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JANUARY 20, 2020


Essays by


VOL. 195, NO. 1 | 2020

4 | Conversation
6 | For the Record
Features Time Off △
Pelosi meets with
 The Iran Conflict What to watch, read,
her staff on Capitol
The Brief What the U.S. strike on
see and do
Hill on Dec. 5
News from the U.S.
and around the world Qasem Soleimani and Iran’s Best of the
retaliation mean for the world Decade: Photograph by
7 | Deadly wildfires
engulf Australia By Karim Sadjadpour 14 Judy Berman Philip Montgomery
on TV shows for TIME
9 | Attack on protesters and miniseries,
further roils India
Pelosi’s Playbook
Why Nancy Pelosi chose to bet Stephanie Zacharek
10 | Why American the Democratic majority on a on movies and
dairies are going bankrupt confrontation with President Trump performances,
By Molly Ball 22 Maura Johnston on
11 | The trial of
albums and songs,
Harvey Weinstein
and TIME staffers
12 | 20 moments
Leading Taiwan on fiction and
to watch in 2020 President Tsai Ing-wen
nonfiction 43
tries to keep the island
out of China’s reach 52 | 7 Questions for
By Charlie Campbell 32 actor Alfre Woodard

Reviving World War I ON THE COVER:

In 1917, Sam Mendes finds a way Photograph by
to escape trench warfare onscreen Morteza Nikoubazi—
By Karl Vick 36 Images

Content by the Buzz Business



Q&A with Luca de Meo,
former President, SEAT

As a decade of
unprecedented change
ends and a new year
dawns, the social and
economic consequences
of technological innovation
are becoming ever more
apparent. On the frontline
of transformation is the
global car industry, which
dominated the economy
of the 20th century and is
now advancing towards
an uncertain future.

In response to the combined

onslaught of environmental
pressure, technological
disruption and social
change, some of the best-
known names in global
car manufacturing are
reinventing their business
models. In addition to
making the switch from
internal combustion
engines to electric
powertrains, car companies manufacturers are exploring the long-term
are preparing for a future social, environmental and economic impacts of
of ride-sharing services these dramatic changes in their market. They
and reduced vehicle are rethinking the very meaning of mobility.
ownership. To survive, car
makers have to transform Serving a youthful, urban segment of the
the way they design, market, Barcelona-based SEAT is having
manufacture and market more success than many of its peers in this
their products and services. new world. Here, former president Luca de
Meo shares his vision of the road ahead.
In response to these
challenges, the global How is SEAT performing at this
automotive industry is time of great change?
adopting some of the The new strategic business unit, SEAT Urban
We are a relatively small player in the global
tenets of stakeholder Mobility, recently presented its new e-Kickscooter automotive landscape but are outperforming
capitalism. Rather than concept and its first ever electric e-Scooter concept the market. This year, for the third consecutive
just focusing on the year, we have been recording double-digit sales
bottom line and quarterly growth and reached our highest ever sales
earnings reports, car volume, thanks partly to the contribution of new
Content by the Buzz Business


models. There is a very positive mood around Many young people today cannot afford to buy
the brand. Thanks to the performance of the a car and then pay for all the additional costs
such as parking, insurance and maintenance.
last few years, our profile has risen, and we are
in a position where we can influence the wider Car ownership for youngsters in urban areas is
conversation about the future of our industry. becoming an impossible dream, even without

What impact will electrification have

DESIGNING the higher costs of electric vehicles. Our idea is
to develop mobility services for this generation.
on SEAT and the wider industry?
Electrification is a step that every carmaker THE ENTIRE Sixty years ago, we achieved this with hardware
– specifically with the iconic SEAT 600, the car

must take, joining forces with the wider that put Spain on wheels. Now we can achieve the
industry, authorities and society in general same goal if we change the way we do things, with
a combination of hardware, software and services.
to reduce carbon emissions and create a
more sustainable environment. Moreover,
the European Union has set strict emissions Tell us about some of the services SEAT
targets that can be achieved only by selling
vehicles based on eco-friendly technology.
MOBILITY will be introducing for urban mobility.
SEAT is the micromobility center of competence
for the entire Volkswagen Group. This year we have
By 2021, SEAT will launch six electrified models, set up a new business unit, SEAT Urban Mobility,

including the Mii electric and hybrid models such which is spearheading our efforts. It includes
as the SEAT Leon, the CUPRA Leon and the our Respiro carsharing platform, a kickscooter

CUPRA Formentor. The 100% electric SEAT el-Born sharing service and an electric scooter which
will be produced on the Group’s MEB platform. will be available for sharing services in 2020. We
are meeting the fundamental need for personal
How much will electric cars cost?
I believe that it is a misperception that electric
FORMER mobility, and we are staying true to our brand
and our values, but in a very contemporary way.
cars will be cheaper and more democratic, at least
initially. At first, they will be a product for those PRESIDENT, How do you think these services

who are well off. The technology is expensive. will transform city living?
Because of the cost of the battery, the powertrain After WWII, mass car ownership changed the
of an electric vehicle is probably three to four way of life in Europe and the U.S. Now the world
times the cost of an internal combustion engine. needs a different approach to enable personal
mobility, especially in developing markets.
It is true that operating an EV will be cheaper. In A new model is required. For journeys under
fact, the total cost could be one-third less than around six to eight kilometers in metropolitan
a conventional car, because of fuel savings. areas, innovative micromobility services
Depending on mileage, that should offset the could be the most efficient solution.
higher capital cost of the car. There are also
government incentives in some countries. At SEAT, we believe that mobility represents
However, when people are buying a car they freedom, progress and growth. Enabling people to
tend just to look at the headline price. move around and connect with each other creates
unparalleled opportunities. By applying innovative
Additionally, because many countries are still thinking to the challenges of today, we can
deficient in recharging infrastructure, most empower new generations with the gift of mobility.
electric vehicles will probably be second or third
cars. The cars will need to be charged at home,
so they will appeal primarily to homeowners.
These are the reasons why I think EVs will initially
interest people with high purchasing power.

How is SEAT responding to the

seismic shifts in the car market?
Our mission at SEAT has always been to
democratize personal mobility. We are above all
a brand for young urban residents -- in Spain,
in Europe and now in new global markets. But
we have realized that we can be more than just
a car company. We are positioning SEAT as a
mobility brand for the young, urban population. The first all-electric vehicle of SEAT: the new SEAT Mii electric

IN A TOUGH SPOT neighbors and not seek the

Re “man in The middle” isolation that Brexit and the
[Dec. 16]: Ukraine is one of breakup of the Union would
the severe victims of Donald inevitably bring.
Trump’s reckless and selfish Sue Woodruff,
acts. If the American Presi- honiTon, england
dent had had a coherent and
sound diplomatic strategy, AN IMPLAUSIBLE REALITY
Kyiv would not have been in Re “FeaR oF maSS ShooT-
such a precarious situation ings Fuels a Thriving Bullet-
against Russia. Trump’s du- proof Business” [Dec. 16]: I
bious moves in the Kyiv scan- couldn’t believe what I was
dal are doing Ukraine more reading. Had I somehow
harm than good in terms of skipped to the arts page and
its security and economy. was reading a review of a
Though the majority of dystopia movie of a future
Americans seem focused on society gone wrong? How adult leadership in the White The eliTeS loST TheiR
Trump’s impeachment, we can the world’s most power- House. Donald Trump has ei- grip? That’s ridiculous. In
should realize that Ukraine ful country have slipped to ther fired or driven out every the whole history of civili-
is suffering from Trump’s ca- the point where its children intelligent, sane experienced zation, elites have never re-
pricious politics. wear bulletproof hoodies and military leader on his staff. linquished power, and they
Shuichi John Watanabe, backpacks to school? I have As long as he remains in of- never will.
Sakai CiTy, Japan sympathy for the parents fice, America will have no Leo Krusack,
who are just trying to give solid foreign policy, no mili- haRbeRT, miCh.
TIME TO STAND TOGETHER their children a chance of tary strategy, and no good re-
Re “The diSuniTed king- surviving. Why aren’t Ameri- lationships with our lifelong SPEAKING VOLUMES
dom” [Dec. 16]: Your article cans screaming at the top of allies from around the world. aS a libRaRian, i WaS So
on the possible breaking their collective lungs, “When Ronald Snider, pleased (and bemused) to
up of the Union following will this madness end?” JaCkSonville, aRk. see “The 100 Must-Read
the likely departure of the Phil Restuccia, Books of 2019” included in
U.K. from Europe dismayed Wollongong, auSTRalia THE POWERFUL FEW the Dec. 2–9 issue, which
me. Please remember that Re “hoW The eliTeS loST also featured the 100 Best
many of us voted to remain, ThiS aRTiCle RepReSenTS Their Grip” [Dec. 2–9]: Inventions—the very old and
and we feel equally passion- one of the biggest American Thank you for this very in- the very new together. How
ate about saving the Union contradictions: people fear sightful article, which pro- many new inventions will still
and everything it stands for. gun violence and yet they vides a broad picture of how be around thousands of years
We are likely to be unrepre- don’t try to change gun laws. an America for all has been later, I wonder.
sented, unheard and undone. Louise Deshautels, hijacked by those who limit Lesley Gail White,
Divorce is habitually messy paRiS the American Dream to just melbouRne, auSTRalia
and often with no winners. a handful of elites. We can
It is especially tragic when WHAT FOREIGN POLICY? do much better, but it starts
not all parties seek it. In Re “CommandeR in with being well informed. SETTING THE RECORD
these uncertain and increas- Chaos” [Dec. 16]: This article Well done! STRAIGHT ▶ In “The 100 Must-
Read Books of 2019” (Dec. 2/Dec. 9),
ingly fragile times, we need is on the money and totally Mark E. Sommers, we misstated the nationality of au-
to stand side by side with our reveals the chaos and lack of deWiTT, neW yoRk thor Robert Menasse. He is Austrian.


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4 Time January 20, 2020


© 1986 Panda symbol WWF ® “WWF” is a WWF Registered Trademark


The fridge needs help. Because much of the energy we need to power it produces
waste, pollutes the atmosphere and changes the climate. We can transition the way
we produce and use energy in a way that will contribute to a sustainable future.
We’re campaigning in countries all around the world to provide the solutions for
governments, for companies and for all members of society to make the right choices
about energy conservation and use. And you, as an individual, can help just by the
choices you make. Help us look after the world where you live at

Spitsbergen, Norway.
© Wild Wonders of Europe / Ole Joergen Liodden / WWF
For the Record

‘TOO MANY ‘We’re starting ‘This

will be
TROLLS.’ a new year, the end
and let’s see of us.’
singer and TIME’s 2019
Entertainer of the Year,
in a Jan. 5 message
declaring she was taking
a break from Twitter if we can’t BEATRICE TOSTI DI VALMINUTA,
co-owner of a bar and
restaurant in New York City,
in a Jan. 6 New York Times

$495,000 both complete story about the Trump

Administration’s suggestion
that it may impose 100%
Asking price for each
of two decommissioned
nuclear-missile silos on the
the year as tariffs on European wine

market in Arizona

‘It doesn’t
matter cancer
about the
physical survivors.’
attributions ALEX TREBEK,

Jeopardy! host, asked if he had a message for Representative
of the John Lewis, in an Associated Press interview published Jan. 6; the
Georgia Democrat revealed his diagnosis in December and Trebek
person you million
made his own cancer fight public in March 2019

fall in love Low-end estimate of

with.’ ‘Due to the spread of Americans who’ve caught
the flu in what’s on track to
LAYLA MORAN, misinformation, our website be one of the worst seasons
for the virus in years, per
British lawmaker, in an
interview with PinkNews,
is experiencing high traffic CDC data released Jan. 3
after coming out as volumes at this time.’
pansexual in a Jan. 2
tweet; she is thought to THE U.S. SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM, Fake beef
be the first out pansexual after its website crashed Jan. 3 Burger King unveils
lawmaker in the U.K. amid fears of war with Iran a plant-based patty
in the U.K., but says
it’s cooked on the
same grills as beef




Approximate total spent

on legal recreational marijuana Fake pork
in Illinois on Jan. 1, the first Impossible Foods
day of sales in the state introduces a new
pork substitute at
CES in Las Vegas

6 Time January 20, 2020 S O U R C E S : A P, N E W YO R K T I M E S , B U S I N E S S I N S I D E R , P I N K N E W S , M I R R O R , C N E T

Burnt trees in
Mogo State Forest
in New South
Wales, Australia,
on Jan. 5




TheBrief Opener
CLIMATE CHANGE bush—the continent’s vast, often dry expanse that is
sparsely inhabited but filled with vegetation—has always
What the world sees been prone to wildfires. But a warming climate has height-
ened the risk: decades of worsening droughts have killed
as Australia burns off plants, grasses and trees, creating tinder for fires, and
By Justin Worland warmer average temperatures have created furnace-like
conditions in which fire can easily spread. Last year was
amilies huddle on a once picTuresque Australia’s hottest and driest on record, with temperatures

F beach as their homes burn behind them. Baby

koalas, their fur singed, cling to their mothers as
they face a fiery demise. And military helicop-
ters whomp overhead, searching the charred landscape
for stragglers looking for a last-minute escape.
in some parts of the country topping 120°F in December,
according to government data. A 2019 report from the
Australian government concluded that climate change had
already “resulted in more dangerous weather conditions
for bushfires in recent decades.”
These bracing scenes illustrate a terrifying reality But Australia’s current leadership remains largely in
on the ground in Australia, where more than two dozen denial about the problem. Along with the U.S., Russia
people and millions of animals have died in wildfires that and Brazil, Australia—where coal mining is a significant
have destroyed more than 25 million acres since industry and a powerful lobby—is one of just a

December and that are not expected to be con- handful of countries with national politicians
tained anytime soon. The blazes, so large that who have steadfastly refused to consider bold
they’ve created their own weather systems, action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. But
have sparked widespread panic, prompted a Area, in millions of acres, while U.S. President Donald Trump outright de-
military deployment and caused billions of dol- burned in Australia as of nies the science of climate change, Australian
lars in damage. “We’re in the middle of a war Jan. 7, an expanse the size of Prime Minister Scott Morrison has taken a dif-
situation,” says David Bowman, director of the South Korea ferent tack in recent months. He isn’t contesting
Fire Centre Research Hub at the University that climate change is real or that it has worsened
of Tasmania. the bushfires. Instead, he argues that his coun-
The infernos have also captured the world’s
attention. While climate-linked disasters aren’t
new—from the uptick in deadly heat waves to
increasingly powerful hurricanes, floods and
Number of Australian homes
try can’t do anything about it because Australia’s
greenhouse-gas emissions make up only a small
share of the global total. “To suggest that with
just 1.3% of global emissions, that Australia doing
blizzards—images of such destruction often destroyed, according to something differently, more or less, would have
insurance-industry figures
fail to resonate and are quickly forgotten in changed the fire outcome this season,” he told an
the next day’s news cycle. But what’s happen- Australian radio station, “I don’t think that stands

ing in Australia feels different. Haunting pic- up to any credible scientific evidence at all.”
tures of cute koalas, kangaroos and wallabies It’s not clear if, or for how long, Morrison’s
that have died en masse tear at our heartstrings. position will remain politically tenable among
And as cynical as it may sound, the fact that the his fellow citizens. Last year, 61% of Australians
Percentage of Australians
devastation is occurring in a wealthy, English- who think the country said their government should take urgent action
speaking country reminds even the most privi- should do more to combat “even if this involves significant costs,” accord-
leged observer that money alone cannot buy climate change, even if ing to a survey from the nonpartisan Lowy In-
immunity from the wrath of nature. “You have such action is costly stitute. That number is up 25 percentage points
the perfect storm of a story,” says Anthony since 2012. “There’s been a backlash against
Leiserowitz, who directs the Yale Program on Climate Scott Morrison,” says Lowy’s Daniel Flitton. “Issues to do
Change Communication. “[It] is happening on literally with the environment have been key to the downfall of
the other side of the planet, yet it seems to be resonating successive Prime Ministers in Australia.”
in this country.” Morrison’s dismissive rhetoric on climate change
Most significantly, the Australian fires are burning at makes him an outlier among democratic leaders, who are
a time when the world is becoming increasingly attuned for the most part rushing to proclaim all they’re doing to
to the catastrophic dangers of unchecked climate change. save the planet. But his position points to a dilemma: he is
Activists, a series of dire scientific reports and other re- correct, of course, that Australia cannot single-handedly
cent extreme, climate-linked events—including wildfires prevent climate change in the country’s backyard. Instead,
more than 7,000 miles away in California—have perhaps nations—including those that aren’t emitting that much
succeeded in sharpening the mind. Whether global lead- on their own—must act collectively to embrace policies
ers are able to translate this newfound awareness into that reduce emissions. Whether global leaders act boldly
meaningful political action is the next test. will determine if the heartbreaking images from Australia
that have now gripped the world are a tragic aberration or
There’s no quesTion about the link between the Aus- a look at what’s to come. —With reporting by amy Gunia/
tralian wildfires and climate change. The country’s famed honG KonG □

Puerto Rico
A 6.4-magnitude
earthquake rocked
Puerto Rico after it hit
offshore in the pre-
dawn hours of Jan. 7.
It was the largest in a
series of quakes that
struck the island in the
first week of the year.
At least one person
died and eight were
injured in the city of
Ponce, and more than
two-thirds of the island
lost electricity.

