Leaving the West Behind

Germany Looks East

Hans Kundnani
It's complicated: Putin and Merkel in Berlin, June 2012
It's complicated: Putin and Merkel in Berlin, June 2012 (Thomas Peter / Courtesy Reuters)
The Ukraine crisis has reopened old questions about Germany’s relationship to the rest of the West, as Germany drifts away from the United States and gravitates toward Russia and China.

Cuban Comrades

Michael J. Bustamante
The agreement reached between the Obama administration and the Cuban government is by any measure historic, necessary, and overdue. Yet as the diplomatic rubber hits the road and Cuba continues its precarious transition to a mixed economy, old disputes may take on new forms.

Pakistan's Dark Days

Amjad Mahmood Khan
Pakistan's terrorism problem has its roots in a group of draconian laws—known as the blasphemy laws—that a military dictator, Zia ul-Haq, enacted decades ago.
Capsule Review

Today's Book: Toxic Aid

Nicolas van de Walle
The heroes of Tanzania’s development in the 1980s and 1990s are the international donors.
A gas station in Riyadh, December 2012.
Jim Krane

The Gulf monarchies have developed a growing taste for their chief export, one that could undermine both of their long-held roles: as global suppliers and as stable polities in an otherwise fractious Middle East.

Thomas R. Insel, Pamela Y. Collins, and Steven E. Hyman

Far from being a "First World problem," mental illness is a global scourge that affects people of all incomes and backgrounds. By 2030, mental disorders will cost the global economy around $6 trillion a year—more than heart disease.

Daniel Cloud

The ruble has already lost almost half its value against the dollar this year, and there is little doubt that Putin will end up badly wounded. The question is whether he will drag his country down with him, turning Russia into a full-fledged pariah state. 

Joseph Chinyong Liow

The siege in Australia serves as a reminder that even the strictest and most comprehensive antiterrorism laws cannot immunize a society from risk. That lesson is all the more salient for Southeast Asian countries, which have experienced since 2000 several high-profile terrorist attacks in public places.

Review Essay
James Surowiecki

In recent decades, most innovation has come from a single sector (information technology) and a single place (Silicon Valley). Walter Isaacson’s The Innovators and Peter Thiel’s Zero to One shed light on how that happened and what drives innovation more generally.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Gregory F. Treverton

Instead of trying to predict "Black Swan" events such as coups or crises, forecasters should look at how political systems handle disorder. The best indicator of a country’s future trajectory is not a lengthy past stability but recent moderate volatility.