Features

Snapshots

Snapshot,
Jonathan Hopkin and Mark Blyth

Wealthy Russian expats seem to wield substantial influence over the British government's approach to the Ukraine crisis, which points to the outsized role that such super-rich play in British politics. But all that foreign money reveals deep structural weaknesses in the British economy.

Snapshot,
Alina Polyakova

By inking a deal with Russia last week, the West seemed to sign on to Russia’s strategy for the region -- “federalism” or, more likely, partition. The agreement itself quickly fell through, but Russia now has the West's acquiescence in writing.

Snapshot,
Michael O'Hanlon

Should Russia march into eastern Ukraine, the best way to respond would be to set up a permanent brigade of American light forces in the most vulnerable NATO members, namely, the Baltics -- Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Letters From

Letter From,
Annabelle Chapman

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has recently become a hotbed for discussions of federalism. It could be a bellwether for the rest of Ukraine’s east.

Letter From,
Boris Muñoz

Like his successor, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro tends to blame his country's violence problem on inequality. Yet if the government has made significant progress reducing inequality, and if, as Hugo Chávez believed, violence is derived from social injustice, what explains the recent surge in crime?

Letter From,
Annabelle Chapman

No sooner had embattled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych fled office than his old nemesis, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, was back on the scene. Her return, which could upset the fragile balance among the three opposition leaders that helped boot Yanukovych, has already sparked concerns that this week marked the end of one president's rule but not the start of something new.

Postscripts

Postscript,
Keith Darden

For the first time since 1989, Europe is transforming. The primary protagonists, by most accounts, are Russia and the West. The bit of territory that they are clawing at -- Ukraine -- has largely been eclipsed. Yet inattention to Ukraine’s internal demons reflects a dangerous misreading of current events.

Postscript,
Isobel Coleman

In the run up to this spring's parliamentary elections, Iraqis are debating a new personal status law. Supporters claim that the law will give Shia more freedom to practice their religion. Opponents argue that it would promote sectarianism and seriously undermine the rights of women and children by permitting unfettered polygamy, a Taliban-like restriction on women’s movement, child marriage for girls as young as nine, unequal divorce and custody, and an end to interreligious marriage.

Postscript,
Alexander J. Motyl

To deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the West has to assume that he is rational and will respond to carrots and sticks. Accordingly, it should take him up on his proposal to form a working group on Ukraine, which would at least force everyone to take a deep breath and survey the situation with a measure of calm.

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, May/June 2014
David M. Levinson

Electric vehicles account for only a fraction of cars sold, but they are far more efficient than gasoline-powered ones and technological advances are making them look more promising than ever before. For the first time in a century, a real competition over how to power transportation is underway.

Comment, May/June 2014
Fred Krupp

The shale revolution carries real environmental dangers, especially the release of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. It still has the potential to benefit the environment as well as the economy, but only if industry and government work together to deal with the problems.

Comment, May/June 2014
Robert A. Hefner III

Thanks to new technologies, U.S. companies have extracted vast quantities of natural gas and oil trapped in once-inaccessible deposits of shale. Other countries may envy this economic boost, but they will find it hard to replicate -- because only America has the entrepreneur-friendly legal and regulatory system that made the boom possible.

Essays

Essay, May/June 2014
Jeffrey Mankoff

Russia’s annexation of Crimea is Moscow’s latest attempt to maintain influence in a post-Soviet state by creating a so-called frozen conflict, in which a splinter territory remains under Russian protection and beyond the control of the central government. But history suggests Russia’s move will backfire and push the rest of Ukraine west.

Essay, May/June 2014
Walter Russell Mead

Whether it is Russian forces seizing Crimea, China making aggressive claims in its coastal waters, or Iran trying to dominate the Middle East, old-fashioned power plays are back. These revisionist powers never bought into the geopolitical settlement that followed the Cold War, and their ongoing attempts to overturn it will not be peaceful.

Essay, May/June 2014
G. John Ikenberry

China, Iran, and Russia are not determined to undo the post–Cold War settlement. They are not full-scale revisionist powers but, at most, part-time spoilers. The United States is far more powerful and has built a robust liberal world order countries need to integrate with in order to succeed.

Responses

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.

Response, Mar/Apr 2014
Jarno Limnéll; Thomas Rid