Regions

Africa

Snapshot,
John Campbell

Americans tend to think of elections as the apex of democracy. But in some cases they are the opposite. In countries with weak democratic cultures and lax rule of law, elections can be destabilizing. Nigeria, which will hold elections next month, is a case in point.

Snapshot,
Joshua Meservey

Nairobi's use of extreme measures to fight terrorism is undermining its fledgling democracy.

Snapshot,
Robert Muggah

Fragile cities—places where government authority is crumbling and violence runs deep—will be the world's greatest challenge in the coming decades. But turning such cities around is possible. Here's how. 

Americas

Snapshot,
David James Gill and Michael John Gill

For today's cash-strapped countries, a strong credit rating can provide a huge advantages. Getting one, however, is not simply a matter of hitting the right benchmarks; it's also an exercise in strategy.

Snapshot,
C. Fred Bergsten

Obama’s signature international economic initiative is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but bipartisan majorities of both houses of Congress have insisted that the TPP forcefully address the manipulation of exchange rates. Here's how to resolve this dilemma.

Snapshot,
Robert Muggah

Fragile cities—places where government authority is crumbling and violence runs deep—will be the world's greatest challenge in the coming decades. But turning such cities around is possible. Here's how. 

Asia

Letter From,
Devin Stewart

Working women have long struggled to make their way in Japan, even in comparison to their counterparts in other advanced countries. But now many Japanese companies are acting to change that on their own—a shift that could provide a much-needed boost to the country's economy.

Snapshot,
Peter Martin

India has long seemed unable or unwilling to become a major player on the world stage. But the country’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, is looking to change all that. In order to compensate for a small and weak foreign service, he is tapping into India’s considerable soft power: its emigrants, intellectuals, and yogis.

Snapshot,
Vamsee Juluri

Whether Modi will usher in a Hindu renaissance, as his supporters hope, or contribute to the rise of Hindu nationalism, as his detractors warn, remains to be seen. For the moment, however, his words have been promising. 

Europe

Snapshot,
Mark Blyth and Cornel Ban

Just as Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river, in spite of the warnings of the Roman Senate not to, so has Alex Tsipras, leader of the anti-austerity party, Syriza, decided to try to end austerity in Greece, in spite of Europe’s leaders saying he shouldn’t. Whether Tsipras will succeed is still unclear, but whatever happens, his victory represents a crucial turning point for Europe—a signal that time has run out on austerity policies.

Postscript,
Stathis N. Kalyvas

Talk of overturning austerity aside, Greece still needs the last 7.2 billion euro installment of the bailout to cover its financing gap. For the time being, then, the new government will need to abide by the program’s requirements—that is, the very combination of austerity and reform that Syriza has pledged to overturn. This may be enough to break the party.

Snapshot,
Jonathan Laurence

Although the absolutism of French republican ideals has inspired democracies worldwide for centuries, it has only been France's gradual adjustment of those ideals to social and demographic realities—first to its Jewish population and in the future, perhaps, to the Muslim community or to the right—that afforded the country lasting political stability.

Middle East

Snapshot,
Fahad Nazer

In late January, in the span of only a day, both Saudi Arabia and Yemen turned a new leaf. Ninety-year-old Saudi King Abdullah passed away and, earlier in Sanaa, Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi announced his resignation. For the Saudis, the change of power within Yemen may weaken the leverage they once had with Sanaa and signals the growth of an even larger threat: Iran.

Snapshot,
Yoel Guzansky and Sigurd Neubauer

This might be the year that changes everything in the Middle East. The reason: a possible thaw in Saudi Arabian–Iranian relations.

Snapshot,
Michael Singh

Washington should be wary of pinning its hopes on Rouhani’s camp, much less on influencing the regime’s internal struggle.

Russia & FSU

Snapshot,
Eric B. Schnurer

By launching an e-residency program, Estonia is leading the way to a new market—one in which states compete for customers just as businesses do.

Snapshot,
Taras Kuzio

Putin’s goal in Ukraine is simple. He wants to rebuild “New Russia,” the Tsarist empire's term for the eight Russian-speaking regions of eastern and southern Ukraine. After months of deadlock, pro-Russian groups are resorting to terrorism to get the job done.

Snapshot,
Anton Barbashin

Russian President Vladimir Putin hopes that the new Eurasian Economic Union will reintegrate the former Soviet states. But the union is nothing more than an illusion—and an unconvincing one at that.

Global Commons

Snapshot,
Milosz Reterski

In defending its vital interests in the Arctic, the United States lacks a critical tool: mighty nuclear-powered icebreakers that would solidify its economic and strategic role in the region. Russia is surging ahead in this area, and the United States must catch up.   

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.