FP Favorites: The Stories That Mattered in January 2011

Since our "Year in FP" feature was so popular, we'll be bringing you the monthly version, starting now. From the raging Arab streets to the very Zen halls of a Bangkok-based Buddhist cult, here's the best -- and most important -- articles of January 2011.

An Egyptian demonstrator holds a sign written in Arabic that reads, "Down with Mubarak" in Tahrir Square in central in Cairo, on January 30, 2011, as people gathered on the streets for a sixth day running calling for their President Hosni Mubarak to resign. AFP PHOTO/KHALED DESOUKI (Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Days of Rage, Jan. 25 (continuing)

This slide show captures — and continues to capture, as we update it daily — Egypt’s revolution and the subsequent riots as they grew over the course of the last week of January (and into February) and captivated the world. These photos show both the frustration felt by protesters — open-mouthed, angry, holding signs demanding change — to the hope and humanity shared by citizens in Cairo and beyond.


The Next Tunisias, Jan. 19

Before Egypt exploded, FP predicted that it, along with Algeria, Libya, Sudan, and Jordan, was one of the Arab states ripe for revolution. Blogger Marc Lynch has also been ahead of the curve noting on Jan. 5 that “a combination of authoritarian retrenchment, unfulfilled economic promises, rising sectarianism at the popular level, and deep frustration among an increasingly tech-savvy rising generation” is causing a wave of discontent across the Middle East.


Making Fun of Pharaoh, Jan. 2

What jokes are they telling in Tahrir Square? Here’s a compilation of jokes from the January/February 2011 print issue where President Hosni Mubarak is a convenient — and all too easy — punch line. In the same issue, Issandr El Amrani explains why Egyptians found it easier to joke about the dictator’s grip on power than to take action — until now.

The World’s Newest Capital?, Jan. 6

As the votes from the Jan. 9 referendum are tallied, it’s looking increasingly likely that Southern Sudan will become an independent state. Juba-based photographer Pete Muller takes FP on a tour of the markets, hospitals, basketball courts, and ice cream parlors of this troubled, yet optimistic, city and its people. Meanwhile, Maggie Fick tells FP why there is danger in celebrating the referendum’s results too soon.

Pete Muller

Portraits of a Rising Military Power, Jan. 2

While Joseph S. Nye Jr. argues that China’s rise does not mean war with the United States and Daniel W. Drezner declares China’s economy is not beating the United States’, one thing is certain: China’s military is growing — fast. This slide show offers stunning images of the modern Chinese army and plenty of marching in unison.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Close Encounters of the Buddhist Kind, Jan. 20

Reporter Ron Gluckman and photographer Luke Duggleby spent part of the past year embedded with the obscure Bangkok-based Dhammakaya movement. Their photo essay takes us inside this multibillion-dollar, booming, global cult where a million gather around “a central shrine that looks like a giant UFO in elaborately choreographed Nuremberg-style rallies.”

Luke Duggleby

Unconventional Wisdom, Jan. 2

In the spirit of our founders’ desire to tackle Washington’s prevailing orthodoxy, we asked foreign-policy thinkers like Anne Applebaum and Stephen Sestanovich, to contribute provocative essays tackling the world’s most dangerous conventional wisdoms. Over the past 40 years, FP has asked readers to think again on everything from the limits of economic growth to how much the rich really care about the poor.

Stuart Franklin/Magnum Photos

Think Again: American Decline, Jan. 3

In our Jan./Feb. issue’s cover story, Gideon Rachman argues that even though we’ve heard about American decline before, this time is different — it’s for real. Rachman challenges other foreign-policy tenets: Globalization isn’t bending the rest of the world to the West, and China probably won’t implode.

Reuters/Brennan Linsley/Pool

5 Myths About the Chinese Communist Party, Jan. 3

Richard McGregor does some Chinese myth-busting: “China is Communist in name only” and four other things you thought you knew about China’s rulers.

John Ritter for FP


Gucci in the Land of Genghis Khan, Jan. 3

Timothy Fadek’s photos illustrate Ron Gluckman’s dispatch on China’s booming neighbor, “Welcome to Minegolia.” They show a land that Genghis Khan wouldn’t recognize, where miners and models coexist.

Timothy Fadek

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