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A Stubborn Thing About our 2023 Stubborn Things

Ambassador Mark Green
Israel Palestinians Hamas Tunnels
A Palestinian youth walks inside a tunnel used for military exercises during a weapon exhibition at a Hamas-run youth summer camp in Gaza City July 20, 2016. An extensive labyrinth of tunnels built by Hamas stretches across the dense neighborhoods of the Gaza Strip, hiding militants, their missile arsenal and the over 200 hostages they now hold after an unprecedented Oct. 7, 2023, attack on Israel.

In 2023, we published 45 Stubborn Things with topics related to nearly every Wilson Center program area. The most read blog post was “Hamas: Words and Deeds” with more than 55,000 readers. As the year quickly draws to a close, we report a few “stubborn things” of our own.

Our most-read post of the past year—with more than 55,000 views—considered the jihadist beginnings of Hamas, tracing the shifting language of its original political charter in 1988 to its terrorist attack on October 7, 2023. With reports of an extensive, 300-mile-long network of Hamas-controlled tunnels underneath Gaza, we also reflected upon the use of tunnels by criminals and militants throughout history—and how Hamas is changing the game with its technical sophistication and brazen use of civilian shields. 

We highlighted our changing global economy, from the expansion of BRICS to China’s growing trade dominance. Beginning as an acronym representing an economic coalition of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and later South Africa, BRICS membership has expanded to encompass 43% of the world’s population and 16% of global trade—including a larger share of global GDP than the G7 nations. China alone is the top trading partner of more than 120 countries, including South Africa and Kenya. (Although China’s trade dominance in the region might not come as a surprise with the knowledge that for the past 30 years, every Chinese foreign minister’s first trip abroad has been to the African continent.)

The future of the world’s economic health rests upon successfully assessing and adapting to our changing climate. For instance, scientific studies published this past year found that the Arctic is warming at a rate almost four times that of the global average, raising sea levels and increasing the risk for severe weather events as far away as the Indian subcontinent. Investing in developing countries’ physical and digital infrastructure will be transformative, yet it must also be climate-resilient or risk further indebting the 60% of low-income countries in debt-distress

In short, as John Adams once said, “Facts are stubborn things.” 2023 has been a significant year on so many fronts, keeping spokespersons and analysts busy as they try to shape public perceptions and influence political discourse. Here at the Wilson Center, we remain focused on our mission of tackling global issues through independent research and open dialogue that informs actionable ideas for the broader policy community. And we live by our motto, which reminds us of our origins and our purpose: Congressionally chartered, scholarship driven, and fiercely nonpartisan. 

In 2024, we will continue to work hard to elevate the stubborn things that sometimes go unnoticed or move too quickly across our news feeds. Those stubborn things that can help guide us as we look for context in an increasingly complex world. 

Catch up on our full library of this year’s posts below, and stay tuned for our next blog in January. There’s no telling what 2024 will bring!













This blog was researched and drafted with the assistance of Katherine Schauer.

About the Author

Ambassador Mark Green

Ambassador Mark A. Green

President & CEO, Wilson Center
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