Interruptrr Weekly: 

You Are Not the Boss of Me

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Leadership has never been more important than now. As the coronavirus pandemic rages through our communities, our communities are desperate for remedies and relief. We have turned to the body that can deliver both on a large scale — government. Whether at the local level or on the national stage, public leaders have been anointed our guardians, our protectors. Not all have emerged as such. 

Long before COVID-19, democracy has been under siege. I've lamented here about the dwindling power of the people in Turkey, Hungary, Russia, Poland, the Philippines and Brazil. The current global health crisis, with its lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, border restrictions, and increased surveillance, has turned otherwise strongman tactics into much needed survival mechanisms. 

And, still, strongman tactics haven't proven to help survival, now or later. In China, surveillance has become more handy for pinpointing critics rather than the coronavirus. Information control over constructive contribution. In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has also embraced surveillance — and used the global pandemic to delay a court inquiry into corruption charges against him. How convenient. In Turkey, Erdoğan's strongman tactics are no longer sufficient to fool the people. Read below about a truck driver that challenged him. 

There are bright spots, however. Looking to Germany, New Zealand, and Denmark, the leaders of these countries — who happen to be women — have responded to the coronavirus with soberness. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken as a leader should. New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has focused on those "Kiwis," as New Zealanders call themselves, abroad, particularly in Australia who are in need of job assistance. And Denmark, Mette Frederiksen has expressed caution, while getting busy on fighting the virus and also focusing on the welfare of Danish citizens. 

Good or bad, the post-COVID-19 world will certainly be one in which leadership will be tested. We'll no doubt see the strongmen proclaim that they are "in charge" — and that, we the people, are not the boss of them. We'll also see leaders get on with business in the name of the people. You can bet I'll be watching that. --Elmira

More on this.... 
  • Machiavelli would approve. In Hungary, Viktor Orbán has pushed through a state of emergency decree that will allow him enormous powers. That will destroy democracy, says Judy Dempsey. (Carnegie Europe
  • Tracking people during the COVID-19 pandemic has been one way for countries to contain the spread of the virus. But this big brother surveillance can't be the norm. Samantha Stein on the importance of restoring data privacy after the coronavirus pandemic ends. (World Economic Forum)
  • China's successful fight against the coronavirus has exacerbated a pre-existing crisis of confidence in Western democracies. But many of China's measures to combat the coronavirus aren't authoritarian; they are the kind of total social mobilization that happens during war, says Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian. "It isn't democracy vs. authoritarianism." (Axios)
  • As threats to democracy spread with the coronavirus, both must be kept in check, says FPI Fellow Melissa Hooper. (Just Security
  • The coronavirus is exposing the flaws of Erdoğan’s strongman rule, says Aslı Aydıntaşbaş. (Washington Post
Elsewhere on COVID-19.....

