Foreign Policy

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

Articles from No. 198, January-February

10 Problems Obama Actually Could Solve
If you were to print out all the white papers, op-eds, and think-tank reports urging U.S. President Barack Obama to do this or that in his second term, the sheer amount of paper produced would probably require chopping down the Amazon rain forest....
A New Law of Petropolitics: Sorry, Tom Friedman, Higher Oil Prices Don't Always Mean Lower Levels of Democracy
IN A 2006 COVER STORY for this magazine, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman proposed what he called the First Law of Petropolitics. "The price of oil and the pace of freedom always move in opposite directions in oil-rich petrolist states," he...
Anthropology of an Idea: Fiscal Cliff
BY NOW, YOU'VE probably heard enough about the "fiscal cliff" to know all about the steep, automatic tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to greet Americans on New Year's Day in the absence of a deficit-reduction deal. Even if financial catastrophe...
Bernard-Henri Levy
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] BERNARD-HENRI LEVY, the globe-trotting, chisel-jawed French intellectual known universally by his initials, BHL, is a fixture on the Left Bank salon circuit, where political philosophers are still treated (at least occasionally)...
Can You Fight Poverty with a Five-Star Hotel? the Story of How the World Bank's Investment Arm Hands out Billions in Loans to Wealthy Tycoons and Giant Multinationals in Some of the World's Poorest Places
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] ACCRA IS A CITY of choking red dust where almost no rain falls for three months at a time and clothes hung out on a line dry in 15 minutes. So the new five-star Movenpick hotel affords a haven of sorts in Ghana's crowded capital,...
Cursed with Plenty
ELSEWHERE IN THIS ISSUE, you will find advice Barack Obama can act on to ensure that history views him as the transformational figure he hoped to be when he took office, from saving Europe from itself to taking nuclear weapons off alert. But transformation...
Edge of the World
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] EARLY THIS YEAR, in the company of camel nomads from Ethiopia's desolate Afar region, I'm planning to walk out of Africa. This dusty jaunt will be the first leg of a seven-year journey--north into the Levant, east to Asia...
Geek Squad: How Behavioral Scientists Could Make Obama's Second Term a Success
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] WHY DID NATE SILVER get it right in 2012 when so many others were so wrong? Conventional wisdom held that in last year's U.S. presidential campaign, a leader saddled with a weak economy running against a smart, accomplished...
Getting Down to Business
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] OR MOST OF 2012, it was fashionable to characterize the U.S. presidential election as one of the most defining events in recent times. Certainly, if you happened to live in Florida, Ohio, or another battleground state, you...
La Frontera
Weaving above, below, and across the U.S.-Mexico border over the course of a year, a photographer captures the violence and trauma of a deadly drug war and those caught in its crossfire. DERAILED [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Luis Avila Archulata,...
Letter from the Editor
WHEN IT CAME TIME TO think about what Barack Obama could accomplish in his second term in the White House, I couldn't help going back to the issue FOREIGN POLICY produced just after his first election. Expectations were running high. This was, after...
My Enemy, Myself
WHO'S YOUR ENEMY? Why fight? Over the course of three years, Belgian-Tunisian photojournalist Karim Ben Khelifa has traveled to both sides of the world's longest-simmering conflicts to ask these pointed questions. What he heard from combatants in the...
Rebel Country: Waiting out the Coup in Mali
BAMAKO, A GREAT SPRAWL of 2 million people on the Niger River, was in the grip of a gun battle. Soldiers of Mali's new ruling junta, who wore the green berets of the regular army, had been in power all of five weeks when I arrived there late last April....
Rough Cut: Nearly All the World's Diamonds-Legal or Not-Pass through This One Indian City
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] SURAT, India THE GUJARAT MAIL is just another red-eye train. Twelve powder-blue passenger cars crisscrossing, like so many hundreds of others, India's northwestern breadbasket through the dark of night. At five minutes...
Stowaway: A Reporter Travels the Treacherous Pakistan-Afghanistan Border by Truck
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] AFTER DAYS OF NEGOTIATIONS, our truck, festooned with embossed metal decorations and hauling a navy-blue container of foodstuff marked WAN HAI, finally set off along the highway that skirts the northern edge of Karachi, carrying...
The Baby Menace
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN says it's Russia's "most urgent problem." Commentator Pat Buchanan argues it's part of the reason America is "disintegrating." Former U.S. Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson calls it a "threat more grave...
The Convergence of Civilizations
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] FOR ALL THE TALK of the global "clash of civilizations"--the theory of inevitable conflict between cultures and religions, coined by a founder of this magazine, Samuel P. Huntington--the interesting thing about the decade...
The Disappeared: Even the Soviet Union Eventually Acknowledged Stalin's Great Famine. Why Does China Still Hide Evidence of Its Own Mass Starvation under Mao?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] FOR DECADES, THE Soviet Union hid its horrors behind the Iron Curtain. The worst of them was Joseph Stalin's man-made famine in Ukraine and southern Russia, the result of his program of forced rural collectivization that claimed...
The War before the Last War: A Tiny Southern Peninsula Still Bears the Wounds of Iran vs. Iraq
I DECIDED TO START in the south, checking the conditions at the river border between Al Faw, Iraq, and the Arab province of Khuzestan, Iran. Al Faw is a tiny teardrop of land between Iran and Kuwait, and its northern border with Iran is the last...
Think Again: The Republican Party: The Future of the GOP-After the Debacle
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "The Romney Campaign Couldn't Get Its Act Together on Foreign Policy." TRUE. To the extent that Americans remember anything about foreign policy from the 2012 campaign, it may be the third presidential debate, in which...
Thoughts on the Thinkers
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] IT'S a TIME-TESTED rule of thumb: Make a list of the Top 100 Global Thinkers, and you'll get 1,000 opinions about the effort. If one judges by the reaction around the world to FOREIGN POLICY'S 2012 rankings, last year was...