarrassed former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is reluctant to return to the post he stepped down from last year, Rebecca explains Collard.
2. Poll: How Biden and Trump differ in foreign policy
The US presidential election may be tight, but there is one group of voters who are almost unanimous in favor of Democratic candidate Joe Biden: International Relations Scientists, Irene Entringer Garcia Blanes, Alexandra Murphy, Susan Peterson, Ryan Powers and Michael J. Tierney.
3. The game that ruins friendships and shapes careers
Henry Kissinger's Board Game of Choice –diplomacy– has experienced a comeback during the coronavirus pandemic, in which nerdy and power-hungry gamers have come together to form (virtual) spheres of influence. But it's not all fun: the game, in which others must be manipulated, acts as a legitimate training ground for Washington's dirty politics, writes David Klion.
4. China's nuclear program confused Soviet intelligence
The United States wants to involve China in the nuclear weapons negotiations with Russia. The demand reveals a complicated history of the Soviet Union's initial involvement in Beijing's nuclear program – and subsequent concern about it – which it viewed with the same caution as Washington, writes Joseph Torigian.
5. Trump, Not Biden, destroyed American power in the Pacific
There is a widespread belief in Washington that Trump is more popular in the Asia-Pacific region than former President Barack Obama – or former Vice President Biden. Opinion polls tell a completely different story, write Van Jackson and Hunter Marston.