Features

Snapshots

Snapshot,
Angela Meyer and Martin Welz

The history of the Central African Republic over the past 20 years is linked to a dizzying number of peacekeeping acronyms. The latest mission, to be led by the UN, seems fated to repeat mistakes of its predecessors.

Snapshot,
Mitchell A. Orenstein

Out to earn a dollar on the Russian natural resource trade, European nations such as the Netherlands have long kept smiling as the Kremlin has continued to humiliate them. But now the airline disaster, combined with Moscow’s attempts to cover up its role in the tragedy, will likely force Europe to get real about its eastern neighbor.

Snapshot,
Ariel Ilan Roth

Israel's tactical achievements against Hamas can't be minimized. But they do not equal a strategic victory. War, as Clausewitz famously taught, is the continuation of politics by other means. Wars are fought to realign politics in a way that benefits the victor and is detrimental to the loser. But the Israelis have lost sight of this distinction.

Letters From

Letter From,
Hooman Majd

Vienna's opulent Palais Coburg was originally designed as a palace for Austria’s former Habsburg dynasty. But amid the tense negotiating sessions over the future of Iran's nuclear program, it could sometimes feel more like a prison -- for diplomats and journalists alike.

Letter From,
Dorn Townsend

Afghanistan seems to be holding its breath. Business has ground to a halt and middle-class Afghans are eyeing foreign escape routes as they send their money out of the country. The sense of uncertainly is not just about who will be the next president, or whether the loser will accept the result. It’s about the precarious economy.

Letter From,
Sophie Pinkham

Recent discussions about Ukraine have often focused on sweeping questions of historical narrative and national sovereignty. But Sunday's election showed that ordinary Ukrainians are mostly worried about poverty, unemployment, a lack of social services, and endemic corruption.

Postscripts

Postscript,
Ananda Rose

Crossing the border between the United States and Mexico is more dangerous than ever. Here's what happens to those who make it -- and those who don't.

Postscript,
R. Daniel Kelemen

Last Friday, EU leaders voted to nominate Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission. Juncker’s nomination constituted a major victory for the European Parliament and a humiliating defeat for British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Postscript,
Emma Sky

The United States has a key role to play in helping broker a new deal among Iraqi elites that creates a better balance among the country's various communities.

Reading Lists

Reading List,
Joel D. Barkan

An annotated Foreign Affairs syllabus on Kenya.

Reading List,
Charles King

An annotated Foreign Affairs syllabus on the Caucasus.

Reading List,
Cynthia McClintock

An annotated Foreign Affairs syllabus on Peruvian politics.

Comments

Comment, 2014
Stephen R. Weissman

Newly available evidence shows that the CIA engaged in pervasive political meddling and paramilitary action in Congo during the 1960s -- and that the local CIA station chief directly influenced the events that led to the death of Patrice Lumumba, the country's first democratically elected prime minister.

Comment, 2014
Ray Takeyh

Conventional wisdom about the 1953 coup in Iran rests on the myth that the CIA toppled the country's democratically elected prime minister. In reality, the coup was primarily a domestic Iranian affair, and the CIA's impact was ultimately insignificant.

Comment, 2014
Harold H. Saunders

In 1971, the Pakistani government orchestrated a brutal military crackdown against the Bengali population in East Pakistan -- while the United States stuck by its ally Pakistan. Gary Bass's new book spotlights the “significant complicity” of U.S. President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, in this “forgotten genocide.”

Essays

Essay, 2014
Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan

Revolts against authoritarian regimes don’t always succeed -- but they’re more likely to if they embrace civil resistance rather than violence. Over the last century, nonviolent campaigns have been twice as likely to succeed as violent ones and they increase the chances that toppling a dictatorship will lead to peace and democracy.

Essay, 2014
Alexander Lukin

U.S. and European officials need to understand how Russia really thinks about foreign policy. To resolve the Ukraine crisis and prevent similar ones from occurring in the future, they need to get better at putting themselves in Moscow’s shoes.

Essay, 2014
Richard Katz

Shinzo Abe is trying to restore Japanese consumer confidence by boosting inflation. But confidence must rest on something more substantive: meaningful structural reforms to reverse Japanese companies’ lagging competitiveness. Otherwise, any temporary economic boost will soon give way to disillusion.

Responses

Response,
Erik Meyersson and Dani Rodrik

Turkey’s authoritarian turn is typically portrayed as a recent one, following on the heels of what are commonly described as significant democratic reforms in the last decade under Erdogan. With the latest turnaround blamed squarely on Erdogan, it is a relatively short jump from there to optimism about democracy’s prospects after him. But that view is incorrect.

Response, Mar/Apr 2014
Michael A. Cohen; Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore

The Manning and Snowden leaks do shed light on U.S. foreign policy, sometimes in an unflattering way. But they certainly do not prove that Washington acts hypocritically.