Foreign Policy

Our Prime Weekend Reads

There’s a lot of talk these days about the lack of a shared truth in the U.S. political system—the alternate realities (some realer than others) inhabited by readers of Jacobin, the New York Times, and the president’s Twitter feed. But an attempt to break down echo chambers and create a common reality could lead to the sort of harmful historical revisionism seen in the Lost Cause, where facts and honest reckoning were sacrificed to buttress a unifying tale.

Meanwhile, rumor has it that Sudan could be the next Arab state to normalize ties with Israel. A deal would be a financial boon for Khartoum, which has struggled to cope with economic woes under decades-long U.S. sanctions.  

And a look at the peculiar, religiously infused etymology of the word “counterfeit.”

Here are Foreign Policy’s top weekend reads.

A protester carries a “Register to Vote” sign during a peaceful demonstration against police brutality in Los Angeles on June 6.Mario Tama/Getty Images

1. Building a Shared Worldview Among Democrats and Republicans Could Be More Dangerous Than Healing

Bridging the social and political fissures in American society won’t happen by negotiating truth and inviting revisionism. Rather, Americans must rally around their proclaimed core values—and recognize that democracy, the United States’ central tenet, is in fatal jeopardy, Malka Older writes.

A Sudanese man holds bags to build a barricade amid flood waters in Tuti island, where the Blue and White Nile merge between the twin cities of Khartoum and Omdurman, on Sept. 3. ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP via Getty Images

2. The White House Wants Peace With Sudan. Congress Wants Khartoum to Pay.

Sudan’s transitional government is eager to get off the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list. An elusive normalization deal with Israel offers reprieve—if Congress is willing to hand Donald Trump the reins, Cameron Hudson writes.

Carved ivory polyhedra by Egidius Lobenigk (left) and Georg Wecker from the 16th century, part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden collection in Germany. Jürgen Karpinski/bpk Bildagentur/Art Resource: ART559886

3. A World in Counterfeit

The word “counterfeit”—now a staple adjective in any economist’s lexicon—has its roots in the 16th-century art scene, where European princes saw in turning ivory a means to cement dominion over the natural world, Lucian Staiano-Daniels writes.

Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar speaks during the opening session of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Doha on Sept. 12.Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images

4. How India Came Around to Talking to the Taliban

The peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are mediated by the United States, but India is watching closely. Once U.S. troops fully withdraw from Afghanistan in mid-2021, it looks likely that New Delhi will establish strategic partnerships with the country, Harsh V. Pant and Shubhangi Pandey write.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during the 2019 International Women of Courage awards ceremony at the State Department in Washington on March 7, 2019. Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

5. State Department Misled Public, Congress, About Revoking Journalist’s Award for Criticizing Trump

The Pompeo State Department was all set to award the Finnish journalist Jessikka Aro the International Women of Courage Award. Once they saw her tweets critical of Trump, they revoked it—and then lied about why, FP’s Robbie Gramer writes.

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