Happy Sunday − and welcome to the best of The Conversation. Here are a few of our recently published stories:

When an important, famous or fascinating person dies, it may be surprising how quickly your favorite news site publishes a lengthy obituary describing their accomplishments, scandals and other details of their life. That’s because it’s long been a habit of news organizations to prepare “obits” well in advance of notable deaths. The Conversation is no different, and in fact we had published a sort of pre-obit on Henry Kissinger late last year just before he turned 100. So we were able to update the story by UMass Lowell’s Jarrod Hayes − which explored the “tortured and devastating” legacy of Kissinger’s “realpolitik” foreign policy − immediately after he died on Nov. 29.

While that story’s timeliness was owing to good preparation on the part of senior politics editor Naomi Schalit, we published a second piece on Kissinger almost simultaneously. That article was more luck − or premonition. The piece, which explores the traumatic impact of Kissinger’s policies on Cambodia, had been sitting on international affairs editor Matt Williams’ “to-do” list for some months. Heeding an intuition, he finished it up just a couple days before the news broke. As a result, we were able to quickly publish Sophal Ear’s insightful piece, which explains how the bombing campaign orchestrated by Kissinger gave rise to the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. When he was a child, Ear, a political economist at Arizona State, fled Cambodia with his family to escape the Khmer Rouge.

For Americans like me who were born after the events of the Vietnam War, I believe the story illustrates the impact of foreign policymakers like Kissinger by examining the fallout of his policies in Cambodia. Readers also found the article extremely engaging, making it last week’s most-read story.

Bryan Keogh

Managing Editor

Readers' picks

The aftermath of U.S. bombs in Neak Luong, Cambodia, on Aug. 7, 1973. AP Photo

Henry Kissinger’s bombing campaign likely killed hundreds of thousands of Cambodians − and set path for the ravages of the Khmer Rouge

Sophal Ear, Arizona State University

A Cambodian scholar who fled the Khmer Rouge as a child writes about the legacy of Henry Kissinger, who died at the age of 100 on Nov 28, 2023.

Editors' picks

U.S. Special Climate Envoy John Kerry, second from left, during climate negotiations in 2021. Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

The psychology of climate negotiations: How to move countries from national self-interest to global collective action

Asif Husain-Naviatti, Columbia University

Negotiating global progress on climate change involves walking a fine line, as a former UN official explains.

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