Political Development

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Snapshot,
Halil Karaveli

Turkey might seem like a confident rising power, but its leaders fear being abandoned by the West as much as ever. As it has in the past, the United States can push Turkey toward political reform by reminding Ankara that it has to live up to Western democratic standards if it wants to continue to enjoy the benefits of being counted as an ally.

Snapshot,
Jere Van Dyk

Although the identity of Afghanistan's next president is uncertain, Afghans know for sure that it will not be Hamid Karzai, who has held power for 12 years. In keeping with his country’s 2004 constitution, he agreed to step down after his second term was up. That has never happened before in Afghanistan, and it marks the true introduction of democracy in this shattered land.

Review Essay, May/June 2014
Margarita Estévez-Abe

David Pilling's useful book, Bending Adversity, takes a relatively hopeful view of the conservative nationalism advocated by Japanese president Shinzo Abe. But a more thorough accounting of Japan’s recent past and the country's political system would suggest a less sanguine outlook.

Snapshot,
Alina Polyakova

By inking a deal with Russia last week, the West seemed to sign on to Russia’s strategy for the region -- “federalism” or, more likely, partition. The agreement itself quickly fell through, but Russia now has the West's acquiescence in writing.

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.

Postscript,
Keith Darden

For the first time since 1989, Europe is transforming. The primary protagonists, by most accounts, are Russia and the West. The bit of territory that they are clawing at -- Ukraine -- has largely been eclipsed. Yet inattention to Ukraine’s internal demons reflects a dangerous misreading of current events.

Snapshot,
Mitchell A. Orenstein and Kálmán Mizsei

On April 3, the EU announced that it would grant visa-free travel to Moldovans. The move was the latest salvo in a raging battle for Moldova, a second front in a struggle between the EU and Russia for the lands in between them.

Interview, May/June 2014
Paul Kagame

Rwanda's president speaks with Foreign Affairs about the 1994 genocide, his 11-year stint in office, and his country's political future.

Snapshot,
Halil Karaveli

Last week, Erdogan banned Twitter to try to prevent the spread of recordings of incriminating conversations between him and members of his family and inner circle. By exposing the prime minister’s abuses of power, the dirty dealings of the Gülenists (Erdogan's foes and likely purveyors of the recordings), and the weakness of the opposition, the scandal raises doubts about the future of Turkish democracy.

Snapshot,
Mitchell A. Orenstein

The Putin regime is growing closer by the month to extreme right-wing parties across Europe -- somewhat surprising given that one of his stated reasons for invading Crimea was to prevent "Nazis" from coming to power. But, in both cases, Putin’s motives are not primarily ideological. In Western Europe, he hopes to destabilize his foes and install in Brussels politicians who will be focused on dismantling the EU rather than enlarging it.

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