Foreign Policy

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

Articles from No. 197, December

100 Sana Saleem for Insisting That Free Speech Is Not Blasphemy
Blogger | Pakistan In September, when deadly riots swept across the globe following the release of the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims, the seriousness of the charge of "blasphemy" became starkly clear. In Egypt, for instance, there were calls...
10 David Blankenhorn, Narayana Kocherlakota, Richard A. Muller: For Changing Their Minds
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Activist, economist, physicist | New York, Minneapolis, Berkeley, Calif. Flip-flopping gets a bad rap. Yes, it can be depressing to hear politicians cynically reverse strongly held positions from one election cycle to another....
11 James Hansen: For Sounding the Alarm on Climate Change, Early and Often
Director, Goddard Institute for Space Studies | New York "Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening," James Hansen wrote in a New York Times op-ed this year. Using his stature as NASA'S top climate scientist, Hansen has arguably done as...
12 Angela Merkel: For Refusing to Give Up on the Dream of a United Europe
Chancellor | Germany More than half the countries in the European Union have changed leaders since the region's sovereign debt crisis erupted three years ago, but Angela Merkel has not only remained in charge--as the steward of Europe's largest...
13 Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu: For Forcing the World to Confront Iran's Nuclear Program
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Defense minister, prime minister | Israel Almost single-handedly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have wrenched the world's attention toward the apocalyptic potential of a nuclear...
15 Ben Bernanke, Scott Sumner: For Keeping the World's Largest Economy Afloat
Chairman, Federal Reserve | Washington Economist | Waltham, Mass. "Professors at Bentley University who've never published a famous book don't normally shift the public debate," Slate's Matthew Yglesias wrote after the Federal Reserve announced...
16 Maria Alyokhina, Yekaterina Samutsevich, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: For Shattering Their Glass Cage with a Love Letter to Freedom
Musicians | Russia When was the last time a rock band changed the world? The Russian punk collective known as Pussy Riot captured global attention this year after three of the group's members were sentenced to jail for the "punk prayer" they staged...
17 Abraham Karem, William McRaven: For Leading the Drone Revolution
Engineer | Lake Forest, Calif. Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command | Tampa, Fla. If Adm. William McRaven has turned hunting terrorists into an art form, Abraham Karem is the man who provided him with the paintbrush. It has been three...
18 Ahlem Belhadj: For Demanding That Women Have a Say in the New Arab World
President, Tunisian Association of Democratic Women | Tunisia The Arab Spring might have brought new freedoms to the Middle East, but it also saw a wave of Islamists rise to power intent on restricting the liberties of women. Tunisian feminist Ahlem...
19 Rima Dali, Bassel Khartabil: For Insisting, against All Odds, on a Peaceful Syrian Revolution
Activists | Syria With Syria mired in sectarian mayhem, a few brave souls still stand as a testament to the possibilities--and the extraordinary costs--of nonviolent revolution. When dictator Bashar al-Assad's artillery laid waste to entire neighborhoods...
22 Joyce Banda: For Stepping In-And Up-To Fix a Broken Country
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] President | Malawi When Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika died of a heart attack in April, it wasn't immediately clear what would become of his vice president, Joyce Banda. The two had fallen out in recent years, with...
23 Ed Morse: For Proving That Energy Independence Is No Fantasy
Economist | New York In March, Ed Morse and several Citigroup colleagues published a 92-page report with a provocative thesis upending the conventional wisdom on global energy scarcity. North America, they said, is hurtling toward energy independence...
24 Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez: For Making the Graph That Occupied Wall Street
[GRAPHIC OMITTED] Economists | France; Berkeley, Calif. Jabs at the "1 percent" became the battle cry of disgruntled Occupy Wall Street protesters and the subtext of much of the U.S. presidential campaign this year, but they were hardly the first...
25 Nadim Matta: For Showing That Even]one Needs a 100-Day Plan, Not Just Presidents
President, Rapid Results Institute | Stamford, Conn. We all know the effect of a deadline when it comes to a project at work or paying a bill. Nadim Matta sees this power as something much more consequential. Matta is the head of the Rapid Results...
