FROM Daniel Bell
Olympics and Politics Seven years ago, the secretary general of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee said this summer's games would "not only promote our economy but also enhance all social conditions, including education, health and human rights." But, just four days before the Games will get underway, China's accused of breaking its promises to clean the air, relax controls on political dissidents and open up to the western media. One sports historian says nobody should have believed China's promises in the first place. But are the Olympics a sure path from despotism to democracy? We look at what Beijing does not want us to see, as well as what's on display, including architecture that rivals the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
Political Aftershocks of the Earthquake in China Three days of mourning are over and the Olympic torch relay has resumed, but the earthquake aftermath will trouble China for years to come. More than 51,000 have died and 29,000 are missing. Five million are homeless and 300,000 are injured. Officials in Beijing say hundreds of dams have been damaged, and that landslides have created 30 new lakes behind fragile mud flows. The UN has praised China for unprecedented openness since the quake struck a week and a half ago, but a return to restrictions on news coverage seems to be under way. We update the damage and the risks to come. Can an authoritarian government survive the free flow of information?
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?