Regions

Africa

Snapshot,
Martin Welz and Angela Meyer

The history of the Central African Republic over the past 20 years is linked to a dizzying number of peacekeeping acronyms. The latest mission, to be led by the UN, seems fated to repeat mistakes of its predecessors.

Snapshot,
Johannes Haushofer

Poverty has psychological consequences, including stress, sadness, and anger, which may create a trap that keeps people mired in destitution. To make aid more effective, then, donors and policymakers should start considering whether their programs address mental as well as physical well-being.

Snapshot,
Paul Hidalgo

The political upheaval and conflict in Kenya could not be better for the Islamist militant group al Shabaab. Its continued attacks have successfully pitted the country’s two top politicians against each other in a game of political brinkmanship that could plunge Kenya into a toxic ethnic conflict -- exactly the kind of environment in which a group like al Shabaab can thrive.

Americas

Postscript,
Ananda Rose

Crossing the border between the United States and Mexico is more dangerous than ever. Here's what happens to those who make it -- and those who don't.

Snapshot,
Tom Keatinge
In recent years, U.S. and European officials have aggressively targeted terrorist financing networks. Those efforts have come at a high cost, restricting access to the financial system and pushing more cash into the shadows.

Snapshot,
Felix Salmon

There aren’t many institutions that are powerful enough to bring a sovereign nation to its knees. Most of the ones that are wield their power with great care; the rest are dangerous fundamentalists. Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court, suggested to the world that it -- and the rest of the U.S. federal judicial system -- lives squarely in the latter camp.

Asia

Snapshot,
Deborah M. Lehr and Leigh Wedell

In early June, Chinese president Xi Jinping deployed eight SWAT-like inspection teams across China to ensure that local officials were meeting his new environmental targets. The teams submitted a 1,000-page report with a simple conclusion: local leaders, looking out for their own financial interests, were consistently ignoring directives from Beijing.

Snapshot,
Sulmaan Khan

On the grasslands of the Tibetan plateau, one sometimes hears a strange chattering -- an excited buzz that seems to emanate from the earth itself. Anyone who stops to look for the source will quickly realize that the ground is marked by a series of holes, from which small, shy creatures are likely to be watching. The labyrinthine burrows made by these mammals, called pikas, provide them security. But they also ensure China's water supply. Here's what their plight says about Chinese conservation efforts.

Snapshot,
Jonah Blank

Preliminary tallies suggest that Jokowi won Indonesia's July 9 presidential election, but his competitor, Prabowo, is not guaranteed to go quietly. The stakes could hardly be higher: Since the fall of Suharto in 1998, Indonesia has been a showpiece of democracy in Asia. The final count will either solidify this narrative, or toss it right out the window.

Europe

Letter From,
Hooman Majd

Vienna's opulent Palais Coburg was originally designed as a palace for Austria’s former Habsburg dynasty. But amid the tense negotiating sessions over the future of Iran's nuclear program, it could sometimes feel more like a prison -- for diplomats and journalists alike.

Snapshot,
Mitchell A. Orenstein

Out to earn a dollar on the Russian natural resource trade, European nations such as the Netherlands have long kept smiling as the Kremlin has continued to humiliate them. But now the airline disaster, combined with Moscow’s attempts to cover up its role in the tragedy, will likely force Europe to get real about its eastern neighbor.

Snapshot,
Jan-Werner Müller

The Europe of today is a creation of Christian Democrats. Yet both as a set of ideas and as a political movement, Christian democracy is growing less influential and less coherent. As the larger project of European integration faces new risks, then, its most important backer may soon prove incapable of defending it. 

Middle East

Snapshot,
Bilal Y. Saab

Qatar’s diplomatic intervention in Gaza has exposed the risks inherent in its broader grand strategy. Although Qatar’s foreign policy has not changed, it is no longer going to be able to pose as a neutral arbiter.

Snapshot,
Farea Al-muslimi

Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama suggested that Yemen could be an example for how to bring stability to Iraq. His comments came as a shock to most Yemenis. The contradiction between their country’s political reality and its reputation as an Arab Spring success story has always been glaring, but now it had become absurd.

Snapshot,
Jason Pack

The violence tearing apart Libya might appear to be an ideological struggle. In fact, it is an economic competition between two rival criminal networks.

Russia & FSU

Snapshot,
Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev

Russia's annexation of Crimea came with few consequences for Russia, while an accidental attack on a civilian airliner by semi-anarchical rebel forces, only loosely controlled by Moscow, may redefine the country's place in the world order. Here's why.

Snapshot,
Mitchell A. Orenstein

Out to earn a dollar on the Russian natural resource trade, European nations such as the Netherlands have long kept smiling as the Kremlin has continued to humiliate them. But now the airline disaster, combined with Moscow’s attempts to cover up its role in the tragedy, will likely force Europe to get real about its eastern neighbor.

Snapshot,
Alexander J. Motyl

This week saw a major escalation of Russian military involvement in Ukraine, which, until yesterday, had gone relatively unremarked in Western media. But now, no matter who fired the missile that brought down Malaysia Airlines flight 17, things are set to change. And that is bad news for Putin.

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, 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, 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.