Features

Snapshots

Snapshot,
Bo Rothstein

The days of Swedish exceptionalism are over. The country no longer has an exceptionally strong social democracy. Its level of inequality is no longer exceptionally low, and its level of public spending will no longer be exceptionally high. From now on, it will be closer to average.

Snapshot,
Jim Krane

The Persian Gulf's state-owned airlines are already major global brands associated with hospitality, convenience, and safety. And even as conflicts rage nearby, they're still ascending. Their arrival has been to the airline business -- and could be to regional politics -- what the dreadnought battleship was to naval supremacy: a game changer.

Snapshot,
James Yan

Few countries in Asia are in a more precarious foreign policy position than the Republic of Azerbaijan. On the western shore of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan lies between two larger, stronger, and unfriendly countries -- Iran and Russia -- and Azerbaijan’s pro-Western bent has done little to endear the country to either neighbor.

Letters From

Letter From,
David P. Sandgren

Kenya’s first postcolonial middle class is now in its mid-60s, retiring and settling into comfortable grandparenthood. Few would have predicted this outcome, especially for the Gikuyu, Kenya’s largest ethnic group, since this generation’s early years were filled with poverty and violence.

Letter From,
Aeyliya Husain

Wardah Nur never imagined that she would become a soldier. And, until ten years ago, she couldn’t have. Nur belongs to a small, elite group -- the 2013 “lady cadets,” as they are called -- the latest batch of women to train at the Pakistan Military Academy since it began accepting them in 2006 during General Pervez Musharraf’s presidency.

Letter From,
Madhu Narasimhan

In the 12 years since gaining independence, East Timor has struggled in almost every facet of economic and political management. As its neighboring economies boom, it is quietly on the path to becoming a failed state. And it is quickly running out of time to change course.

Postscripts

Postscript,
Joshua Yaffa

Late last week in Minsk, negotiators representing Ukraine, the separatist forces, and Russia agreed to a ceasefire. If this deal holds -- plenty of earlier ceasefires have fallen apart as soon as they were signed -- then the active phase of fighting in eastern Ukraine will have come to end on terms favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Postscript,
Carter Roberts

Earth Overshoot Day is the date on which humanity’s demand for natural resources exceeds the earth’s ability to renew them in a year. Last year, we hit that mark on August 20. This year, it comes one day earlier. For the remainder of 2014, in other words, we will be living beyond our planet’s means.

Postscript,
Jan-Werner Müller

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently announced his government’s decisive break with liberal democracy. If EU leaders do not address this problem, they could soon lose Hungary for good.

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, SEPT/OCT 2014
Michael Tomasky

Divisions among Democrats exist just like they do among Republicans, but have largely festered beneath the surface for lack of a spokesperson to challenge the party’s economic elites. In Elizabeth Warren, grassroots Democrats may have found their champion.

Comment, SEPT/OCT 2014
Byron York

A loose confederation of conservative thinkers and politicians is developing a new strategy for reaching out to the American middle class. These reformers could save the Republican Party -- if only they could win over their fellow conservatives.

Comment, SEPT/OCT 2014
Gideon Rose and Jonathan Tepperman

American politics today are a mess, and since the distraction and paralysis of the world’s hegemon has such obvious global significance, we decided to turn our focus inward, exploring the sources and contours of the American malaise.

Essays

Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
John J. Mearsheimer

Conventional wisdom in the West blames the Ukraine crisis on Russian aggression. But this account is wrong: Washington and its European allies actually share most of the responsibility, having spent decades pushing east into Russia’s natural sphere of interest.

Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
Kenneth M. Pollack

Washington’s current efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria will not break the stalemate. The only way to restore peace without committing U.S. troops is to build a new Syrian army capable of defeating both the Assad regime and the extremists. 

Essay, SEPT/OCT 2014
Ruchir Sharma

Global investors usually focus on economic data such as GDP growth, employment, and trade. But in today’s trying economic climate, they have started to train their gaze elsewhere: on national political leadership and the prospects for reform.

Responses

Response,
Agio Pereira

Over the years, more than a few armchair critics have prognosticated the demise of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor. But the nation builders themselves can't indulge notions of failure.

Response, SEPT/OCT 2014
Christopher de Bellaigue; Ray Takeyh

De Bellaigue faults Takeyh for minimizing the CIA’s role in the 1953 coup in Iran; Takeyh responds and criticizes De Bellaigue for viewing the Iranians as “benighted pawns.”

Response, SEPT/OCT 2014
Peter Kornbluh; Jack Devine

Kornbluh asserts that, contrary to Devine's interpretation of events, the CIA never gave up on the goal of pushing Chilean President Salvador Allende from power and played a significant role in Allende's demise; Devine stands by his account.