Foreign Affairs

Articles from Vol. 94, No. 6, November/December

An Intelligence Downgrade
To the Editor:Jane Harman ("Disrupting the Intelligence Community," March/April 2015) argues that the U.S. intelligence agencies should focus on their respective strengths: covert paramilitary action for the cia and cryptography and cyberwarfare for...
A Nudge Too Far: Paternalism and the Pitfalls of Behavioral Economics
A Nudge Too Far Paternalism and the Pitfalls of Behavioral Economics Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics BY RICHARD H. THALER. Norton, 2015, 432 pp.Lawyers may reign in Washington, D.C., but it is economists who drive the policymaking process....
A Windfall for Iran?: The End of Sanctions and the Iranian Economy
Over the past few years, the nuclear issue has dominated news about Iran. The landmark deal recently agreed to between Iran and the United States and other world powers sets out arrangements for handling that issue, but it leaves open many other questions...
Beyond Counterterrorism: Washington Needs a Real Middle East Policy
When the Obama administration looks at the Middle East, it does so through the lens of counterterrorism. A systematic emphasis on the subject has underscored not just the administration's relentless pursuit of al Qaeda and its new focus on the self-proclaimed...
Bridging the Gulf: How to Fix U.S. Relations with the GCC
The events of the past five years have put an intense strain on the relationship between the United States and its traditional partners in the Arab world, particularly the countries that belong to the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman,...
Committee Confusion
To the Editor:In his review of several documents on the U.S. Senate's report on the cia's torture of detainees, Robert Jervis ("The Torture Blame Game," May/June 2015) mistakenly states that the chairs and vice chairs of the House and Senate Intelligence...
Delusions of Grand Strategy: The Problem with Washington's Planning Obsession
In February 2015, when U.S. President Barack Obama released his second and final National Security Strategy-a formal outline of the administration's foreign policy-it was met with the usual fanfare. Critics and defenders debated its principles and priorities....
Digital Counterinsurgency: How to Marginalize the Islamic State Online
The Islamic State, or isis, is the first terrorist group to hold both physical and digital territory: in addition to the swaths of land it controls in Iraq and Syria, it dominates pockets of the Internet with relative impunity. But it will hardly be...
Food and the Transformation of Africa: Getting Smallholders Connected
African agriculture has long been a symbol of the continent's poverty. Officials considered the hundreds of millions of African smallholder farmers too backward to thrive; the future would arrive not by investing in them but rather by bypassing them....
Getting over Egypt: Time to Rethink Relations
For decades, the partnership between Egypt and the United States was a linchpin of the American role in the Middle East. Today, it is a mere vestige of a bygone era. There are no longer any compelling reasons for Washington to sustain especially close...
Help Refugees Help Themselves: Let Displaced Syrians Join the Labor Market
There are now some 60 million displaced people around the world, more than at any time since World War II. The Syrian crisis alone, which has created the largest refugee shock of the era, has displaced some ten million people, around four million of...
High Hopes for Hydrogen: Fuel Cells and the Future of Energy
The appeal of hydrogen fuel cells has long been obvious. Because these devices use electrochemical reactions to generate electricity from hydrogen, emitting only heat and water in the process, they offer a particularly green source of power, especially...
How to Be a Jew in France: Léon Blum and French Anti-Semitism
How to Be a Jew in France Léon Blum and French Anti-Semitism Léon Blum: Prime Minister, Socialist, Zionist BY PIERRE BIRNBAUM. Yale University Press, 2015, 232 pp.Just two days after the terrorist attack at the offices of the French satirical magazine...
How to Prevent an Iranian Bomb: The Case for Deterrence
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (jcpoa), reached by Iran, six other countries, and the European Union in Vienna in July, has sparked a heated political debate in the United States. Under the terms of the agreement, Iran has agreed to accept some...
Inequality and the Safety Net
To the Editor:In "The Next Safety Net" (July/ August 2015), Nicolas Colin and Bruno Palier correctly identify the increasing incompatibility between twentieth-century social welfare systems and twenty-first-century employment patterns. They predict a...