AFTER THE STORM Overturned cars and debris fill the streets in the aftermath of flash flooding in
Bekasi, West Java, Indonesia, on Jan. 2. Authorities said more than 60 people had died in Jakarta Methodist
after the capital city was hit on New Year’s Eve by some of the most powerful monsoon rains in Church
more than a decade. Forced to leave their homes because of rising waters and landslides, tens of proposes split
thousands of people evacuated to temporary shelters. More rain is forecast for the coming weeks.
The United Methodist
Church may split over
THE BULLETIN differences in belief
on LGBTQ clergy and
Attack at top Delhi university marriage equality,
signals rising tensions in India according to a proposal
announced on Jan. 3.
WiTh a bandaGed hand and bruises on DESPERATE TIMES Those universities, Currently, “practicing”
his back, student Santosh Singh says he no longtime bastions of progressive thought, members of the LGBTQ
community cannot
longer feels safe at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru now feel increasingly out of step with the become pastors, and
University (JNU), one of India’s top schools. country’s prevailing political climate. Since pastors are barred
On Jan. 5, he and some 30 others were in- his re-election last May, Modi has rewarded from performing same-
jured when masked men stormed the cam- his base by delivering on several long-held sex marriages. A vote
pus, armed with rods, bats and stones to Hindu nationalist goals, including a contro- on the proposal is
scheduled for May.
attack students who were protesting a fee versial new law that would offer a pathway
increase. “I thought they were going to kill to citizenship for asylum seekers from three
us,” Singh tells TIME. neighboring countries, provided they are
not Muslims—India’s largest minority and a China fights
MOB RULES To Singh, it seems clear who regular BJP target. mysterious
the masked men were. “They were ABVP illness
goons,” he says, referring to members of a DESPERATE MEASURES That law sparked
Health officials in
right-wing Hindu nationalist student orga- a nationwide wave of protests from oppo- China struggled to
nization affiliated with the BJP, the party nents of the BJP, including many univer- identify a mysterious
of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. sity students and faculty, who said it was a pneumonia-like
“Their slogans, their style of talking, and flagrant violation of India’s secular consti- virus contracted by
A D I T YA I R A W A N — X I N H U A /S I PA U S A

the word they love the most—traitors— tution. Even though the students at JNU 59 people in the city
of Wuhan. Authorities
was on their lips when they were beating weren’t protesting that law on Jan. 5, many said on Jan. 5 they
us.” The ABVP denies involvement, but re- saw the attack as an attempt by Modi’s sup- had ruled out SARS,
ports suggest the attack was coordinated on porters to intimidate intellectuals and dem- which killed more than
ABVP WhatsApp groups, and experts say it onstrators at a time when the government is 800 people during an
fits a pattern of intimidation by Modi’s gov- struggling to keep them off the streets. epidemic that started
in China in 2002.
ernment and its allies against universities. —billy perriGo and sameer yasir
TheBrief News
GOOD QUESTION But prices began ticking up again last year,
Why is America’s squeezing the processors’ already tight mar-
NEWS gins. “Declining sales in a thin-margin busi-
TICKER milk industry in so ness is not a good recipe for success,” says
much trouble? Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy
Plane crash in analysis at the University of Wisconsin.
Iran kills 176 For much oF The 20Th cenTury, milk (Americans are still eating cheese, butter and
A Ukrainian passenger
was a simple part of daily life in the U.S., as ice cream, but fluid-milk processors such as
jet leaving Tehran farmers raised cows, milkmen delivered bot- Dean and Borden aren’t big players in those
crashed on Jan. 8, tles and children chugged it at school. But businesses.)
killing all 176 people those days are fading—a fact accentuated Milk processors are also facing com-
aboard, according by the announcement on Jan. 5 by Borden petition from big retailers, which have set
to Ukraine’s Foreign
Ministry. Confusion
Dairy, the milk processor with a cheery Elsie up their own processing plants. In 2018,
over the crash was the cow on its label, that it is filing for bank- Walmart opened a milk-processing plant
heightened because ruptcy protection. Borden, which said it was in Indiana to serve hundreds of stores in
it came hours after impacted by “market challenges facing the the Midwest, taking away approximately
Iran launched more dairy industry,” follows Dean Foods, Amer- 95 million gal. of milk-processing business
than a dozen missiles
targeting U.S. forces
ica’s largest milk producer, which filed for from Dean Foods.
in Iraq. bankruptcy protection in November. On the other end of the supply chain, dairy
America has fallen out of love with drink- farms are facing trouble of their own. The
ing milk, as lower-calorie options have prolif- low prices that were a boon to processors left
erated and people are substituting water bot- small farmers struggling across the industry.
DHS to share tles for milk cartons. Americans each drank The number of Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies
data with an estimated 146 lb. of fluid milk—a category in 2019 was up 24% from the previous year.
Census that includes products from skim to cream— “We’re trying our darndest to hang on,” says
The Department of in 2018, according to the USDA’s Economic Mary Rieckmann, a dairy farmer in Wiscon-
Homeland Security will Research Service. That may sound like a lot, sin whose family has turned to GoFundMe to
share records with the but it’s down 26% just since 2000. keep their century-old farm running.
Census Bureau in an The downturn has been tough on dairy Borden, which was founded in 1857, has
effort to estimate the
citizenship status of
processors like Borden and Dean, which buy 3,300 employees and 13 plants across the
every person living in fresh milk from farms and use techniques South and Midwest. The company says it
the U.S., according to like pasteurization to create a consumer- plans to continue to operate as it restructures
a document posted safe beverage with a longer shelf life. For the under court supervision. But if that plan fails,
in December. Last past five years, thanks to technology that in- it wouldn’t be the first dairy processor to
summer, the Supreme
Court blocked the
creased milk production, fresh-milk prices cease operations. There were 605 fluid-milk
Trump Administration were relatively low, which meant processors plants in America in 1990. By 2018, there
from adding a question could break even despite shifting demand. were only 459. —alana semuels
about citizenship
status to the Census.

vote blocked
by regime
Critics of Venezuela’s
authoritarian leader CRIME
Nicolás Maduro
accused him of a Disappearing acts
“parliamentary coup” In the days since former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled Japan on Dec. 29 while
on Jan. 5 after security awaiting trial, reports have emerged that his escape involved a bullet train, a private
forces blocked plane and hiding in a box. Here, other big breakouts. ÑMadeline Roache
lawmakers from
leader Juan Guaidó as Mexican drug lord Joaquín In 1979, three Black Liberation Frank Morris and brothers
head of the National “El Chapo” Guzmán broke out of Army activists broke fellow member Clarence and John Anglin
Assembly. Most of the Altiplano top-security prison Assata Shakur out of a New Jersey vanished from Alcatraz in
in Mexico in July 2015 via a mile- prison—where she had been sent 1962 after boring through

the legislators later

backed Guaidó in an long tunnel with a motorbike, after a murder conviction—by prison walls with spoons and
alternate vote. and an all-terrain vehicle waiting taking two guards hostage to gain floating away on a makeshift
for him at the other end. use of a prison van. raft made of 50 raincoats.

10 Time January 20, 2020

Conceptual artist
John Baldessari, on Elizabeth
Jan. 2, at 88. Wurtzel
WON A voice of Gen X
A vote in parliament
on Jan. 7, by Spanish
Prime Minister Pedro When elizabeTh WurTzel
Sánchez, which will published her 1994 memoir,
allow him to form Prozac Nation: Young and
a leftist coalition Depressed in America,
government. she was 27 years old. The
ANNOUNCED book, an unflinching look
On Jan. 8, that Prince at depression that detailed
Harry and Meghan her relationship with the
Markle, the Duke disease, solidified Wurtzel as
and Duchess of
Sussex, intend to
a voice of Generation X. As
step back from duties she started conversations on
as “senior” royals serious topics by opening up
and split their time about her own experiences,
between the U.K. and she also helped reshape and
North America.
revive the modern American
DECIDED memoir.
By Secretary of The signature candor that
State Mike Pompeo, began with her discussions of
not to run for a clinical depression continued
U.S. Senate seat Weinstein leaves court on Jan. 6 after the first day of his New York City
in Kansas in 2020. after she announced in 2015
Pompeo reportedly
trial for rape and sexual assault. He faces life in prison if convicted that she’d been diagnosed
told Senate majority with breast cancer. After
leader Mitch her diagnosis, she began ad-
McConnell of his
decision on Jan. 6.
The trial of Harvey Weinstein vocating for testing for the
A watershed moment for #MeToo BRCA gene mutation, writ-
SENTENCED ing in the New York Times
A British teenager harvey WeinsTein arrived hunched over a Walker For that she believed earlier test-
in Cyprus, to a four- the Jan. 6 start of his New York City sexual assault trial. On the ing could have prevented her
month suspended jail
term, on Jan. 7, after
same day, prosecutors in Los Angeles filed separate rape and from having cancer, which
she was convicted of sexual-assault charges against the once mighty movie mogul. ultimately led to her death
falsely accusing 12 The trial in New York is expected to take roughly two months, on Jan. 7 at 52.
Israeli men of rape. but, merely by beginning, it marked a major moment for the In her books and her jour-
W E I N S T E I N : K E N A B E TA N C U R — G E T T Y I M A G E S; W U R T Z E L : N E V I L L E E L D E R — C O R B I S/G E T T Y I M A G E S

Her lawyers say she #MeToo movement—two years after a New York Times exposé nalism, Wurtzel crafted in-
was forced to retract
her accusation under
detailed three decades of sexual-misconduct allegations against timate depictions of suffer-
police pressure. Weinstein and prompted dozens of other women in Hollywood to ing and how to survive it. “I
come forward with further accusations. don’t think about the past
REPORTED In the New York trial, Weinstein, 67, is accused of raping an or the future—I don’t even
That the U.S. cancer
unidentified woman in a hotel room in 2013 and sexually assault- worry about the present,” she
mortality rate
dropped by 2.2% from ing a former production assistant in his apartment in 2006. He wrote for TIME in 2018. “I
2016 to 2017, by has pleaded not guilty to the charges and has denied all allega- just do the next right thing.”
the American Cancer tions of nonconsensual sex; he could face life in prison if con- —annabel GuTTerman
Society, on Jan. 8, victed. Regardless of the verdict, advocates for sexual-assault
representing the
survivors say it’s a triumph to see Weinstein face a jury, even as
largest single-year
decrease ever. they stress that the movement is bigger than his case. The wave of
allegations against him helped to make #MeToo go viral in 2017
BANNED and resulted in a cultural reckoning. At least 15 states have since
“Deepfake” videos,
made using artificial
passed new protections to better address sexual harassment and
intelligence and assault, according to the National Women’s Law Center.
difficult to distinguish “Although he may have been the spark that lit the flame here,”
from authentic says Tina Tchen, president and CEO of the advocacy group
recordings, from Time’s Up, “this is a flame that has extended far beyond.”
Facebook, on Jan. 6.
—melissa chan
Time January 20, 2020
JAN. 31 1 UNKNOWN 2 FEB. 25 3 MARCH 5 4

Bye-bye, Britain Room at the top Assange’s next step Journey to the past The previous
TheBrief Year Ahead

Wolf Hall
Three and a half years after the In September, Airbnb said it A British court will After an eight-year wait, the
U.K. voted to leave the E.U.— would go public in 2020. While highly anticipated final book in
and less than two months after the room-sharing platform
hold a hearing on Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall trilogy inspired a
Boris Johnson’s Conservative hasn’t yet provided much info extraditing WikiLeaks will arrive in bookstores. The Golden Globe–
Party won a huge for potential investors, the founder Julian second installment culminated
election victory— stock is sure to be watched in the beheading of Anne
Brexit is closely in the wake
Assange to the U.S., Boleyn; now The Mirror and the miniseries
set to become of high-profile 2019 where the government Light will trace the final years in and a Tony-
a reality. post-IPO slumps from wants to try him for the life of Thomas Cromwell, a nominated
companies like Uber. allegedly leaking Tudor adviser, leading up to his
execution in 1540 on the orders play
state secrets in 2010. of King Henry VIII.

‘Getting APRIL 1 5 APRIL 26 6 MAY 4 7 MAY 8 8

Brexit done
is now the Census of duty Chile’s choice In fine style History made
irrefutable, In late 2019, Chileans spilled The Met Gala turns its attention Three-quarters of a century
irresistible, By the time April
onto the streets to protest to sartorial history with 2020’s will have passed since V-E day,
unarguable starts, every American income inequality and the theme, “About Time: Fashion the formal end of World War II
decision of household should rising cost of living. To mollify and Duration,” a choice inspired in Europe, when a surrender
have received a letter the protesters, the government by the 1992 film Orlando. The document signed by Nazi
the British promised to hold a referendum most stylish names in fashion, leadership officially took effect.
people.’ or a visit from a Census to decide whether, arts and entertainment The May 8, 1945, event will be
worker, as part of the and how, to rewrite will walk the red carpet celebrated the following day
U.K. Prime Minister federal government’s the country’s on the customary in Russia, thanks to a 1945


dictatorship-era first Monday in May. document mix-up.
population count.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ F L I P M A G A Z I N E T O R E A D C A L E N D A R ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
MAY 19 9 JUNE 10 JULY 13, AUG. 24 11

Ever in your favor Days in court Conventionally

More than a decade after the By June, the U.S. Supreme The Democratic and Republican
release of Suzanne Collins’ Court is expected to have ‘... bringing into focus the fast, parties will open their
first book in the epically issued rulings on a series of nominating conventions in,
popular Hunger Games trilogy, pivotal cases argued this term,
fleeting rhythm of fashion.’ respectively, Milwaukee and
the author is returning to the touching on LGBTQ employment THE COSTUME INSTITUTE AT NEW YORK CITY’S Charlotte, N.C.—thus beginning
dystopian world of Panem in a discrimination, abortion METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, announcing the spring the final phase of the 2020
new prequel novel, titled The restrictions and Dreamers, exhibition that sets the theme for its gala, which will be election season. Charlotte last
co-chaired by Anna Wintour
Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. as well as the court’s first hosted a major-party national
It’s set 64 years before the Second Amendment case in convention (the Democrats’)
original trilogy took place. nearly a decade. in 2012, but this will be
Milwaukee’s first.

