Why it matters: The U.S. has responded to standoffs with North Korea, Russia, Iran and Venezuela in unorthodox and unpredictable ways. Alliances are rupturing, authoritarians are rising, and China is steadily becoming the most powerful rival America has ever faced.
The CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has resigned after the Wall Street Journal revealed that he traveled to the United Arab Emirates to obtain the first dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Why it matters: Mark Machin, who manages $375 million as head of Canada's largest pension fund, reportedly used his connections to jump over millions of Canadians waiting in line for a vaccine.
Americans tend to think the top U.S. foreign policy priorities should include protecting American jobs, preventing terror attacks, reducing the spread of infectious diseases, and stopping the spread of nuclear weapons, according to data from the Pew Research Center.
By the numbers: There's a sharp partisan divide over whether limiting China's influence should be a top priority, with 63% of Republicans believing it should versus 36% of Democrats. Both numbers have risen significantly since 2018.
The Biden administration notified Israel in advance about the airstrike against an Iranian-backed Shiite militia base on the Syrian-Iraqi border Thursday evening, Israeli officials told me.
Why it matters: The airstrike was the first overt military action by the U.S. in the Middle East since Biden assumed office, and one that Israeli officials see as a positive signal about the new administration's posture toward Iran.
The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.
The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.
President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman this evening ahead of the release of a CIA report expected to implicate the king's son, and the kingdom's de facto ruler, in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.
El Salvador on Thursday became the first country in Central America to be certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization.
Why it matters: It's the 38th country to eliminate the parasitic disease that has plagued humanity for ages.
President Biden spoke with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Thursday, and affirmed "the importance the United States places on universal human rights and the rule of law," according to a White House readout of the conversation.
Why it matters: The phone call comes ahead of the expected public release of a potentially damning intelligence report about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi,
The Dutch parliament on Thursday passed a nonbinding motion recognizing China's treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority in the northwestern region of Xinjiang as "genocide."
Why it matters: The Dutch parliament is the first legislature in Europe to determine that China's campaign of surveillance, mass detention, forced labor and sterilization of Uyghurs amounts to genocide, a judgment also shared by the U.S. State Department and the Canadian parliament.
Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat told his U.S. counterpart Jake Sullivan in a secure video call two weeks ago that Israel thinks Iran's nuclear program should be dealt with separately from its regional activity in future negotiations, two sources briefed on the call tell me.
Why it matters: While many critics of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal note that it did nothing to curtail Iran's aggression in the region, Israel is concerned that linking the two issues will give American and European negotiators incentives to compromise on limitations to Iran's nuclear program.
Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.
The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.
Facebook announced Wednesday it plans to invest $1 billion to "support the news industry" over the next three years and admits it "erred on the side of over-enforcement" by banning news links in Australia.
Why it matters: Facebook is following in Google's footsteps, after last October the company pledged to pay publishers over $1 billion during the next three years to create and curate high-quality journalism for its Google News Showcase.