Foreign Policy

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

Articles from No. 182, November

5 Things You Didn't Know about ... Supermarkets: From Beijing to Brighton, Billions of People Now Can't Imagine Life without Supermarkets. but What Forces Push Us, as We Push Our Carts?
(1) Supermarkets rule the food chain. A century ago, the companies that dominated the global food trade--Cargill, Louis Dreyfus, Continental Grain, and Bunge--were wholesalers. Today, these giants are dwarfed by the supermarkets that govern the global...
Avoid the Double Dip
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] ROUGHLY THREE YEARS SINCE the onset of the financial crisis, the U.S. economy increasingly looks vulnerable to falling back into recession. The United States is flirting with "stall speed," an anemic rate of growth that, if...
Books Behind Bars
Countries worldwide have often sought to ban books they find politically inconvenient, religiously awkward, or just plain embarrassing. But for writers like Russia's Vasily Grossman, who pleaded with the Soviet censors in 1961, "I am physically free,...
Cut (Really Cut) Military Spending
Despite all the hype about Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his cuts of big-ticket military projects, the Pentagon's $680 billion budget is actually slated to increase in coming years. This is unconscionable at a time when taxpayers are under enormous...
Dump the Nukes
Barack Obama needs to get real about actual cuts in America's still-enormous stockpile of nuclear weapons--or his nuclear legacy won't even match that of Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush. So far, the president has made modest progress shrinking...
Fat Race: Last Year's Jeans Won't Fit? Blame the Free Market
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] ALONG WITH iPods and Hollywood blockbusters, another American trend is sweeping the world: corpulence. As countries grow wealthier, they're also growing fatter. In China, the obesity rate is increasing by about 40 percent...
Get off Oil
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] AMERICANS BORROW $1 BILLION a day to import oil. This is a huge share of the U.S. trade deficit and a major factor in weakening the dollar. Hundreds of billions a year go to the Middle East and end up funding improvised explosive...
Give the Public a Green Check
Climate policy is not rocket science. Our fossil. fuel addiction cannot be solved if fossil fuels are the cheapest energy. But fossil-fuel energy is cheapest only because the producers of fossil fuels receive direct and indirect subsidies and are not...
Insecurity Council: Is the U.N.'S Seat of Power a Curse?
For small states, election to one of the U.N. Security Council's 10 nonpermanent seats is a unique opportunity to have a major say in the world's largest political debates. It's the diplomatic equivalent of moving up from the minor leagues to the Yankees....
Inside Talibanistan: From a Distance, You Might Think the Taliban Is a Monolithic Enemy. Far from It
After a summer of shifting leadership and souring reports on the state of the war in Afghanistan, the "surge" of 30,000 additional U.S. troops is now in place. And not a moment too soon: U.S. President Barack Obama has already pledged to make a decision...
Just How Bad Is It?
If there has been one defining feature of the Great Recession, it's jobs--the persistent lack of them, that is. The world has had economic downturns as steep and long as this one before, but never in modern times has employment taken so long to recover....
Letter from the Editor
THERE'S CHANGE, AND THEN THERE'S REALLY BIG CHANGE, of the earth-shattering type. This issue of FOREIGN POLICY brings you meditations on both. In the coming weeks, U.S. President Barack Obama is likely to find his job that much harder, with the unwelcome...
Lie of the Tiger: How the United States Really Tamed the Japanese Economy-And Why China's a Much Meaner Cat
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] WHEN I ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON in the fall of 1981 to serve as counselor to President Ronald Reagan's commerce secretary, the United States was more afraid of Japan than it had been since Pearl Harbor. The Japanese auto industry...
Make a South Asia Command
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] South Asia is the epicenter of terrorism and the most dangerous place in the world today: Pakistan is a fragile state with what may be the world's fastest-growing nuclear arsenal; India is an emerging great power, but one...
Moore's Flaw: Why the Tech Industry's Unbridled Optimism Won't Save the World
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] NEXT YEAR MARKS THE 50TH BIRTHDAY of the first commercially produced silicon microchip, a device that has arguably reordered society more profoundly than any invention since the internal combustion engine. It will also be...
