Alarmed by China’s progress in extending its influence among a series of strategically located islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this week President Joe Biden is hosting the first-ever US-Pacific Island Country Summit in Washington, DC. The White House has invited the leaders of 12 Pacific nations to discuss climate change, economic cooperation, and security ties. We asked Eurasia Group expert Peter Mumford to explain the importance of the event.
Why hold the summit now?
After taking office in early 2021, the Biden administration initially focused its Indo-Pacific diplomatic efforts on longstanding allies Japan and South Korea, as well as on wooing India and strengthening the Quad, a grouping of the US, Japan, India, and Australia. In the second half of the year, it ramped up its engagement with Southeast Asia.
Now it is turning its focus to the Pacific Islands, partly in response to increased Chinese assertiveness in the region and the warnings of a concerned Australia, a key US ally.
One recent development that set off alarm bells was a security pact between China and the Solomon Islands that entails broad police and military cooperation. Beijing this year also tried, unsuccessfully, to form a regional economic and security pact with ten Pacific countries.
Some Pacific countries say America has neglected them for a long time – is that true?
Broadly, yes. At the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in July, Vice President Kamala Harris took an important step toward healing wounded feelings. Speaking over a video link, she said: “We recognize that in recent years, the Pacific Islands may not have received the diplomatic attention and support that you deserve. So today I am here to tell you directly: We are going to change that.”
What do Pacific countries want from the US, and what is the US willing to offer them?
First and foremost, these countries want the US to show up and engage with them. To that end, the US is reopening its embassy in the Solomon Islands and plans to establish two new missions in the region, in Tonga and Kiribati; Washington will also, for the first time, appoint a US envoy to the Pacific Islands Forum.
Beyond that, Pacific countries want help mitigating the effects of climate change. Several nations lie just a few meters above sea level. Fiji Defense Minister Inia Seruiratu said at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June: "In our Blue Pacific continent, machine guns, fighter jets, gray ships, and green battalions are not our primary security concern. The single greatest threat to our very existence is climate change."
In July, Harris said that US assistance to the region — to help strengthen climate resilience, improve marine planning and conversation, address illegal fishing, and enhance maritime security — would be tripled to $60 million per year for the next decade, subject to approval by Congress. The US Agency for International Development also plans to re-establish a regional mission in Suva, Fiji.
Why has China been expanding its own engagement with the region?
The Pacific Islands are composed of many small nations, each with a vote at the UN, providing an attractive opportunity for China to expand its international support.
Beijing is also seeking to further constrain Taiwan’s diplomatic space, given that the Pacific Islands are home to four of the remaining 14 nations that formally recognize Taiwan. China has already convinced several Pacific countries to switch their diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China, most recently the Solomon Islands and Kiribati in 2019. That said, Taiwan’s four remaining allies — the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Palau, and Nauru — say they are standing firm.
The Pacific Islands region is also an important part of China’s goal to project naval power further afield by finding new friendly nations to offer safe harbor to Chinese military vessels.
Why does this outreach concern the US?
Beijing’s increasing engagement in the Pacific Islands poses a number of implications for US military interests, including the potential encirclement of allies Australia and New Zealand.
In addition, as China increases its economic engagement, including through the Belt and Road Initiative, Pacific Island countries may feel more beholden to Beijing and side with it at international fora. Washington is also concerned that China’s growing influence could weaken democracy and governance in the region.
Who is winning the scramble for the Pacific?
Until recently, it seemed China had the upper hand, with much more intense diplomatic and economic engagement. But Beijing has suffered several setbacks recently, such as the failure of the new economic and security pact, and rising apprehension over involvement in BRI projects worldwide.
Meanwhile, the US is re-engaging, and its support for regional identities strikes a chord in the region. Similarly, Australia has scored some success in its efforts to convince Pacific Island countries not to use the equipment of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.
The challenge for the US, though, is to sustain engagement with a far-flung region at a time when it has many priorities to juggle, several of which are more pressing. China will always be able to devote more financial resources and deploy senior visitors to the region more often than the US can. Yet the US’s network of alliances and partnerships can compensate for this disadvantage. Especially important is the role played by Australia, which is by far the largest aid donor to the Pacific Islands, the Quad grouping, and the recently launched US-led Partners in the Blue Pacific initiative, which includes Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and the UK as well as other observer countries.
