Thinkers and Tinkerers

The Innovators Behind the Information Age

James Surowiecki
Staying hungry: Steve Jobs in Cupertino, California, January 1984
Staying hungry: Steve Jobs in Cupertino, California, January 1984 (Norman Seeff)
In recent decades, most innovation has come from a single sector (information technology) and a single place (Silicon Valley). Walter Isaacson’s The Innovators and Peter Thiel’s Zero to One shed light on how that happened and what drives innovation more generally.

Our Man in Havana

R. M. Schneiderman
The real story behind the Obama administration's efforts to rescue Alan Gross.

Cuba After Communism

Julia E. Sweig and Michael J. Bustamante
Cuba has entered a new era of economic reform that defies easy comparison to post-Communist transitions elsewhere.

Counterterrorism Conundrum

Joseph Chinyong Liow
The siege in Australia serves as a reminder that even the strictest and most comprehensive antiterrorism laws cannot immunize a society from risk. That lesson is all the more salient for Southeast Asian countries, which have experienced several high-profile terrorist attacks.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Gregory F. Treverton

Instead of trying to predict "Black Swan" events such as coups or crises, forecasters should look at how political systems handle disorder. The best indicator of a country’s future trajectory is not a lengthy past stability but recent moderate volatility.

M.J. Akbar

Long before ISIS declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, Mahatma Gandhi gave Indian Muslims support for their Caliphate movement.

A checkpoint in east Mosul, one day after radical Sunni Muslim insurgents seized control of the city, June 11, 2014.

We poll experts on whether they think the United States should significantly step up its military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Nimmi Gowrinathan

Most of the recent Senate report on the CIA’s use of torture after 9/11 is gruesomely detailed. But one thing is missing: the stories of the women who we know were in U.S. custody and may well have been subject to degrading treatment as well.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta smiles as he appears before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, October 8, 2014.
Kip Hale

In 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC) came into being. At the time, observers were hopeful that rule of law could help constrain humanity’s worst impulses, a sentiment that, today, may seem foolhardy. Yet, where else would victims turn? Ruthless tyrants and their henchmen have killed, raped, and tortured innocents, and few, if any, international institutions have been able to stop them or provide justice after the fact.

Shashank Joshi

The Gulf Cooperation Council recently announced the creation of a joint military command among its six member nations that will respond to regional threats. This news is not revolutionary: every effort at Gulf military unity has ended in failure, to a greater or lesser degree.