26 AI Weiwei: For Turning His Confinement into Art-And Protest
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Artist | China It has been a year of shrinking horizons for China's best-known artist turned dissident, but as he has throughout his career, Ai Weiwei has turned his difficult circumstances into living performance art,...
28 Ahmet Davutoglu, Recep Tayyip Erdogan: For Leading from the Front
Foreign minister, prime minister | Turkey It wasn't a reference you'll ever hear in Washington's corridors of power: "I say it very clearly: What is happening in Syria right now is exactly the same thing as what happened in Karbala 1,332 years ago,"...
29 Willem Buiter: For Warning of the Grexit
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Economist | Britain Willem Buiter, Citigroup's chief economist, relishes a good intellectual dust-up, especially if it involves debunking an economic conventional wisdom or two. "I like saying things that drive people around...
2 Moncef Marzouki: For Keeping the Ideas of the Arab Spring Alive. President / Tunisia
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] As the spirit of 2011 has faded this year amid religious violence in Egypt and Libya and the bloody sectarian civil war in Syria, Tunisia remains the Arab Spring's most promising success story, with a contentious but robust...
31 Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg: For Having It All
President and CEO, Yahoo!, COO, Facebook | Silicon Valley, Calif. In 2012, a record-breaking number of women reached the top of America's Fortune 500 companies. The number that broke the record? Twenty--just 4 percent. As more and more women enter...
32 Anne-Marie Slaughter: For Arguing That Women Can't Have It All-And Explaining Why We'd Be Better off Admitting It
Political scientist | Princeton, N.J. Anne-Marie Slaughter has been a dean at Princeton University and a top official at the U.S. State Department, where she oversaw the first-ever attempt to review and rationalize the sprawling bureaucracy's overseas...
36 Shai Reshef: For Giving the World a Shot at the Ivy League
Founder, University of the People | Pasadena, Calif. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Every year in Nigeria, roughly 1.5 million students would like to go on to college, but because of limited university space, only a few hundred thousand can. That means...
37 Daphne Koller, Andrew Ng: For Working to Make Education a Human Right
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Computer scientists | Palo Alto, Calif. Since 1980, tuition increases at U.S. universities have outpaced the consumer price index, inflation, and even the housing bubble that precipitated the current financial crisis. But...
38 Dick and Liz Cheney: For Keeping the Neocon Flame Alive
Former vice president, director of Keep America Safe | Washington If scaring us silly were a religion, Dick Cheney would be its high priest. The most powerful vice president in U.S. history is still waging a campaign, even after a heart transplant...
39 Condoleeza Rice: For Updating Rockefeller Realism for the Tea Party Era
Former secretary of state | Palo Alto, Calif. Condi Rice has long dismissed the terms "idealist" and "realist" as meaningless academic distinctions. An expert on the Soviet Union whose worldview shifted dramatically with the collapse of the Berlin...
3 Bill and Hillary Clinton: For Still Thinking about Tomorrow
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Former president | New York * Secretary of State | Washington Love them or hate them, America's ultimate power couple are also its most effective advocates for liberal internationalism: a vision that government can build...
40 Eugene Kaspersky: For Decoding the Secrets of Cyberwar
Computer security expert | Russia Boasting hundreds of millions of customers for his company's anti-virus software, Eugene Kaspersky is one of the leading global authorities on cybersecurity. So when he warned executives at a technology conference...
41 Sima Samar: For Defending Afghanistan's Women, Even as the World Looks Away
Chair, Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission | Afghanistan Many lament the plight of women in Afghanistan--Sima Samar has actually done something about it. The 55-year-old doctor founded the Shuhada ("Martyrs") Organization in 1989, and...
43 Charles Murphy: For Showing That Conservatives Have No Monopoly on Family Values
Author | Burkittsville, Md. Charles Murray thinks that the United States is splitting at the seams, and the culprit is a widening gap between the country's wealthy and its poor. But it's the yawning cultural gulf between the two white Americas that...
