2014

People enter the International Criminal

Israel, U.S. Slam Palestinian Bid to Join International Criminal Court

Palestinian leaders made the move after a U.N. resolution demanding an end to the Israeli occupation by 2017 was bottled up by Washington and Jerusalem.

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The Foreign Policy Story of the Year

...and all the others that may have made you miss it.

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The Wonkiest Yard

Advice from the bench as Obama starts his "Fourth Quarter."

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The Best Worst Quotes of 2014

The top 20 bloviations, lies, and just plain dumb lines from U.S. government officials and politicians this year.

Beijing Holds New Year's Eve Countdown Event Themed On 2022 Winter Olympic Bid

Coming to Chinese Headlines in 2015

From a click-bait Communist Party to a Chinese Marshall Plan, here are six major stories that flew under the radar in 2014, but won't next year.

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U.S. Strike Kills a Top Somali Militant

Tahlil Abdishakur, a key member of al-Shabab, died in an American drone strike just weeks after masterminding a bloody attack in Kenya.

Military Museum Of Chinese People's Revolution Opens To Public Free

The Year the Training Wheels Came Off China

Economic reforms are transforming this burgeoning superpower, but Beijing needs to get used to the world watching and judging its every move.

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India Could Still Be a Manufacturing Powerhouse

But can Prime Minister Narendra Modi get his “Make in India” campaign off the ground?

Sony Pictures' "The Interview" Opens On Christmas Day

What if ‘The Interview’ Took Place in China?

When it comes to censorship, it's Beijing -- not Pyongyang -- that poses the real threat to Hollywood.

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The Real American Snipers

Clint Eastwood's new movie on famed Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle only shows part of what it means to kill in combat.

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Yes, Marcus. They did die in vain.

The most popular post on Best Defense in 2014.

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U.N. Security Council Rejects Palestinian Statehood Resolution

The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday rejected a Palestinian draft resolution calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by the end of 2017 and a peace deal with Israel within a year.

Kerry Testifies On Convention On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities

Stopping the Rot at Foggy Bottom, From Benghazi to Afghanistan’s Missing Millions

Can the State Department’s watchdog keep the diplomatic branch from repeating the sins of the past?

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Palestinian Statehood Push Fails at United Nations

With peace talks stalled, the Palestinians tried to push through a Security Council measure calling for a deal within 12 months. They couldn’t pull it off.

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U.N.’s Fear of Angering Assad Leaves Gap in Syria Aid Effort

U.N. effort to supply hundreds of thousands of Syrians in rebel-held areas with food, water, and medicine falling dangerously short.

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The Optimist’s Year

Five reasons why 2015 is going to bring positive changes to the Middle East.

U.S. President Barack Obama Visits China

A Chinese View of the World’s Most Important Relationship

Forget all the doom and gloom; 2014 was not bad to Sino-U.S. ties.

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My Greatest Hits (and Misses) of 2014

What I got right, what I got wrong, and that time everyone got mad at me for tweeting about Ukraine.

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Yes, Russia’s Military Is Getting More Aggressive

But are Moscow's heavily armed fly-bys through European airspace a nuisance -- or a warning of things to come in 2015?

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What the Pentagon Can Learn From Carpenters

Ending a war is difficult, but harder still is the work of building peace. And soldiers shouldn't be doing it.

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A letter from a major fired by the Army

Number two in Best Defense's countdown of 2014's most popular articles.

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Islamic State Publishes Interview with Captured Jordanian Pilot

The Islamic State published a purported interview Monday with captured Jordanian pilot First Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh in the militant group’s monthly online English magazine, Dabiq.

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Chinese Web Users Vent Outrage at Gmail Block

As the country’s Great Firewall inches higher, some call for it to be razed.

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The South Will Rise Again

The moderate, secular Southern Front is gaining ground in the birthplace of Syria's revolution. But can it survive long enough to tip the balance against the Islamic State and Assad?

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Heroin, Guns, and Mobile Chips

The dangers and injustice of farming the no-man’s land between India and Pakistan.