Iraq in Pieces: Breaking Up to Stay Together
American leaders contemplating Iraq have made a habit of substituting unpleasant realities with rosy assessments based on questionable assumptions. In 1991, after the Gulf War, the George H. W. Bush administration hoped that Iraqis would rise up against...
ISIS as Revolutionary State: New Twist on an Old Story
To many who have witnessed its brutal tactics and religious extremism, the Islamic State, or isis, seems uniquely baffling and unusually dangerous. According to its leaders' own statements, the group wants to eliminate infidels, impose sharia worldwide,...
Keeping Up with the Caliphate: An Islamic State for the Internet Age
Keeping Up With the Caliphate An Islamic State for the Internet Age Hisham Melhem ISIS: The State of Terror BY JESSICA STERN AND J. M. BERGER. HarperCollins, 2015, 416 pp.The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic...
Littler England the United Kingdom's Retreat from Global Leadership
In the last year, some 39,000 migrants, mostly from North Africa, tried to make their way to the United Kingdom from the French port of Calais by boarding trucks and trains crossing the English Channel. In response, the British government attempted to...
Rank Has Its Privileges: How International Ratings Dumb Down Global Governance
When the Berlin-based group Transparency International released its annual ranking of international corruption levels in December 2014, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded with a blistering statement. Chinese authorities were upset that their...
Recent Books: Asia and Pacific: The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong: The Untold Story of My Struggle for Tibet
The Noodle Maker of Kalimpong: The Untold Story of My Struggle for Tibet BY GYALO THONDUP AND ANNE F. THURSTON. PublicAffairs, 2015, 384 pp.This book's self-effacing title disguises the fact that Thondup, an elder brother of the Dalai Lama, is one of...
Recent Books: Middle East: One Islam, Many Muslim Worlds: Spirituality, Identity, and Resistance across Islamic Lands
One Islam, Many Muslim Worlds: Spirituality, Identity, and Resistance Across Islamic Lands BY RAYMOND WILLIAM BAKER. Oxford University Press, 2015, 392 pp.Baker is an old Middle East hand, and this intriguing but exasperating book is built on decades...
Recent Books: Military, Scientific, and Technological: Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone
Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone BY SCOTT SHANE. Tim Duggan Books, 2015, 416 pp.Targeted assassinations using drones raise questions not only of legality and morality but also of efficacy and prudence. The martyrdom...
Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: ¡Cuba, Cuba! 65 Years of Photography
¡Cuba, Cuba! 65 Years of Photography BY THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY. Southampton Arts Center, August-September 2015.The over 100 photographs and political posters in this exhibit capture playful, criminal, heroic, mundane, and melancholic...
The End of Pax Americana: Why Washington's Middle East Pullback Makes Sense
The Obama administration has clearly pulled back from the United States' recent interventionism in the Middle East, notwithstanding the rise of the Islamic State (also known as isis) and the U.S.-led air war against it. Critics pin the change on the...
The Law of the Lands: How the U.S. Supreme Court Engages with the World
The Law of the Lands How the U.S. Supreme Court Engages With the World The Court and the World: American Law and the New Global Realities BY STEPHEN BREYER. Knopf, 2015, 400 pp.Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court has long been known as the...
The Post-American Middle East
After generations of authoritarian stagnation punctuated by moments of domestic repression and interstate war, in recent years, the Middle East has begun to move. The rise of radical Islamism, the invasion of Iraq and its chaotic aftermath, the uprisings...
Two-State Progress
To the Editor:Grant Rumley and Amir Tibon ("The Death and Life of the Two-State Solution," July/August 2015) focus on how to move Israel toward supporting a two-state accord. But there is another side to the discussion: how to move Palestinian leaders...
Why Israel Waits: Anti-Solutionism as a Strategy
Israeli national security strategy can seem baffling. Many observers in the United States and Europe, for example, wonder how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could have warned for years that Iran's nuclear program posed an existential threat...
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