Regions

Africa

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.

Review Essay, Nov/Dec 2014
Michael Mandelbaum

According to Ian Morris, the author of a sweeping history of conflict from prehistoric times to the present, war can sometimes produce safety. But his account runs into difficulties as it approaches the present.

Americas

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.

Snapshot,
Kathryn Hochstetler

In her victory speech on Sunday night, Rousseff promised to reform politics, combat corruption, and rejuvenate the industrial economy. Most Brazilians, including her opponents' supporters, probably do want those things, but it will be even harder for Rousseff to deliver them in her second term than it was in the first.

Snapshot,
Jonathan Kay

A decade from now, Canadians will remember this week as one in which two mentally unstable Islamic converts staged amateurish, low-yield, one-man suicide attacks on Canadian soldiers. They will not remember it as a turning point in the nation’s history.

Asia

Snapshot,
Gilbert Rozman

Moscow and Beijing have disagreements about the future order they envision for their regions. But they agree that the geopolitical order of the East should be in opposition to that of the West—and that has led to significantly closer bilateral relations.

Snapshot,
Paul Gillis

In September, Alibaba Group launched the largest IPO in history, raising $25 billion from investors keen to own a slice of China’s most successful e-commerce company. For the moment, the potential for vast wealth overrode concerns about the unusual corporate structure and governance practices of Alibaba and firms like it. Maybe it shouldn’t have.

Snapshot,
Rebecca Liao

The Fourth Plenum took a bureaucratic view of the judiciary, treating it as an ally to the regime in improving governance rather than as the people’s advocate against that regime.

Europe

Snapshot,
Hugo Dixon

Europe's capital markets union is still a slogan in search of a policy program. But if it helps the continent develop new sources of finance, it could be hugely beneficial for all.

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.

Review Essay, Nov/Dec 2014
Michael Mandelbaum

According to Ian Morris, the author of a sweeping history of conflict from prehistoric times to the present, war can sometimes produce safety. But his account runs into difficulties as it approaches the present.

Middle East

Snapshot,
Steven Simon

Obama faces a tragic choice between restraint against ISIS to avoid entanglement in Syria’s civil war or full engagement against ISIS with an eye to regime change and the reconstruction and stabilization of a devastated country. After Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, we have a rough idea of what such an effort would entail and of the elusiveness of lasting gains.

Snapshot,
Intissar Fakir and Maati Monjib

Arab Spring–driven reforms might have seemed inconsequential when they were introduced in 2011. But they may be changing Morocco’s political system more than anticipated.

Snapshot,
Brian Klaas and Marcel Dirsus

On October 26, Tunisians will finally have a real and unrestricted choice at the polls. Other transitioning regimes in the Middle East and the world should take note: Democracy is not about exclusion, but about giving people a genuine choice—even, or especially, when it’s an uncomfortable one.

Russia & FSU

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.

Letter From,
Alina Polyakova

A militant nationalist and a crook walk into a bar. It might sound like the beginning of a clichéd joke, but in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, the characters are all too real, and the “bar” is Electoral District 217 in the country’s capital, Kiev.

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.