Topics

Economics

Snapshot,
Robert Kahn

Although sanctions have a spotty record of achieving political objectives, they could be unusually powerful in Russia. The country's relationship to global financial markets -- integrated, highly leveraged, and opaque -- creates vulnerability, which sanctions could exploit to produce a Russian “Lehman moment”: a sharp, rapid deleveraging with major consequences for Russia’s ability to trade and invest.

Snapshot,
Tom Keatinge

Sanctions have not forced Russia to withdraw from Ukraine, and for that reason, some consider them a failure. In fact, they have worked just as intended, causing the ruble to weaken, inflation to rise, and investor demand for Russian stocks to dry up. They have also, apparently, pushed Putin into talks with the West.

Snapshot,
Andrew Wilson

Belarus signed up early to join the Eurasian Union, but has started hedging its bets since Russia's annexation of Crimea -- and understandably so. According to Putin’s reasoning for seizing Crimea, Belarus could be the next target.

Environment

Snapshot,
Brahma Chellaney

East Africa is one of the world’s most water-stressed regions. Overexploitation of water resources there has been compounded by declining snowpacks on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. In this light, the discovery of two significant aquifers in mostly arid Kenya has been hailed as a potential game changer.

Essay, 2014
Robert D. Blackwill and Meghan L. O'Sullivan

As the U.S. boom in shale oil and gas drives down global energy prices, energy-producing states that lack diversified economies will lose out, whereas energy consumers stand to gain. But the biggest benefits will accrue to the United States.

Essay, 2014
Jon Hoekstra

New technologies have given conservationists amazing new powers, and so for the first time they are starting to operate at the pace and scale necessary to keep up with -- and even get ahead of -- global environmental challenges.

Security

Snapshot,
J. Berkshire Miller

When U.S. President Barack Obama touches down in Asia later this month for a long-overdue trip, he will have a daunting challenge ahead of him: pushing Washington’s two major regional allies together.

Snapshot,
Gi-Wook Shin and Daniel C. Sneider

Disputes over wartime history between Japan and South Korea are proving a useful wedge for China to drive the two U.S. allies apart. As Obama heads to Asia this month, it is time for the United States to tackle wartime history in Asia head on.

Snapshot,
Jakob Mischke and Andreas Umland

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany’s foreign minister, inherited a long German tradition of bracketing human rights concerns when dealing with Russia. But Steinmeier's forceful response to the Ukraine crisis signals that German foreign policy is entering a very new era.

Law & Institutions

Snapshot,
Kemal Kirisci and Raj Salooja

Turkey has maintained a generous open-door policy for Syrian refugees. As Syrian refugees continue to pour into the country, Turkey must address their long-term status within its borders.

Snapshot,
Nathan J. Brown and Michele Dunne

Egypt's judiciary once acted as a brake on the most authoritarian impulses of successive regimes. But now it is leading the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Snapshot,
Michael Bröning

Expectations for the Arab League (which had never been high) are at an all-time low in the wake of last week's summit. If the organization wants to remain relevant, it should take a page from the African Union, which revised its charter after the Rwandan genocide and transformed itself from “the dictators’ club” -- as many called its predecessor, the OAU -- into a key player in contemporary African politics.

Politics & Society

Snapshot,
Kemal Kirisci and Raj Salooja

Turkey has maintained a generous open-door policy for Syrian refugees. As Syrian refugees continue to pour into the country, Turkey must address their long-term status within its borders.

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,
Andrew Wilson

U.S. Policy

Snapshot,
Maria Popova

Given Ukraine's rule-of-law problems, it is not surprising that one of the Euromaidan protesters’ top demands was for legal reform. Nor is it surprising that the new government in Kiev has focused on clearing out the judiciary and emancipating it from its political subservience. But how it has gone about that will only make Ukraine's problems worse.

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,
Nancy Sherman

The recent shooting at Fort Hood should be seen as a warning to the U.S. military that guns and mental illness do not mix. It should not make Americans warier of returning service members in need.