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Tensions between Taiwan and China rose to new highs this summer after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s controversial visit to the island prompted a week-long series of Chinese military maneuvers that were even more threatening than usual. China has pledged to retake what it sees as a breakaway territory — through invasion if necessary — and viewed the trip by a top US official as an affront to its sovereignty.
As China asserts its claims to Taiwan more aggressively, the island’s population has grown increasingly averse to reunification. Yet there are powerful reasons for China not to invade Taiwan — not least the fear that America, the island’s longtime ally, would come to its defense. US ties to Taiwan have grown even closer in recent years as it has come to dominate the global production of semiconductors, tiny silicon connectors that serve as the brains of modern electronics.
We asked Xiaomeng Lu, a director in Eurasia Group’s geo-technology practice, to explain how chips fit into Chinese and US calculations toward Taiwan.
How important is Taiwan for the world’s electronics industry?
A single company, TSMC, produces more than 90% of the world’s smallest and most advanced semiconductors, which are used to power high-end servers and sophisticated AI applications. Taiwan is also home to MediaTek, a leading manufacturer of smartphone chipsets; ASE Group, which provides semiconductor assembly and testing services; and GlobalWafers, which makes silicon wafers. Other important Taiwan firms include PC makers ASUS and Acer, as well as contract manufacturers Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron. The island’s manufacturing capacity plays a critical role in the global electronics supply chain.
What would be the impact of a Chinese invasion?
Modern semiconductor manufacturing is a complex global ecosystem in which different companies around the world have different specializations. A Chinese invasion would cut Taiwan off from that ecosystem, severing the real-time connections it relies on for things like product designs, materials, chemicals, and equipment. Even in the best-case scenario for China of a rapid, successful invasion in which it gained control of the island without much fighting, international sanctions would probably prevent China from obtaining many key inputs from overseas required to produce chips.
Yet as Russia’s attempt to take over Ukraine has shown, such a move is fraught with risk and uncertainty. An invasion of Taiwan by China would be even more complex, given the body of water separating them. Many semiconductor production facilities are located in areas where China is likely to land troops, so chipmaking offices and factories could unintentionally suffer collateral damage. A prominent Chinese economist affiliated with the government recently said that occupying TSMC factories would be a top priority for China in the event of an invasion. But Taiwan, potentially with US assistance, might choose to destroy them itself rather than let them fall into the hands of China.
How do these risks affect China’s calculations?
Recent events in Hong Kong show that China is willing to inflict damage on a high-performing economy, if necessary, to achieve longstanding political goals. The wrinkle in the case of Taiwan is that its high-tech products – especially its semiconductors – are key to China’s ambitions to establish itself as a global leader in emerging technology areas. Cutting-edge chips support, for example, space and biology research; exposure to advanced technology also offers Chinese engineers the opportunity to acquire new skills.
As a result, China has aimed to maintain commercial ties with TSMC and avoid any measures that would harm it or the broader sector even as its relations with Taiwan and the US have deteriorated. Following Pelosi’s visit, China slapped several sanctions on Taiwan, including a prohibition on the export of Chinese sand for use in the island’s semiconductor industry. This was a purely symbolic measure, however, as Taiwan chip manufacturers do not use Chinese natural sand in silicon wafer production but high-purity quartz sand, primarily obtained from the US.
How worried is the US?
US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo recently said the loss of access to chips from Taiwan would cause a “deep and immediate recession” for the world economy. The current global chip shortage, caused by pandemic-related disruptions, provides a small taste of what a semiconductor supply chain crisis may look like.
Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan included meetings with top semiconductor executives including TSMC Chairman Mark Liu and founder Morris Chang. Pelosi reportedly discussed with them the recently passed CHIPS+ Act, which offers $52 billion in support for semiconductor production. The US has been encouraging TSMC to expand its operations in the US to strengthen ties with the company.
Observers have referred to Taiwan’s unique status in the semiconductor industry as a “silicon shield” that both discourages Chinese aggression and encourages US backing for the island.
How has the Taiwan semiconductor industry navigated escalating geopolitical tensions?
Though TSMC has tried to maintain good relations with China, it has moved closer to the US to maintain access to its technology and political alignment with Taipei. The company has committed to building a $12 billion advanced semiconductor plant in Arizona and has expressed interest in receiving CHIPS funding to cover some costs.
