How Snatching American Citizens Turned Into a Tool of Hostile Governments

As the Trump administration exited the White House, its national security team left behind some 30 baseball-style cards for the incoming Biden staff, monuments to an ancient practice that had somehow become a grave 21st-century challenge.

Each bore the photo of an American held hostage abroad.

  • Travelers in countries representing nearly a quarter of the world’s population face a heightened risk of arrest—and of becoming pawns in a geopolitical struggle with Washington.
  • The risk of Americans being held on spurious charges by a foreign government is now so widespread that the State Department warns U.S. citizens against traveling to countries accounting for nearly a quarter of the world’s population.

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