Foreign Policy

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

Articles from No. 196, November

A Father's Secret ... and His Journalist Son's Search for the Truth
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] FOR MOST OF my childhood, I didn't know my father was a spy. He and I traveled the world for a quarter-century as he worked in Yugoslavia, India, Pakistan, Spain, and several other countries. To my knowledge, he was a diplomat,...
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Anthropology of an Idea: Big Data
HUMANS HAVE BEEN whining about being bombarded with too much information since the advent of clay tablets. The complaint in Ecclesiastes that "of making many books there is no end" resonated in the Renaissance, when the invention of the printing press...
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Blame Game
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The GLOBAL ECONOMIC blame game is reaching a crescendo as Americans go to the polls and Europeans approach critical decision points. And everyone--from economists to central bankers, from TV analysts to the person on the street--seems...
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Capitalism
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] One might think that a crisis brought on by rapacious, unregulated capitalism would have changed a few minds about the fundamental nature of the global economy. One would be wrong. True, there is no lack of anti-capitalist...
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Cheapskates, Pessimists, & Food Trucks
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In a recession, most economic sectors face hard times. Economists call this phenomenon "comovement," and it is considered one of the most fundamental...
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Climate Deniers
Was it really just six years ago when a documentary about climate change--Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth--could draw $24 million at the U.S. box office? That was back when the words "housing bubble" were just entering the average American's lexicon,...
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Declassified: The Son of a Red Army Intelligence Officer Discovers a Cottage Industry of Children-of-Spies Memoirs
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] TEN YEARS AGO, on a blustery March morning, I found myself in front of Moscow's infamous Lubyanka prison, the dreaded home of the KGB, where thousands of political prisoners were jailed, interrogated, and tortured. I had come...
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Declinist Pundits
There is a simple three-step secret to success in political punditry: Identify a trend that is already happening, predict it will continue, and then, as the trend progresses, proclaim success. Of course, you have to make sure that you identify a real...
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Extremists
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The headlines crawl across a motley collection of extremist blogs, web forums, Facebook pages, and YouTube channels, like a Times Square ticker from hell. "Government Silently Positions for Martial Law as Financial Collapse...
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Higher Ed
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The predicament facing higher education during the economic downturn is in some ways reminiscent of a scene from a 1994 episode of The Simpsons. After Homer Simpson is banned from his favorite bar, Moe's Tavern, he slouches...
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Hollywood
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] As the summer officially came to an end this Labor Day weekend, the major studios were in a funk. Theater revenue from early May through early September (when Hollywood traditionally reaps some 40 percent of its annual earnings)...
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Lean Times
NO ONE ENJOYS being short of cash, stressed about finding a job, or worried about the future. And you might think that cutting back on things like regular doctor visits, leisure activities, and nutritious food would make people less healthy. It turns...
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Letter from the Editor
ENOUGH ALREADY WITH the bad news. We know that U.S. unemployment has been hovering all year above 8 percent despite the cheery predictions that the Great Recession of 2008 would be long since behind us. Yes, we're aware of the gloomy prospects for...
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Mad Libs: Economy Edition
We asked top economists to take stock of the recession, and here's what they had to say. U.S. President Barack Obama should have ... Broken up the large, too-slow-to-end, too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks.--David Smick * More forcefully promoted financial...
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McDonald's
In late September 2008, when global stock markets fell off a cliff, a funny thing happened to McDonald's. While the financial industry and consumer goods were cratering, same-store sales rose 8.2 percent the next month. And remember Morgan Spurlock's...
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Meet the New Team of Columnists
Gordon Adams, professor of international relations at American University's School of International Service and a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center. As the former White House official in charge of the defense budget, is our main man on sequestration,...
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Nassim Nicholas Taleb
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] NASSIM NICHOLAS TALEB has made a career of going against the grain, and he has been successful enough that the title of his book The Black Swan is a catchphrase for global unpredictability far beyond its Wall Street origins....