Paul Volcker: The Legendary Central Banker Speaks with FP about Family Values, What Went Wrong with Big Finance, and Why Baseball Is to Blame
My father was in public service most of his life.And he was vocal about responsibility; he had very strong opinions about what was right and what was wrong, If he found an employee or a policeman who was not living up to his position--taking a bribe...
Plan B: A Stagnant Economy. Declining American Influence. Dictators on the March Abroad. and a More Republican Congress Coming Soon. Barack Obama Is in Big Trouble. but It's Never Too Late. FOREIGN POLICY Has a Plan, 10 in Fact, for How the President Can Find His Mojo Again
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Nearly two years ago, Obama swept into office promising to defeat terrorism, withdraw "responsibly" from Iraq, make peace in Afghanistan, forge "greater cooperation and understanding between nations," pursue a world without...
Reinventing the Wheel: Why No-Tech Ancient Civilizations Still Can't Catch Up
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] WHEN I WORKED AT THE WORLD BANK, management was always checking up on us to make sure our research was relevant for real-world economic development. The standard test question was, "What would your research suggest the finance...
Rewrite the Rules of War
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] GEORGE W. BUSH, IN THE ABSENCE of broadly agreed-upon guidelines for fighting and meting out justice to terrorists, stumbled badly in attempting to write his own rules for the "war on terror." Barack Obama has done better,...
Take It to the People
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Facing a continuing array of grave challenges abroad and an even more divided and hostile Congress a mile down Pennsylvania Avenue, Barack Obarna will have to either surrender to short-term political pressures or invent a...
The Great Battery Race: A 19th-Century Technology Could Determine Which Nation Triumphs in the 21st. Steve Levine Reports from the Global Competition to Replace the Combustion Engine
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IN 2007, THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT approached Wan Gang, a 54-year-old engineer-turned-university-president from Shanghai, with a remarkable offer. Chinese President Hu Jintao had taken up the political mantra of "scientific development,"...
The Sources of [Begin Strikethrough]soviet[end Strikethrough] Iranian Conduct: How George Kennan Is Still the Best Guide to Today's Villain Inside a Victim Behind a Veil
For three decades, the Islamic Republic of Iran has bedeviled the United States, resisting both incentives and disincentives and working all the while to foil American designs in the Middle East. If 20th-century Russia was to Winston Churchill a riddle...
The Tyranny of Metaphor: Three Historical Myths Have Been Leading American Presidents into Folly for Nearly a Century. Is Obama Wise Enough to Avoid the Same Fate?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IN 1952, BRITISH HISTORIAN DENIS WILLIAM BROGAN published a brilliantly perceptive article on "The Illusion of American Omnipotence." In the midst of the Korean War, Brogan was not only commenting on Americans' frustration...
Think Again Global Aging: A Gray Tsunami Is Sweeping the Planet-And Not Just in the Places You Expect. How Did the World Get So Old, So Fast?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "The World Faces a Population Bomb." YES, BUT OF OLD PEOPLE. Not so long ago, we were warned that rising global population would inevitably bring world famine. As Paul Ehrlich wrote apocalyptically in his 1968 worldwide...
Watching the Watchers: Al Qaeda's Bold New Strategy Is All about Using Our Own Words and Actions against Us. and It's Working
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IN JULY 21, THE U.S. JUSTICE Department indicted Zachary Adam Chesser on charges that he twice tried to join al-Shabab, the fast-growing Somali terrorist group that has become a close ally of al Qaeda. Chesser, a 20-year-old...
What Shape Is Your Recession? the Alphabet Soup of Economic Misery
V What it means: We're on the way back up. The most optimistic scenario for global recovery, V-shaped recessions only last for a few months before economic growth accelerates sharply again. Precedent: The 1997 Asian financial crisis, triggered...
Womenomics
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The economic story of the last 50 years has been the entrance of the female half of the population into the workplace. Women started working out of necessity; they stayed when jobs became careers. They were hired in a hunt...