Foreign Policy

This magazine covers global politics and economics in its articles, essays and feature stories.

Articles from No. 184, January-February

5 Myths about the Chinese Communist Party
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] (1) "China Is Communist in Name Only," WRONG. If Vladimir Lenin were reincarnated in 21st-century Beijing and managed to avert his eyes from the city's glittering skyscrapers and conspicuous consumption, he would instantly...
Actually, the Retirement Age Is Too High
THE MOST DANGEROUS conventional wisdom in the world today is the idea that with an older population, people must work longer and retire with less. This idea is being used to rationalize cuts in old-age benefits in numerous advanced countries--most...
America Pressures Israel Plenty
SCHOLARS, PUNDITS, PROPAGANDISTS, and journalists have created two dangerous pieces of conventional wisdom about the Middle East: that Israelis, not Palestinians, have been the main stumbling block to peace, and that the United States has failed to...
... and China Isn't Beating the U.S
CHINA IS A GREAT POWER in every sense of the word. It is the most populous country in the world. The Middle Kingdom has weathered the Great Recession better than the West. It is developing a blue-water navy to rival the United States in the Pacific....
China's Rise Doesn't Mean War
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] THUCYDIDES FAMOUSLY ATTRIBUTED the Peloponnesian War to the rise in power of Athens and the fear it created in Sparta. A century ago, Germany's rise and the fear it created in Britain helped cause World War I. Now, it's become...
Freedom.gov: Why Washington's Support for Online Democracy Is the Worst Thing Ever to Happen to the Internet
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] A YEAR AGO THIS JANUARY, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the stage at Washington's Newseum to tout an idea that her State Department had become very taken with: the Internet's ability to spread freedom and democracy....
Frenemies Forever: How Washington Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Saudi Arabia, Again
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] OVER THE PAST DECADE, the American public has been presented with the case against Saudi Arabia, and it's a damning indictment: oil (dirty), terrorism (evil), fundamentalist Islam (dangerous), human rights (shockingly bad)....
Growth Won't Last Forever
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Humanity has made great strides over the past 2,000 years, and we often assume that our path, notwithstanding a few bumps along the way, goes ever upward. But we are wrong: Within this century, environmental and resource constraints...
Homeland Security Hasn't Made Us Safer
Hardly anyone has seriously scrutinized either the priorities or the spending patterns of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its junior partner, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), since their hurried creation in the aftermath...
Letter from the Editor
FORTY YEARS AGO, a 29-year-old Foreign Service officer had a plan for a sweeping reorganization of America's sprawling, hierarchical ,national security bureaucracy. It was mid-Vietnam, and the young, Richard Holbrooke wasn't pulling any punches. The...
Making Fun of Pharaoh
When Gamal Nasser became president, he wanted a vice president **STUPIDER** than himself to avoid a challenger, so he chose Anwar Sadat. When Sadat became president, he chose Mubarak for the same reason. But Mubarak has no vice president because there...
Meet the President: In Surreal Russia, Fake Presidential Tweets Are Much More Relevant Than the Real Ones
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] @KermlinRussia The amendments to the FSB law will give special services powers necessary for guarding the country's most valuable possession-the country's citizens! IN HIS OFF-HOURS, a seemingly dutiful government servant...
One Stat to Rule Them All
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Out of the carnage of t e Great Depression and World War It rose the idea of gross domestic product, or (am: the ultimate measure of a country's overall welfare, a window into an economy's soul, the statistic to end all statistics....
Running the World, after the Crash: Has the Era of Global Cooperation Ended before It Began?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION HAS STALLED. From climate change and trade to nuclear nonproliferation and U.N. reform, macroeconomic rebalancing and development funding--and the list could go on--nearly every major initiative to...
Sometimes, the Conventional Wisdom Is Right
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] THE OLD BATTLE BETWEEN "conventional wisdom" and its debunkers isn't what it used to be. When liberal economist John Kenneth Galbraith started using the term in the 1950s, his targets were not just any widely held wrong opinions,...
Tariq Ramadan
The Swiss-born grandson of the Muslim Brotherhood's founder made his career trying to prove that the West and Islam, secularism and belief, can coexist peacefully. With his George W. Bush-era travel ban revoked, Tariq Ramadan has now journeyed back...
Terrorism: What Is the State of Global Terrorism Today, Nearly a Decade after the Sept. 11 Attacks? Foreign Policy Asked the Top Terrorism Experts in the Field. Here's What They Told Us
What one thing could the United States do to make itself safer immediately? "No one thing will make us safer.-14% of the experts Safety Almost a decade after Sept. 11, 2001, is the United States more or less safe from the threat of terrorism?...
The Global Economy Won't Recover, Now or Ever
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] VIRTUALLY EVERYONE EVERYWHERE--economists, politicians, pundits--agrees that the world has been in some kind of economic trouble since at least 2008. And virtually everyone seems to believe that in the next few years the world...
The Imaginot Line: Why We're Still Fighting Yesterday's Economic War
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] LIKE MILITARY HISTORIANS shaking their heads over the hubris of the Maginot Line, future historians of economic thought will make the regulatory structures that failed us in the financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath seem...
The Iran X-Files
Karim Sadjadpour wishes to present U.S. diplomat George Kennan as a prophet "anticipating today's Iran" who would instruct America to "remain 'at all times cool and collected'--and allow the march of history to run its course" ("The Sources of [begin...
The Rich Really Don't Care about the Poor
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] WE SPEND FAR TOO MUCH time and energy worrying about the supposed global divide between north and south, rich country and poor country. It doesn't actually exist. The planet's real fault line is between elites and the middle...
Think Again: American Decline: This Time It's for Real
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "We've Heard All This About American Decline Before." THIS TIME IT'S DIFFERENT. It's certainly true that America has been through cycles of declinism in the past. Campaigning for the presidency...
Three Decades of a Joke That Just Won't Die
WHAT WOULD HAPPEN if you spent 30 years making fun of the same man? What if for the last decade, you had been mocking his imminent death--and yet he continued to stay alive, making all your jokes about his immortality seem a bit too uncomfortably close...
Understanding History Won't Help Us Make Peace
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] WE'RE OFTEN TOLD that understanding history will help us better understand the present. But the past can be a very dangerous place. Just look at the world's longest-lasting conflicts--between Palestinians and Israelis, Indians...
Weird Science: Most of What We Know about How the World Thinks Comes from Research on a Handful of American Undergrads
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IF YOU'RE READING THIS, there's a pretty good chance that you're one of the weirdest people on Earth. Don't be insulted, though--most of your friends and acquaintances probably are too. Recent psychological research suggests...
Welcome to Minegolia: How the Land of Genghis Khan Became a New Gold Rush San Francisco on the Steppe
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] FOR THE FIRST TIME in as long as anyone can seem to remember, there have been traffic jams in Ulan Bator--a place previously known mainly either as the answer to a trivia question (Which capital city has the coldest average...
What Saved Japan?
Clyde V. Prestowitz makes so many misleading statements that it is difficult to know where to begin ("Lie of the Tiger," November 2010). For one, Japan's economic miracle was not the result of "subsidized investment in 'strategic industries.'" While...
Where Do Bad Ideas Come from and Why Don't They Go Away?
WE WOULD ALL LIKE TO THINK that humankind is getting smarter and wiser and that our past blunders won't be repeated. Bookshelves are filled with such reassuring pronouncements, from the sage advice offered by Richard Neustadt and Ernest May in Thinking...