This week, two international incidents dragged Americans’ attention away from the midterm election cycle and Washington, D.C. politics: the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, and a thousands-strong migrant caravan making its way up from Central America.
Clearly intersecting with American politics, these issues remind us that consequential events happen outside American borders — and that paying attention to international news is essential to keeping a healthy perspective on what happens within them.
As we run the treadmill of the 24-hour news cycle and President Trump’s tweet-alerts, lives and nations are changing around the world. Hurricane Willa wrought destruction on Mexico’s Pacific coast this week. Dozens of people have died amidst unrest in Afghanistan’s parliamentary elections. The European Commission is arguing with Italy over the country’s budget.
It’s not all bad news, though: A team of surgeons repaired the spines of unborn babies for the first time in Britain, and the oldest intact shipwreck was just discovered off the coast of Bulgaria.
As Khashoggi’s death and the migrant caravan demonstrate, what happens around the world is meaningful back home. Don’t wait for international news to touch American citizens or politics to pay attention to it. Understanding the rise and fall of another country’s politics and the trials and triumphs they go through will help us understand our own — and recognize that they are not as all-encompassing as we might think.