JULY 17 12 JULY 24 13 AUG. 6 14 SEPTEMBER 15 SEPT. 25

Mars in sight Game on Atomic anniversary Museum piece Boss

The window will open for NASA’s The Olympics will kick off in The atomic age began 75 years A $700 million around
planned launch of a new rover Tokyo with some new additions: ago, when the U.S. dropped
museum housed in the The Sopranos
destined to land on Mars events debuting at the 2020 an atomic bomb on Hiroshima
rebuilt Berlin Palace, story continues in
in 2021, to explore Games include karate and and followed it three days later
2020 as a movie prequel to the
a crater scientists skateboarding. with a second nuclear bombing, the Humboldt Forum HBO series comes to theaters.
hope may contain of Nagasaki. An estimated

By Rachael Bunyan, Alejandro de la Garza, Suyin Haynes, Ciara Nugent and Billy Perrigo
is one of Europe’s most The Many Saints of Newark, set
fossils of ancient 200,000 people were killed
ambitious cultural in 1960s New Jersey, will focus
life-forms. China by the two blasts, which came
on Mob boss Tony Soprano’s
is planning a shortly before Japan’s formal projects; it’s scheduled early years, with Michael
Mars mission surrender in World War II.
to open a year later Gandolfini following his late
for the same
than first planned. father James in the lead role.
launch window.
NASA’s Mars
OCT. 20 17 2020 rover is NOV. 9 18 NOV. 21 19 DEC. 18 20
bound for the
Expo facto Jezero Crater, Climate crunch Kiwi questions Tonight, tonight
a 820-ft.-deep The U.N.’s 26th annual summit New Zealand’s Prime Minister When Steven Spielberg’s
When the next World
dried-up lake on climate change, set to be Jacinda Ardern will be up for adaptation of West Side Story,
Expo opens in Dubai, held in Glasgow, will be a crucial re-election on or before this the musical take on Romeo and
on the surface
at least 190 countries one. According to the terms day, in a vote coinciding Juliet, opens in cinemas,
of the of the 2015 Paris Agreement, with referendums on newcomer Rachel
will be there to display
Red Planet countries are due to set assisted dying and Zegler and Baby
their innovations at new targets for reducing cannabis. If the Driver’s Ansel Elgort
the twice-per-decade greenhouse-gas emissions former is passed, will play the star-
showcase of global in order to help slow global some terminally crossed lovers.
temperature rise. Up to 200 ill people, if they
scientific progress.
world leaders and 30,000 get the approval of
delegates are expected to take two doctors, could
F L I P M A G A Z I N E T O R E A D C A L E N D A R ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

part in the negotiations. choose euthanasia.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ T H I S S I D E D O W N ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

How 40 years of
enmity between Iran
and the U.S. collided
in an assassination
By Karim Sadjadpour

Iranian women at
a mosque in Tehran,
on Jan. 5, mourn the
major general’s death


major General Qasem soleimani was born in

1957 to a self-described “peasant” family in Kerman,
the sunbaked province in southeastern Iran famed
for its pistachios, rose water and hospitable inhab-
itants. Family debts forced him to leave school and
earn a living as a construction worker at age 13. By
his late teens, Soleimani was swept up in the coun-
try’s growing political fervor that culminated in one
of the greatest geopolitical earthquakes of the past
half-century: the 1979 revolution that replaced a
U.S.-allied monarchy, led by Shah Mohammed Reza
Pahlavi, with a viscerally anti-American theocracy,
led by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Like young men from poor families throughout
the world, Soleimani achieved upward mobility
by joining the military. The Islamic Revolutionary
Guards Corps (IRGC) was set up to supersede a na-
tional army Khomeini did not trust, and Soleimani
cut his teeth as a soldier by helping to ruthlessly crush a rebellion of Kurds first question tended to be affirmative. The answer
in northwest Iran, an estimated 10,000 of whom were killed. In 1981, he to the second was always inconclusive.
was among hundreds of thousands dispatched to counter the invasion of It still is. The five days after Soleimani’s assassina-
Iran by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Soleimani served mostly on the tion on Jan. 3, by a drone’s missile fired on the order
front line, distinguishing himself as a leader, then went on to confront of President Trump, were among the most fraught
drug traffickers in Kerman, the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan and, in the four decades of enmity between the U.S. and
reportedly, antigovernment protests inside Iran. Iran—and a bowel-shaking lesson in the speed with
But Soleimani came into his own after the attacks of 9/11 and the U.S. which full-blown war can appear all but inevitable,
invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, which flank Iran. Soleimani was tasked even when neither side actually wants one.
with sabotaging the American effort in Iraq. He did this initially by unleash- “The fact that we have this great military and
ing al-Qaeda members detained in Iran after fleeing Afghanistan—including equipment . . . does not mean we have to use it.
several members of the bin Laden family and Jordanian radical Abu Musab We do not want to use it!” Trump said, in a tele-
al-Zarqawi—and allowing them to inflame Iraq. Then he trained Iraqi Shi‘ite vised address that had the feel of stepping onto
militias, and provided them extraordinarily lethal roadside booby traps that firm ground from a roller coaster.
could penetrate any U.S. armor. The efforts took the lives of as many as 1,000
U.S. soldiers in Iraq, making Soleimani the single most hated adversary in
the world for two generations of American military commanders.
So how did the man live to 62? A former senior U.S. intelligence of- American blood had
ficial on Iran told me that when previous Administrations discussed emerged as Trump’s red
assassinating Soleimani, two questions were usually contemplated: Does
he deserve to die? And, is it worth the potential risks? The answer to the line in dealing with Iran
16 Time January 20, 2020
When President Donald Trump theater of armed conflict as a co-
ordered the death of Iranian Gen- belligerent with Shi‘ite militias.
eral Qasem Soleimani, he played But to say that the strike was
perhaps his strongest card in a militarily and legally justifiable
weak strategic hand. He placed a does not necessarily make it
bold bet that his strike would brush wise. Both the Trump Administra-
back the Iranian regime, place it on tion and the Iranian regime are
its heels and deter future attacks. approaching the crisis from a
It’s a bet that he might lose (with position of relative strategic
terrible consequences), but it’s far weakness. While the U.S. military
too soon to judge the outcome. is unquestionably the dominant
I felt a sense of real relief when military force in the world, it has
I heard of Soleimani’s demise. I currently deployed a fraction of the
served in Iraq, during the surge, combat power to the Middle East
and my forward operating base that was present during the height
was located less than two dozen of the Iraq War, and the American
miles from the Iranian border, in a people have little appetite for a
mixed Sunni-Shi‘ite part of Diyala new war with an adversary far
province. While the precursor to more deadly and capable than
ISIS (then called the Islamic State Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
in Iraq) was our principal foe, we The Iranians face their own
were constantly worried about the substantial challenges. The
presence of Shi‘ite militias armed regime is in economic distress
with a deadly Iranian-supplied as a result of crippling U.S. sanc-
weapon, the explosively formed tions, it has faced serious inter-
penetrator (EFP). nal protests, and there are signs
For much of our deployment, that Iraqis have grown weary of
the Shi‘ite militias were quiet— Iranian influence.
except during a terrible series of Iran’s limited missile strike
weeks in the spring of 2008. They on Jan. 7 relieved Trump of the
rose up, deployed their EFPs and perceived imperative of immedi-
destroyed one of our humvees, ate escalation. In the absence of
Soleimani’s coffin is surrounded by throngs
in Tehran’s Enghelab Square on Jan. 6 killing two men I knew. U.S. casualties, now is the time
Soleimani’s influence and for the Administration to pause,
power had only grown in the guard against further retaliation
years since my deployment. He and signal clearly that it does not
Soleimani was killed early on a Friday. By Tues- was an active enemy-combatant want war.
day evening Washington time, Tehran was doing commander working closely with At a time of great risk, the
what it had never done before—firing a barrage of other U.S. enemies, and when the U.S. needs a steady hand at the
rockets from its own soil toward U.S. troops sta- Shi‘ite militias under his influence helm. It needs a President who
tioned in Iraq. The time it took to count heads at (and probable outright control) possesses strategic vision and
the bases in Erbil and in the dusty reaches of Anbar again in December attacked exhibits tactical agility. Ameri-
province was excruciating for more than the fami- Americans in Iraq and besieged cans have no reason to believe
lies of service members stationed there. the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, it that Trump is such a man. As he
American blood had emerged as Trump’s red line was clear that he was still a threat. fills Twitter with bluster and rein-
in dealing with Iran. A U.S. death presumably would So there was ample military forces U.S. troops, yet another
require a lethal military reply from a President who cause for striking Soleimani. U.S. President has learned that
had entered the spiral of escalation quite late, at the There was also sufficient legal jus- a promise to end U.S. entangle-
point where the circles narrow and everything moves tification. It is a basic aspect of the ment in the Middle East is far
very fast. For seven months, the normally bellicose law of armed conflict that oppos- more easily made than kept.

U.S. President had declined to answer mounting at- ing commanders are a legitimate
tacks by Iran with reciprocal U.S. military action. target. Soleimani had entered a French is a TIME columnist
“We had nobody in the drone,” Trump said, after
Iran shot down a massive aircraft in June. “It would have made a big dif-
ference.” Holes blasted in oil tankers and an extraordinarily bold air assault
on Saudi Arabia’s main oil facilities were received as Iran’s response to the
economic sanctions Trump had imposed after unilaterally withdrawing
from the international agreement that had arrested Iran’s nuclear program.
If we cannot sell oil, Tehran was saying, no one else should be able to ei-
ther. The Commander in Chief answered every attack with an eagerness to
sit down and talk, just as he had with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Then, on Dec. 27, one of the militias handled by Soleimani killed an
American contractor in a rocket barrage on a U.S. base in Iraq. Trump fi-
nally retaliated in kind, ordering U.S. warplanes to strike the militia two
days later, killing 25. Iran responded by sending unarmed militiamen to
swarm the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, where they burned a reception cen-
ter. While Tehran has a long history of looting embassies, what infuriated
Trump was comparisons with the overrunning, by Libyan militants in 2012,
of the consular office in Benghazi, where the death of the U.S. ambassador
became an obsession for some in the GOP, including Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo. “The Anti-Benghazi!” Trump tweeted. When military advisers
brought a menu of options to answer for the embassy vandalism, Trump
stunned them by picking the killing of Soleimani. He later said the general
was planning an “imminent” strike on U.S. interests, but has not elaborated.
But if the drone strike sped the U.S. and Iran down the road to war, both
sides were looking frantically for an off-ramp. Iran seemingly showed the
way, opening the path to de-escalation by the nature of its barrage.
Consider: before launching the strike, Foreign Minister Mohammad
Javad Zarif announced the retaliation would come from Iran’s own military,
not proxy forces. What form did it take? Iran has weapons precise enough
to elude a U.S. Patriot antimissile battery and take half of Saudi’s oil pro-
duction offline, which it did on Sept. 14. Instead, Tehran sprayed ballistic
rockets toward a vast air base and a token number toward the base in Erbil.
Both facilities were braced for the attack. Several rockets failed to explode.
“All is well!” Trump tweeted a few hours later, radiating relief that no one
was killed. The next morning, flanked by generals at the televised address, he
announced “additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime.”
Dangers remain. Still to be avenged is the militia leader killed along
with Soleimani, a project more than one Iraq militia vowed to undertake.
And Iran may not be finished. It has a long history of indirect covert ac- ^
tion, from cyberattacks to terrorism. A former senior U.S. intelligence of- A makeshift shrine to Soleimani is set
ficial said Iran may go further this time, potentially targeting current or up in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar on Jan. 8
former senior U.S. officials of similar rank to Soleimani. But the conflict
Tehran favors least is the kind it appears to have avoided: conventional
war. So it was no surprise that a couple of hours after launching the rock- the Internet and killing as many as 1,500 people.
ets, Tehran announced through its Foreign Minister that its retaliation Soleimani’s assassination changed the subject.
had “concluded,” and headed for the casino door with its winnings. With his cocked eyebrow and soft personal manner,
he had been among the most celebrated officials in
InsIde the IslamIc RepublIc, the impact of Soleimani’s death will the country, hailed by “moderates” and hard-liners
take years to appreciate. But its immediate effect was to throw the regime alike. In life, he made Iran—however brutally, espe-
a lifeline. Only weeks earlier, an abrupt hike in gas prices brought into cially in Syria—the most consequential player in the
the streets not the elite and middle class who normally protest but tens Middle East, evoking the days of empire that may
of thousands of the working-class Iranians whom Khomeini called “the reside in the breasts of even many Iranians who de-
real owners of the revolution.” The regime answered by shutting down spise the theocracy. (Persian General, read one
of the posters rushed out.) And in death, he found
the place akin to sainthood that prominent martyr-
dom holds in Shi‘ite Islam, with its narrative that be-
Iranian leaders are upping the stakes, gins with the fatal 7th century defeat of the Prophet’s
calling for the expulsion of U.S. family in battle.
“Enemies felt humbled by the magnificence of
forces from the entire Middle East the Iranian nation’s turnout for the funeral of Martyr
18 Time January 20, 2020
The sudden, shocking killing of Iranian
General Qasem Soleimani is one of those
moments when a big door swings violently on
a seemingly small hinge. How can the death of
one man, largely unknown to the U.S. public,
cause such an extraordinary range of poten-
tially dangerous outcomes?
Iran has an immediate set of choices to
make. Its range of options within the Middle
East is wide, and the most obvious one would be
direct attacks against U.S. personnel in Afghani-
stan (where the Iranians have deep pockets
of influence), Iraq (doubling down on taking
out the U.S. embassy), Syria or Saudi Arabia.
These could be done with improvised explosive
devices, surface-to-surface missiles or direct
combat missions by Iranian special forces.
The Iranians could also turn to the sea,
striking U.S. warships of the 5th Fleet in
the Persian Gulf, using diesel submarines,
cruise missiles or so-called swarm attacks of
small boats, or closing the Strait of Hormuz
to merchant shipping, something they have
consistently threatened.
They can also attack U.S. allies, unleash-
ing their surrogate Hizballah against Israel,
perhaps using the massive surface-to-surface
rocket inventory based in southern Lebanon;
renewing attacks against Saudi oil fields; or
seizing another tanker from the U.K. or other
U.S. partners.
Soleimani,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted Jan. 8, refer- Finally, they can also choose less conven-
tional options, perhaps a targeted assas-
ring to crowds that included Tehran residents who had marched in 2009, in
sination of a senior U.S. military diplomat
bloody antigovernment protests dubbed the Green Movement. The surge
or military figure in the region or closer to
in unity does not change stubborn realities for Khamenei, 80. Iran’s econ- the U.S. itself, claiming they are responding
omy remains in shambles, and its interference in the region still inspires proportionally. And almost certainly they will
protests in Lebanon and Iraq, where Soleimani directed militias and snip- attempt to use offensive cybercapability to
ers to attack and kill demonstrators. But hostile attention from Washing- degrade U.S. military command and control,
ton is pure oxygen to a regime founded in opposition to it. sow chaos in our transportation infrastructure
Since the 444-day hostage crisis that ended Jimmy Carter’s presi- or attack the electric grid.
dency, Iran has exulted in playing an outsize role in American domestic Most likely, they will choose some combi-
politics. Ronald Reagan’s presidency was tainted by the Iran-contra affair, nation of these options, all designed to give
George W. Bush’s presidency was demoralized by Iranian machinations President Trump a bad set of choices—either
in Iraq, and negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program consumed the latter he will have to take further military action,
part of Barack Obama’s presidency. pushing the U.S. toward another “endless
Trump ran on an election platform of reducing America’s presence in war” that he campaigned on ending; or if he
the Middle East and avoiding “stupid wars.” But his erratic approach— doesn’t act, appearing weak in the face of
provoking an escalation cycle while simultaneously making clear his aver- Iranian action.
sion to conflict—only increased Tehran’s appetite for risk. And so thou-
sands of U.S. troops have arrived in the region, every one as a buffer against Admiral Stavridis (ret.) was the 16th
an emboldened Iran. “On almost a daily basis, the military has had to Supreme Allied Commander for NATO
react to the President’s decisions rather than plan for them,” says Chuck
Soleimani, center,
World began his military
career during the Iran-
Iraq War in the 1980s