However, TSMC has resisted pressure to shift its most cutting-edge production technology to the US, citing concerns such as commercial feasibility, talent shortage, and cultural issues. It is also likely responding to Taipei’s concerns that doing so could erode US resolve to come to Taiwan’s defense in the event of an attack. Nobody on the island wants to weaken the “silicon shield” protecting it.
Hump Day Recommendations: Son of the Bride, Tim Bengel, Atomic Habits, What Bobby McIlvaine Left Behind
Watch: “Son of the Bride” — Argentinian filmmaker Juan José Campanella is best known for “The Secret in Their Eyes,” which won the 2009 Oscar for Best Foreign Picture. But my favorite Campanella film is this comedic drama about a son helping his father plan a Catholic wedding for his mother with dementia. Keep a tissue handy, and enjoy the superb performances of Argentine legends Ricardo Darín, Héctor Alterio, and Norma Aleandro. — Carlos
Appreciate: Art by Tim Bengel – A friend visited me recently from Esslingen, Germany, where I once lived, and she showed me a video of a local man, Tim Bengel, making the most extraordinary images with sand and gold leaf. I love that a young man from a medieval town in Germany is — in his own way — revolutionizing the way art can be created and consumed. Take a look. — Tracy
Read: “Atomic Habits,” by James Clear – I don’t read “self-help books,” but I read this one because I liked its promise that “tiny changes” in habit can yield surprisingly positive results for a person’s health, well-being, and work. This book, based on years of extensive research on the human behavior that determines how small habits – healthy and unhealthy – are formed and can be broken, makes for a thought-provoking read. – Willis
Read: “What Bobby McIlvaine Left Behind” – There’s an influx of material every year around the 9/11 anniversary, much of it moving. Last year, The Atlantic’s Jennifer Senior wrote this piece about a boy she once knew, and the spiral of grief created in the wake of his death on 9/11. The circumstances around Bobby’s death were remarkable, but the message of this piece is eerily relatable: people grieve in very different ways. Jennifer won a Pulitzer for this masterpiece. – Gabrielle
On Sunday, Chileans go to the polls again to have their say on a proposed new constitution for the country.
Following earlier votes on whether a new charter was necessary and then who'd get to draft it, Chileans will decide whether to approve or reject a new constitution that enshrines some fundamental new rights and expands the role of the state in looking out for poor citizens and other marginalized groups.
How will the charter change Chile if it passes, and what happens if it doesn't? We get some clarity from Eurasia Group experts Yael Sternberg and Luciano Sigalov.
How did we get here?
The constitutional rewrite was proposed by former President Sebastián Piñera as a conciliatory solution following massive protests that erupted in late 2019 after a 30-peso hike to the metro fare in the capital, Santiago – the last straw for many fed-up Chileans.
The protests unleashed social anger over deeply entrenched inequality; and the effects of neoliberal policies protected by the constitution drafted during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990). After being delayed for several months because of the pandemic, in October 2020 Chileans overwhelmingly voted in a referendum to write a new charter by way of a constituent convention.
The members of the convention were then elected in May 2021, with leftists and independents winning the most seats. They were able to advance many of their proposals through to the plenary, though the most radical ones did not make it into the final draft. Over time, public trust in the process declined as scandals involving members emerged, and the deliberations dragged out.
What big things were included and left out of the final draft?
In addition to addressing women’s and Indigenous rights, the charter expands environmental protections quite broadly to include environmental “rights.” It redefines water as a natural common good that cannot be appropriated, which might result in some changes in the concession system for mining permits.
While some worried the draft would make Chile’s lucrative copper and lithium industries nearly unviable by placing them under state control, outright nationalization of the mining sector was rejected, and property rights remain mostly intact. Still, the draft marks a major shift from the old constitutional framework and would translate into a less business-friendly environment.
How would the new constitution change Chile's political system?
The new charter entails significant changes. The lower house would coexist with a new Chamber of Regions, replacing the senate though with more limited powers, leading to an asymmetric bicameral system. The minimum age to run for president would be lowered from 35 to 30, and presidential reelection for consecutive terms would be allowed.
In parallel, Chile's regions would control their budgets, have direct democracy mechanisms on some issues, and elect their governors. Furthermore, voting would be mandatory, and gender parity would be promoted among elected officials.