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Nouriel Roubini
The Great Recession may have been the best thing ever to happen to Nouriel Roubini. Once a relatively obscure academic macroeconomist, he won fame as "Dr. Doom," the man who predicted, in 2006, just how and when the global financial system would collapse....
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Prisoners Rule: Welcome to the Deadliest City in the Deadliest Country in the World
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras A REAL ESTATE BROKER might describe the state penitentiary here as centrally located. From the prison, it's a quick ride to the barrios, where many of the inmates and guards live when they're not...
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The 50-50 Club
IT'S THE GREAT DILFMMA of modern punditry. The best way to get attention is to make a bold prediction: that Israel will attack Iran's nuclear program, for instance, or that Mitt Romney (or Barack Obama) will win the U.S. presidential election. But...
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The Changing Face of AIDS
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT Thabo Mbeki famously asserted that poverty--not HIV--causes AIDS. Mbeki's claim may have been dangerous pseudoscience (one Harvard University study blamed his government's AIDS policies for at least...
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The Currency of Power: Want to Understand America's Place in the World? Write Economics Back into the Plan
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] EARLIER THIS YEAR, Bob Carr, Australia's foreign minister and a longtime friend of the United States, observed with Aussie clarity: "The United States is one budget deal away from restoring its global preeminence." He added...
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The FP Survey: The Economy
[GRAPHIC OMITTED] When FOREIGN POLICY polled leading economists in the summer of 2011, nearly half were confident the U.S. unemployment rate would fall below 8 percent by the 2012 election; just 20 percent expected the rate would not dip that low....
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The Lie That Screwed Up 50 Years of U.S. Foreign Policy
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] U.S. PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY'S skillful management of the Cuban missile crisis, 50 years ago this autumn, has been elevated into the central myth of the Cold War. At its core is the tale that, by...
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The Mayor of Mogadishu
MOHAMOUD AHMED NUR, better known to his constituents as "Tarzan," is on a mission to change the capital of Somalia. Since returning to Mogadishu in 2010, after living for nearly 20 years in London, where he ran an Internet cafe, the 57-year-old mayor...
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The Reform of the King: Morocco's Mysterious Young Monarch Is Promising a "Third Path" between Democracy and Tyranny. Is It a Model for the Arab World-Or a Myth?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] WHEN I WAS IN MOROCCO this summer, I heard a great deal about "Moroccan exceptionalism." Historian Abdallah Laroui has described Morocco as "an island" cut off from its neighbors by sea, sand, and mountains, making it subject...
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These 7 Countries: The Rise of China and India Has Long since Become a Cliche. If Fact, Neither Country Has Done All That Well since the Crash of 2008-But These Emerging Powerhouses Have Cleaned Up
SOUTH KOREA "I am confident that this crisis can advance our dream of becoming an advanced first-class nation," President Lee Myungbak told a group of business leaders in 2009. To accomplish his goal, South Korea boosted government research and...
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The Third Industrial Revolution
IN THE LATE 19th century, roughly half of Americans worked in agriculture. By 2000, that fraction had fallen to under 2 percent. During the last century alone, we have seen those involved in the production of goods (from mining to manufacturing to...
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The Ultra-Rich
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Forget about the recession--there has never been a better time in human history to be a member of that most exclusive of clubs: the world's ultra-rich. Yes, it's true, the top 1 percent in the United States was initially...
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Think Again: The BRICs: Together, Their GDP Now Nearly Equals the United States. but Are They Really the Future of the Global Economy?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "The BRICS Are in a Class by Themselves." YES AND NO. There is no question that the BRICS--Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the group's newest member, South Africa--are big. They matter. In terms of population, landmass,...
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Who Won the Great Recession?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] MCDONALD'S * THESE 7 COUNTRIES * HOLLYWOOD * CAPITALISM * NOURIEL ROUBINI * CLIMATE DENIERS * HIGHER ED * EXTREMISTS * DECLINIST PUNDITS * CHEAPSKATES, PESSIMISTS, AND FOOD TRUCKS * THE ULTRA-RICH IN NOVEMBER 1929, days...
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Work More, Make More? the Case against Long Hours
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] DECLINISTS, GET READY to fret: Sometime this past summer, the average net worth of Canadians surpassed that of Americans. Adding insult to injury, Canadians have universal health care and a lower unemployment rate too. ...
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