Hagel, a former U.S. Defense Secretary and Repub-

lican Senator from Nebraska.

duRIng the tense waIt for Iran’s retaliation,

Trump threatened to counter it by bombing a list
of 52 targets in Iran, including cultural sites: a clear
violation of international law. Though his Secretar-
ies of State and Defense disavowed this threat, when
reporters asked Trump to clarify he first doubled
down, then two days later backed off. It is the Trump
paradox: everything the President of the United
States says must be taken seriously; nothing that
Donald Trump says can be taken seriously.
With that paradox comes confusion over why the
U.S. has forces in the Middle East. The best reason
is to fight ISIS, which lost its caliphate but remains
an insurgency, especially in the Iraqi countryside.
Soleimani had served to both fuel and fight Sunni
extremists, who prey on Shi‘ites. But the backlash
from his assassination spurred U.S. commanders In 1981, at the outset of the post-Soleimani strategy and
Iran-Iraq War, Qasem Soleimani whether that response will lead
to confine their forces to base; operations against
witnessed his country’s first use them into an escalatory spiral
ISIS were suspended.
of human-wave-style tactics. that could precipitate a more
Worse, outrage by Iraqi politicians brought calls That costly practice would costly conventional war. Despite
to expel U.S. forces from the country, where the U.S. become one of the hallmarks nationalist anger at the death of
has spent more than $1 trillion and thousands of of a conflict that would claim Soleimani, Iran’s internal poli-
lives. Expulsion makes no military sense: without nearly a million lives on both tics are as fractious as our own,
U.S. airpower and special operators, ISIS would still sides and would see a return and those divisions will soon
hold much of Iraq. But after Iraq’s parliament passed to World War I–style trench re-emerge. Both of our nations
a nonbinding resolution ordering American forces warfare and the widespread have little appetite for a pro-
out, the U.S. command in Iraq issued a letter sug- use of chemical weapons. A tracted conventional war, with
gesting it was packing its bags. key result of the conflict was anxious Google search terms
The letter was a mistake, but one that gladdened Iran’s adoption of a national- such as the draft surging in the
hearts in Tehran. Getting U.S. forces out of Iraq was, security strategy that relied U.S. If there’s a shared appetite
after all, the mission Khamenei gave Soleimani. on asymmetrical warfare for anything, it is de-escalation.
His mandate expanded to the equivalent of a four- (terrorism, wars by proxy). The Navigating that process will
star general, CIA chief and Secretary of State. The Revolutionary Guards Quds be challenging. It will require
Shi‘ite foreign legion of 50,000 he cultivated pro- Force, led by Soleimani for more pragmatism and moderation
jected Iranian power across the Middle East. And if than 20 years, played a crucial on the part of Iranian leaders.
role in the implementation of However, our decades-long
his vocation made it unlikely Soleimani would die a
this strategy, which ensured that limited war with Iran has yet
natural death—Khamenei had called him a “living
Iranian society would never again to spiral out of control. That
martyr”—his assassination may prove to be a force experience such a bloodletting. the formative experience of
multiplier. Sensing that the notion of the U.S. leav- Now Soleimani is dead. Iran’s generals was a futile
ing Iraq has now become credible, Iranian leaders Nearly a decade at war left me conventional war with few
are upping the stakes, calling for the expulsion of with many dead friends, and parallels in history cannot be
U.S. forces from the entire Middle East. when tallying up how they died, emphasized enough. That
Fast forward to August 2020. Imagine news I can trace more of their deaths experience may allow us all to
from Iran that a dozen U.S. sailors have been to Iranian-supported Shi‘ite avoid further escalation.
detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards navy. militiamen than to card-carrying But despite the best of
Instead of releasing them in a timely fashion, as it members of al-Qaeda. intentions and the clearest of
has in the past, Iran demands that all American His replacement, Esmail strategies, luck always plays a
troops first vacate the entire Middle East, an Ghaani, and the entire high role on the path to war. The days
impossible request. Three months from Election command are not only the archi- ahead might very well prove as
Day, how does Trump react? —With reporting by tects of America’s low-intensity precarious as that calamitous
S A L A M P I X /A B A C A /S I PA U S A

w.j. HenniGan/wasHinGTon “forever war” with Iran but are summer of 1914.
also veterans of the Iran-Iraq
Sadjadpour is a senior fellow at the Carnegie War. Their experience will fac- Ackerman’s forthcoming novel is
Endowment for International Peace tor prominently into crafting a Red Dress in Black and White

20 Time January 20, 2020

Go with your own glowª

Follow us on

From impeachment to Iran, the House Speaker
is taking on President Trump
By Molly Ball


Nancy Pelosi in her office in the
U.S. Capitol on Dec. 9


even risky ways. Impeaching Trump is a
gamble for Pelosi. It has intensified Re-
publicans’ fealty to the President, rally-
ing his base and supercharging his cam-
paign fundraising, potentially increasing
his re-election chances. The polarizing
effort could jeopardize Democrats who
hold seats in Trump territory, and thereby
endanger Pelosi’s House majority. With
impeachment, Pelosi is betting her own
place in history.
Pelosi has always been a risk-taker,
from defying Chinese authorities by pro-
testing at Tiananmen Square in 1991 to
pushing Obamacare through the House
NaNcy Pelosi isN’T wild abouT The with nary a vote to spare in 2010. But she
question. The impeachment of Presi- is careful to cast impeachment not as a po-
dent Donald Trump is under way, and litical gambit but as a project to preserve
I’ve asked the Speaker of the House if the checks and balances of American de-
she thinks it’s the most important thing mocracy. “That’s my responsibility: to
she’ll ever do. We’re sitting in her elegant protect the Constitution of the United
office in the Capitol, on gold-upholstered States,” she says.
armchairs around a low table topped with That battle is playing out on mul-
a vase of hydrangeas. Over her shoulder, tiple fronts. As Congress returned and
the sweeping view of the National Mall Trump launched the country into a po-
is shrouded in wintry clouds. For a long tential conflict with Iran, Pelosi sought
moment, the Speaker goes silent as she to rein him in. The House planned to
seems to compile in her mind the list of vote Jan. 9 on a war powers resolution
accomplishments she’d rather claim as designed to limit the President’s abil-
her legacy. ity to escalate the conflict. The behind-
“Apart from declaring war, this is the the-scenes court battle that Pelosi has
most important thing that the Congress field-marshaled aims not just to check
can do,” she finally says. “I’m most proud Trump’s current power grabs, but also to
of the Affordable Care Act. But this is the set precedents that will stop future Pres-
most serious initiative that I’ve been in- idents from doing the same, or worse.
volved in in my career.” And to Trump’s annoyance, Pelosi is
Pelosi has spent decades at the high- declining to transmit the House’s two
est levels of politics, but the past 12 impeachment articles to the Senate. In-
months have been arguably her most stead of allowing Republican Senators to
consequential. Returning to the speak- end the impeachment discussion with a
ership after eight years running the quick vote, she is insisting that the upper always projecting. He knows the case that
House Democratic minority, she estab- chamber agree on rules for the trial first. can be made against him. That’s why he’s
lished herself as counterweight and con- “That doesn’t mean it has to meet my falling apart.”
strainer of this divisive President. She standards. When we see what [Mitch But you’re not, I ask?
outmaneuvered Trump on policy, from McConnell] has in mind, we will be pre- “No,” she says, her voice steady. “I’m
the border wall he didn’t get to the bud- pared to send over” the articles, she tells emboldened.”
get agreement he signed loaded with TIME on Jan. 8, in her first public com-
goodies that Democrats wanted. She ments about the standoff. “We’ve upped a year ago, it was hardly a given that
oversaw an unprecedented litigation ef- the ante on this.” Pelosi would emerge as the foil to the
fort against the Executive Branch, rack- Pelosi has told colleagues she’s had Trump presidency—or even that she
ing up landmark court victories. And she to wear a night guard because the White would be Speaker at all. After Pelosi or-
was the tactician behind the investiga- House makes her grind her teeth in chestrated Democrats’ 2018 midterm
tion that resulted in Trump’s impeach- her sleep. But her frustration is born wins, an insurgent faction of the caucus
ment on Dec. 18. of determination, not unease. In our moved to replace her with a younger, “less
What is most striking about this mo- interview, I asked her if the President’s polarizing” figure. Pelosi squashed the
ment in Pelosi’s career is that at the peak nickname for her, Nervous Nancy, is uprising with characteristic discipline.
of power, she is not protecting her po- accurate. “Pfft,” she says, waving a hand. Over the ensuing year, instead of hold-
sition but rather using it in aggressive, “He’s nervous. Everything he says, he’s ing grudges, she set to holding her diverse
24 Time January 20, 2020
Pelosi meets with
Richard Neal and
Adam Schiff and
House counsel
Douglas Letter in
her office on Dec. 5

caucus together when ideology and iden- So what appears to all of a sudden be a for impeachment, #TruthExposed,
tity threatened to splinter it. big moment is actually based on months seemed too harsh; they settled on
For months, the Democrats’ biggest of work.” #DefendOurDemocracy instead.
division was over impeachment. As col- From start to finish, Pelosi has kept Pelosi refereed contentious disputes
leagues and activists agitated for it, Pe- a tighter rein on the proceedings than between chairmen with discretion. She
losi spent most of the year resisting on the public realized, from major stra- signed off on every committee report and
the grounds that it could tear the country tegic decisions to minor stagecraft. It press release; aides say she caught typos
apart—and hurt her party. All the while, was Pelosi who decreed that the Intel- in the Intelligence Committee’s final re-
however, she was laying the groundwork ligence Committee would take the lead port before it went out. She decreed that
behind the scenes to build a case if nec- in the inquiry, even though impeach- the articles of impeachment would be lim-
essary. “It seemed like all of a sudden we ment is generally considered to be the ited to Trump’s actions in Ukraine rather
were unified around an impeachment Judiciary Committee’s purview. (Past than incorporating matters related to spe-
inquiry,” says Representative Katherine Judiciary hearings had devolved into a cial counsel Robert Mueller’s investiga-
Clark of Massachusetts, the vice chair circus—particularly a Sept. 17 session in tion, as some of her members wanted.
of the Democratic caucus. “But that was which the President’s former campaign When Judiciary Committee lawyers de-
Nancy Pelosi using individual members manager, Corey Lewandowski, openly bated whether to spend half a day of hear-
and where they were to bring this to a— mocked the proceedings.) It was Pelosi ings on a presentation related to Muel-
she always uses this word—a crescendo. who decided that the Democrats’ hashtag ler’s obstruction-of-justice probe, they