44 Andrew Marshall: For Thinking Way, Way outside the Pentagon Box
Military futurist | Washington Known as the Pentagon's "futurist in chief"--or, more affectionately, "Yoda" among Defense Department insiders--Andrew Marshall has spent the past 40 years speculating about over-the-horizon threats to the United States....
46 Thomas Mann, Norman Ornstein: For Diagnosing America's Political Dysfunction
Political scientists | Washington The past few years have produced one testament after another to America's broken political system: the most partisan Congress on record, the first U.S. credit-rating downgrade ever, one of the most polarizing presidencies...
48 Abdulhadi, Maryam, and Zainab Al-Khawaja, Nabeel Rajab: For Insisting That Free Speech Is a Right, No Matter Where You Live
Activists | Bahrain Bahrain, the tiny archipelago wedged between Saudi Arabia and Iran, is the only country where tear gas and buckshot have succeeded (so far) in squelching an Arab Spring uprising. And for the ruling monarchy, the brave activists...
49 Haruki Murakami: For His Vast Imagination of a Globalized World
Novelist | Japan When New York Times Magazine critic Sam Anderson visited Tokyo last year to interview Haruki Murakami, he arrived, he later wrote, "expecting Barcelona or Paris or Berlin--a cosmopolitan world capital whose straight-talking citizens...
4 Sebastian Thruh: For Revving Up the Robot-Car Revolution
Computer scientist | Palo Alto, Calif. Not since Henry Ford's Model T brought driving to the American masses at the turn of the 20th century has a motor vehicle so promised to revolutionize global transportation. Hydrogen and electric cars once...
50 Robert Kagan: For Writing the One Book Obama and Romney Could Agree On
Author | Washington These days, it's nearly impossible to get Republicans and Democrats to agree on anything. But Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, managed to capture the attention of both left and right with this year's...
51 Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: For Showing Africa How to Break the Resource Curse
Finance minister | Nigeria As a candidate in this year's unusually public race for the World Bank presidency, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala seemingly had it all: an MIT education, high-level experience with both the bank and the Nigerian government, the potential...
54 Yu Jianrong: For Daring to Be Specific about How to Change China
Director, Center for the Study of Social Problems | China China's leaders often declare publicly that their country needs to "reform." "Reform can only move forward," Premier Wen Jiabao waxed after the country's rubber-stamp legislature met in March....
55 Michael Sandel: For Revealing the Moral Limits of Markets
Political philosopher | Cambridge, Mass. Today, the old cliche that money can buy anything is more true than ever. The going rate for an Indian woman's womb is about $8,000, the right to emit a metric ton of carbon dioxide costs $10.50, and for...
59 Hamad Bin Khalifaal Thani: For Filling the Leadership Vacuum in the Middle East
Emir | Qatar If there's one man who has stepped into the void in the Middle East, it's Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruler of a tiny country that few had heard of. Some might say it's his vast oil and natural gas wealth that has made the enigmatic...
5 Bill and Melinda Gates
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Co-chairs, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation | Seattle MELINDA GATES For insisting on women's power to choose. As a leader of the world's largest private development organization, Melinda Gates has long impressed...
60 Hew Strachan: For Asking the Generals: What Are You Doing with All Those Guns?
Military historian | Britain Hew Strachan may be an expert on World War I, but the Oxford University professor isn't stuck in the past. He has emerged as one of the world's preeminent thinkers on the character of modern warfare at a time when governments...
61 Husain Haqqani, Farahnaz Ispahani: For Pushing Tough Love for Their Troubled Country
Former Pakistani officials | Washington Husain Haqqani and Farahnaz Ispahani have spent their careers fighting the slow-motion radicalization of Pakistan--even as it became increasingly obvious that the deck was stacked against them. The husband...
62 Esther Duflo: For Relentlessly Testing Our Assumptions about Poverty
Economist | Cambridge, Mass. A tenured MIT professor since age 29, winner of various top-notch economics prizes, co-author of a groundbreaking book on poverty (last year's Poor Economics)--Esther Duflo, still just 40, is firmly cemented among the...