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Taliban: U.S. Leaving Afghanistan in ‘Defeat’

The administration is ending America’s longest war just as the Taliban reconquer much of Afghanistan and continue their push towards Kabul.

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Cameroon Launches First Airstrikes Against Boko Haram

The militants made their name carrying out terror attacks in Nigeria, but are increasingly crossing into neighboring Cameroon to bring their jihad into another country as well.

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The Monster in the Sea

A trip to the Liberian border village of Jene-Wonde reveals the dangers in declaring victory over Ebola.

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In Hong Kong, Anger Waits in the Wings

A vocal minority of pro-democracy protesters are advocating what they call "forceful resistance" against authority.

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‘A Ground Invasion of the Capital Is Imminent’

All-out war is coming to Libya, as rebel militias and a government-in-hiding begin a battle for control of the country.

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Libyan Warplanes Hit Misurata

The air force, allied with Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni’s Tobruk-based government, launched up to three airstrikes in Libya’s third-largest city hitting an air base, the port, and a steel factory.

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Pushing for Regime Change in North Korea Is a Bad Idea

Why aggressively trying to topple the Kim regime could backfire -- badly.

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Longform’s Picks of the Week

The best stories from around the world.

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Little Bread, Lots of Circuses in Venezuela

As the country’s economy collapses around him, President Nicolás Maduro is building a staggeringly expensive monument to his mentor Hugo Chávez.

Apple Starts iPhone 6 Sales In Germany

A Bad Business Model Is Taking Over the World

Razor blades and iPhones are like addictive drugs. Here's why that's bad for your wallet and the economy.

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A Not-So-Happy Hanukkah for Israel’s Natural Gas Industry

Israel dreams of exporting billions of dollars of energy to neighbors and Europe, but the country's own regulators may prevent the country from selling much at all.

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How to Win Friends and Influence Putin

Repairing U.S.-Russia relations is possible. Too bad Washington keeps making them worse.

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The decay of the profession of arms

Number five in Best Defense's countdown of 2014's most popular posts.

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The Amazon Grinch and Germany’s Unhappy Elves

When an American online retailer brings its start-up style to unionized Central Europe, workers go on strike.

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The Islamic State Captures Jordanian Pilot After F-16 Crash

The extremists have a Jordanian pilot in their clutches after his plane crashed, although the group claims it shot down the jet. The pilot's fate now rests in the hands of the group.

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North Korea: The Assassination Nation

Why is Pyongyang really so afraid of The Interview?

Liberian President Sirleaf And USAID Administrator Shah Hold Press Conference

Pushing Ebola to the Brink of Gone in Liberia

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is fighting a grueling battle against the epidemic. But she's not winning plaudits at home.

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Netflix’s ‘Marco Polo’ Is Cross-Cultural Clunker

Chinese and Mongolian viewers feel the way Egyptians might while watching 'The Mummy.'

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Sri Lanka’s Electoral Dysfunction

Why the island nation’s upcoming election could be a choice between two oppressors.

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Fracking in New York, Feeling the Tremors in Europe

How the Empire State’s new ban on horizontal drilling could send shockwaves around the world.

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Did you jog at Camp Victory?

Number six in Best Defense's countdown of 2014's most popular posts.

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Could Egypt’s Opposition Learn to Get Along?

The Mubarak verdict and Sisi's crackdown have put the Muslim Brotherhood and the revolutionaries back on the same side. But that won't be enough to heal old wounds.

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Islamic State Claims it Shot Down Coalition Warplane

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a plane was downed near Raqqa, and the Jordanian military confirmed that one of its warplanes crashed in northern Syria, and that the pilot was captured.

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The U.S.-Led Push to Bankrupt the Islamic State Isn’t Working

Washington and its allies know they won't beat the militants until they can stop the terrorist group from raking in cash. The problem is that they don’t know how to do it.