appealed the question to the Speaker, ▲ set precedents that affirm Congress’ pow-
noting that the staff was split. “Tell them Pelosi prepares for a press conference ers and shore up the institution. “She’s
I’m not split,” she replied, rejecting the Dec. 5 as an aide looks on calling the shots,” Letter tells TIME, in
idea. And while she allowed the commit- a rare interview. Starting with his job in-
tee’s final report to contain references to Impeachment was the culmination of terview, Letter says, Pelosi correctly pre-
Mueller’s investigation, she demanded Pelosi’s broader effort to hold Trump in dicted that “we would get stonewalled” by
they be deleted from the accompanying check. For the past year, she has overseen Trump and his lawyers, and would have
announcement. investigations by six different congressio- to litigate in the courts more than usual.
No aspect of the spectacle was too nal committees digging into everything “She insisted we would try to pick, par-
small to escape Pelosi’s control. When from Trump’s tax returns and allegations ticularly for subpoena enforcement, re-
the Intelligence Committee held its pub- of Administration corruption to foreign ally good cases.”
lic impeachment hearings in Novem- emoluments and the Russian entangle- Courts tend to view litigation between
ber, Pelosi noticed that chairman Adam ments Mueller helped uncover. Congres- the Legislative and Executive branches
Schiff’s head reached nearly to the top of sional committees tend to be territorial, with unease. Judges are leery of referee-
his high-backed chair. After Intelligence but Pelosi convened the six committees’ ing what they view as essentially political
finished its work, Judiciary, chaired by chairmen weekly, and sometimes more disputes. But Pelosi and Letter’s approach
Representative Jerry Nadler, was slated often, to ensure they didn’t duplicate ef- has produced a string of victories. Courts
to hold hearings in the same room. Pe- forts or step on one another’s toes. have ruled in favor of releasing Trump’s
losi thought if he sat in the same chair, She has also guided a far-reaching ef- tax returns and other financial records,
Nadler—a head shorter than Schiff— fort to rein in Trump through the courts. compelled the release of grand-jury ma-
would look small. She hired a 40-year Justice Department terials from the Mueller investigation
Pelosi sent word down: there would veteran, Douglas Letter, to head the House and dismissed the Administration’s argu-
have to be a change of furniture. And general counsel’s office, a secretive team ments for blocking witnesses. In a blister-
when Judiciary convened on Dec. 4, of nine lawyers, and confers with him on ing November opinion, U.S. District Judge
Nadler was seated in a leather-backed every legal filing, every subpoena. To- Ketanji Brown Jackson ruled that Donald
chair that reached no higher than his ears. gether they have chosen cases designed to McGahn, Trump’s former White House
counsel, must testify, and that the Admin- ▲ the long-term stakes. In mid-September,
istration’s argument to the contrary “sim- Ukraine was the “aha moment,” media outlets started to report that Trump
ply has no basis in the law.” She added, Pelosi says, but impeachment was had tried to bully his Ukrainian counter-
“The primary takeaway from the past 250 the culmination of a multiyear effort part, Volodymyr Zelensky, into publicly
years of recorded American history is that to hold Trump in check announcing an investigation of Demo-
Presidents are not kings.” cratic presidential candidate Joe Biden,
As those court cases got tied up in ap- speak when a group of young activists rose using White House access and congres-
peals, though, progress in the courts did in the back, standing on chairs and un- sionally approved foreign aid as leverage.
little to satisfy those eager to use the ul- furling black fabric banners with white His actions had alarmed government offi-
timate tool of presidential accountability. lettering. Time To imPeach, they said. cials, leading an intelligence-community
Pelosi resisted impeachment throughout we caN’T waiT. A young woman shouted, whistle-blower to file a secret complaint.
the summer, even as more and more mem- “People are being killed by white suprem- Trump had applied the pressure dur-
bers of her caucus endorsed it. “Many of acists!” A man said, “We are your constit- ing a phone call in July, the day after
them were out there for impeachment like uents!” As the crowd chanted, “Let her Mueller testified before Congress. To
a year ago, right after we won,” she says, speak,” a burly labor organizer got in the House Democrats, it seemed Trump was
but she insisted on moving deliberately in activists’ faces, and for a moment it seemed setting a dangerous precedent of presi-
order to make the strongest possible case. as if they might come to blows before dential impunity, soliciting foreign as-
“I said we’ll go down this path when we’re hotel security escorted the protesters out. sistance in the 2020 election just as he’d
ready,” Pelosi says. She told her colleagues “It’s O.K.,” Pelosi said from her posi- been accused of doing in 2016. “I was
that they had to wait for the investigation tion at the front of the room. “I’m going one of those who were very reluctant to
and litigation to play out. to speak. I’m the Speaker of the House!” proceed” with impeachment, says Rep-
The frustration built outside of Con- When she did speak, however, the word resentative Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat
gress too. In her San Francisco district impeachment did not escape her lips. from Colorado who is close to Pelosi de-
in August, Pelosi appeared at a banquet spite trying to block her from the speak-
in her honor—the “Heart of the Resis- a few weeks later, the Ukraine scan- ership after the 2018 midterms. “But put-
tance” dinner. She had barely begun to dal changed the short-term politics and ting people’s lives at risk by holding up
that aid money, extorting the Ukrainian the 2020 election should be the ones to Critics accuse Pelosi of caving to pres-
President to do the political bidding of remove Trump from office. Now she was sure and violating her own conditions
the President—that was something that increasingly convinced it would be dan- to pursue Trump’s impeachment. Even
changed the calculation for everybody.” gerous to allow him to continue his term Republicans who aren’t big Trump fans
Pelosi had already begun preparations without rebuke. have “been sort of driven toward him by
toward impeachment when, at 5 p.m. on At 4 p.m. that afternoon, she met with this—they do feel that Democrats over-
Monday, Sept. 23, she took a call from a her caucus and outlined her plan to an- played their hand,” says Representative
group of seven freshman Democrats. All nounce an impeachment inquiry. There Peter King, a New York Republican. “This
of them had military and intelligence were no objections. As her 5 p.m. an- whole thing has been a rush to judgment.”
backgrounds; all had flipped Republi- nouncement drew near, an aide tugged But Pelosi’s allies say holding out until
can districts; all had opposed impeach- at her sleeve, urging her to go upstairs the Ukraine scandal broke strengthened
ment to this point. Now they told her they and run through the speech just once be- her hand. “It’s made her an even more
were jointly writing an op-ed, to appear fore she went out and delivered it. Finally powerful voice in this moment,” says
that evening on the Washington Post’s she turned on him, snapping, “I walk into Representative David Cicilline, Demo-
website, endorsing an impeachment in- rooms and read teleprompters all the crat of Rhode Island. “She resisted this
quiry. “We have devoted our lives to the time. That’s what we’ll do.” for so long because she really understood
service and security of our country,” the Then it was time to face the cameras the consequences to the country. That
op-ed read. “These allegations are stun- for history. “The actions taken to date by gives her tremendous credibility with
ning, both in the national security threat the President have seriously violated the the American people when she came to
they pose and the potential corruption Constitution,” Pelosi said. “The Presi- the conclusion it was necessary.”
they represent.” dent must be held accountable. No one It’s an open question whether Pelo-
Flying back to Washington from New is above the law.” si’s gamble has the public’s support. In
York City that night, Pelosi began draft- polls, a slight plurality of Americans—
ing an announcement in her looping cur- now that the house has impeached just over 49%—support Trump’s im-
sive hand on a piece of loose-leaf paper. Trump in a nearly party-line vote, it’s fair peachment, according to averages tabu-
The next morning, the Speaker was in her to ask how much Pelosi’s careful manage- lated by FiveThirtyEight. That number
airy Georgetown penthouse condo when ment of the process achieved. The Senate shot up after the scandal began, and is
she received an unscheduled call from the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, has historically high, but it has barely budged
President. It was 8:16 a.m. Trump was in declared he will work to ensure Trump is since October, and Trump’s approval rat-
New York, preparing for a speech to the acquitted. McConnell’s Democratic coun- ing has remained steady in the low 40s as
U.N. The subject of the call was ostensi- terpart, Chuck Schumer, seems to agree well. Democratic pollster Geoff Garin says
bly gun control, a topic dear to Pelosi’s that Trump’s acquittal is a foregone con- that despite GOP claims to the contrary,
heart. But that turned out to be a pretext. clusion. “I don’t want to second-guess” “there’s no evidence that impeachment
Trump quickly turned to the subject of the outcome, Schumer tells TIME. “But has changed the fundamental dynamics of
the July 25 Zelensky conversation. There these Republicans are not the Republi- the 2020 election.” Trump’s opponents,
was “no pressure at all,” he insisted, ac- cans of old. They are totally supine in their he contends, are even more galvanized
cording to a source familiar with the con- obeisance to Trump.” Yet Schumer agrees by impeachment than his supporters are.
versation between Pelosi and the Presi- with Pelosi that “we have no choice, given And by November 2020, Garin says, the
dent. The call was “100% perfect. I didn’t the President’s lack of respect for democ- data suggest that voters will base their de-
ask him for anything.” Trump added, “Lit- racy and the Constitution.” cisions far more on issues like health care
erally, you would be impressed by my lack Republicans gloat that impeachment than on impeachment.
of pressure.” has strengthened Trump politically— In mid-December, I sat down with
Pelosi was unconvinced. “Mr. Presi- that somehow, a process designed by the Pelosi again and asked her to respond to
dent,” she said, “we have a problem here.” founders to constrain a President has per- some of the criticism of the process. The
She repeatedly urged the President to versely achieved the opposite. Trump’s Speaker was battling a lingering winter
release the still hidden whistle-blower re-election campaign has harnessed his cold, and was in the midst of last-minute
complaint that had set off the contro- supporters’ outrage over impeachment negotiations with the White House and
versy. And she reminded him that as the to raise buckets of money. As the drama Senate on a $1.4 trillion spending deal to
longest-serving member of the House In- played out over the final three months avert a shutdown while sharply cutting
telligence Committee, this allegation was of 2019, Trump raked in $46 million, back Trump’s requested border funding.
“in my wheelhouse.” As the conversation his best quarterly haul of the year and The idea of a rush to impeachment ex-
grew tense, she urged him one more time more than any of his Democratic rivals asperates the Speaker, who points out that
to release the complaint. “I have to go give have raised over a similar period. Within the White House limited the evidence
a speech,” Trump said, and hung up. 72 hours of Pelosi’s Sept. 24 announce- available with its unprecedented stone-
To Pelosi, Trump’s belief that the Zel- ment that Democrats would move for- walling. And Pelosi contends that the pro-
ensky call was “perfect” showed an in- ward with an impeachment inquiry, the cess is merely an extension of the prior
ability to distinguish right from wrong. Trump campaign pulled in $15 million in investigations of Trump. “This has been
For months, she had believed voters in small-dollar donations. going on for 2½ years, since the Justice
28 Time January 20, 2020
‘These Republicans are not the
Republicans of old. They are totally
supine in their obeisance to Trump.’
Chuck Schumer

Department tasked Director Mueller to The following day, Pelosi presided over the government reopened. As the stale-
go into the investigation,” she says. “It’s the floor vote on impeachment, wearing mate dragged on, Pelosi seized on an un-
been going on for a long time. The aha a striking black suit to project solemnity, expected source of leverage: she post-
moment was Ukraine. But the pattern of accessorized with a large gold brooch of poned Trump’s State of the Union address
behavior was very self-evident over time.” the Mace of the Republic, a symbol of the to Congress, knowing that he prized it as a
Many Democrats hoped some Repub- House. When scattered cheers broke out televised set piece showcasing his power.
licans might support impeachment; Pe- inside the chamber after the first article Then she stubbornly waited out her
losi claims nothing ever surprises her. was approved, she sternly and silently adversary. “The President tried to break
“It’s disappointing to see that they are ig- shushed them with a glare and a sharp us in January [2019] by throwing us into
noring their own oath of office,” she says. gesture. After the vote, she announced a government shutdown at the same time
“The President must be held account- that she did not plan to transmit the ar- we were transitioning into the majority,”
able. And the fact that the Republicans ticles right away, saying she could not de- says Hakeem Jeffries, a Democratic Con-
are even in denial of the factual basis of termine how to appoint House impeach- gressman from New York who serves as
what happened is sad for our country.” ment managers until the Senate decides caucus chairman. “We held together, and
On Dec. 17, the night before the full on its rules for the trial. instead of breaking us, we broke him. It
House would debate and vote on Trump’s McConnell has mocked the idea that ended in unconditional surrender.”
impeachment, Pelosi met behind closed Pelosi or Schumer can shape the Senate
doors with top caucus members on the trial to their liking. But he’s also said he thIs power struggle between the
Democratic Steering and Policy Com- won’t start it until Pelosi sends the arti- branches of government was not Pelosi’s
mittee. She hinted, for the first time, that cles, and it’s clear from Trump’s tweets vision. She preferred the emphasis to be
she was contemplating a curveball: de- and statements that the unresolved situ- on the Democrats’ policy agenda. She be-
clining to immediately transmit the im- ation bothers him. Moreover, the delay is lieved that kitchen-table concerns were
peachment articles to the Senate after the allowing facts to emerge. Over the two- more important to voters and wanted to
House passed them. “The rule empow- week holiday break, newly unredacted show that Democrats are capable of gov-
ers the Speaker to be able to decide how emails showed Pentagon officials wor- erning. Despite Trump’s criticism of the
to send the articles and when to send the rying about the legality of Trump’s effort “do-nothing Democrats,” the House has
articles over to the Senate,” she said, ac- to withhold military aid from Ukraine. passed nearly 400 bills, most with GOP
cording to an aide who was in the room. And on Jan. 6, former National Secu- support. If there’s a single morning that
“My view is we don’t know enough about rity Adviser John Bolton, potentially a captures how Pelosi has juggled the pri-
what they are going to do. We want to see key witness to Trump’s alleged actions orities of policymaking and oversight, it
what [is] their level of fairness and open- toward Ukraine, announced he would is Dec. 10, when she led the 9 a.m. an-
ness and the rest.” testify before the Senate if subpoenaed. nouncement of the impeachment articles,
Pelosi, according to an aide, had been On Jan. 7, McConnell announced that he then proceeded directly to a 10 a.m. press
mulling the tactic since she heard former had enough Republican votes to begin the conference to announce that the House
Nixon White House counsel John Dean trial, and Democrats in both chambers ap- had made a deal to pass the President’s
float the idea on CNN on Dec. 5. In the peared to be getting restless—but still Pe- revision of the North American Free Trade
committee meeting, she added that she losi refused to budge. Agreement.
believed McConnell would be motivated The gambit is reminiscent of another Her approach is a stark departure from
to move. “Somebody said to me today that Pelosi maneuver designed to exploit how the GOP handled Barack Obama’s
he may not even take up what we send. Trump’s insecurities. Pelosi retook the presidency—opposing Obama at every
[But] then [Trump] will never be vindi- speakership a year ago amid a govern- turn, determined not to give him victo-
cated,” she said, according to the aide in ment shutdown triggered by Trump’s ries even on uncontroversial matters.
the room. “He will be impeached forever. demand for border-wall funding. She Pelosi and Schumer have found ways to
Forever. No matter what the Senate does.” refused to negotiate on the matter until work with Trump, particularly on trade,
prescription drugs and infrastructure, an
approach that rankles the left. “Demo-
crats should not be giving Donald Trump
wins that normalize his presidency and
give him a set of accomplishments to
campaign on,” says Brian Fallon of the
liberal group Demand Justice. “He ben-
efits vastly more from a bipartisan trade
deal than they do.” In a stroke of irony, the
Speaker whose moderate colleagues tried
to get rid of her for fear she struck heart-
land voters as too far left is now hailed—
or derided—as a moderating force.
Yet House Democrats from all wings of
the diverse caucus say they are more uni-
fied than at any time in recent memory. “I
think we’re doing the very best we could,”
says Representative Chrissy Houlahan of
Pennsylvania, one of the authors of the
national-security freshmen’s op-ed. Lib-
eral Representative Alexandria Ocasio-
Cortez of New York, agreed: “It’s been a
very disciplined approach.”
That comity will be tested as Wash-
ington heads into an election year. More
is at stake than the balance between the
parties. The institutions of American de-
mocracy are being tested. The checks
and balances designed by the founders
depend on the coequal branches’ ability
to stand up to one another. “She’s had
a herculean task, and she’s done it bril-
liantly,” says Jonathan Rose, a former
Nixon and Reagan Administration law-
yer affiliated with the anti-Trump con-
servative legal group Checks and Bal-
ances. “I never thought I’d be for Nancy
Pelosi in my lifetime.”
Pelosi, for her part, won’t admit to any
preference for her party’s 2020 nominee.
But the Speaker, as usual, has a strategy
for how she believes the Democrats
should proceed. “The message has to
be one that is not menacing,” she says.
“What works in Michigan works in San
Francisco, about job creation and the
rest. But what works in San Francisco
may not work in Michigan. Michigan is
where we must win, and we must win in
the Electoral College. We won the House
last year by having mobilization at the
grassroots level. We have to do that
again.” The question for Democrats now
may have less to do with the effects of
Pelosi’s actions than whether they heed
her advice. —With reporting by alaNa
abramsoN and briaN beNNeTT/
washiNgToN □
30 Time January 20, 2020
Pelosi, at the Capitol on Dec. 5, has
staked the 2020 elections on impeachment.
“No one is above the law,” she said


Taiwan’s Tsai Ing-wen seeks re-election in the last truly free place
in the Chinese-speaking world By Charlie Campbell/Taipei

In the early 1980s, a young taIwanese stu- with China, by force if necessary. Through most of
dent newly enrolled at the London School of Eco- the Cold War, the capitalist enclave was shielded
nomics heard a knock at her dormitory door. by the West. But in a world China now aims to lead
A pair of bedraggled British students were there after embracing market forces, Taiwan’s position
to ask Tsai Ing-wen if she wanted to subscribe to a has grown only more vulnerable.
newspaper. In the spirit of collegiality, she readily So has Tsai’s. The Chinese strongman Xi Jinping
agreed. “It was only later that I discovered it was a in January 2019 declared unification across the Tai-
communist newspaper,” she tells TIME, laughing. wan Strait the “great trend of history,” and his cam-
“I eventually told them to keep my check but just paign to that end has gathered in intensity; Tsai’s
stop sending the newspaper.” first term was marred by diplomatic isolation, tight-
More than 30 years later, Taiwan’s political ening economic screws and repeated threats of inva-
leader is still fending off unwelcome leftist over- sion. Taiwan finds less and less room to maneuver
tures. Elected President of the self-governing island between forced reunification and resorting to force
of 23 million in 2016, Tsai set out to steer it fur- to remain independent. Tsai took a substantial risk
ther from China’s orbit. Taiwan has its own mili- in December 2016, when she phoned U.S. President-
tary, its own passport and the world’s 21st largest elect Donald Trump to congratulate him on his elec-
economy. But ever since 1949, when Mao Zedong’s tion victory. The call was the first between American
forces ended a civil war by chasing the Nationalists and Taiwanese leaders since the U.S. recognized the
to the island 100 miles (160 km) off the mainland, CCP’s dominion over China, including Taiwan, in
the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has consid- 1979. In an interview with TIME, Tsai called the con-
ered it a renegade province that must be reunited versation a “very natural thing.” But it was deemed