64 Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson: For Showing It's Politics That Makes States Fail
Economist, political scientist | Cambridge, Mass. It's firing that in the year after the Arab Spring and the European debt crisis dethroned one head of state after another, MIT economist Daron Acemoglu and Harvard University political scientist...
66 Alexander Macgillivray: For Defending Free Speech in the Twitter Era
General counsel, Twitter | San Francisco With last year's Arab uprisings, the world saw the power of Twitter to channel popular sentiment, mobilize protests, and even, some argued, topple dictators. That power isn't always a given, however, and...
69 Ma Jun: For Dreaming of Blue Skies over China-And Working to Make Them
Environmentalist | China Sludge flows through China's rivers. The air tastes like glue. Synthetic eggs and pigs pumped full of growth hormones and cooked in oil made of recycled sewage feature on menus across the country. In the United States, asking...
6 Malala Yousafzai: For Standing Up to the Taliban, and Everything They Represent
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Student | Pakistan The Taliban's most fearsome enemy in Pakistan isn't U.S. drones or the military's tanks: It's a 15-year-old schoolgirl. Malala Yousafzai's tool of defiance? Her own bravery in speaking out for the simple...
70 Yevgenia Chirikova: For Outsmarting Vladimir Putin, One Tree at a Time
Environmentalist | Russia Yevgenia Chirikova had never been involved in politics before 2007, when she noticed red paint on the trees of the Khimki forest outside Moscow, where she enjoyed taking walks with her family. When she learned that a wide...
74 Raj Chetty: For Following the Numbers-Wherever They Lead
Economist | Cambridge, Mass. How much is a good fourth-grade teacher worth? Enough to pack an extra apple with your kid's lunch? Or maybe a nice gift for the holidays? How about $700,000? That figure, it turns out, is the amount of extra income...
77 Nitish Kumar: For Turning around India's Poorest State
Chief minister, Bihar | India Like Haiti, Somalia, and Mississippi, India's Bihar state has been called many unflattering names; it's often referred to as the country's "bleakest state" and the "jungle Raj" for its colonial levels of poverty and...
78 Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson, Paul Syverson: For Making the Web Safe for Whistleblowers
Founders, Tor Project | Walpole, Mass. When the Tor Project was announced a decade ago, Google was still largely seen as fulfilling its corporate motto, "Don't be evil," and Twitter didn't even exist. But researchers Roger Dingledine, Nick Mathewson,...
79 Eliot Cohen: For Writing the GOP's Foreign-Policy Playbook in 2012
Political scientist | Washington It was Eliot Cohen, the former State Department counselor and Pentagon advisor, who first laid out Mitt Romney's vision for a bolder, more self-assured American foreign policy--one that the bow-tied Johns Hopkins...
7 Barack Obama: For Redrawing America's Global Footprint
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] President | Washington The brainy 44th president is a huge basketball fan, but Barack Obama knows that none of the plays he calls from the Oval Office are slam dunks. "Nothing comes to my desk that is perfectly solvable,"...
81 Patrice Martin, Jocelyn Wyatt: For Redesigning the War on Poverty
Directors, IDEO.org San Francisco The design world has long been preoccupied with dreaming up ever sleeker cars, laptops, smartphones, and even kitchen gadgets. But Patrice Martin and Jocelyn Wyatt are at the forefront of a hip new field fashioning...
82 Robert D. Kaplan: For Putting Geography Back on the Map
Chief geopolitical analyst, Stratfor | Stockbridge, Mass. Brutal dictators, sectarian divisions, political repression. These are among the messy and unpredictable causes oft cited for modern-day conflicts. Robert D. Kaplan reminds us that other,...
83 Kai-Fu Lee: For Building the New Chinese Internet
CEO and chairman, Innovation Works | China Despite growing into the world's second-largest economy in 2011, China is still most often dismissed as a manufacturer rather than an innovator, a borrower rather than a creator. The man most likely to...
