Regions

Africa

Snapshot,
Paul Hidalgo

Last week’s deadly U.S. strike on Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of the Somalia-based Islamist militant group al Shabab, could be the group’s undoing. Even so, the region is not out of the woods.

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.

Snapshot,
Todd Moss and Benjamin Leo

In his first term, Barack Obama's Africa policy was notable mostly for its apathy and false starts. But a newly announced initiative has the potential to be a lasting legacy.

Americas

Review Essay,
Daniel Falkiner

The new book A Troublesome Inheritance confirms that the basic biological facts of race and human evolution are indisputable. But at certain moments, the book ceases to be a scientific inquiry into race and becomes something far more troubling.

Snapshot,
Gregory Clark

The United States cherishes an image of itself as a country that invites in the world’s tired, its poor, and its huddled masses. In reality, the country isn't capable of transforming the life opportunities of disadvantaged populations.

Snapshot,
Mary L. Dudziak

As the turmoil in Ferguson unfolds, questions about the United States' commitment to human rights are once more headlining news coverage around the world. That should not be surprising. American racial inequality regularly dominated foreign news coverage during the 1950s and 1960s. And U.S. policymakers were eventually forced to respond, in part to protect the United States' image abroad.

Asia

Snapshot,
Rameez Abbas

When al Qaeda recently vowed to wage jihad in India, it seemed an idle threat. But India is more receptive to Islamic militancy than at any time in recent memory.

Snapshot,
David Brown

Vietnam once hoped to manage China's regional ambitions by showing Beijing deference. But Hanoi now has a new strategy: cozying up to its one-time enemy, the United States.

Snapshot,
Scott Harold

The ongoing dispute between Hong Kong and Beijing is dangerous precisely because it has exposed political and cultural rifts that have been widening for some time. The question of Hong Kong’s 2017 election is only a relatively narrow controversy in a much broader showdown.

Europe

Snapshot,
Carles Boix and J.C. Major

Over the past few years, the number of Catalans who wish for independence from Spain has skyrocketed. Until the early 2000s, a steady 10–15 percent supported independence. Now, according to recent opinion polls, that percentage is closer to 50 -- a symptom of deep-rooted flaws in the configuration of the Spanish state.

Snapshot,
Mark Blyth

Scottish independence could lead to economic disaster. But debates over national independence are seldom rational. Younger Scots aren't thinking about costs and uncertainties so much as the idea that a different future is possible.

Snapshot,
Jeremy Shapiro and Riccardo Alcaro

A good high representative can move the EU in the right direction, as long as he or she understands the subtleties of the role. With the support of skilled advisers, Mogherini can do just that, becoming the high representative the EU needs.

Middle East

Snapshot,
Michael O'Hanlon

The most important part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s recent speech about Iraq and Syria wasn’t how many air strikes the United States will conduct and when -- the elements that have dominated much of the analysis of the event. Rather, it was his call to form, from scratch, an Iraqi National Guard.

Snapshot,
William McCants

Despite ISIS’ success in capturing jihadists’ imagination, the idea of an Islamic state has one fatal flaw: its physical incarnation makes it vulnerable to attack.

Snapshot,
Justin Gengler

Bahrain's ruling dynasty has always relied on the steadfast support of Sunni tribes, a small but pivotal minority in a country riven by sectarianism. Now, these loyalists are moving abroad -- and Bahrain is blaming Qatar for luring them away.

Russia & FSU

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.

Snapshot,
Eric Lorber

A Russia with a sophisticated military and a cratered economy would pose a substantial threat to its neighbors, especially since many of those neighbors possess large amounts of valuable natural resources. In other words, although sanctions may be intended to deter Russia from adventurism in its near abroad, they could end up doing just the opposite.

Snapshot,
Alexander J. Motyl

If Ukraine does manage to pacify the Donbas, it will be saddled with a devastated, unstable, and permanently insecure rust belt that will continue to do what it has done since independence in 1991: serve as a channel for Russian influence on Ukraine’s internal affairs and a home to political forces that oppose reform and integration with the West.

Global Commons

Snapshot,
Joseph Chinyong Liow

The economic potential of the Arctic is undoubtedly considerable, and that has heightened Asian interest in the region. Because these are perilous times for the Arctic environment, though, the exploration (and exploitation) of the area needs to be done sustainably.

Essay, JUL/AUG 2014
Erik Brynjolfsson, Andrew McAfee, and Michael Spence

Machines are substituting for more types of human labor than ever before. This means that the real winners of the future will be neither the providers of cheap labor nor the owners of ordinary capital, but rather those who can innovate and create new products, services, and business models.

Essay, JUL/AUG 2014
Benn Steil

In today’s dollar-dominated financial system, changes in U.S. monetary policy can have immediate and significant global effects, wrecking economies and toppling regimes. As a result, for many countries monetary sovereignty is nothing but a dream.