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Who'll keep the peace in Afghanistan?

Just hours before the August 31 deadline, US forces have fully withdrawn from Afghanistan after almost 20 years. But the country, now controlled by the same militant group that the American military ousted two decades ago, is nowhere near stable.

Last week's deadly suicide bombings outside Kabul's airport by ISIS-K — the local affiliate of the Islamic State and ideological enemy of the Taliban — have sown fresh doubts about the Taliban's capacity to maintain even basic security once the US is gone.

Major outside players are at odds about how to deal with the Taliban. But they all share a common interest: doing whatever's necessary to prevent further terrorist attacks and a refugee crisis. Let's take a look at a few of them.

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Senate's bipartisan $1T infrastructure bill could double US spending

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

The Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill this week. What do we know about that?

Infrastructure week is finally here, after many years of fits and starts on pressing a bipartisan infrastructure bill. The Senate moved one out of the chamber this week, as well as making progress on President Biden's $3.5 trillion follow-up spending plan. What's in the infrastructure bill? While it's a whole bunch of money for roads, bridges, tunnels, water projects, broadband deployment, airports, ports, all types of physical infrastructure, and it was done on a bipartisan basis.

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Biden’s Caribbean surprises

All elected leaders face two problems: crises that weren't on the agenda will strike from unexpected directions, and all possible responses are less than ideal.

Hey, Joe Biden, Cuba's on line one, and Haiti's holding on line two.

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The Graphic Truth: Biden & Merkel have been around the block

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Joe Biden have both been in politics for a long time. Biden was first elected to the US Senate in 1972, when Merkel was still studying physics in communist East Germany. But she became Germany's leader 15 years before Biden won the White House in 2020. The two have a warm personal relationship, dating back to when Biden was Obama's VP. But they won't overlap for much longer because Merkel is stepping down in September. The two seasoned politicians have seen a lot during their extensive political careers. We map them out here.

A rare revolt in Cuba

On Sunday afternoon, thousands of Cubans did something remarkable in a police state: take to the streets in the biggest protest against the government in almost 30 years. Yet only dozens were arrested the next day. They are all risking lengthy jail terms to demand access to scarce food, medicine, and COVID vaccines.

How did we get here, and what might come next?

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Joe Biden's presidency: biggest surprises, successes and mistakes so far

What surprised Jane Harman, former US Congresswoman (D-CA), most about Joe Biden's presidency? "Number one, he's much more hands-on as a leader than I fully understood. It's coming out now how he runs his meetings and what he does. But number two, and I love this, he's really enjoying the job." Harman, a nine-term member of Congress who served for decades on the major security committees in the House of Representatives, notes that Biden's stint as Vice President was no guarantee of how he would perform. "I think sitting behind that desk, and having the buck stop with him is very different. And I think he fills out the job very well."

In an interview with Ian Bremmer, Harman says Biden has a dimension that none of his four predecessors had, because of his experience in Congress and in foreign policy. She also shares her perspective on Biden's biggest successes as well as some mistakes he's made.

Podcast: US national security depends on domestic progress: Jane Harman explains

Listen: Jane Harman, a nine-term member of Congress (D-CA) who served for decades on the major security committees in the House of Representatives, discusses the shortcomings of the US national security strategy for the last few decades, and assesses the Biden administration's plans to strengthen it. In an interview with Ian Bremmer, she discusses the priorities for addressing critical issues at home and abroad, from the COVID pandemic to the climate crisis and terrorism. But without a unified and functional Congress, Harman warns, the US is ineffective on matters of security. "Where is Congress? Congress can't get things done because of toxic partisanship, but the other reason it can't get anything done is members don't want to own the consequences. And that is chicken."

Harman, author of the new book, "Insanity Defense: Why Our Failure to Confront Hard National Security Problems Make Us Less Safe," discusses Joe Biden's presidency so far and gives him high marks on assembling an "A-team" for foreign policy. She adds, 'I'm just hopeful that because he has long term relationships and really a good compass for how to talk to members of Congress, he will be able to get somewhere."

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