Persian Gulf

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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
Kurt M. Campbell and Ely Ratner

Asia is going to command ever more attention and resources from the United States, thanks to the region’s growing prosperity and influence and the enormous challenges the region poses. The Obama administration’s pivot or rebalancing makes sense; the challenge now is giving it proper form, substance, and resources.

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.

Essay, May/June 2014
Marina Ottaway and David Ottaway

Iraqi Kurdistan has achieved new prosperity by exporting its own oil and gas to Turkey, against the objections of Iraq’s central government. By challenging Baghdad’s claims to exclusive control of Iraq’s natural resources, the Kurds are showing how economic cooperation can make Middle Eastern borders more porous.

Essay, May/June 2014
Mohammad Javad Zarif

With the election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Tehran and Washington have a unique opportunity to chart a new course. Ongoing nuclear negotiations face no insurmountable barriers; the only requirements for success are good faith and political will.

Snapshot,
Michael Bröning

Expectations for the Arab League (which had never been high) are at an all-time low in the wake of last week's summit. If the organization wants to remain relevant, it should take a page from the African Union, which revised its charter after the Rwandan genocide and transformed itself from “the dictators’ club” -- as many called its predecessor, the OAU -- into a key player in contemporary African politics.

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.

Snapshot,
William McCants

Although Saudi Arabia’s dislike of Brotherhood political activities abroad is well known, for decades the kingdom has tolerated the local Saudi branch of the Brotherhood. Its sudden reversal is an expression of solidarity with its politically vulnerable allies in the region and a warning to Sunni Islamists to tread carefully.

Video,
Gideon Rose and Robert Jervis

Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs, interviews Robert Jervis, professor of international politics at Columbia University.

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