The proposed changes to the political system have been poorly received. Most criticisms point to an ill-defined electoral framework, weak powers for the new upper house, expanded responsibilities for lawmakers, and the potential impact of consecutive presidential reelection on policymaking.
Do recent polls give us a clear indication of whether the draft will pass?
The latest polling shows about 46% of people saying they'll vote against the draft, and 37% in favor. But 17% of Chileans say they’re undecided.
Why? For one thing, the messaging of the “yes” campaign in rallies and on TV has been somewhat weak, while the “no” ads have been more coherent and stronger. All campaigning is banned for the last week before the vote.
Also, a recent scandal involving several activists desecrating a Chilean flag during an approval rally has hurt the “yes” side. While the skit was condemned by some pro-approval figures, it essentially encapsulated the fears the “no” camp has been peddling of a deranged and radically leftist future, leaving us less confident that the text will be approved. We know Chileans want a new constitution — that’s what 79% said in the first referendum — but maybe just not this constitution.
What happens if it doesn't?
If the proposed text is rejected, the current constitution will remain in place. But since keeping the Pinochet-era charter is politically toxic, that'll likely result in major social and political backlash. In preparation for such a scenario, the government and political parties across the spectrum have already started to discuss the possibility of a new constitutional process.
However, the path would be lengthy and bumpy. For another rewrite, Congress would have to call another constituent election, something that Boric has already suggested yet would take six at least six months.
Agreeing on the rules — not to mention on the content of a new draft — would likely result in bitter discussions and tough-to-swallow political compromises for many. Uncertainty over Chile’s basic rules of the game will remain.
How might the referendum affect President Gabriel Boric?
A rejection would be a massive political blow for Boric early in his four-year term, as he has long advocated for the constitutional change.
Following such a setback, Boric’s ambitious pension and healthcare reforms would be even more difficult to get passed in a divided congress. Tax reform, another one of his flagship initiatives, would still likely win approval given consensus on the need to raise more revenue; but changes and delays would be likely.
More broadly, the administration would struggle to regain the initiative after linking its fate with the outcome of the plebiscite in a context of high inflation, a deteriorating economic outlook, and an unprecedented security crisis.
When the US completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan on Aug. 30, 2021, it put an end to a 20-year conflict that had claimed tens of thousands of lives.
But the messy scenes of departure — including a suicide bombing that killed 13 American troops and 170 others — heightened fears that it would allow Afghanistan to become a haven once again for international terrorists and undermine US security partnerships with other countries.
On the first anniversary of the pullout, we asked Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne what the consequences have been for Afghanistan and the rest of the world.
Have the Taliban shown themselves able to govern and bring stability?
Many Afghans welcomed the end of the 20-year war between the US and the Taliban and the relative stability that followed. But new challenges have arisen over the past year, for it is much easier to rebel than to govern.
The Taliban had a simple raison d’être for two decades: to expel US-led forces from Afghanistan. Now, however, it is tasked with securing diplomatic recognition, cultivating unofficial diplomatic ties with wary governments, and unlocking billions in central bank reserves, to name but a few objectives. It must also contain ISIS-K, the Islamic State’s Afghanistan-based branch, which bitterly opposes the Taliban. Many Afghans who possess the kind of bureaucratic know-how that will be essential to managing these challenges have either fled or been marginalized during the past year.
There are also divisions within the Taliban, as there are in any other government. Some officials fear, for example, that the adoption of draconian policies on education for girls and workforce participation for women will make it harder for Afghanistan to secure the foreign aid that it urgently needs. For now, though, Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada and other ideological hardliners within the organization have the upper hand.
Can economic hardship and the rollback in human rights undermine stability?
With the Taliban’s resumption of power, Afghanistan experienced an abrupt cutoff of over $8 billion in annual international aid, equivalent to about 40% of GDP. Exacerbating that shock is an ongoing drought as well as economic headwinds resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The humanitarian situation is dire, with the UN World Food Program estimating that roughly half of the Afghan population is experiencing food insecurity and that a staggering 95% do not have enough to eat. Severe malnutrition, in turn, has increased Afghans’ susceptibility to many diseases and strained an already overwhelmed healthcare system. Many humanitarian and human rights organizations are accordingly urging a relaxation of international sanctions on the Taliban.