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What China Searched for in 2014

Haze, tiger fighting, and the IP address 65.49.2.178 -- here's what captivated the world's most populous nation.

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Soft Power Outage

The revelations about the United States' brutal torture program have damaged the country's best asset abroad.

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Can Obama’s One-Sided Cuba Deal Be Salvaged?

The White House misplayed its strong hand, but negotiations are just getting started. Here's what Washington should be asking for.

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It’s a Black Christmas for the Christians of the Middle East

As 2014 draws to a close, ancient communities of faith confront the destruction of their world.

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The Islamic State’s Irregulars

What should we do with lone-wolf attackers who are mentally unstable or deranged? Are they terrorists, too?

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No One Expects the Bush Administration!

Torquemada Cheney does the Sunday talk shows.

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Why 2015 Will Be ‘The Year of Never Again’ … Again

In Nigeria and Pakistan, unforgivable attacks on schoolchildren have made the world rise up in anger. Unfortunately, that's all it did.

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Is Saudi Arabia Trying to Cripple American Fracking?

Well, it's said as much, but the real reason for the flood of new Saudi oil is more complicated.

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Syria Approves Medical Deliveries to Aleppo and Two Other Areas

The government will allow deliveries into Aleppo, as early as next week, as well as the besieged Damascus neighborhood of Mouadamiya and suburb of Eastern Ghouta.

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The Lighthouse Dims

Alexandria, once the pulsing cosmopolitan heart of the Arab World, is now the base for Egypt’s Salafists, a hardline Islamist movement that has tied its fortunes to the country’s autocratic new president.

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Exclusive: Obama’s Point Man for Closing Guantanamo to Step Down

The departure comes amid the Obama administration’s renewed push to try and close the controversial facility after a lengthy series of delays and false starts.

Israeli Troops Showcase Rapid Launch Surveillance Drone

Festival of Drones

The IDF just tweeted out a really strange Hanukkah photo of a soldier carrying a drone with one hand and lighting a menorah with the other.

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Congress Gives Pakistan 300 Million New Reasons to Fight Terror

Islamabad swears it's committed to the anti-terrorism fight, but U.S. lawmakers want to see more proof before they sign over $300 million in new aid.

President Obama Holds End-Of-Year News Conference At The White House

Obama Is Wrong: The Sony Hack Is Not ‘Cybervandalism’

Why the United States needs a broad, new strategy to prepare for -- and defend against -- the next generation of online warfare.

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A Christmas Pardon

How Obama can solve all his torture report problems in one fell swoop.

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Kim Jong Un Could Use a Handshake, Too

It’s time for Obama to apply the lessons of the Cuba rapprochement to North Korea.

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Now the Hard Work Begins

The rapprochement with Cuba is a welcome moment, but the true test is yet to come.

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Sorry, But North Korea Isn’t a State Sponsor of Terrorism

And the State Department’s old list of bad guys needs a makeover.

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CrossFit: An update

Guest columnist Jim Gourley responds to a letter alleging an inaccuracy in his post on CrossFit and the U.S. military.

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Weirdness aboard the USS Cowpens

The first in Best Defense's countdown of 2014's most popular posts.

TUNISIA-VOTE

Essebsi Claims Victory in Tunisia’s Presidential Election

Exit polls show Essebsi, former parliament speaker under ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, with around 55 percent of the vote.

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A Small Measure of Progress

The Taliban attack in Peshawar last week obscures the fact that Pakistan's military has been making progress against the country's militants.

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Black Gold and Black Swans

Market fundamentals point to a continued slide in oil prices. But the deck is stacked with jokers, and they're mostly wild.

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Last Minute Gift Guide for Wonks, 2014 Edition

FP’s shopping suggestions for the politically passionate and internationally inclined.

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90 Miles to the North

How Miami’s Cuban hardliners lost their way.

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When All Else Fails, Hack Hollywood

Kim Jong Un isn’t afraid of Seth Rogen and James Franco. He’s afraid of the world focusing its attention on his regime’s true crimes.

