Political Development

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Interview,

The civil war in Syria will soon enter its fifth year, with no end in sight. On January 20, Foreign Affairs managing editor Jonathan Tepperman met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus to discuss the conflict in this exclusive interview.

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,
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,
Bilal Y. Saab

Leadership matters, especially in the Middle East, where institutions are weak and often nonexistent. But charisma and talent, on their own, won’t be enough to dig Saudi Arabia out of the profound generational problems that go beyond Abdullah, his successor Salman, or any leader who will preside over the Kingdom.

Snapshot,
Paul Hockenos

Before the bloodshed in Paris, Pegida and its variants across the country, which oppose the “Islamization of Christian Europe” and Germany’s “foreign infiltration,” were faltering. No longer.

Snapshot,
Micha'el Tanchum

Since Massoud Barzani, president of Iraqi Kurdistan, needs to move forward on a referendum for Kurdish independence while he still holds the political cards, 2015 may be the year that the Kurds secede from Iraq.

Snapshot,
Victor Gaetan

The United States and Cuba could not have restored diplomatic ties without the Catholic Church. But the church could be the negotiations' biggest loser: many Catholics resent its intervention.

Snapshot,
Nate Schenkkan

What started off as a relatively simple customs union in early 2014 has been transformed by treaty into a single economic space. But expansion has come at the cost of the union’s coherence, and as Russia’s economy spirals into crisis, the prognosis for 2015 is dire.

Snapshot,
Marina Ottaway

After three years of battles in the streets, in the National Constituent Assembly, and at the ballot box, Tunisia has officially completed its formal transition to democracy.

Postscript,
Michael J. Bustamante

The agreement reached between the Obama administration and the Cuban government is by any measure historic, necessary, and overdue. Yet as the diplomatic rubber hits the road and Cuba continues its precarious transition to a mixed economy, old disputes may take on new forms.

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