Show Hide image US Election 2020 23 December 2020 The world in 2020: Best of the New Statesman international A selection of some of the best NS international coverage of an extraordinary year in global affairs. By New Statesman Sign UpGet the New Statesman’s Morning Call email. Sign-up This year saw an extraordinary series of events shape the world. A US election campaign unlike any other, protests on the streets of global cities, the assassination of Iran's top general, war and unrest across the former Soviet Union, an intensifying climate crisis, a catastrophic explosion in Lebanon's capital and growing tensions between China and other world powers... in a normal year any one of these might have been the biggest story of all. Yet they were all overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 spread from its origins in Wuhan, China, across the world in a matter of weeks early in the year, leading to an unprecedented public health, economic and humanitarian crisis that tested societies and world leaders as never before and that will live on far into 2021 and beyond. Over the course of the year, the New Statesman has expanded its coverage of global affairs, with a new international team, homepage, podcast and newsletter. As the year draws to a close, here is a selection of some of the best of our international coverage from 2020. *** Trump is just another American president dealing with an old geopolitical nightmare in the Gulf By Helen Thompson For at least seven decades, energy security has made the Persian Gulf a geopolitical minefield. Coronavirus and the geopolitics of disease By Laura Spinney After the 1918 flu outbreak killed 50 million, nations created new organisations to fight infection. But in an age of pandemics and renewed great power rivalry, they would no longer be enough, this piece from February warned. Postcards from an infected world: Reports from the cities impacted by coronavirus As public life shut down, travel was curtailed and economies faltered, writers from blighted cities reported on the reality of life in the coronavirus era, to which we are all now used. The state transformed NS contributors from around the world reflected on how the coronavirus pandemic would transform the ways in which we are governed, in a prescient series from March. Coronavirus hits the Global South By Jeremy Cliffe Early in the pandemic, our writer warned of the humanitarian and economic disaster facing poorer countries as they grapple with the Covid-19 pandemic. Madeleine Albright: “The US cannot solve the crisis by itself” By Emily Tamkin The former US secretary of state and ambassador to the UN on pandemic multilateralism, Iran, and American decline under Trump. We can’t breathe By Gary Younge What connects the most brazen forms of state violence against black people and the struggles of BAME coronavirus patients is systemic racism. The accelerating rise of a dangerous new nationalism in India By Emily Tamkin In Modi’s India, nationalists are using the Covid-19 crisis to further redefine who belongs and who doesn’t. Erasing histories: why Turkey’s Hagia Sophia should remain a museum By Elif Shafak President Erdogan’s decision to reconvert the building into a mosque is a further move against religious pluralism. Italy in the wake of coronavirus By Jeremy Cliffe Travels from Berlin to Naples by train reveal that the pandemic has brought out the best and the worst of the beautiful country. How Macron’s strategic balancing act is wobbling By Ido Vock As France’s 2022 presidential race looms, can the self-styled “Jupiter” hold his voters on the left, our writer asked. Why the clock is ticking for Belarus’s Lukashenko By Felix Light and Ido Vock The opposition’s wooing of Moscow may have sealed the fate of Europe’s “last dictator”, this in-depth examination of Belarusian politics argued. “The only safe place I had is broken”: how Beirut’s blast sparked political fury By Lizzie Porter August's explosion in the port of Beirut upended lives, homes and politics. The man vs the myth: George Soros at 90 By Emily Tamkin Conspiracy theories around the billionaire philanthropist do most harm to those more vulnerable than him. From Belarus to Lebanon, the US to Thailand, righteous moral outrage is sweeping the globe By Jeremy Cliffe Anger, it can seem, is everywhere. It spreads faster than ever. It is viral, but unlike coronavirus cannot be socially distanced into abeyance. The world to come NS writers on how the Covid-19 pandemic will transform our way of life. Joe Biden must heed the lessons of Andrew Johnson’s presidency: unity, but not at any cost By Emily Tamkin Biden will inherit an economic crisis and divided society. He should seize the chance to build something better than what we had before Trump. The struggle for a democratic Ukraine goes on, 20 years after my father’s abduction By Salome Gongadze The anti-corruption journalist Georgiy Gongadze was murdered two decades ago. Young Ukrainians must not give up his mission, his daughter argued. In search of a US beyond coronavirus By Nick Burns Driving through some of the most desolate reaches of the continental US, our writer hoped to find places untouched by Covid-19. What he saw instead was the true reach of the American government. Noam Chomsky: The world is at the most dangerous moment in human history By George Eaton The US professor warned that the climate crisis, the threat of nuclear war and rising authoritarianism mean the risk of human extinction has never been greater. How the dawning era of declining fossil fuel consumption will reshape geopolitics By Jeremy Cliffe After a century defined by a global rush to control oil, we may soon see a scramble to dominate decarbonisation. Thirty years on from reunification, the contours of the new Germany are still emerging By Jeremy Cliffe The full transition from the Bonn Republic to the Berlin Republic will take decades longer. Can Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump? By Emily Tamkin In this incisive pre-election profile, our writer asked whether a Biden victory would set the US on a path to renewal. The making of Kamala Harris By Sophie McBain The US’s first female vice president-elect defies easy definition because she resists it. US-China economic integration shaped today’s world, but now it is going into reverse By Jeremy Cliffe A New Statesman Media Group special on the decoupling of America and China. Forced abortion and secret sterilisation: how China has abused Uighur women for decades By Ellen Halliday Women from China’s Uighur minority reveal how the country’s family planning policies, which have long controlled women’s bodies, have been weaponised against them. Watching the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, I think of my Armenian ancestors fleeing their home By Anoosh Chakelian In the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, our writer heard echoes of her family's history, bound up in the displacement of Armenians from their ancestral lands. The UN’s Mark Lowcock: vaccine nationalism is a “complete delusion” By Ido Vock The humanitarian chief warned no nation will be able to protect itself from Covid-19 without helping poorer countries, too. America and the politics of pain By Timothy Snyder Gravely ill in hospital with sepsis, our writer had a revelation on how Donald Trump transformed the US’s inequalities into a suicidal tribalism. Nathan Law: “Erosion of Hong Kong’s freedom has reached a new height” By India Bourke The Hong Kong dissident, now seeking asylum in London, on why he fled his homeland. Why Moscow’s snowless winters are a warning to the world By Felix Light Russia’s warming climate has left it unmoored of its cultural foundations. What Trump wants now By Thomas Meaney In the wake of a gruelling presidential election, our writer explored how misguided fears of a coup exposed the hysterical thinking of the liberal Resistance. Why the West failed to contain Covid-19 By Robert Skidelsky and Massimiliano Bolondi As infection rates soared in the US and Europe, East Asian countries suppressed coronavirus without national lockdowns. Why didn’t others follow their lead? Azerbaijan’s fraught road to reconciliation after victory in the Nagorno-Karabakh war By Ido Vock For the jubilant Caucasian country, nationalist euphoria could rapidly tip into disillusionment. 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