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How to Make a Skyscraper Invisible

How did the city that gave the world the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Pyramid become so afraid of bold construction?

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Kerry Tells European Envoys U.N. Action on Palestine Can Wait till Israeli Election

Top U.S. diplomat warns E.U. ambassadors that Security Council action on Palestine will embolden Israeli hardliners

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ISIS Is Sisi Spelled Backwards

It’s time to resist the tyranny of false dichotomies in the Middle East.

Day 1: 9th World Islamic Economic Forum, Arrival Of Leaders

Changing Pakistan’s Militancy Narrative

Belittling militant attacks as routine and blaming outside parties needs to stop.

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Insecurity Is Destroying Kenya’s Economy

But instead of combating the rise in violence, politicians in Nairobi are talking loud and saying nothing.

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A Morass of Its Own Making: Pakistan’s Destructive Taliban Policy

Will there be a new resolve in Pakistan to fight militancy and radicalism? No guarantees.

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Agent at Center of Spy Swap Was Cuban Crypto Expert

Rolando Sarraff Trujillo helped bring down some of Havana's best spies in the United States.

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The Liberal Fallacy of the Cuba Deal

Don’t get me wrong: I support the normalization of relations. But believing it can remake the regime in Havana is the worst kind of American exceptionalist fantasy.

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Turkey’s Inside Man

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is hunting down his Gulenist opponents in the media, and one high-profile turncoat may be his secret weapon.

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Opening Cuba and Closing Gitmo?

Havana will be pushing hard to shut the naval station at Guantanamo Bay -- but Washington shouldn’t give in.

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A Wake-Up Call for Pakistan’s Leaders

The murder of schoolchildren demands action on Pakistan's counterterrorism policy.

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What’s on Yoda’s reading list?

The books behind the long Pentagon career of Andrew Marshall.

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McCain’s new cyber subcommittee

Word on the Hill is that Sen. John McCain plans to add a new cyber subcommittee to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

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Fantasy Island

American firms can’t wait to get back into Cuba, but Havana isn’t likely to open the floodgates for U.S. products any time soon.

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Kurdish Forces Break Sinjar Siege and U.S. Strikes Kill Islamic State Commanders

Supported by U.S. airstrikes, Kurdish forces carried out a two-pronged attack in part of an offensive launched on Wednesday and managed to open a corridor for people to escape.

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Number 2 at CIA Moves to White House

Avril Haines will succeed Tony Blinken, who is leaving the post to serve as deputy secretary of state.

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Famous Chinese Sex Scholar Announces Relationship with Transgender Man

A swell of netizen support greeted the couple in a country of rapidly changing mores.

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U.S. Iraq Strategy Missing Key Allies As More Troops Set to Deploy

The Pentagon needs Sunni tribes and Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State. But they're not ready even as more American troops prepare to arrive in Iraq.

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The Palestinians Decide to Roll the Dice at the United Nations

A new Palestinian resolution setting a timeline for an Israeli withdrawal risks a serious rupture with the United States.

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After Sentencing for ‘Separatism,’ Finding the Humans Behind the Bars

Digital traces remain that shed light on who Ilham Tohti's students really were.

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Break Out the Cigars!

What do evangelical Christians, the rice lobby, and Cuba’s tanking economy have in common? They all just got what they wanted.

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Baby Steps for AfPak Relations

Ghani has a clear vision for AfPak relations but genuine peace building deserves cautious optimism.

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Cuba’s Christmas Surprise for Caracas

Havana’s sudden embrace of ties with the U.S. has caught Venezuela off guard. Will President Nicolas Maduro pay the price?

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Does China Think the Sino-British Joint Declaration Is Void?

Recent statements suggest China pays little heed to the document governing Hong Kong's handover.

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Rewriting Syria’s War

An influential, unpublished report looks to radically revise notions of how to achieve peace in this war-torn country.

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After Cuba Comes Iran

Does the "new chapter" with Havana mean Tehran (and a nuke deal) will be the next stop on President Obama’s legacy tour?

