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Americans tend to think of elections as the apex of democracy. But in some cases they are the opposite. In countries with weak democratic cultures and lax rule of law, elections can be destabilizing. Nigeria, which will hold elections next month, is a case in point.
Washington should be wary of pinning its hopes on Rouhani’s camp, much less on influencing the regime’s internal struggle.
Syria's civil war will end not with surrender but with a negotiated political solution, since no single actor or group of actors has the firepower to overwhelm its opponents. It's time, then, to start mapping out a peace deal.
The main reason ransom demands have increased so dramatically might be government involvement. On their own, insurers and negotiators want to minimize payouts; banks question multi-million cash withdrawals, and delivery to desolate locations is complex, time consuming, and expensive. Once a government gets involved, however, these barriers are removed.
Israel's new-found gas deposits are being touted as a lifeline for peace in the Middle East. But two recent energy deals in the region are likely to cause more conflict.
Putin’s goal in Ukraine is simple. He wants to rebuild “New Russia,” the Tsarist empire's term for the eight Russian-speaking regions of eastern and southern Ukraine. After months of deadlock, pro-Russian groups are resorting to terrorism to get the job done.
India has long seemed unable or unwilling to become a major player on the world stage. But the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is looking to change all that. In order to compensate for a small and weak foreign service, he is tapping into India’s considerable soft power: its emigrants, intellectuals, and yogis.
Leadership matters, especially in the Middle East, where institutions are weak and often nonexistent. But charisma and talent, on their own, won’t be enough to dig Saudi Arabia out of the profound generational problems that go beyond Abdullah, his successor Salman, or any leader who will preside over the Kingdom.
The reported January 18 Israeli airstrike against a Hezbollah–Iranian car convoy in southern Syria is the latest and boldest in a series of tit-for-tat operations that, since last February, have gradually eroded the old order and inched Israel and Hezbollah ever closer to a war that neither wants.
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