The Calm Before the Storm

Why Volatility Signals Stability, and 
Vice Versa

Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Gregory F. Treverton
The aftermath of an airstrike in Aleppo, November 2014.
The aftermath of an airstrike in Aleppo, November 2014. (Rami Zayat / Courtesy Reuters)
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.
Snapshot

A Conditional Caliphate

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

Schumpeter's Heirs

Gideon Rose
Entrepreneurs drive innovation and dynamism, which in turn drive growth. So our lead package explores entrepreneurialism today—what it involves, what it accomplishes, and what can be done to spur and profit from it.
Capsule Review

Today's Book: Eisenhower

Walter Russell Mead
Johnson likes Ike, and he thinks you should, too. His book is an entertaining read, spiced with malicious sideswipes at Eisenhower’s left-wing intellectual critics.
A checkpoint in east Mosul, one day after radical Sunni Muslim insurgents seized control of the city, June 11, 2014.
Snapshot

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

Snapshot
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.
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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.

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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.

Snapshot
Milosz Reterski

In defending its vital interests in the Arctic, the United States lacks a critical tool: mighty nuclear-powered icebreakers that would solidify its economic and strategic role in the region. Russia is surging ahead in this area, and the United States must catch up.   

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Petr Polak

An energy union might give Europe more leverage over Russia’s gas monopoly, but it will also be difficult to implement without setting off a diplomatic energy battle between Poland and Germany.

Discussion