President Tsai,
in her Taipei
office on Oct. 6
an affront by Beijing, one compounded when Trump
suggested the U.S. might revisit the question of Tai-
wan’s status as a part of China.
The mercurial U.S. President adds a new wob-
ble of uncertainty to the tightrope Taiwan has been
walking for 70 years. Historically, even after em-
bracing Beijing, the U.S. has maintained a strong,
unofficial alliance with Taiwan. But as Trump has
become entangled with China on matters from trade
to cyberespionage, some in Taiwan worry that the
famously transactional American leader might view
their country as a pawn to be exchanged for some-
thing else, like a preferential trade deal.
“If Taiwan becomes a major issue between
Trump and Xi, nobody knows what Trump might
do,” says Professor Shelley Rigger, an East Asia ex-
pert at Davidson College in North Carolina.
As Taiwan approaches elections on Jan. 11, the
question for its people is whether they still trust Tsai
to safeguard their democratic way of life. Her main
opponent, Nationalist candidate and Kaohsiung
Mayor Han Kuo-yu, hopes to convince voters that
working closely with an increasingly influential
and assertive Beijing will ultimately better protect
the island’s de facto sovereignty. “Taiwan has one
choice—to engage with China, because we can’t hide,”
Han recently told students at Stanford University.
But Tsai’s Democratic Progres-
sive Party does not endorse the idea
that island and mainland are the
same country. Formal independence ‘ C H I N A’ S M I L I T A R Y C A P A C I T Y single day, TIME followed her to a
for Taiwan is a key goal in its party kindergarten, a farm, a technology
charter. Beijing says any move to I S G R O W I N G, A N D I T H A R B O R S conference and half a dozen tem-
“secede” would be met with a mili- E X P A N S I O N I S T I N T E N T I O N S.’ ples. On another, she inspected
tary response, and Tsai has pragmat- frogman drills at military camps
ically sidestepped the issue while in before tea at an artists’ retreat.
power. But her policy of prioritizing She is hoping this kind of retail
ties with other Asian nations has deeply troubled the politics can reverse a decline in her popularity over her first term in office,
Communist Party leadership, as has her full-throated driven by party divisions; unwelcome pension reforms; and embarrass-
support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. ing scandals, like bodyguards caught using official trips abroad to smuggle
Now the future of Taiwan—without rival the cigarettes. Her decision to make Taiwan the first place in Asia to legalize
freest place in the Chinese-speaking world—as a marriage equality sparked a fierce conservative backlash. Still, Tsai, her-
U.S.-allied, liberal, democratic beacon in Asia is self never wed, remains proud of the achievement, which “shows that
under “constant assault,” Tsai says, as Beijing tight- Taiwan is an open and inclusive society and a rather mature democracy.”
ens the noose on restive populations at its periph- She’s also suffering from the kind of resurgent populism afflicting de-
ery, from Xinjiang to Tibet to, of course, Hong Kong. mocracies the world over. The viral rise of Tsai’s Nationalist opponent
The CCP sees this election as an opportunity to do has been precipitous enough to be called the “Han wave.” His chest-
the same to Taiwan, Tsai says—something she is de- thumping speeches and outlandish promises during his successful may-
termined to prevent. “Beijing would like to see a oral campaign—to drill for oil in the contested South China Sea and bring
divided Taiwan, to see our economy and develop- casinos and Formula One to Kaohsiung—have naturally drawn compari-
ment stall, to create a better foothold to influence sons to the 45th U.S. President. “You cannot have a conversation about
cross-strait relations,” she says. “However, when it Han Kuo-yu without Donald Trump coming up,” says Rigger. “Everybody
comes to Taiwan’s sovereignty, democracy and free- sees the parallels between those two guys.”
dom, I believe our people are mostly in agreement.” Tsai isn’t blind to the risks. “The rise of disinformation and popu-
lism have brought great challenges to leaders and governments around
Tsai, 63, is a TechnocraT and former academic the world,” she says. Yet the challenge is greater for Taiwan with a rapa-
who has tried to shrug off a reputation for aloofness cious Beijing lurking and, she believes, pulling the strings. In the months
with a dizzying schedule of campaign events. On a leading up to the vote, Taiwan has been hit by a tsunami of false reports
34 tIme January 20, 2020
Tsai has been offered safe harbor to fleeing protesters. In Octo-
determined to ber, Taiwan expelled a mainland tourist for vandal-
take her message izing a public memorial in support of the demon-
directly to voters on strations. Tsai sees a dire warning for her people
the campaign trail in the leeching of freedoms there. “Seeing these
developments in Hong Kong, the Taiwanese peo-
ple feel the need for a leader who can stand firm, insist on what has to be
insisted upon and clearly express their will,” says Tsai.

if Tsai is re-elecTed this month, she will have to helm Taiwan through
a period of deep uncertainty, as Beijing’s geopolitical clout continues to
grow. Today, the island, officially known by the archaic pre-civil-war name
Republic of China, is blocked by Beijing from joining the U.N. or poten-
tially lucrative free-trade groupings. It is now recognized by only 15 coun-
tries after seven switched to Beijing during Tsai’s first term.
Beijing is also squeezing the island economically. In August, it stopped
the free movement of independent Chinese tourists to Taiwan, a free-
spending cohort that comprised 82,000 arrivals per month in 2018. The
burning question for Taiwan is how far Beijing is prepared to go. “China
is already taking steps similar to what Russia did in Crimea,” says Taiwan’s
Foreign Minister, Joseph Wu, referring to the annexation of the Ukrainian
peninsula. Moreover, he says, were China’s slowing economy to foment
domestic unrest, then Taiwan might find itself “a very easy scapegoat.”
In order to mitigate the risk, Taiwan has sought to spread its influence
indirectly, building cultural, economic and humanitarian ties. During the
recent presidential crisis in Venezuela, for example, Taiwan was one of the
few actors able to send much-needed aid over the border from Colombia.
To boost its soft power, Taiwan offers international cooperation in un-
conventional areas such as media literacy and disaster recovery. “Many
of our allies still support Taiwan because they share the same values with
masquerading as news stories in its partisan and us and will not be swayed by China’s economic inducements,” says Tsai.
sensationalist media, often targeting Tsai. Her Yet because few small nations can ignore Beijing’s dollar diplomacy,
administration and independent analysts say a large Taiwan’s ties with the U.S. have taken on newfound importance. The U.S.
proportion originate in the CCP’s United Front pro- has moved in recent years to offset China’s attempts to isolate its way-
paganda department, though the Chinese govern- ward province, much to Beijing’s ire. In March 2018, Trump signed the
ment denies any such campaign. bipartisan Taiwan Travel Act, which boosts the exchange of high-level
So Tsai is fighting back in kind, charming voters officials. Then, last October, a U.S. bill to protect Taiwan from Chinese
with renewed zeal and posting social-media videos of diplomatic pressure won Senate approval. That same month, former Re-
her frolicking with the two cats and three retired guide publican presidential-primary candidate Ted Cruz became the first U.S.
dogs she’s adopted. The key to protecting Taiwan’s Senator in 35 years to join Taiwan’s National Day celebrations, cementing
democracy, she says, lies in “public participation in a “friendship that has never been more important as Taiwan stands up to
our efforts to counter disinformation.” It has worked, the Chinese Communist Party’s oppression,” he tells TIME.
if her improved numbers are anything to go by. One of Tsai’s first priorities if re-elected will be to build on these over-
A widening lead might also be explained by the tures from allies in Congress. She may need them, as China’s ambitions
ongoing turmoil in Hong Kong, which for over six are widely believed to stretch further still. In the South China Sea, it has
months has been convulsed by increasingly violent militarized disputed islands and reefs into fortifications dubbed “unsink-
pro-democracy protests against encroachment by able aircraft carriers.” In September, the Pacific nations of Kiribati and the
Beijing. Last January, Xi suggested Hong Kong’s sys- Solomon Islands each restored diplomatic ties with China, a move Tsai’s
tem of semiautonomy—known as “One country, two government believes may give Beijing an enhanced foothold in the region.
systems”—might eventually be a model for Taiwan. “China took them by strategic design,” Wu says. “If the international com-
But that idea had little support among Taiwan’s cit- munity does not react strongly, China might make changes to the Pacific
izens then, and even less now that unrest has en- in the same way as the South China Sea.”
gulfed the former British colony. “[The Hong Kong Although Beijing insists these and other fortifications are defensive in
B I L LY H .C . K W O K F O R T I M E

situation] has, of course, negatively affected the Tai- nature, Tsai isn’t buying it. “China’s military capacity is still growing, and
wanese people’s trust in China,” says Tsai. it harbors expansionist intentions,” she says. The danger is that the alarm
Still, Taiwan has been sucked into the escalat- bells might be ignored by a world so entwined with Beijing economically,
ing crisis. Its citizens have marched in support including the U.S. But for Taiwan, there’s no choice. The islanders will, as
of Hong Kong’s right to self-determination and ever, be standing in the breach. □

A century later, the Great
War comes alive onscreen
The problem wiTh world war i on The screen
is exactly the problem of World War I in reality: it
may have been a linchpin of modern history, the fis-
sure dividing the 19th century from the 20th, pro-
foundly transformative and utterly destructive, but
it was also a static affair, fought from fortified trench
lines out of which hundreds of thousands of young
men emerged just long enough to be killed. Stanley
Kubrick located a superb film, 1957’s Paths of Glory,
in the ornate chambers (and the perfidy) of the gen-
erals who oversaw the waste of those lives. But mo-
tion pictures do require a certain amount of motion,
and the major accomplishment of 1917, the latest film
to join the canon, may be that its makers figured out
what the generals could not: a way to advance.
The breakthrough idea of director Sam Mendes
was to dispatch a pair of messengers into a no-man’s-
land that has been mysteriously expanded from a few
hundred yards to several miles by the puzzling and
stealthy retreat of German forces. The couriers carry
a warning that the retreat is a trap, intended to draw
an attack from a British commander who must be
In the new movie
1917, a war
characterized by
long periods of
stasis is rendered
in propulsive
forward motion

reached before dawn, when his troops are scheduled used phrases like ‘Great Scott!’ And so he was a very
to advance into what amounts to a buzz saw. The sce- magnetic person, very charismatic.” But the grand-
nario is grounded in real circumstances—the confu- son also noticed that the old man washed his hands
sion over the Germans’ strategic retreat in northern compulsively, and when he asked his own dad why,
France to the heavily fortified “Hindenburg Line,” he was told, “He remembers the mud of the trenches.”
and the common absence, at the time, of radios for The two impressions also reside in 1917. On the
battlefield communication. But the movie cares only one hand, the film has the immediacy and sense of
about the moment. The camera stays with the two utter dread that defines combat and its prelude.
lance corporals from the film’s first frame to its last, ^ Things, including terrifying things, happen abruptly.
P R E V I O U S PA G E S : U N I V E R S A L ; T H E S E PA G E S : 1 9 17: U N I V E R S A L ; S H U T T E R S T O C K (3)
as if unfolding in one long take, much like the tech- Mendes directs To ratchet up the uncertainty, relative unknowns
nique employed by Alejandro González Iñárritu in Chapman, left, and were cast in the lead roles. Game of Thrones’ Dean-
his 2015 Best Picture winner Birdman. The aim is to MacKay on location Charles Chapman plays Blake, the round-faced sol-
immerse the viewer in a propulsive, at times head- in rural England dier who gets the assignment of carrying the vital
long journey that travels like a lit fuse. message because he has a brother among the 1,600
“I took a calculated gamble,” says Mendes. “And men at risk. George MacKay is Schofield, who hap-
I’m pleased I did because of the energy you get just pens to be reclining against a tree near Blake when
from driving forward, in a war that was fundamentally the order arrives. We know almost nothing else about
about paralysis and stasis.” The idea for the script, them, including their first names. The vagueness is
which Mendes wrote with Krysty Wilson-Cairns, as deliberate as the casting. “If one of those actors is
came from the story of Mendes’ grandfather, a native Leonardo DiCaprio,” the director says, “you know
of Trinidad who was a messenger for the British on he ain’t going to die.”
the Western Front. The film is dedicated to the grand- At the same time, for all the mud and rats and
father, Alfred H. Mendes, and in an interview, the viscera, no one is going to mistake 1917 for a
director describes him in different ways at different documentary. The nearly $95 million production
points. “He was a great storyteller,” Mendes says. “He has the signature veneer of a filmmaker who came
was very Edwardian, very theatrical. You know, he to the attention of Hollywood with his 2000
38 Time January 20, 2020
Academy Award–winning debut American Beauty for a couple of lengthy tracking shots (the transverse
and directed the last two James Bond features. The of no-man’s-land comes close to a fun-house ride),
cinematographer is Roger Deakins, nominated THE WAR the camera manages not to call attention to itself.
14 times for Oscars for films from Fargo to Kundun ONSCREEN “I wanted this constant, slightly threatening
to Sicario; he won in 2018 for Blade Runner 2049. forward motion,” says Mendes, and across nearly
Reviews have been glowing, and on Jan. 5, in two hours it’s what he achieves. It’s true not only
something of an upset, the movie won Golden through Hieronymus Bosch hellscapes with the
Globes for Best Picture (Drama) and Best Director, thrumming piano-wire tension (and piano-wire
launching it to the front of the pack of Oscar hopefuls. sound) reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s 2017
Sitting down in a Manhattan hotel a couple of days Dunkirk, but also in what lies beyond: countryside,
after finishing the film, Mendes says the Bond fran- verdant and rolling and, ultimately, lost, at least as a
chise gave him a certain comfort level with the scale ALL QUIET ON reference point for a more innocent sensibility that,
involved in the war project, including the great tides FRONT (1930) after the machine gun, was no longer grounded in
of extras. The real challenge of 1917 was as new as the The film the beauty and rhythms of nature.
technology that made it possible. Because the fin- adaptation of In print, that cleaving informed the magisterial
ished film would have just one visible cut, every scene the best-selling The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell,
novel about
had to be planned to the second, and stop-watched disenchanted
the American cultural historian whose experience
as it was rehearsed. That meant weeks of arranging, German soldiers as an infantry officer in World War II left him with
then rearranging the cardboard boxes that formed re- was banned in a contained rage that he put to excellent use. Fus-
hearsal trenches on a Shepperton Studios soundstage, Nazi Germany sell cast a scalding eye on the nostalgic glow that
then counting steps (and seconds) in the English wreathes most accounts of military action, including
countryside near Stonehenge that doubled as north- the cottage industry of “the Greatest Generation.”
ern France. It also locked the film into place from He spent much of his professional life searching out
the start. Any decision that a director might, in any the (exceedingly rare) accounts of wartime that are
other picture, reconsider over weeks in the editing true to the lived experience of combat. For World
room had to be made in advance. As a logistical chal- War I, he found them in the writings of Siegfried Sas-
lenge, it was a bit like mounting a military campaign. soon, Robert Graves and other Brits who survived a
war that, by way of announcing a brutal new modern
War has actually become relatively rare in recent PATHS OF world, emptied a nation of its young men.
years, at least between, as opposed to within, coun- GLORY (1957) “For us, it’s a lost generation,” says Mendes, who
tries. Asked why he made this movie now, Mendes Kirk Douglas as a student growing up in the U.K. read Sassoon’s
has a slightly dutiful-sounding answer about how, stars as a French satirical poems and Graves’ memoir Goodbye to All
officer defending
“In war, you see human beings pushed to their ex- soldiers accused That. “If you go through all the small villages and
tremes and forced to confront what it means to be of cowardice towns of England, you’ll find many more memori-
alive, and what it means to sacrifice yourself for other in this antiwar als to the lost of World War I than World War II. It
people.” But he also made it now because he could. drama, inspired by throws a bigger cultural shadow.”
It may have taken a century, but the technology that a true story, that But then during the Second World War, movies
launched Stanley
allowed cinema to capture the War to End All Wars Kubrick’s career were already a dominant medium, and films were
finally was at hand, chiefly in the form of a prototype being made both about the conflict and, as the His-
feature camera so small it could be run from a wire, tory Channel reminds us every hour or so, also of it.
rig, truck or drone, with Deakins controlling it from Poetry, literature and art were all that was available
a nearby van that maneuvered to stay out of frame. to record the experiences of 1914 to 1918, almost al-
“You know, we pushed massively over the last ways in retrospect. Among the things 1917 communi-
20 years toward hyperkinetic editing, some of it cates is the sense of an idyll interrupted. The natural
brilliant,” says Mendes. “Something like the Bourne world features in the film, both the nourishment of
movies, it’s visceral. It feels like you’re being hit in its beauty—a wooded glade behind the front line, a
the gut when you get caught in an action sequence. lone tree on a rolling plain—and in its defilement by
But we haven’t pushed a commensurate distance in GALLIPOLI trenches and craters aswim with body parts. The re-
the other direction. What happens if there is nothing? Set farther East, ality of the First World War may defy metaphor, but
With this new technology, create this ribbon of action, this Golden if you keep moving, as the two lance corporals must,
this unbroken snaking ribbon in which the things Globe–nominated a lot of ground can be covered.
that you want the audience to see just happened to Australian feature, “I wanted something that had the quality of a
starring Mel
intersect in front of the camera at the right moment.” Gibson, depicts
dream at times, but had real-life stakes,” Mendes
That’s how 1917 works. As Blake and Schofield the Allies’ failed says. “Any narrative, any fiction is a compression in
trot along British trench lines, then go over the top— 1915–16 Battle time, a compression of character. You’re trying to
“Straight ahead, past the dead horses,” a helpful, of Gallipoli (now find the tip of an iceberg. And if the tip is well done,
hollow-eyed officer advises—the viewer goes with in Turkey) the iceberg becomes clear. You don’t have to see it if
them. There may not be a cut in the film, but except you know it’s there.” □
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2019 BOOKS