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Shadows in a Silver Cloud

Everyone’s congratulating Tunisia’s new democracy. So why are young people tuning out?

United Nations Hosts World Leaders For Annual General Assembly

The Security Council Intifada

The Palestinians have brought their fight against occupation to the United Nations. Is the United States too boxed in to stop them?

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The problem, Gen. Dubik (2), is that we don’t understand what we are getting into

A nation shouldn't expect a World War II­-level victory unless it is willing to put forth a World War II-­level effort -- and pay a World War II-level price.

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Regaining the moral high ground: Time to think about ‘Just Intelligence’ doctrine

The study of ethics in war has a deep history. Could its lessons be applied to intelligence activities?

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Is patriarchal sexism alive and well in the military? Where do you think bears poop?

Sexism in the U.S. military is perpetuated by officials who refuse to recognize its existence.

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Minesweeper: Afghanistan’s Untapped Potential

Afghanistan is rich with natural resources but fully realizing the potential comes with costs and benefits.

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Jordan Submits Palestinian Draft Resolution to U.N. Security Council

The draft calls for a negotiated peace agreement based on parameters such as the 1967 borders, security agreements, and Jerusalem as the shared capital.

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The Mysterious Cuban Spy at the Center of Obama’s Havana Rapprochement

The normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba was sealed with an old-fashioned spy swap, and the man in the center of it is credited with rolling up Havana's best American networks.

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A New Dawn in Cuba

It took 53 years, but this was worth waiting for.

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Where the Executioners Sue Their Victims

Will the Burmese army ever face justice for its past war crimes?

A Pakistani christian girl lights candles for the victims of an attack by Taliban gunmen on an army-run school in Peshawar, in Karachi on December 17, 2014. Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif and Afghanistan president Ashraf Ghani vowed to fight "terrorism and extremism" together, a day after Taliban militants killed 148 people at a Pakistani school. AFP PHOTO / Asif HASSAN        (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A Desperate Act by Pakistan’s Taliban

The Pakistani Taliban's attack on a school in Peshawar is not a sign of their strength, but rather of their weakness.

Daily Life In Pyongyang

Should We Really Assume That North Korea Was Behind the Sony Attack?

Pyongyang is the most likely culprit, but that doesn't mean it's responsible.

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Freedom of the Press for Beginners

Why some Turkish journalists have been celebrating the arrest of their colleagues -- and why that’s a huge mistake.

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The Climate Wars Are Already Here

In the Niger River Basin, climate change, an exploding population, and paltry infrastructure have formed a perfect storm for a new era of conflict.

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Baby Steps, Amigos

Why the economic ramifications of the U.S.-Cuba diplomatic deal are smaller than meets the eye.

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The Death Throes of the Pakistani Taliban

Why the brutal attacks in Peshawar have already backfired against the TTP.

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When It Comes to Foreign Policy, Is Jeb Bush His Brother’s Keeper?

Jeb Bush wants to get into the GOP presidential race. But on foreign-policy matters, he'll have to escape his brother's long shadow.

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In the Afterglow of the London Conference

Where does Afghanistan stand after the London Donors Conference? Richard Ponzio, a former coordinator of the U.S. Government’s New Silk Road initiative, explains.

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Marine colonel: Drop the Cuba embargo

A Best Defense re-run on the Obama administration's Cuba policy.

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Surprise Deal to Free American Subcontractor Heralds New Age in U.S.-Cuba Relationship

The surprise deal to free American subcontractor Alan Gross heralds a new age in the U.S.-Cuba relationship.

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Five International Whodunits ‘Serial’ Should Tackle in Its Next Season

The mysterious death of Yasser Arafat, the purge of Lin Biao, and three other mysteries for the world's favorite radio sleuths to investigate.

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The Unmasking of an Islamic State Twitter Troll

What Shami Witness tells us about the potency of the Syrian jihad’s message around the world -- and online.

