Put It in Writing

How the West Broke Its Promise to Moscow

Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson
U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow, July 1991.
U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in Moscow, July 1991. (Rick Wilking / Courtesy Reuters)
Russian leaders often claim that the United States reneged on a promise not to expand NATO after the Cold War. They aren't lying: although Washington never put a pledge in writing, U.S. officials worked hard to convince Moscow that NATO wouldn't move east. And in international politics, informal commitments count.

Asia for the Asians

Gilbert Rozman
Moscow and Beijing have disagreements about the future order they envision for their regions. But they agree that the geopolitical order of the East should be in opposition to that of the West—and that has led to significantly closer bilateral relations.
Review Essay

What Heidegger Was Hiding

Gregory Fried
Scholars have long known that Martin Heidegger was a Nazi, but many doubted that his philosophy had anything to do with Hitler’s ideology. Now Peter Trawny, drawing on Heidegger’s hidden notebooks, argues that the philosopher’s anti-Semitism was deeply entwined with his ideas.
Capsule Review

Today's Book: After Love

Richard Feinberg
Immersing herself in Havana’s gay culture, Stout, an American anthropologist, gives readers a street-level view of the turbulent changes under way in Cuba.
China's flag flies in front of the New York Stock Exchange before the initial public offering of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Sept
Paul Gillis

In September, Alibaba Group launched the largest IPO in history, raising $25 billion from investors keen to own a slice of China’s most successful e-commerce company. For the moment, the potential for vast wealth overrode concerns about the unusual corporate structure and governance practices of Alibaba and firms like it. Maybe it shouldn’t have.

Locked and loaded: Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, January 2014.
Peter Tomsen

More than 13 years after 9/11, the Afghan war is far from over, even if Washington insists that the U.S. role in it will soon come to an end. Three recent books help explain why, and what Washington needs to do next to protect the gains that have been made.

A Ukrainian serviceman waits for a wreath laying ceremony at the Unknown Soldier's Tomb in Kiev, October 28, 2014.
Michael McFaul; Stephen Sestanovich; John J. Mearsheimer

Responding to Mearsheimer's controversial essay blaming the West for the Ukraine crisis, McFaul and Sestanovich put the blame back on Putin and his ideological extremism, denying that NATO expansion provoked him. Mearsheimer replies.

J. P. Singh

Earlier this month, Brazil and the United States struck a landmark trade agreement over a longtime point of contention: cotton. The deal—the United States pays a hefty sum to Brazilian cotton farmers in return for an opportunity to continue subsidizing its own producers—concealed an ugly truth about the misbalance of power in international trade.

Hugo Dixon

Europe's capital markets union is still a slogan in search of a policy program. But if it helps the continent develop new sources of finance, it could be hugely beneficial for all.

A supporter of Dilma Rousseff holds a campaign flag for Rouseff in front of Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, October 26, 2014.
Kathryn Hochstetler

In her victory speech on Sunday night, Rousseff promised to reform politics, combat corruption, and rejuvenate the industrial economy. Most Brazilians, including her opponents' supporters, probably do want those things, but it will be even harder for Rousseff to deliver them in her second term than it was in the first.