84 Beth Noveck: For Demanding Open Government, Then Creating It
Law professor | New York When U.S. President Barack Obama issued a memorandum on his first full day in office to make government more transparent and open, it was no coincidence he tapped Beth Noveck to lead the unprecedented initiative. Noveck,...
85 Radoslaw Sikorski: For Telling the Truth, Even When It's Not Diplomatic
Foreign minister | Poland As the only country in the European Union that never went into recession, Poland has a unique vantage point on Europe's economic woes. And Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski has taken up the mission of delivering hard truths...
86 Pankaj Mishra: For Charting the Intellectual Rise of the East-Without the West
Writer | Britain For Americans, world events inevitably come colored through a Western prism, whether it's believing that the American ideal of democracy inspired the Arab Spring or that China's economy will stall without opening more to the West....
89 Ricken Patel: For Proving Web Activism Doesn't Have to Begin and End with a Click
Executive director, Avaaz | New York Ricken Patel has taken the fuzzy concept of a "global community" and given it teeth. Avaaz, the civic organization he co-founded in 2007, has grown into the world's largest web activism movement. Its more than...
8 Paul Ryan: For Doubling Down on the Debt Crisis
Congressman | Washington Repeal Obamacare. Lower income tax rates and simplify the tax code. Cut Medicaid by a third and make it a state-controlled block-grant program. Overhaul Medicare by giving beneficiaries money to buy competing public and...
90 Vivek Wadhwa: For a Fresh Idea in the U.S. Immigration Debate
Entrepreneur | Menlo Park, Calif. Start-ups create jobs. Immigrants create start-ups. But immigrants have such a difficult time entering the United States that for the first time in decades, immigrant entrepreneurship has stalled. According to a...
91 Danah Boyd: For Showing Us That Big Data Isn't Necessarily Better Data
Social media researcher | New York The discussion of Big Data--a buzzword for the proliferation of information in the digital age and the technologies that have emerged to collect and analyze it--often centers on potential: the power of massive...
92 Slavoj Zizek: For Giving Voice to an Era of Absurdity
Philosopher | Slovenia With intellectual influences ranging from Karl Marx to French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan to the films of Alfred Hitchcock and the Matrix trilogy, Slavoj Zizek has emerged over the past two decades as a modern rarity: a celebrity...
93 Martha Nussbaum: For Shining a Light on the West's Dark Corners of Intolerance
Law and ethics professor | Chicago In a year when an anti-Islam video sparked deadly protests across the Arab world and a spate of violent incidents targeted minority groups in the United States, Martha Nussbaum's new book offered a thoughtful,...
94 John Coates: For Exposing How Biology Affects Wall Street
Neuroscientist | Britain When John Maynard Keynes used the term "animal spirits" in 1936, he was referring to the ways human hubris and fear can inflate profits and deepen losses. But that is only part of the story. John Coates--who ran a trading...
95 Jonathan Zittran: For Staring Down the Internet's Enemies
Law professor | Cambridge, Mass. When the World Conference on International Telecommunications convenes in Dubai in December, delegates will tackle an enormously consequential question: Should the United Nations assert greater control over the internet,...
96 Luigi Zingales: For Reminding Us What Conservative Economics Used to 100k Like
Economist | Chicago When deficit hawks compare the United States to the ailing economies of Europe, they're often making a point about America's unsustainable debt and social welfare spending. But Luigi Zingales, an influential business professor...
98 Jonathan Haidt: For Revealing the Psychology of Partisanship
Psychologist | New York Why is it that poor Americans might vote against their apparent economic self-interest and pull the lever for a candidate like Mitt Romney? Jonathan Haidt, whose work explores the psychology of political and religious division,...
9 Chen Guangcheng: For Envisioning a China with the Rule of Law
Legal activist | New York A year ago, Chen Guangcheng was living under house arrest in the small Chinese village of Dongshigu, unable to travel or receive visitors and subject to constant harassment by the local authorities. Today, he is a global...