BEST of the





person. While Bob Odenkirk’s

MINISERIES heartbreaking tragicomic
performance sets the tone, a
THE PEOPLE V. O.J. cast of distinctive characters—
SIMPSON: AMERICAN from Jimmy’s ambivalent
CRIME STORY 2016 sometime girlfriend Kim Wexler
The first season of this
to quasi-principled gangster
true-crime anthology from
the extended Ryan Murphy Nacho Varga—illustrates just
universe dissected a football how sticky seemingly basic
THE GOOD PLACE 2016– hero’s 1995 murder trial, ethical dilemmas can be. (AMC)
It’s been a bleak decade for highlighting issues like media
broadcast networks since the bias, celebrity privilege and FLEABAG 2016–2019
surge of streaming—with the police racism. (FX) After years of prestige dramas
exception of this outlier. What that captured the inner turmoil
makes the show unique is a SHARP OBJECTS 2018 of straight, middle-aged white
From Gillian Flynn, Marti
surreal premise that places four men, Fleabag—a raw, funny
Noxon and Jean-Marc Vallée,
newly dead humans in an afterlife this Southern Gothic saga account of grief, guilt and sexual
where nothing is as it seems. cast Amy Adams as a self- compulsion from British writer
Created by Michael Schur and destructive journalist who and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge—
starring the charismatic duo returns to her hometown to stood out. Three years after its
Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, The investigate the murders of first season established the
Good Place doubles as a course two young girls. (HBO) plight of Waller-Bridge’s titular

By Judy Berman

in moral philosophy and raises THE YOUNG POPE 2017 hero, the show returned with a
the question of whether humans Initially an absurdist surprising redemption arc. As
can change for the better. (NBC) rendering of an upstart’s millennials struggled through
attempts to manipulate their first decades of adulthood,
MAD MEN 2007–2015 the church to suit his Fleabag’s spiritual journey
own ego, this show from
You could argue that Mad Men, suggested how a lost generation
Italian filmmaker Paolo
an era-defining hit that followed Sorrentino evolves into a might find itself. (Amazon)
maverick 1960s ad exec Don deeper, more sincere and
Draper as he blew up the searching examination ATLANTA 2016–
picture-perfect life he’d created of an old religion’s role in Donald Glover has become a
for himself, made its greatest modern life. (HBO) cultural force, thanks in part
impact in the 2000s. Along with to his experimental FX comedy
charming viewers, early seasons WOLF HALL 2015 Atlanta, about a broke Princeton
started a vogue for midcentury TV’s best U.K. import of the dropout who’s pinned his hopes
decade cast Mark Rylance
retro style. But, spread out over to managing his rapper cousin
as the antihero of Hilary
a decade as tumultuous as Mantel’s brilliant Thomas Paper Boi. Within that roomy
the one we just lived through, Cromwell novels. Cromwell framework, Glover has offered
the characters’ triumphs and rose from humble origins to an extended parody of BET, a riff TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN 2017
sorrows cut deeper the better become Henry VIII’s most on the Florida Man meme and David Lynch’s third season of
we got to know them. In its final trusted adviser—until he a horror flick that doubles as a Twin Peaks, which originally ran
moments, Mad Men invited us to wasn’t, at which time he was critique of “black excellence.” on ABC in the ’90s, is loosely
meditate on whether it’s crazy to executed. (PBS) Hilarious and surprising, the structured around righteous FBI
seek fulfillment in whatever it is show’s commentary on race, man Dale Cooper’s re-emergence
WHEN THEY SEE US 2019 after being stuck in the eerie
you do for money. (AMC) class and the entertainment
With her wrenching
industry is always on point. (FX) interzone of the Black Lodge for
miniseries about the Central
BETTER CALL SAUL 2015– Park Five, Ava DuVernay 25 years. Originally a simpler,
This prequel to the hit Breaking recast a notorious case semisatirical mashup of horror
Bad tells Saul Goodman’s origin of institutional racism, movie, police procedural and
story as petty criminal turned demonstrating how false soap-opera tropes, Twin Peaks:
repentant attorney Jimmy convictions irreparably The Return metamorphosed into
McGill. Originally envisioned altered the futures of a fun-house mirror of fixations
as a comedy, the show turned five innocent black and such as screens and nostalgia.
Latino boys. (Netflix) Every episode was a mystery with
out to be a serious inquiry into
what it means to be a good infinite solutions. (Showtime)

44 Time January 20, 2020

2017 When Netflix announced the first
2018 season of this animated series,
many people had doubts about
2019 the story of a gloomy talking
horse who used to star in a hit
’90s sitcom. Little did we know
it would soon evolve into not
just a sharp Hollywood satire,
but also a bracing exploration of
ambition, personal responsibility
and familial trauma, as well as
an empathetic portrait of mental
illness. BoJack has become both
the streamer’s masterpiece and
the best animated series of its
generation. (Netflix)


Spanning seven years in the
aftermath of a rapture-like event
dubbed the “Sudden Departure,”
in which 2% of earth’s population
vanished, The Leftovers
began as a bleak portrait of
collective mourning. But it soon
blossomed into an exploration of
faith and love in a contemporary
setting stripped of the certainty
that has come with scientific
progress. The show offered
the rare secular 21st century
narrative endowed with spiritual
resonance. (HBO)
2014–2017 ENLIGHTENED 2011–2013
C O L L E E N H AY E S — N B C U P H O T O B A N K V I A G E T T Y I M A G E S; G U Y D ’A L E M A — F X / E V E R E T T

Halt and Catch Fire told the There are two ways to frame

story of the 1980s personal- Enlightened’s Amy Jellicoe

computer revolution through (co-creator Laura Dern): from
O R IGI NA L LY A S I M PL E R, SEM I­ the eyes of four whip-smart (but one perspective, she’s a former
frequently unlucky) developers, corporate executive who returns
SAT IRI C A L M AS H UP OF HORROR entrepreneurs and collaborators. from rehab and exacts revenge
Yet for all its futurism, it was on the company that ruined her
MOVI E , P O LI C E P RO C E DUR AL A ND a drama about the power of life. Alternately, she’s a hero
creative teamwork to forge who risks everything to expose
SOA P­ OP E R A T RO P ES , TW IN PEAKS : interpersonal connections. The corruption in her workplace. The
show captured the way these show anticipated many defining
T HE R E T U R N ME TA M OR PHO SED sometime business partners themes of the years to come,
made one another more genuine
from “flawed” female characters
and fulfilled people—and it and brave whistle-blowers to
articulated the many, still #MeToo, the selfish undertones
unresolved dangers of treating of wellness culture and Ameri-
monetizable innovation as an cans’ increasing discomfort with
end in itself. (AMC) big corporations. (HBO)


ROMA 2018
Alfonso Cuarón’s extraordinary
film-as-remembrance is drawn
from the director’s own upper-
middle-class upbringing in
Mexico City in the 1970s. But it’s
hardly about him at all: his focus
is on the women who raised him,
particularly a household servant
named Cleo, played beautifully
by Yalitza Aparicio. Glorious and
tender, Roma invites us into a
world of memory—and although
these memories belong to
someone else, by the film’s end,
they somehow belong to us too.


Director James Gray is an old-
style craftsman: he’s unafraid
of intense emotions, written
out in a bold yet fine-grained
filmmaking language. In The Lost
City of Z, adapted from David
Grann’s 2009 book, Charlie
Hunnam stars as real-life British
explorer Percy Fawcett, who
disappeared in the Amazonian
jungle in 1925 while seeking a
lost civilization. Pictures with
the grand sweep and dreamy
energy of The Lost City of Z are
rare. This is itself a message
in a bottle, a missive from a
lost world of movies.

SELMA 2014
Ava DuVernay’s passionate
historical drama has only
become more relevant in the
years since its release. Selma
tells the story of the three
1965 marches, from Selma to

PA R A M O U N T P I C T U R E S/ E V E R E T T C O L L E C T I O N ; A 24/ E V E R E T T C O L L E C T I O N ; S O N Y P I C T U R E S
Montgomery, Ala., led by Martin
Luther King—played by David
Oyelowo—as a protest against MOONLIGHT 2016
restrictions on the voting rights Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight is a
of African Americans. coming-of-age movie, a love
C L A S S I C S/ E V E R E T T C O L L E C T I O N ; I F C F I L M S/ E V E R E T T C O L L E C T I O N

Within that framework, DuVernay story and an exploration of

dramatizes some of the human vulnerability. The film
most significant moments in follows one character (played by BOT H ST RIPP ED BAR E AN D
the history of the civil rights Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders
movement, and you feel the and Trevante Rhodes) as he RESTOR ED, BE TTER PRE PA RED TO
grows from a scrawny, insecure
weight of every act.
kid to a beefed-up, closed-off ST EP OUT AND FACE TH E WOR LD OF
adult who’s physically robust
but still emotionally fragile. PEO PLE ARO UN D YOU
Moonlight leaves you feeling
both stripped bare and restored,
better prepared to step out and
face the world of people around
you. There’s not much more you
can ask from a movie.

46 Time January 20, 2020

and Charlotte Gainsbourg’s
2010 PERFORMANCES Claire, an uptight wife and
2011 mother—face the end of the
2012 MELISSA MCCARTHY, world. Melancholia is a heavy
CAN YOU EVER sigh of a movie and a gasp
2013 FORGIVE ME? 2018
Playing cantankerous, at the horrible wonder of it
2014 all—yet it’s so beautiful to look
down-on-her-luck writer Lee
2015 Israel, who found a clever at that it feels decadent.
but wholly illegal way to This is von Trier’s way of
PHOENIX 2014 support herself in early- reaching out, of telling us it
2017 In this near perfect romance and 1990s New York, McCarthy will all be O.K. Maybe.
2018 thriller from Christian Petzold, reveals a subtle, glittering
the extraordinary German actor truth: being able to laugh at
2019 absurd and terrible things
Nina Hoss plays Nelly, who has
that happen to you is the
survived Auschwitz but whose
best route to survival.
face has been disfigured. After
a plastic surgeon reconstructs MAHERSHALA ALI,
it, she drifts through postwar MOONLIGHT 2016
Berlin, searching for her lost As a Miami drug dealer who
husband (Ronald Zehrfeld)—and goes out of his way to help
when she finds him, he doesn’t a skinny, scared little kid,
recognize her. Phoenix is a Ali shows how light can cut CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS
mystery and an entreaty to trust
across darkness when one
person stops to listen.
what our eyes tell us—even Werner Herzog, what a
when it’s not what our heart ANNETTE BENING, weirdo! But he’s our weirdo.
wants to hear. 20TH CENTURY WOMEN In this gorgeous, searching
2016 documentary from 2010, he
BEFORE MIDNIGHT 2013 Playing a 50ish bohemian brings his cameras into France’s
In Richard Linklater’s 1995 raising a son in 1970s Santa Chauvet Cave, examining
Barbara, Calif., Bening gets
Before Sunrise, we met two Paleolithic drawings of trotting
at the way middle-aged
young people—Julie Delpy’s loneliness and contentment rhinos and galloping horses.
Céline and Ethan Hawke’s can be so intermingled, it’s Herzog keeps a running patter
Jesse—who embark on a hard to tell which is which, over all of it, in a kind of
supposedly temporary romance. walking the line with the skill existential stand-up routine. As
Before Midnight, from 2013, of a beatnik ballerina. he muses about our ancestors’

By Stephanie Zacharek

JOHN WICK 2014 revisits the two nearly 20 years RUTH NEGGA, visions and dreams, his movie
Directed by two veteran later: they’re now in a committed LOVING 2016 binds us all with a long and
stuntmen, Chad Stahelski partnership, with kids, and As Mildred Loving, part winding thread of humanity.
of the interracial couple
and David Leitch, John Wick stress is taking its toll. During
whose arrest spurred
begins with a horrific puppy a family vacation Céline lashes groundbreaking civil rights SOMEWHERE 2010
murder and ends with a kind of out at Jesse, who tries to legislation, Negga gives Sofia Coppola’s delicate
benediction. In between, its star, understand, overwhelmed by a radiant performance but potent coming-of-age
Keanu Reeves, moves through his helplessness. Few movies about the triumph of love story traces the strained but
a revenge plot that involves capture so beautifully—with over hate. affectionate relationship
smoking a bunch of Russian some laughs, no less—what between a self-absorbed actor,
baddies. And oh, how he moves! happens when communication PHILIP SEYMOUR Stephen Dorff’s Johnny Marco,
Reeves is one of our finest action between two people who WANTED MAN 2014 and his preteen daughter, Elle
stars, and the fight scenes in love each other becomes In one of his final Fanning’s Cleo, a self-possessed
John Wick are beautifully shot dangerously fractured. performances, Hoffman woman in the making. Like all of
and edited to showcase the glory plays a counterterrorist Coppola’s movies, Somewhere
of human movement. Action MELANCHOLIA 2011 agent haunted by a past is beautifully observed, though
films, done right, are one of the In this dark semicomedy from failure, hinting at his there are long stretches where it
great pleasures of moviegoing, the controversial Danish director character’s suffering with may seem nothing is happening.
and John Wick—violent, sick Lars von Trier, two sisters— small gestures: he cups a But in life, it’s so often the
whiskey glass as if it were
as hell and often terrifically Kirsten Dunst’s Justine, a new spaces that count; why can’t it
part of the flesh of his hand.
funny—has it all. but inexplicably unhappy bride, be the same in movies?


