It wasn't pretty, but we made it to Inauguration Day. These last four years have taught the US a lot about itself — so what have we learned?

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It took a while, but the outcome was called over the weekend: Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. Biden will flip Trump's electoral college map from four years ago, and get an even bigger share of the popular vote than Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

The Senate is expected to stay in Republican hands, pending a special election for two runoff seats in Georgia in early January, and Republicans also narrowed the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives by 5. Add to that the 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court, and it's about as divided a US government as could be imagined.

That's the most challenging outcome of all for Biden. If Republicans hold the Senate, his administration won't be able to push through any meaningful political reforms, much less act on issues that many Democrats feel strongly about.

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Let's be clear— the Middle East peace plan that the US unveiled today is by no means fair. In fact, it is markedly more pro-Israel than any that have come before it.

But the Trump administration was never aiming for a "fair" deal. Instead, it was pursuing a deal that can feasibly be implemented. In other words, it's a deal shaped by a keen understanding of the new power balances within the region and globally.

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On Thursday night, President Donald Trump ordered the US military to assassinate Qassim Suleimani, a man widely considered Iran's second most important leader. Following the successful strike, fury has erupted in Iran. Threat levels have escalated in both Tehran and Washington. Are the US and Iran headed for war?

Let's take a step back.

Some will accuse Trump of "wagging the dog" to divert attention from the free flow of impeachment-related accusations against him in Washington and play tough guy for a political base that backs the use of American military power, particularly against enemies like Iran.

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Data is reshaping the 21st century world order. China knows this; for years, China has put the development of advanced communications technology and control of data at the center of its plan to maintain social order as it opens its economy and expands its international influence. Where Western powers like the US were content to largely let technology companies police themselves, the Chinese government has promoted and enlisted its tech champions in its plans for national development. Until recently, these different approaches to data, technology, and the internet—one driven by the US private sector, the other by China's public sector—coexisted in a global marketplace.

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