Meanwhile, the Taliban’s restrictions on women who seek to participate in the workforce will not only compound Afghanistan’s short-term economic difficulties; they will also limit the country’s medium- to long-run growth potential. One watchpoint worth monitoring is whether ISIS-K attempts to boost its ranks with Afghans who are disillusioned by Taliban rule.
Does the US strike against Ayman al-Zawahiri signal Afghanistan is again becoming a haven for international terrorists?
That the Taliban was harboring al-Qaida’s leader belies its pledge to prevent Afghanistan from reemerging as a safe haven for terrorism. A UN report published shortly before the strike warned that the two organizations have a “close relationship” and concluded that al-Qaida has “increased freedom of action” in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.
US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl testified late last year that ISIS-K might be able to attack the US homeland within six to 12 months and that al-Qaida might be able to do so within one to two years. Confronting a grinding Russia-Ukraine war as well as escalating tensions in the Taiwan Strait, the US has a strong incentive to ensure that they do not develop this capability.
Does the strike’s success suggest the US can contain the terrorism risk without a presence in the country?
The US’s ability to gather intelligence and conduct remote military operations has improved significantly over the past two decades. Even as the strike highlights the continued Taliban-al-Qaida nexus, it spotlights this ability as well. Barring another large-scale terrorist attack on the US that is conclusively attributed to organizations operating inside Afghanistan, though, it is highly unlikely that the US would deploy even a small contingent of troops to the country. The real question, then, is not whether the US can contain the terrorism risk in Afghanistan without boots on the ground, but how best it can contain that risk without them.
Has the US withdrawal affected perceptions about its reliability as a security partner?
The impact appears to have been smaller than many observers had feared at the time of the US withdrawal. The Biden administration has mobilized the West against Russian aggression, and both NATO and the EU are newly invigorated; the former is poised to admit two new members, Finland and Sweden, and the latter has granted membership candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine. Similarly, in managing a resurgent China, the US has successfully bolstered existing groupings such as the Quad and launched new partnerships and initiatives (for example, Partners in the Blue Pacific and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework).
Even if one believes that the US withdrawal undercut perceptions of US reliability, it is worth remembering that when the US was bogged down in Afghanistan, many of the US’s European and Asian friends questioned whether it was able to engage with them consistently on issues that were of more pressing concern to them than counterterrorism.
The US’s withdrawal affirms not only that military power can only go so far in achieving political outcomes, but also that narrow missions can easily morph into nebulous undertakings. America’s NATO allies criticized it for not consulting with them more closely as it prepared to depart, and some observers feared that the decision would inflict permanent damage on perceptions of US reliability. One year on, though, that anxiety appears overstated.
On Sept. 25, Italians head to the polls to vote in a snap parliamentary election triggered by the collapse of PM Mario Draghi's fragile coalition government in late July. Political instability and short-lived governments are nothing new in Italy, which has churned through 18 of them in the past 34 years. Now, though, an alliance of far-right parties is widely favored to win power for the first time since the end of World War II in a country with bitter memories of fascist rule. What will that government look like, and what can we expect from it? We asked Eurasia Group analyst Federico Santi.
What would a far-right government look like?
It'll probably be a coalition led by the far-far-right Brothers (Fratelli d’Italia) Party, with the far-right Lega and the center-right Forza Italia parties as junior partners. If the Brothers and Lega do extremely well, there’s a chance they could do without Forza Italia (probably the smaller of the three), but this is unlikely, and they sort of come as a package.
Who would lead it?
The smart money is on Giorgia Meloni, Brothers’ shrewd leader, since the deal is that whichever party wins the most votes gets to pick the prime minister. Brothers will most likely win the most votes (and seats) of the three, and probably of any party in fact. The next PM need not be the leader of the party; in fact, looking at the last few years, prime ministers come and go every 1-2 years on average, but party leaders tend to be more durable. So it’s possible that Meloni could select another high-profile figure for the post, contenting herself to run the show from the sidelines. But she has recently dispelled this, signaling very clearly that she has her eye on the top job.
What would it mean for migration?
Given the structural drivers of migration (population growth, climate change, drought, food prices, food insecurity), the problem is only going to get worse. With chronic instability in Libya, and an unpoliceable border at sea, Italy cannot rely on Europe’s time-tested methods of co-opting autocrats to police migration flows from Algeria, Egypt, or Turkey.