  • Every country for itself. That's the general approach across the globe to stopping COVID-19. The effects of these different strategies are beginning to show. In Italy, a lack of understanding of the threat prompted a delayed response. Here's what we should learn, say Raffaella Sadun, Michele Zanini, and Gary P. Pisano. (Harvard Business Review)
  • Financial support packages abound. The recent one in the UK had many self-employed on edge. For good reason. Some, as Claer Barrett points out, have been left behind, "the one thing they have in common is a highly insecure income." (Financial Times)
  • Refugee camps in Greece were unprepared for disasters to hit before this global pandemic. Beyond that, writes Sarah Souli, 20,000 people are crushed into camps built for 3,000. The first case of the virus was reported earlier this week, but the virus hasn't wildly spread to the camps yet. What will happen when it does? (The New Humanitarian)
  • Coronavirus could be final straw for the EU, warn some experts. Jennifer Rankin takes a closer look. (The Guardian)
Middle East:
  • Despite widespread knowledge of the origins of coronavirus, alternative theories abound. The Islamic State's version is that the virus is "God’s divine retribution to China," for anti-Uyghur actions. This gives ISIS a chance to whip up anti-China sentiment, says Nur Aziemah Azman. (The Diplomat)
  • Catastrophe may well visit the Palestinians. Having been held under military occupation, the Palestinian territories are unprepared for the coronavirus onslaught. Israel must act to prevent it, say Zaha Hassan and Hallaamal Keir. (Foreign Policy
  • How do states divided along political lines and in the throes of internal turmoil deal with the outbreak of a global pandemic such as COVID-19? Let's ask Lebanon. Recent protests have transformed the country's populous. Tamirace Fakhoury takes a look. (The New Arab
East Asia: 
  • An unpredicted side effect of the coronavirus outbreak in China: the mobilization of its youth. Vivian Wang & Javier Hernandez report on protests against government hiding of information, covert social media channels, and, overwhelmingly, economic discontent. (NYT)
  • China says it's beating coronavirus. But can we believe its numbers? Errrr... say Amy Gunia and Charlie Campbell. (Time
  • What we can learn from South Korea and Singapore’s efforts to stop coronavirus (besides wearing face masks)? A lot says Elisabeth Buchwald. (MarketWatch
South Asia: 
  • India is under a 21-day nationwide lockdown. Where's the money? Rana Ayyub reports misallocation of funds (monuments instead of health services), lack of testing, and widespread panic. Most worried? Laborers and the internally-displaced, who are only placed more at risk by this act. (Foreign Policy)
  • Our former colleague, Nikkon Balial points out that the social distancing measures put in place in India is for the privileged. (The Geopolitics
  • Pakistan may be smaller than India, but it has more coronavirus cases. So why are the mosques still open? Even amid a country-wide lockdown. Madiha Afzal on the uneven response to COVID-19. (Brookings)
The Americas:
  • Brazil's overburdened public health system is not only gearing up to fight the new coronavirus, but also two other epidemics. Meanwhile the president, Jair Bolsanaro, preaches against isolation measures, citing job losses. it's all a perfect storm says Beatrice Christofaro. (Deutsche Welle
  • In Venezuela, which is beset by sanctions, the international community should focus on humanitarian aid, and try to prevent a health disaster that could spread across much of Latin America, say Cynthia Arnson and Oriana Van Praag. (America's Quarterly
  • From the beginning of March to the end, life in the US has transformed alongside the spread of coronavirus. April is looming and Caitlin Owens says that though the new month represents uncertainties, there are also things we should be prepared for. (Axios)
  • We are at the height of COVID-19 testing in the US, still only at a percentage of the rate of South Korea, and with the largest number of cases worldwide to show for it. Why? How did the US get here? Meg Kelly, Sarah Cahlan, and Elyse Samuels answer this and more. (Washington Post)
  • Despite only three confirmed cases, (as compared to the US's 150,000 and counting), Liberia is moving forward with strict actions to combat the spread of COVID-19. Why? Riva Levinson explains the country's only hope is prevention, as resources for treatment don't exist. (The Hill)
  • Read our sister publication, Interruptrr Africa. The latest issue is devoted to COVID-19. (Interruptrr Africa
  • Among the things disrupted by COVID-19: supply chains. Countries are talking about reshoring. Shannon O'Neil says that they should focus on making global supply chains redundant. (Foreign Affairs
  • The COVID-19 threat has shown that governments can act swiftly and resolutely in a crisis, and that people are ready to change their behavior for the good of humanity. The world must now urgently adopt the same approach to the existential challenge of climate change, say Mary Robinson and Daya Reddy. (Project Syndicate
  • Coronavirus isn't the first global pandemic. Elizabeth Kolbert on important historical events that may have happened because of disease. (The New Yorker
  • Trump was unprepared for and remains overwhelmed by COVID-19. He can't do his job, so others need to step up to ensure it's done, writes Juliette Kayyem. (The Atlantic)
  • Links between COVID-19 and other global challenges underscore the importance of multilateral cooperation across a broad array of issue areas, write Kaysie Brown and Megan Roberts. (CFR
  • Developing nations as well as advanced ones will soon face a health emergency and its economic consequences, namely debt, say Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. (WSJ)
We've schedule our next Ask an Expert!
On fake news and disinformation with FPI Fellow Nina Jankowicz.
Wednesday, April 15, 12pm-1pm EST - so those of you in Europe can join! 

Ask an Expert is exclusively for FPI newsletter subscribers. We won't post this on social media. Yes, you are special. RSVP here
FPI-Bard Fellowship applications extended! 

