Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Foreign Policy

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

Articles from No. 172, May-June

A Bigger Big Bang? We May Soon Be Smart Enough to Understand How Insignificant We Might Be in the Cosmos
It seems inevitable that the next decade will be filled with surprises--unexpected armed conflicts, the redrawing of political maps, the clash of religions, struggles over the environment, and economic upheavals that may be deeper and more complex...
Africa: The Poorest Continent Is Rising. Really
Africa still evokes in the minds of many some mix of corruption, disease, war, and poverty--the Four Horsemen of Africa's Apocalypse. Indeed, the economic crisis has fueled a whole new round of such worries. But the perpetual hand-wringing over the...
Amartya Sen: The Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Reflects on Misguided Policies, Social Disasters-And Whether He Had It Too Easy
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] My family was from Dhaka, now the capital of Bangladesh, but I studied mostly in Santiniketan, in a school in India. My earliest memories, between the ages of 3 and 6, are all of Mandalay in Burma, where my father was a visiting...
America: The Conflagration's Likely Big Winner? the Arsonist Who Started the Fire
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] What will the world look like when the present emergency has passed? The safest prediction is that the post-crisis financial sector will be downsized and more heavily regulated, nationally and internationally. The financial...
A New You: Financial Engineering Brought Us to the Edge of Ruin, but Human Engineering-Directed Evolution-Will Reshape the Global Economy, and Sooner Than You Think
As countries and industries grow increasingly overwhelmed by wave after wave of bankruptcies, layoffs, restructurings, botched contracts, and embarrassing bonuses, they might lose sight of a second, much larger set of tsunamis gathering force over...
Anger Management: Big Brother Is Coming. So What Are We Going to Do about It?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Technology's trumpet does not always herald a bright new dawn. Already, our technologically empowered society tracks some "undesirables" at all times. Now, imagine a world in which every newborn baby immediately has a little...
Are You a Globalization Junkie?
Test your knowledge of global trends, economics, and politics with 8 questions about how the world works. 1 Which country is home to the company that filed the most patent applications in 2008? a) China b) Germany c) Japan 2 Which region...
Bad Times, Big Think
Marx? Really? No, we don't actually think communism is poised for a real-world comeback anytime soon. But Marx's powerful, prescient critique of the perils of boom-and-bust capitalism certainly deserves a hearing at this time of global capitalist crisis....
Baltic Ghosts: Lithuania Is Investigating Jewish Holocaust Survivors as War Criminals-And Using Their Own Memoirs as Evidence against Them
Yitzhak Arad escaped to the forest at the age of 16, days before the Jews in his native Lithuanian village were massacred. He is proud he joined the Soviet partisans to fight the Nazis and their collaborators. For a Jew, just to survive the Holocaust...
Better Biofuels: The Next Generation of Energy Is on Its Way
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The financial crisis is taking up most of the media oxygen these days, but the aftershocks of two other acute crises, in energy and food prices, are still reverberating. The combined result is that energy and agriculture are...
Calculating the Cost of Human Foibles
Economists have suffered a collapse in credibility since the global financial crisis began. Faith in the efficiency of markets and the invisible hand is out; "behavioral economics," which stresses that humans are fundamentally irrational actors, is...
Caught in the Middle: For Three Decades, David Ignatius Has Talked to All Camps in the Fractious Middle East. Then Came Davos, and an Effort to "Moderate" a Conversation between Irreconcilable Sides on the Gaza War. the Center Not Only Cannot Hold, He Concludes-It No Longer Exists
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] I still have the press credentials I gathered nearly three decades ago from the Middle East's various combatants: one from the left-wing Druse militia in Lebanon, one from the right-wing Lebanese Christian militia known as...
Confessions of a True Believer
In 1995, a magazine published by a conservative Washington think tank brought together a group of writers and scholars to debate a question that seemed to have a foregone conclusion: "Socialism: Dead or Alive?" Twelve of the participants voted for...
Dangerous Leviathans
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] An assertive Russia has raised fears of a new Cold War by cracking down at home and flexing its muscles abroad. But to understand those worrisome trends, forget about Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin--certainly most Russians have....
Faulty Towers: With Financing Slowing to a Trickle, the World's Most Hyped Architectural Projects Remain Castles in the Sky
Rossiya Tower Moscow, Russia [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Ambition: Russian oil and real estate magnate Shalva Chigirinsky and British architect Norman Foster shared a dream of erecting the tallest building in Europe. Intended as the centerpiece of...
H2O: Water Is the New Gold, and a Few Savvy Countries and Companies Are Already Banking on It
As food prices skyrocketed over the last two years, countries and state-sponsored companies were quietly snapping up land around the world. Few noticed when South Korea began investing in farms in Madagascar, or when China, Japan, Libya, Egypt, and...
Happiness: McMansions and SUVs Didn't Make Our Lives Better. Losing Them Just Might
Psychologists and other social scientists (most economists excepted) have learned a lot in the last few decades about what makes us happy. They have taught us that, in affluent societies, money doesn't buy as much happiness as people think. Indeed,...
Mob Rule: Italy Is Becoming the Failed State of Western Europe, but Do Italians Even Care That the Mafia Is Running the Show?
