Regions

Africa

Snapshot,
Tom Keatinge

To take out al Shabab, one need look no further than charcoal. The United Nations has repeatedly called for countries in the region to disrupt the group’s trade in this environmentally destructive product, but, as the most recent Somalia UN Monitoring Group report revealed, such efforts have been lackluster. With its patience wearing thin, the UN has now taken matters into its own hands by approving a naval intervention.

Snapshot,
J. P. Singh

Earlier this month, Brazil and the United States struck a landmark trade agreement over a longtime point of contention: cotton. The deal—the United States pays a hefty sum to Brazilian cotton farmers in return for an opportunity to continue subsidizing its own producers—concealed an ugly truth about the misbalance of power in international trade.

Snapshot,
Alexander Lebedev and Vladislav Inozemtsev

The world needs a new international convention to combat corruption -- a global epidemic that erodes government institutions, fuels unrest, and increasingly threatens the stability of the West.

Americas

Snapshot,
Ralph H. Espach

The Peña Nieto government seems to be facing its worst crisis yet, one likely to persist as police clash with a small minority of protestors who attack property, set fires, and throw Molotov cocktails. The breadth of the public outrage, however, is uncertain, and the movement has no clearly defined, practical demands.

Snapshot,
Scott Moore

China and the United States were once the greatest barriers to a comprehensive global climate agreement. No longer: India is now the last stumbling block standing in the way. It's still possible, however, to get New Delhi on board. Washingtion just needs to offer the right incentives.

Postscript,
Marvin Ammori

Last week, Obama finally stepped up to the plate, releasing a video and a detailed plan calling on the FCC to adopt the “the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.” It was the most accurate, well-informed, and important statement ever issued by a public official on the topic of Internet freedom.

Asia

Snapshot,
Matthew Goodman and Ely Ratner

Nearly two centuries after it lost its traditional place at the center of Asian affairs, Beijing has begun giving shape and substance to its renewed leadership on the regional stage.

Snapshot,
Jed Ober

Afghanistan's new unity government is not a step forward in the country's political development. Without deeper reforms, the temporary measure will only worsen the country's democratic malaise.  

Postscript,
Richard Katz

Abe’s economic revival is hardly going as planned. A consumption tax hike that he introduced in April triggered a recession over the following six months, prompting him to announce the delay of a second planned hike and to vow to dissolve the Japanese parliament.

Europe

Snapshot,
Gunes Murat Tezcur and Sabri Ciftci

The past few weeks have seen a wave of Muslims from all around the world joining the ranks of ISIS. Although most of the attention has been on those coming from the United States and Europe, the bulk of foreign fighters has actually come from places like Turkey, from which the flow of jihadists is particularly puzzling.

Snapshot,
Lauren Harrison

Discussions of the Holocaust aside, Germany and Israel are still rarely mentioned in the same breath. Yet Berlin has long been one of the most successfuland secretiveintermediaries between Jerusalem and its enemies.

Snapshot,
Diego Muro

Madrid’s approach toward Catalonia has been needlessly adversarial. Rather than resist the region's aspirations, the Spanish government should welcome its commitment to a democratic process.

Middle East

Snapshot,
Nick Danforth

Western pundits and nostalgic Muslim thinkers alike have built up a narrative of the caliphate as an enduring institution, central to Islam and Islamic thought between the seventh and twentieth centuries. In fact, the caliphate is a political or religious idea whose relevance has waxed and waned according to circumstance.

Snapshot,
Hussein Kalout

The conflict in Syria has divided Lebanon into two distinct camps, with tensions between them worsening by the day. If both sides fail to compromise, the country will again be plunged into civil war.

The two sides are at such odds that it will be impossible in the short term to solve the country's crisis. But its most damaging effects can be mitigated by reminding all parties of the many advantages of Lebanon's traditional consensus-based style of politics.

Snapshot,
Sigurd Neubauer

As Iran moves closer to receiving international recognition for its nuclear program, Saudi Arabi's nuclear aspirations seem to have stalled completely. Fortunately, there are steps that the United States can take to push its nuclear talks with Saudi Arabia out of their rut.

Russia & FSU

Snapshot,
Alexander J. Motyl

As the West searches for an adequate policy response to Putin’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine, Western policymakers would do well to reread George F. Kennan’s famous “X” article, published in the July 1947 issue of Foreign Affairs. Compelling then, Kennan’s case for containing Russia makes just as much sense now.

Snapshot,
Mark Galeotti

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has an invisible but pivotal dimension: intelligence. On this front, both Ukraine and the West are scrambling to counter Russia's vast advantage.

Snapshot,
Joshua R. Itzkowitz Shifrinson

Russian leaders often claim the United States reneged on a promise not to expand NATO after the Cold War. They aren't lying: although Washington never put a pledge in writing, U.S. officials worked hard to convince Moscow that NATO wouldn't move east. And in international politics, informal commitments count.

Global Commons

Essay, Nov/Dec 2014
Richard N. Haass

With U.S. hegemony waning and no successor waiting to pick up the baton, the current international system will likely give way to a larger number of power centers acting with increasing autonomy. The post–Cold War order is unraveling, and it will be missed.

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.