Aung San Suu Kyi, Thein Sein: For Showing That Change Can Happen Anywhere, Even in One of the World's Most Repressive States
Member of parliament, president | Burma In 2012, the hopes for the Arab Spring began fading into cynicism as the world watched Syria descend into civil war, while the region's nascent democracies struggled with their newfound freedom. But, meanwhile,...
'China Has to Change': Chen on Revolution, Reform-And the Rights That Matter
IN TERMS OF FOREIGN POLICY, the United States places too much importance on interests. It should place importance on humanity's values. Democracy, rule of law, constitutionalism, human rights, especially human rights--they should make that number one!...
Cyberscary: 4 Digital Threats to Worry About
1. Privacy violations: Internet privacy is dwindling. Every purchase you make, flight you take, website you view, file you download, person you call, and email you send is tracked, and these profiles are then stored indefinitely and often sold to the...
Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Freedom of speech is under threat around the world. On one side of this battle are governments and corporations seeking, to various degrees, to set limits on what is acceptable to say and what is not. On the other are ordinary...
Letter from the Editor
THE BACKLASH AFTER the heady Arab revolutions of 2011. The rumblings of war with nuclear-aspiring Iran. The return of heavy-handed Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin, and the bloody persistence of his ally Bashar al-Assad in civil war-torn Syria. Not to...
The Best Small Ideas of 2012
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] For all the laments we heard this year about inequality and calls to Occupy this or that, very little was actually done to close a wealth gap that, in some countries, has reached Gilded Age proportions. In the United States,...
The Global Thinkers Reading List, Longform or Short
INSPIRED BY FP'S list of the top 100 Global Thinkers? To really get inside the heads of the world's most insightful men and women, you've got to know the ideas and the people who inspire them. And what better way than a good old-fashioned reading list?...
The 'Grexits' of 2013
This year brought fears of a "Grexit;" a "fiscal cliff," and, yes, the "G-Zero," my own term for the U.S.-China nexus. What are the catchphrases that will tell the story of geopolitics next year? ChiMils: You've heard of ChiComs? That's the shorthand...
The Imperfect World of George Soros
George Soros cites Isaiah Berlin as an important intellectual influence, so it makes sense to see Soros through one of the Riga-born philosopher's best-known lenses--the division of the world into foxes and hedgehogs. In his public life, Soros is a...
The Lady and the General
The most unlikely of political partners are driving the astonishing democratic transition in Burma. One of them is no surprise: Aung San Suu Kyi, the inspirational global icon who for recent generations has defined nonviolent struggle against oppression....
The New Breakout Nations
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The excitement that drove the discovery of "emerging markets" in the 1980s and the easy money that turbocharged growth during the booming 2000s are over. The most hyped countries--Brazil, Russia, India, and China--are all...
The Opposite of Thinking
ONCE AGAIN, FOREIGN POLICY has with characteristic humility compiled its list of leading Global Thinkers. How we could possibly identify the top 100 thinkers on a planet of 7 billion people when we've never met a fairly considerable number of those...
The Stories You Missed in 2012
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 1 INDIA AND PAKISTAN TRADE AWAY The conventional wisdom holds that India and Pakistan, which remain locked in conflict over everything from the disputed territory of Kashmir to the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, while pointing...
What Do Our Thinkers Think?
For the fourth year in a row, FOREIGN POLICY polled our list of the world's leading thinkers to ask about everything from the Chinese Communist Party's grip on power to Hillary Clinton's electoral prospects in 2016. So here's a look at what this brilliant...
Why Birth Control Is Still a Big Idea
I spent most of my time this year advocating for better access to family planning around the world. Early on, I told everybody who would listen that I wanted to help put contraceptives back on top of the global health and development agenda. Visiting...
Why Family Is a Foreign-Policy Issue, Too
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] I have a split personality these days. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I give speeches on work and family--and the changes America needs to make to enable more professional women to get to the top. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I...
Yes, Congress Is That Bad
The two of us have each been immersed in Washington politics and policymaking for more than 43 years--and we have never seen them this dysfunctional. Our concern about the direction of America's political system motivated us to write a blunt new book,...