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Turkey might seem like a confident rising power, but its leaders fear being abandoned by the West as much as ever. As it has in the past, the United States can push Turkey toward political reform by reminding Ankara that it has to live up to Western democratic standards if it wants to continue to enjoy the benefits of being counted as an ally.
Kenya is on its way to becoming the world’s next hotbed of extremism as a result of al Shabaab’s active and growing presence there. And so far, the Kenyan government has been its own worst enemy in attempting to reverse this trend.
Although the identity of Afghanistan's next president is uncertain, Afghans know for sure that it will not be Hamid Karzai, who has held power for 12 years. In keeping with his country’s 2004 constitution, he agreed to step down after his second term was up. That has never happened before in Afghanistan, and it marks the true introduction of democracy in this shattered land.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
An annotated Foreign Affairs syllabus on Kenya.
An annotated Foreign Affairs syllabus on the Caucasus.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The problems of the Middle East remain too deeply intertwined with U.S. national security and the American economy to ignore. Whatever it might prefer to do, the Obama administration can’t just walk away from the region, but has to take a greater interest in it.
Cutting-edge research shows that giving things to the world’s poor is much more expensive than one might expect. When it comes to reducing poverty, therefore, simply sending cold hard cash is often the best and most efficient form of aid.
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.