THE IDLER WHEEL ... the Table pairs its plainspoken

FIONA APPLE 2012 SONGS lyrics with light-on-its-feet soul:
Apple’s fourth album is full of the pianos of “Cranes in the Sky”
dualities: inner demons and “ROLLING IN THE DEEP” flutter around Solange’s voice;
materialized threats; arch ADELE 2010 “Don’t Touch My Hair” blooms
observations and moments of The lead single from Adele’s into a strutting assertion of the
true sadness; white-hot anger second album, 21, was a self; and “Junie” is an homage
four-minute primal scream to funk pioneers Ohio Players.
and tender love. The tension
shaped into a rolling-thunder
between those elements epic, as her formidable alto
animates this unpredictable, made every charge against
skeletal album, which finds Apple her ex add up until they were
in full vocal bloom as she gives as high as a funeral pyre.
words workouts: just hear how
alone on the shambolic “Left “ALL TOO WELL”
Alone” is stretched, again and TAYLOR SWIFT 2012
A midtempo guitar ballad
again, to its breaking point.
with quietly devastating
lyrics, “All Too Well” nods to
DAMN. KENDRICK LAMAR 2017 Swift’s country-prodigy past,
Picking just one of Lamar’s but with the sort of maturity LEMONADE BEYONCÉ 2016
releases for a decade-end that transforms even the An up-close examination of love,
list is tricky—even Untitled most dramatic moments of fidelity and what happens when
Unmastered, his 2016 collection one’s life into shades of gray. sacred bonds are ruptured,

By Maura Johnston

of demos, is a solid hip-hop “YOUNG DUMB & BROKE” Beyoncé’s Lemonade, in audio

record. But with 2017’s DAMN., KHALID 2017 and video form, is as audacious
Lamar dived even deeper into his This single by Texas-based as it is heartfelt, channeling
own head while expanding his pop prodigy Khalid is an the roller coaster of emotions
sonic palette even further, adding anti-anthem for high school that run through someone’s
kids, executed with a mind after they’ve been hurt.
Rihanna hooks (on the woozy
smirk and some desert-
“Loyalty”) and Fox News drops The album is a joyride through
heat synths.
(on the critic-aimed “DNA”), as genres—spiky rock on “Don’t
well as his own superhero origin “AIN’T IT FUN” Hurt Yourself,” pick-up country
story to his knotty, allusion-filled PARAMORE 2013 on “Daddy Lessons,” cinematic
rhymes. DAMN. is a snapshot Tennessee emo-pop hip-hop on “Freedom”—and
of an artist at the peak of his band Paramore rebooted living proof that in the wake of
itself with its 2013 self- betrayal, finding oneself can be
powers who’s prepping to take
titled album, as vocalist
himself higher. the best revenge.
Hayley Williams was newly
energized by the possibilities
of her band’s bigger sound. THE WEIGHT OF THESE WINGS
On “Ain’t It Fun,” she uses MIRANDA LAMBERT 2016 E•MO•TION
that expanded palette—and Since her 2003 breakout on the CARLY RAE JEPSEN 2015
a feisty gospel choir—to long-gone reality show Nashville After the early-decade
holler her way through the Star, Lambert has been one blockbuster “Call Me Maybe,”
gnarlier bits of growing up. of country’s brightest-burning Canadian pop savant Jepsen
lights. Her 2016 double album went on a treasure hunt for
DIERKS BENTLEY 2014 upends expectations of what musical gems. Her third album
The title of “Drunk on it means to be “country.” celebrated her search’s success.
A SEAT AT THE TABLE a Plane” hints at a cautionary Over its two discs, she shows E•MO•TION is packed with
SOLANGE 2016 tale about the dangers herself to be as much of a No. 1 songs in heaven, kicking
The third solo album by Solange of open-bar flying, but musical wanderer as the off with the saxophone-led
Knowles is a necessary country wanderer Bentley’s psychedelia-tinged “Highway crush chronicle “Run Away
reframing of the protest-music songwriting skills turn this Vagabond” promises, scuffing With Me.” Few pop singers can
ideal, using sonic space and sing-along into an affecting up her boots on “Ugly Lights,” pack as much feeling into
tale about being stuck
Solange’s resolutely acrobatic brooding over wayward nights entire songs as Jepsen can
with the fallout from a love
vocals to drive home its gone wrong. on “Vice” and marinating in imbue in a single syllable, and
points about being black in heartbreak on the devastating, E•MO•TION sparkles in the
21st century America. A Seat at delicate “Tin Man.” darkest hours.

48 Time January 20, 2020

2011 Miguel’s 2010 debut, All I Want
2012 Is You, tipped him as a rising star
2013 in R&B—but his second album,
Kaleidoscope Dream, showed
that his ambitions transcended
2015 genre. “Adorn” is a love song
2016 for an uneasy world, Miguel’s
2017 vocals becoming increasingly
animated as he vows comfort
2018 to his intended; “The Thrill”
2019 swaggers and sways, describing
the precise point where ecstasy
meets danger; “Candles in the
Sun” is a song of existential
protest. A nervy, joyous album,
Kaleidoscope Dream captures
the fractured-world perspective
of its title.


Chad Clark, the chief creative
force behind Beauty Pill, put his
band’s process on full display
while making this album, which
was recorded during a two-week
public session at the D.C.-area
gallery Artisphere. But it’s the
exploratory spirit of Clark’s
punked-up version of art rock
that makes songs like the
churning “Afrikaner Barista” feel
so great.


The second album from this
C O L U M B I A V I A A P ; PA R K W O O D E N T E R TA I N M E N T/C O L U M B I A V I A A P ; J E F F G O L D E N —

Puerto Rican–born reggaetonero

opens up the big tent of Latin YOU WANT IT DARKER
music, which vaulted to popularity LEONARD COHEN 2016
in the American mainland over The 2010s were marked by too
F EW P O P S IN G ER S C AN PACK the decade. Ozuna’s fusion of many losses on the pop front:
reggaeton’s riddims and the David Bowie, Prince, Whitney
AS MU C H FE E LI NG I NTO E NT I RE spare beats of pop-trap make Houston, George Michael.
songs like the simmering “Única” Canadian bard Cohen provided
SO NG S A S J E P S EN C A N I MBU E I N A club-ready, while a collab with a kaddish of sorts with his
bachata king Romeo Santos, 14th studio album, which was
G E T T Y  I M A G E S; C O L U M B I A R E C O R D S

“Ibiza,” shows that Ozuna’s released a few weeks before his

romanticism is just as potent death in 2016. Cohen, whose
S PAR KL E S I N T HE DAR KE ST HOUR S when paired with that genre’s flair for the poetic remained with
crisp guitars. Cardi B’s turn as him until the end, interrogates
his duet partner on “La Modela,” the cracks that allow life’s light
meanwhile, puts the spotlight to get in, his low burr framed by
on the “Bodak Yellow” MC’s sparse arrangements that center
sensitive side. his sardonic yet awed lyrics.


Egan’s mold-breaking structure, which switches between In a profoundly moving book about hope and vision, the
different characters with each chapter, has become a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist tells the story of how millions
favorite trick of modern novelists—but the book also of African Americans left the South for the North.
captures something timeless: how aging can wreak havoc on
MY BRILLIANT FRIEND ELENA FERRANTE 2011 We know and hate cancer, but thanks to Mukherjee, we can
Two girls bond when one of them drops the other’s beloved also begin to understand it. From its earliest origins to the
doll down a shaft, the other follows suit and they try to forefront of the modern fight against it, the oncologist charts
retrieve them. So begins a tale that traverses the spectrum the long story of a reviled disease.
of interpersonal behaviors from cruelty to tenderness.
GONE GIRL GILLIAN FLYNN 2012 Boo spends 40 months among the residents of the Annawadi
Crackling prose, palpable dread and sharply drawn characters slum—and tells the story of what she sees, through the eyes
are all present in Flynn’s story of a marriage unraveled. But she of Mumbai’s garbage collectors, as inequality turns the poor
elevates her page-turner above clichés, rendering a story that’s against one another.
both a sharp feminist critique and an engaging literary work.
AMERICANAH CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE 2013 In the wake of tragedy, Strayed embarks on a solo hike
In a gimlet-eyed analysis of blackness in America and from California to Washington State on the Pacific Crest
a warm, witty coming-of-age tale about finding your place in Trail, rendering a journey of grief and self-discovery in prose
the world, a young writer travels from her native Nigeria to that—like her hike—turns loneliness, sorrow and regret into
the U.S. to pursue an elite education. something transcendent.

As Ursula Todd dies over and over again, the story of her lives About a quarter of a million people were killed in the 2004
is both moving and lighthearted, filled with comic asides and Indian Ocean tsunami—among them Deraniyagala’s
evocative scenes of humanity’s many joys and sorrows. parents, husband and two sons. Her story is bruising
but intimate.
In 10 immersive fictions, Saunders stirs reality and surrealism BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME TA-NEHISI COATES 2015
into an intoxicating cocktail, mixing sci-fi concepts, emotion Writing a letter to his son, Coates illustrates how black bodies
and humor. have been brutalized at every turn in American history, from
centuries of slavery to Jim Crow lynchings to the police killings
THE SELLOUT PAUL BEATTY 2015 of Eric Garner and Michael Brown.
A farmer in a primarily black and Latino neighborhood that was
once a thriving city wants to save the town by resegregating the EVICTED MATTHEW DESMOND 2016
local high school. As with all great satirical literature, Beatty’s In this deeply empathetic book, the sociologist follows eight
novel is hilarious, not for the sake of laughs but in the service families in Milwaukee as they navigate paltry paychecks and
of scathing truth. court dates in the fight to keep their homes.

Ward’s lyrical ghost story of a novel follows a fragile, drug-using The theoretical physicist gives poetic voice to the common
black woman named Leonie on a road trip with her two children human experience of moving through time, leaving
to bring the kids’ white father home from prison. The book the reader more equipped to understand how exactly
moves fluidly between the present and the past, uncovering that happens.
how trauma shaped their family.
LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE CELESTE NG 2017 The reporter recounts the gripping rise and fall of Elizabeth
What begins as a suburban arson mystery—why would Isabelle Holmes, once hailed as “the next Steve Jobs,” and her
Richardson set fire to her family’s picture-perfect home in company Theranos, which claimed to have developed
Shaker Heights, Ohio?—unfolds into a dizzying examination of blood-testing technology but was running a giant scam on its
By TIME staff

abortion, motherhood, racial identity and class warfare. investors and customers.

Whitehead wields his mastery over character and narrative Written in a time of political turmoil, the sweeping history
in service of dramatizing the Jim Crow era to piercing effect, focuses on the core ideas of the U.S. and the contradictions—
following the lives of two boys sentenced to a brutal reform from free speech and its suppression to liberty and slavery—
school in 1960s Florida. that have animated the country since its founding.

50 Time January 20, 2020

It’s time to take a stand for homeless pets. It’s time
to adopt change. Every day, more than 4,100 dogs
and cats are killed in shelters across the country —
but with Best Friends Animal Society leading the
way, and your support, we can help our nation’s
shelters and Save Them All.
7 Questions
Alfre Woodard One of Hollywood’s most
versatile stars on her film about the death penalty
and finding opportunity when doors were closed

n your new movie Clemency, you This is also a very interesting por-

I play a prison warden in a facil-

ity with death-row inmates. What
did you do to prepare? My filmmaker,
trait of a couple. You’ve had a 36-year
marriage [to screenwriter Roderick
Spencer]. Did you bring any of that to
Chinonye Chukwu, took me on a tour this performance? I don’t use my per-
of prisons in Ohio, and I met with three sonal life ever, even if it’s like thinking
female wardens and a deputy warden. about putting your dog down to make
you weepy. Or remembering that time
Was there something they had in my pants fell down when I was trying to
common? They all came to their po- cross Wilshire Boulevard and I got hys-
sitions from the mental-health pro- terical laughing.
fessions, or social services, or public
health. They were all women trained
to deal with human beings in extre-

These are hypothetical examples?
It’s so weird that nobody ever rats me
mis. And they were solid. They would OUT ABOUT HOW out about how wacky my life can be.
all be women I’d be at a book club with
or go to church with. They were people WACKY MY LIFE You have played something like
who are trained in not being demon-
strative emotionally. But as we see with
[my character] Bernadine, overseeing
’ 120 different roles in horror, comedy,
melodrama, action. Gangster! I was a
gangster. And the President! Not at the
an execution, especially multiple ones, same time. I could do that now.
weighs on the person, because they’re
putting to death a person they know. It Why do you feel like you’ve been able
takes 10 to 20 years to exhaust all ap- to avoid being typecast? If I had the
peals. So it’s like turning to the person access that some of my Caucasian col-
who has been in your cubicle for a de- leagues had, what I’ve done might lay
cade and saying, “O.K., Bob, we’ve got out on a spreadsheet differently. But
to put you down today.” That takes a because those doors didn’t open, it gave
toll. Especially because you said, “I will me the opportunity to seek other ways
see you through this with dignity.” of entering. When something was a dry
They never put anyone to death riverbed, I found water in other places.
who didn’t thank them.
Of all those roles, what do people in
Do you have opinions airports recognize you for the most?
about the death pen- That’s what’s so wonderful. It could be
alty? I do, but they’re anywhere on the timeline. Every five
beside the point. I do or six years, I try to do something that I
my activism that know would appeal to people between
I have since I was the ages of 12 and 18, because you have
14—that’s my life. to introduce yourself to each generation.
I see myself in our tra- That gives you longevity. Businessmen
dition as a griot. The griots will start to talk to me and I’m thinking,
were the ones that told the “O.K., it’s going to be Star Trek,” but
tribe the story. They hold up the mir- they’ll say, “I know this is weird, but
ror. The tribe sees itself, and reflects. could you sing the ‘Hug-a-Bug Bear’
I knew nothing about being a warden. song [from the 1993 romance film

Didn’t even know women wardens ex- Heart and Souls] for me?” I’m not going
isted. Who could they be? Did they step to sing that! The theme of it, though, is
on bird eggs when they were little girls? that everyone will get a little misty tell-
I’ve got to find that character, discover ing me their story and why it means so
that human being’s point of view. I re- much to them. I am never alone.
ally respect those women. —Belinda luscomBe
52 Time January 20, 2020
More than 25 years of helping children reach for their dreams.