Though it is a member of the European Union, Finland has long avoided becoming entangled in the West’s military alliances, such as NATO—a choice informed both by history and by the porous 830-mile-long border the country shares with Russia. This deliberate nonalignment has made the Finnish president someone pretty unique: a world leader who’s well received in both Moscow and Washington.
Meanwhile, as the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc around the globe, there’s good reason to fear that the next viral pandemic could be genetically engineered by humans, perhaps even using amateur tools purchased on Amazon.
And a checklist of all the ways U.S. President Donald Trump is maneuvering his way into autocracy, so you can keep track of his abuses in real time.
Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.
1. Finland’s President Can Hold His Own With Both Putin and Trump
Much of the world has been captivated by Finland’s young, female prime minister and her swift response to the coronavirus pandemic. But Finland’s ceremonial president, Sauli Niinisto—“a cool-headed realist”—may prove the more effective geopolitical asset, Gordon F. Sander writes.
2. The Genetic Engineering Genie Is Out of the Bottle
Developed only a few years ago, CRISPR gene-editing technology is so user-friendly and accessible that scientific feats once plausible only in secretive government laboratories have quickly become kitchen table ubiquities. But this sort of democratization could doom us all, Vivek Wadhwa writes.
3. 10 Ways Trump Is Becoming a Dictator, Election Edition
When Donald Trump was elected U.S. president in 2016, optimists suggested his authoritarian impulses would be reined in by the norms and seasoned Washingtonians around him. Four years later, these prognoses have proved pathetically naive, Stephen M. Walt writes.
4. No Gas, No War in the Mediterranean
The cool, blue Eastern Mediterranean has become heated with tension in recent months, as Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus vie for natural gas riches. The only way to prevent a full-scale conflict? Introduce a moratorium on drilling, which could save the peace—and, conveniently, the climate, too—Paul Hockenos writes.
5. Biden Has a Serious Credibility Problem in Asia
Many of China’s regional foes have grown comfortable with Trump’s tough approach toward Chinese President Xi Jinping. Now, officials in capitals across Asia are privately voicing concern about the potential geostrategic consequences of a more Beijing-balanced Biden presidency, James Crabtree writes.