Topics

Economics

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,
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.

Letter From,
Dorn Townsend

Afghanistan seems to be holding its breath. Business has ground to a halt and middle-class Afghans are eyeing foreign escape routes as they send their money out of the country. The sense of uncertainly is not just about who will be the next president, or whether the loser will accept the result. It’s about the precarious economy.

Environment

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,
John Sfakianakis

As it stands, the mess in Iraq won’t dramatically alter the oil market unless things get far worse inside the country. Iraq has been in trouble for quite some time -- but the world has only just started to pay attention.

Snapshot,
Scott M. Moore

China’s environmental crisis, severe as it is, won’t bring down the communist regime -- its leaders are too clever to let that happen. Instead, they have carefully co-opted China’s growing environmental movement as their own, expanding their own power in the process.

Security

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.

Snapshot,
Dalia Dassa Kaye

The longer the conflict in Gaza continues, the harder it will be to insulate the negotiations from other events in the region -- and that does not bode well for a successful outcome.

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.

Law & Institutions

Snapshot,
Andrew Erickson and Austin Strange

Ongoing international disputes over territory in the South China Sea have led many to invoke an old adage: “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on your side, pound the table.” Beijing is using all these approaches simultaneously, but with an ambitious twist -- as it tells other claimants to pound sand, China is pouring it -- literally expanding the territory under its control.

Postscript,
R. Daniel Kelemen

Last Friday, EU leaders voted to nominate Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission. Juncker’s nomination constituted a major victory for the European Parliament and a humiliating defeat for British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Snapshot,
Emily Dyer and Louise Millet

Some supporters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had hoped that he would dial back attacks on women's rights. Just a year into his time in office, though, he has left those backers disappointed. In some cases, his government is just as bad as his predecessor’s.

Politics & Society

Snapshot,
Khaled Elgindy

For Israeli policymakers, another concentrated war against Gaza was preferable to the possibility of another West Bank uprising against Israel, akin to the so-called intifadas that occurred in the late 1980s and the early 2000s. Contrary to what Israelis may have hoped, however, the present war has made a third intifada more, not less, likely.

Snapshot,
Erica De Bruin

The problem of how to improve Iraqi military capacity without undermining civilian control won’t go away when Maliki leaves office. It will persist until norms of democratic and civilian rule become entrenched in Iraq -- a process that could take decades, if not longer.

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.

U.S. Policy

Video,
Gideon Rose and Alexander J. Motyl

Gideon Rose, editor of Foreign Affairs, sits down with Alexander Motyl, professor of political science at Rutgers, to discuss the ongoing Ukraine crisis. 

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. 

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.