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November 11, 2009

Photo from Flikr Creative Commons, User Leafar
Photo from Flikr Creative Commons, User Leafar

The Big Freak Out

The downfall of the brains behind the Freakonomics phenomenon.

ALEXA STANKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images
ALEXA STANKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images

No One Left to Blame

Why Radovan Karadzic's trial won't heal Bosnia's divisions.

Missing in Monterrey

How big egos and small arms can tip the balance in the war on global poverty.

Endangered Humans

How global land conservation efforts are creating a growing class of invisible refugees.

Dear Dubya

FP asks one of America's most seasoned former diplomats to rate Bush's foreign policy.

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577094_091111_BTL_130_15.jpg

Reforming Russia’s Tycoons

Something happened on the way to the fire sale of Russia's vast natural resources. In the wake of the Soviet collapse, new Russian conglomerates -- not bigger, more experienced Western firms -- unexpectedly came out on top. Now Russia's young captains of industry are poised to expand their global reach. But their success depends on how quickly they can abandon the shady business practices on which their empires were built.

The New Diaspora

New links between émigrés and their home countries can become a powerful force for economic development.

Recycling Environmentalism

Two decades of talk and treaties have not stemmed environmental degradation.

The Eagle Has Crash Landed

Pax Americana is over. Challenges from Vietnam and the Balkans to the Middle East and September 11 have revealed the limits of American supremacy. Will the United States learn to fade quietly, or will U.S. conservatives resist and thereby transform a gradual decline into a rapid and dangerous fall?

Business Versus Terror

America's best weapons in the war on terrorism will not be found in some musty Pentagon basement or arms manufacturer's warehouse. Rather, they will be found in the briefcases of corporate CEOs and venture capitalists and the cubicles of high-tech start-ups. These nimble private-sector players can deploy innovative technologies and unlimited financing to fortify U.S. cities, battle cyberthreats, track the movements of terrorists, and disarm biological weapons -- if only Washington has sense enough to let them.

Japan’s Gross National Cool

Japan is reinventing superpower -- again. Instead of collapsing beneath its widely reported political and economic misfortunes, Japan's global cultural influence has quietly grown. From pop music to consumer electronics, architecture to fashion, and animation to cuisine, Japan looks more like a cultural superpower today than it did in the 1980s, when it was an economic one. But can Japan build on its mastery of medium to project an equally powerful national message?

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577125_091111_OpenforBiz5.jpg

The World’s Right to Know

During the last decade, 26 countries have enacted new legislation giving their citizens access to government information. Why? Because the concept of freedom of information is evolving from a moral indictment of secrecy to a tool for market regulation, more efficient government, and economic and technological growth.

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577131_091111_AidOldies5.jpg

The Aid Cartel’s Golden Oldies

Many of the "new" themes that the international aid agencies emphasize today have actually been around for several decades.

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577135_091111_payingain5.jpg

The Cartel of Good Intentions

The world's richest governments have pledged to boost financial aid to the developing world. So why won't poor nations reap the benefits? Because in the way stands a bloated, unaccountable foreign aid bureaucracy out of touch with sound economics. The solution: Subject the foreign assistance business to the forces of market competition.

SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images

No Good Choices

You might think Afghanistan's fate lies in U.S. President Barack Obama's forthcoming strategic decision on troop levels. But the picture is bleak, no matter what.

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577141_091111_PN_130_15.jpg

Think Again: Tobacco

For tobacco control advocates, the tobacco industry is public health enemy number one: It sells a commodity that will kill 500 million of the 6 billion people living today. For governments, tobacco is both a health threat and a powerful economic force that annually generates hundreds of billions of dollars in sales and billions more in tax revenues. That clash of interests fuels a debate ensnarling everything from farm subsidies and export controls to healthcare spending, taxation, law enforcement, and free speech.

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577144_gansu12.jpg

Mean and Green

How China uses the environment as an excuse to transplant minority groups. 

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577150_091111_PN_131_15.jpg

Prime Numbers: Hostage, Inc.

FP examines the spreading hostage crisis.

Win McNamee/GETTY IMAGES
Win McNamee/GETTY IMAGES

Pacific Angst

As Obama heads to Asia,some worry that American influence in the region is diminishing -- but most nations still prefer the United States as a strategic ally over rival neighbors.

Think Again: Yasir Arafat

In 1974, Yasir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), declared before the United Nations that he came "bearing an olive branch and a freedom-fighter's gun." Nearly 20 years later, the world still does not know if Arafat is a statesman dedicated to peaceful coexistence with Israel or a resistance leader dedicated to armed struggle. As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict enters a tenuous new phase of peace negotiations, understanding Arafat's true motives will be essential to fostering a lasting agreement.

Five More Cuts

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's decision in May to eliminate the U.S. Army's Crusader artillery system could free up $9 billion in defense dollars. Here, defense analyst Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution suggests a few more areas where cuts make sense:

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