Topics

Economics

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,
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,
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.

Environment

Postscript,
Carter Roberts

Earth Overshoot Day is the date on which humanity’s demand for natural resources exceeds the earth’s ability to renew them in a year. Last year, we hit that mark on August 20. This year, it comes one day earlier. For the remainder of 2014, in other words, we will be living beyond our planet’s means.

Snapshot,
Pete Ogden

Thanks to a newly proposed pollution rule, the United States is finally on its way toward meeting its Copenhagen emission reduction commitments. The move comes at the perfect time: At the end of next year, global leaders will convene in Paris to conclude the next major round of climate negotiations.

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.

Security

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,
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.

Comment, Nov/Dec 2014
Richard K. Betts

After a decade-plus of war, the lessons for the United States are clear: fight fewer, more traditional wars and fight them more decisively. Above all, avoid getting entangled in the politics of chaotic countries.

Law & Institutions

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,
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.

Snapshot,
Lauren Carasik

Companies are increasingly using international arbitration tribunals for disputes involving extractive industries in the developing world. By circumventing the state’s domestic laws, this system of dispute resolution grants policymaking control to foreign tribunals, undercutting a state’s right to regulate labor, keep its citizens healthy, and protect its environment.

Politics & Society

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.

Video,
Gideon Rose and Max Boot

Washington simply doesn’t have the luxury of simply avoiding long wars against brutal insurgencies. Instead, it needs to figure out how to fight them better.

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.

U.S. Policy

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.

Video,
Gideon Rose and Max Boot

Washington simply doesn’t have the luxury of simply avoiding long wars against brutal insurgencies. Instead, it needs to figure out how to fight them better.