Vincenzo Guida is the notorius crime boss of Naples, and in 2006, he and his Camorra clan were well on their way to infiltrating Milan, using a construction business as a front to launder more than $25 million of dirty money. By late fall, however,...
More of the Same: What Will the World Look like Tomorrow? A Lot like It Does Today
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Never underestimate the predictive power of inertia. To wit: It's a safe bet that Israeli-Palestinian relations will continue to fester; Pakistan will still be the tinderbox of tomorrow; and the United States will be highly...
Neomedievalism: The World Is Fragmenting, Badly. Gird Yourself for a New Dark Age
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Many see the global economic crisis as proof that we live in one world. But as countries stumble to right the wrongs of the corporate masters of the universe, they are driving us right back to a future that looks like nothing...
Personalized Education: A Quantum Leap in Learning Will Allow Everyone to Go to the Head of the Class
Throughout most of history, only the wealthy have been able to afford an education geared to the individual learner. For the rest of us, education has remained a mass affair, with standard curricula, pedagogy, and assessments. The financial crisis...
Resilience: If the Financial Crisis Has Taught Us Anything, It Is That Brittle Systems Can Fail Catastrophically
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] With increasing fervor since the 1980s, sustainability has been the watchword of scientists, environmental activists, and indeed all those concerned about the complex, fragile systems on the sphere we inhabit. It has shaped...
Shrinkage: Big Finance Is about to Get a Whole Lot Smaller
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The near future will be full of Big Things that, only a year ago, were largely unthinkable. They will rapidly alter the financial landscape and, together with the inevitable fallout from the $50 trillion of wealth destruction...
Soldiers of Misfortune
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The blue-helmeted troops working to keep the most dangerous hot spots from collapsing are captives of a broken system. Following a series of successful missions--in East Timer, Sierra Leone, and Liberia--U.N. peacekeepers...
The Dictator's Handbook: Why Is Democracy Failing Even as Elections Proliferate? A Thought Experiment Sheds New Light on Why Aging Autocrats Remain So Hard to Dislodge
The old rulers of the Soviet Union were terrified of facing contested elections. Those of us who studied political systems presumed they must be right: Elections would empower citizens against the arrogance of government. And with the fall of the Iron...
The Fatalist: The Man Reshaping How U.S. Intelligence Views the Future
It wasn't announced with any great fanfare from the White House. There was no declaration of victory or "mission accomplished" moment. Yet when future historians look back on Feb. 12, 2009, they may identity it as the day the war on terror ended. ...
The Green Economy: Going Green Has Finally Gone Mainstream, and Politicians from London to Seoul Are Spending Billions on Clean Technologies They Say Will Create Jobs. but Unless We Are All Willing to Risk a Little More Pain, the Green Revolution Could Founder before It Ever Really Starts
"Going Green Will End the Recession." No way. Vowing to pump $150 billion into green technology over the next decade, U.S. President Barack Obama has made big promises about his environmental agenda. "It will also help us transform our industries...
The Land of No Smiles
Renowned documentary photographer Thomas van Houtryve entered North Korea by posing as a businessman looking to open a chocolate factory. Despite 24-hour surveillance by North Korean minders, he took arresting photographs of Pyongyang and its people--images...
The New Coups: Violent Government Takeovers Now Happen Far Less Frequently-And Their Strongmen Fall Much Faster
A coup d'etat can only mean that a country is going from bad to worse, right? Perhaps it's time to reexamine what happens on the morning after. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Hein Goemans, a political scientist at the University of Rochester, has compiled...
The Next Big Thing: Why Bad Times Lead to Great Ideas
AS NIKOLAI KONDRATIEV SHIVERED before his executioners on a wintry Siberian morning in 1938, he could scarcely have imagined that, 71 years later, his name would be resurrected by a new generation of business theorists and management gurus seeking...
The Ottoman Revival: Turkish Nationalism Goes Back to the Future
One clear day in February, when Ali Babacan visited Yemen, his hosts brought him to a centuries-old, mud-brick building outside Sanaa, the Yemeni capital. There, about a dozen tribal leaders were waiting for the Turkish foreign minister with curved...
The Revenge of Geography: People and Ideas Influence Events, but Geography Largely Determines Them, Now More Than Ever. to Understand the Coming Struggles, It's Time to Dust off the Victorian Thinkers Who Knew the Physical World Best. A Journalist Who Has Covered the Ends of the Earth Offers a Guide to the Relief Map-And a Primer on the Next Phase of Conflict
When rapturous Germans tore down the Berlin Wall 20 years ago it symbolized far more than the overcoming of an arbitrary boundary. It began an intellectual cycle that saw all divisions, geographic and otherwise, as surmountable; that referred to "realism"...
Thoroughly Modern Marx: Lights. Camera. Action. das Kapital. Now
The economic crisis has spawned a resurgence of interest in Karl Marx. Worldwide sales of Das Kapital have shot up (one lone German publisher sold thousands of copies in 2008, compared with 100 the year before), a measure of a crisis so broad in scope...
Wasted: The American Prohibition on Thinking Smart in the Drug War
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The Washington consensus on drugs rests on two widely shared beliefs. The first is that the war on drugs is a failure. The second is that it cannot be changed. Americans are a can-do people. They tend to believe that if...