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Commentary: What are Trump's envoys telling Mideast leaders? What they want to hear.

The two men in the Trump administration in charge of setting America’s global priorities are crisscrossing the Middle East this week, dividing up an already deeply divided region, trying desperately to separate fact from fiction and establish some sense of just where their nation’s priorities are going, how the United States might get there, and whose help they might need along the way.

Commentary: U.S. should review its approach to Syria's Assad

The Trump administration has begun to roll back the president’s announced pullout from Syria. On Dec. 19 Trump said Islamic State had been defeated; his officials now acknowledge not entirely. Trump originally ordered a withdrawal within 30 days, then administration officials said it would take four months, and more recently they announced that there is as yet no fixed timetable. The departure was originally unconditioned, now it is explicitly conditioned on receiving assurances from Turkey rega

Commentary: Will China go to war over Taiwan?

In the first week of 2019, as China grabbed headlines for landing a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, a New Year’s Day editorial in the nation’s official military newspaper told its readers that “war preparations” should be a top priority for the year. The following day, President Xi Jinping offered a forceful reminder of what Beijing considers its most likely focus of conflict to be: Taiwan.

Commentary: 2019 will be the year of more state control

A signature theme of the new year is the possibility of a malign confrontation between the world’s greatly enhanced capacity for electronic surveillance and the weakening of democratic control. The antidote to that risk is the democratic spirit and civil freedoms – both of which are suffering world-wide. These are not dead, but they are unwell, at times untended.

Commentary: To denuclearize N. Korea, Trump should think small

New Year’s traditions differ across the Pacific. Americans break out bottles of champagne and wake up with headaches and fuzzy memories. Koreans try to maintain sobriety in order to bow to family elders on Jan. 1 and receive blessings for the peace, prosperity, and health of their entire clan. Such cultural differences, as superficial as they might seem, might offer a lesson in foreign policy.

Commentary: How to handle the U.S.-China trade talks

As U.S. and Chinese delegations prepare for upcoming trade talks in Beijing, the two countries’ disputes over tariffs and trade are rattling markets, businesses, governments, consumers and workers across the globe. All of this corrosive uncertainty was entirely predictable – and explains why Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping failed to reach an agreement when they met at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in November.

Commentary: The biggest security threats in 2019

With an ongoing trade war between the United States and China, Russian military posturing in Eastern Europe at its greatest since the Cold War and the most unpredictable U.S. administration in living memory, 2019 may offer no shortage of strategic surprises.

Commentary: Expect 2019 to test global stability

The resignation of U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis stands not only as a radical disassociation from the actions of the president he served, but as a foreboding for the future, a warning for 2019 – and beyond. And, for all the assurances that the world is getting better, such as Steven Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now,” there are huge geopolitical challenges to face and master to make that optimism real.

Commentary: Watch this, ignore that. A guide to U.S. politics in 2019.

The last few months of 2018 have seen the Democrats take over the House of Representatives and Republicans retain control of the Senate; a flurry of revelations about the Kremlin’s role in the 2016 election; an economy that may be beginning to stumble; and signals from numerous Democratic candidates that they are considering bids for the White House in 2020. These are all harbingers that 2019 will be as unpredictable and pivotal as 2018 has been.

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Northern Ireland journalist killed by gunman during riot

A 29-year-old Northern Irish journalist was shot dead during rioting in Londonderry overnight, an attack that shocked the region and police said was likely the work of Irish nationalist militants opposed to the 1998 Good Friday peace deal.