In this June 12, 2018, file photo, US President Donald Trump, right, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Sentosa Island, in Singapore. 

Political theater: Part II

Critical State

Critical State, a foreign policy newsletter by Inkstick Media, takes a deep dive this week into all the ways in which diplomacy is a kind of performance.

The Kyiv Symphony Orchestra rehearses at the National Philharmonic in Warsaw, Poland, the day before the premiere performance of the "Voice of Ukraine" tour that took them to nine cities across Poland and Germany

The Kyiv Symphony Orchestra fights on the war’s ‘cultural front’

President Joe Biden waves towards the White House balcony in Washington

US, Canada and Mexico to hold talks at the White House

Top of The World
Table top tennis players compete in front of a large blue banner

A fresh call for ‘pingpong diplomacy’ on the 50th anniversary of the first US-China games

Foreign policy
In this image made from UNTV video, US President Donald Trump speaks in a pre-recorded message which was played during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 22, 2020, at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

US-China expert: Trump’s UNGA speech shows dangers of fraying diplomatic relations

US-China relations
A person washes a wall with painted big yellow hammer and sickle of the Chinese Communist Party.

Illiberalism isn’t just rising — it’s spreading (Part II)

Critical State

The International Department is the diplomatic wing of the Communist Party of China. It has zeroed in on training foreign parties in its own image, using tools that allow the CPC to teach the blocking and tackling of its approach to governance to a wider audience than ever before. Critical State’s Sam Ratner looks into new research on the ID-CPC’s global reach.

Tianna Spears says she faced racial discrimination by US border officials while working as a US diplomat posted in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Former US diplomat attests to racial discrimination in diplomatic corps

Global Politics

Tianna Spears says she faced racial discrimination as a US consular officer abroad. “America loses, first of all, when we’re not an inclusive society and when we’re not welcoming to others,” she told The World. “But secondly, when we’re overseas at our embassies and consulates abroad, we have a great opportunity to advance diplomacy and show what America truly represents.”

A man behind a desk with the American flag on it

Trump’s ad hoc diplomacy makes him look ‘extremely weak,’ says Amb McFaul

Foreign policy

American diplomats are too often inexperienced political appointees — an issue for both Republican and Democratic administrations, former US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul tells The World.

Richard Holbrooke sits in a small military vehicle holding a bottle.

In ‘Our Man,’ diplomat Richard Holbrooke is both an egotist and idealist


Richard Holbrooke was an influential diplomat who’s ideas shaped US foreign policy in the late 20th century. Author George Packer spoke with Carol Hills about Holbrooke and his new book, “Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century,” which explores the complex and often contradictory ideas and lifestyle of Hoolbrooke and gives us an intimate look at the major events and people in his life.

Woman and man with baby in front of table decorated for child's birthday

After deportation, a family from Wisconsin will start anew in Cambodia


The number of deportations to Cambodia — and the speed at which they’re processed — is on the rise. Sothy Kum is among them.