FP’s Best Covers of 2012

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Once Upon a Time in Tehran: Photos of a swinging Iran when the skirts were short, the dance was the twist, and America wasn't Enemy No. 1.


Observing the Observers: The Arab League's monitoring mission in Syria has been a miserable failure, and no international white knight is waiting in the wings. Syrians are on their own. By Amal Hanano


My Mesopotamian Getaway: Fishing with handguns and touring ancient ruins in post-American Iraq. By Emma Sky


I Watched North Korea's Propaganda Film So You Don't Have To: New footage from North Korean state TV offers a rare glimpse at the (not necessarily real) life of Kim Jong Un. By Adam Cathcart


Fly Me to the Moon: The Republican establishment would probably prefer that Newt Gingrich spend less time talking about lunar mining and space hotels. But the former House speaker may be the only true free-marketer in outer space. By Charles Homans


Finish Him: Without international intervention, there's a good chance that Syria's dictator, Bashar al-Assad, could still rule for years. By Daniel Byman


Supreme Loser: Why Iran's ayatollah-in-chief always gets it wrong. By Ali Vaez


We're All State Capitalists Now: The debate about whether America or China will ultimately triumph is a red herring that distracts us from the real contest of our time. By Niall Ferguson


Bull in the China Shop: The Obama administration is welcoming China's presumptive next leader, Xi Jinping. But how can it make good policy when the strategy is a mess? By Daniel Blumenthal


The Ritz-Carlton of Failed States: Welcome to the Serena Hotels, outposts of multi-star luxury in countries with zero-star conditions. By Michael Z. Wise


The Body Counter: Meet Patrick Ball, a statistician who's spent his life lifting the fog of war. By Tina Rosenberg


The Return of the King: Why Europe needs another Napoleon. By James Poulos


Six International Newspaper Columnists Who Actually Like Mitt Romney: The Republican candidate has boosters in unlikely places -- from Canada to the Congo. By Uri Friedman


Sea Change: Haunting family photos pulled from the wreckage of Japan's tsunami.


Shalom, Beijing: Israel and China just celebrated 20 years of friendship. But will this new special relationship come to the breaking point over Tehran? By Oren Kessler


Keep Calm and Carry On: The Arab world needs our help; it just doesn't know how to ask nicely.


The Loneliest Superpower: How did China end up with only rogue states as its real friends? By Minxin Pei


Combat Camera: The year's best military photography.


Escape Artist: Former North Korean propaganda painter Song Byeok explores the surreal world of Kim Jong Il on canvas.


The Revenge of Wen Jiabao: The ouster of Chongqing boss Bo Xilai was 30 years in the making -- a long, sordid tale of elite families and factions vying for the soul of the Chinese Communist Party. By John Garnaut


Once Upon a Time in Kuwait: Pictures from a time before oil was king.


Welcome to Shura City: Religious and ethnic conflicts have left the Taliban's headquarters-in-exile battered and bleeding. By Farah Jan


Could North Korea Have Struck It Rich?: Kim Jong Il promised that in 2012, North Koreans would witness a new dawn of prosperity. Here's how it could have been done. By Stephan Haggard


Night Vision: Former Peace Corps volunteer Peter DiCampo captures "Life Without Lights."


Why Do They Hate Us?: The real war on women is in the Middle East. By Mona ElTahawy


Citizen Chen: How a Chinese legal activist became an icon of freedom. By Isaac Stone Fish


Putin Forever: He's the president of Russia. He's a race-car driver. He's a blackbelt in judo. He's Vladimir Putin.


The Last RINO: To the modern Republican Party, Richard Lugar was already a dead man walking. He just didn't realize it. By Jacob Heilbrunn


Guarding Route Jeep: Haunting photos of the young Afghan recruits charged with guarding one of the country's -- and the Taliban's -- crucial supply routes. By Suchitra Vijayan


The 10 TED Talks They Should Have Censored: Some ideas aren't worth spreading. By Joshua E. Keating


Sonnets for the Mujahideen: The militant movement has a little-examined sensitive side.


The Good Felool: If Amr Moussa wins Egypt's presidential election, is the revolution over? By David Kenner


Power Ballad: What happens when you mix a trashy Europop spectacle with an oil-soaked Caspian dictator? By Haley Sweetland Edwards


Me Against the World: In a Foreign Policy exclusive, American jihadist (and rapper) Omar Hammami sends word about al Shabaab's bloody leadership wars and how he became a target. By J.M. Berger


Diamonds Are a Queen's Best Friend: The sun may have set on the British Empire, but the royals still throw a hell of a party.


The Ayatollah Is No Joke: What's behind Iran's cartoon crackdown? By Roland Elliott Brown


Postcards from Hell, 2012: What does living in a failed state look like? A tour through the world's 60 most fragile countries.


Red Moon Rising: Could China's lunar ambitions scramble politics here on Earth? By John Hickman


EuroFail: How many summits does it take to NOT solve the eurocrisis? By Uri Friedman and Hillary Hurd


British r Coming. Pls RT!: What if Twitter had been around during the American Revolution?


Flying Under the Influence: I've had it up to my synthetic aperture radar with the lawsuits and the criticism. This is why I drink and drone. By @drunkenpredator


Money Pit on the Potomac: Why is the Pentagon spending billions on breast cancer research? By John Norris


Making Punk a Threat Again: Is Russia's Pussy Riot already the most politically influential punk rock group ever? By Spencer Ackerman


Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor French Millionaires: So France's new Socialist president wants to soak the rich? My message to French job-creators fleeing the nouveau régime: Mississippi welcomes you. By Haley Barbour


King Boris: Could Boris Johnson, the ridiculous yet charming mayor of London, really go on to lead Britain? By Alex Massie


Leftist Planet: Why do so many travel guides make excuses for dictators? By Michael Moynihan


Skateboarding in Kabul: Half-pipes and headscarves in the Hindu Kush.


Hijacked: How the U.N. saved the Somali pirates from the brink of extinction. By Robert Young Pelton


The Seven Deadly Sins of John Brennan: What Obama's high priest of targeted killings doesn't want you to know. By Micah Zenko


Worst. Prize. Ever.: Has the Nobel become a parody of itself? By Alex Massie


The True Spy Story Behind Argo: The internal CIA account of how the Iran rescue really went down. By Nate Jones


Clicking This Will Make You Stupider: The 10 worst foreign policy campaign ads of 2012. By Uri Fredman and Ty McCormick


The World Is Not Enough: Why does the planet's No. 1 spy never go to the really dangerous places? By Frank Jacobs


China's Copycat Cities: The People's Republic is building life-size European villages, but not for the reasons you think. By Jack Carlson

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