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Two Car Bombs Kill 25 People in Yemen

Among the dead included at least 15 students, reportedly young girls, who were traveling in a school bus as the first bomb exploded near a checkpoint run by Houthi rebels.

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USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah to Step Down

One of the Obama administration’s most charismatic and well-liked bureaucrats is leaving his job next month.

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Soldiers for Ignorance

Why the Taliban can’t win in its fight against the future -- and other bad omens for 2015.

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Europe’s New Problem With Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism isn't just a problem for Europe's Jews. It's a problem for Europe.

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Has Support for Colombia’s Peace Talks Finally Failed?

After years of negotiations, have the Colombian people lost faith in making peace with the FARC?

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Half-Baked Justice

Have you ever employed enhanced interrogation techniques…on weed?

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Making Putin Blink

With Russia's economy in free-fall, will new sanctions finally force Moscow's hand?

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The Pakistani Taliban’s War on Education, by the Numbers

The Pakistani Taliban's ruthless attacks on schools, teachers, and activists have disrupted the education of hundreds of thousands of Pakistani children.

Guantanamo Military Prison Stays Open As Future Status Remains Uncertain

Doctors Without Scruples

Why did the medical professionals of the CIA torture program betray their oath to heal, and concoct a brutal, methodical project to break men’s bodies and spirits?

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A Signal or Noise? The Afghan Taliban’s Interest in Peace

Did Mullah Mohammed Omar just make an overture for peace? And is it a signal -- an indication of true intentions -- or just noise -- activity to gain attention?

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Afghanistan Watchdog Pushes Pentagon on Lavish Spending

A top U.S. watchdog is raising new questions about the Pentagon's $700 million effort to boost Afghanistan's economy.

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Let’s Stick It to Cuba (and Make the Next Summit of the Americas Interesting)

Latin America has insisted on giving Cuba a seat at the table. The country's dissidents should get one too.

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Red Train Rising

China's international rail expansion is booming. But not everything is chugging along smoothly.

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When Is a Blowout Not a Blowout?

Why the Japanese prime minister’s big election victory only affords him a short honeymoon.

Texas Attorney General And Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Abbott Attends Election Night Election Rally

Obama Can Thank Ted Cruz for Helping Him Fill Key Posts

The Texas Republican’s grandstanding allowed Harry Reid to push a wave of White House appointees through the Senate.

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Rebel Fighters Seize Two Syrian Army Bases in Idlib Province

Al-Nusra Front fighters and allied rebel factions have seized two Syrian army bases in the northern Idlib province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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Kazakhstan Eyes Prestige in Afghanistan’s Uncertain Future

From development aid to drug trafficking, the Central Asian country wants to up its game in Afghanistan. But it might be biting off more than it can chew.

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Can Israel Solve Europe’s Energy Woes?

New natural gas finds in the eastern Mediterranean are fueling dreams that Israel can provide Brussels an energy alternative to Russia. Good luck with that.

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All John Kerry Wants for Christmas Is an Israel Without Bibi

But if the United States plays politics in Israel’s spring election, it’s possible no one will get what they want next year.

Zhou Yongkang Falls In China Corruption Purge

China’s First Great Tiger Hunt

What Chairman Mao's takedown of the "King of the Northeast" tells us about Xi Jinping's purges.

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U.S. Ambassador to Israel Gets an Early Hanukkah Gift: an Iron Dome Menorah

A pretty spot-on metaphor for the American-Israeli relationship: U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro holding a menorah in the shape of the Iron Dome missile system.

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In Libya, They Come After You on Facebook

How the yearning for security is trumping the dream of democracy.

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Asia’s Pivot to Asia

America isn't the only one looking to reshuffle alliances.

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How to Save South Sudan

The United Nations has risked much to bring an end to South Sudan's conflict. Now it's up to the South Sudanese.

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North Korean Defectors Are Really Excited About ‘The Interview’

The fictionalized assassination of Kim Jong Un has some North Korean defectors dreaming of regime change.

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Global Thinkers 2015 Issue Cover