Lega boss Matteo Salvini was Italy's interior minister from 2018 to 2019, when his party briefly ruled the country in a coalition with the populist 5-Star movement after the 2018 election. So we have an idea of what that looks like: generate as much noise as possible while shifting as much of the blame as possible to the EU for what is in fact a largely intractable problem. In practice, this may involve denying safe harbor and rescue rights for migrants in waters under Italian jurisdiction, while clamoring for a more equitable distribution of asylum-seekers in the EU, and more EU funding to deal with the issue – neither of which is likely.
The other option, to which Italy has resorted with some success in the past, is paying off Libyan militias to police flows — effectively holding tens of thousands of migrants in jails and internment camps, usually in appalling conditions.
What about relations with the EU?
Meloni has so far been careful to come across as moderate and as a credible partner, including vis-à-vis Brussels and Washington. None of the three parties wants to ditch the euro, let alone the EU. Having seen what the Eurozone debt crisis meant for Greece, they are not keen to go down that road, and probably won’t openly antagonize the EU initially.
However, Brothers and Lega remain fundamentally populist nationalist parties. Their basic instinct will be to reject unpopular demands from Brussels if they go counter to their electoral interests, or to foster and leverage anti-EU sentiment to shore up support for their cause in the face of a faltering economy.
Despite the leadership’s moderate turn, Brothers’ base remains rooted in the far-right, as do its rank-and-file lawmakers. Competition within the coalition also has the potential to lead to a dangerous race to the bottom, notably between Lega and Brothers — who are competing for the same electorate to some extent. Indeed, this was arguably one of the main structural factors leading to Draghi’s downfall.
Also, the fringe Italexit party — which does want Italy out of the EU — will probably meet the 3% of the vote threshold to enter parliament. Although it'll likely remain out of the coalition, Lega and Brothers will have a new competitor to contend with outside government as well.
Lastly, the broader macroeconomic context is also unhelpful. Rising inflation will prompt greater demands for fiscal stimulus and salary increases across the board, which the government will struggle to manage.
What would it do with Draghi’s stalled reforms to get EU pandemic recovery cash?
Many of the reforms required for the December review have already been legislated, so in a sense, the hard work is done. However, in most cases, the government still has to issue the legislation necessary to actually implement the reforms, which will be difficult to do by the end of the year. So the December tranche (just under 1% of GDP) of EU money will at the very least be delayed well into 2023, with direct repercussions for Italy's economic growth outlook.
Going forward, the reforms calendar will suffer, and further disbursements will also be at risk. There is also a chance the new government might want to renegotiate parts of the Recovery Plan, which could lead to further delays.
Do these far-right parties stand a better or worse chance of getting along compared to previous coalition governments?
Italy’s complex electoral system gives electoral coalitions a big advantage over parties running individually. Lega and Forza Italia formed part of Draghi’s national unity coalition. Meanwhile, Brothers had been leading the opposition and climbed steadily in the polls as a result, mainly at Lega’s expense. Yet, true to form, the three quickly closed ranks once elections were triggered, and announced they would run as a bloc.
Going forward, they also have strong incentives to keep the coalition together, though competition between them could have important implications for the policy outlook. Only a significant decline in support for any of the three parties could increase the risk of another snap election.
Read: A Little History of the World by E.H. Gombrich — Imagine you’re a precocious 12-year-old who asks your very wise and learned grandfather to tell you the entire history of the world. If the old man has done his research and knows just how to explain complex ideas to you with great simplicity, you’ll have something like Gombrich’s “A Little History of the World.” And you might enjoy it again in an entirely new way when you’re a few decades older. – Willis
Listen: Maná — They're old, they're shaggy, and they’re awesome AF. I love love love this Mexican pop-rock band because their tunes make me wanna cry (El muelle de San Blas), play air guitar and lose my voice (Clavado en un bar), or hog the karaoke mic (Corazón espinado). Check out their greatest hits here. — Carlos
Watch: The Thin Blue Line – Errol Morris has made many great documentaries, but perhaps his greatest one is the 1988 classic The Thin Blue Line, which looks at the case of Randall Adams, convicted and sentenced to death for killing a cop in Dallas, Texas. Morris became obsessed with the case – and Adams' innocence – when he learned more about “Dr Death,” a key witness for the prosecution. – Gabrielle