We've extended the application deadline until April 17. If you're a woman in foreign policy, national security, international finance, technology, entrepreneurship, or business  who is eager to pen an op-ed and get mentored in media training and public speaking — we want to hear from you! More information here, along with the application. Get in touch:
Listen | Good Stuff on Gender |Good Stuff


  • What can history teach us about COVID-19? Elmira talked to Yale historian Frank Snowden. (Project Syndicate
  • How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting global energy markets? Samantha Gross and Adrianna Pita take a look. (Brookings)
  • Ashley Feng and Kristine Lee on Brussel Sprouts: China, Europe, and COVID-19. (Center for New American Security)
  • Amy Mackinnon and James Palmer have been charting coronavirus through their podcast Don't Touch My Face. Their most recent episode looks at the potential psychological toll of the pandemic. (Foreign Policy)
Fun listens: 
Good Stuff on Gender

Women's History Month is over, and likely with it a lot of good gender content that reminds us HOW FAR WE STILL HAVE TO GO. Regardless, here are some important articles from this, final, week.....
  • Marianne Schnall asked some great women to write about some other great women. Looking for hope in our history. Incredible. (CNN)
  • Equal Pay Day was Tuesday, signifying the day (on average) women have to work until to make as much money as men made in the year before. Kim Elsesser delves into the pay gap beyond ted these averages. (Forbes)
  • "Strong social science is uncovering more and more insights on the role of gender and gender relations in shaping the key security trends of our time." If anyone ever argues, you can at least hit them with some facts (ON TOP of your social/emotional intelligence) after reading this. (New America)
  • Abortion is essential, not elective... on the exploitation of a global pandemic to decrease reproductive rights. (Ms. Magazine)
  • Seven leadership tips men can learn from women. (Harvard Business Review
  • Words that undermine women. On being called angry, bossy, and more. (NPR
Good Stuff
  • Nellie Bowles on the end to screen-time limitations, and connecting over technology in these different times. (NYT)
  • Chernobyl, Babylon Berlin, Capernum... the Brookings Foreign Policy team shares what they're watching while stuck inside. (Brookings)
  • Stay at Home: Online Music Festival and Events Calendar- for daily updates on what's going on (online). (StayAtHomeFest)
  • Love in the time of coronavirus: a marriage ceremony that had the officiant floors away and the guests double-parked on the street. (The Cut)
  • National Geographic photographers are stuck in their homes around the world. This photo compilation answers the question, "What does this pandemic look like from their now geographically limited perspectives? " (National Geographic)
  • 50 things to do while your stuck at home - up your bartender game! (TimeOut)
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Carpe That Diem
The Pacific Forum Young Leaders Program is taking applications until April 30. 

Journalists! Coda Story has a reporting grant opportunity. The Bruno Fellowship offers $16k to fund one investigative reporting project over a period of 9 months. Journalists from all over the world are invited to pitch. You can be based anywhere, your story just has to fit one of our beats. Check it out. 

PUT THIS ON YOUR RADAR (and sign up for it)The Ballot tracks elections around the world. Yes, the rest of the world has elections. Madeleine Schwartz is eager to get beyond the US-centric take on things and look at how other countries exercise democracy. In this edition, she's focused on Iran, Israel, and Croatia. 

Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is launching a new premier event to elevate emerging and diverse voices in national security: The Pitch. Selected applicants will make their pitch for innovative policy ideas to renew American competitiveness in front of a distinguished panel of judges and live studio audience on April 7, 2020. Apply here

The Congressional European Parliamentary Initiative 2020 Fellowship is now open, until April 15. 

The Women's Media Center's Progressive Women's Voices 2020 training will now take place in August and September. The deadline for applications has been extended to April 15. If you're interested in getting out there and being heard, get on it!  

Job opportunities: 

In DC, The Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs is hiring for an Executive Director

In NYC, IPI seeks a Research Fellow as part of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) team who will lead the program at IPI Headquarters. 

In NYC, he Audubon Society is hiring for a Managing Director, Events and Engagement Programs. 

In Illinois, Pro Publica is hiring for an Associate Director of Communications

In London, The Economist is hiring for an international correspondent

Thoughts? Feedback? What did we miss? Holler back here.
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