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The Art of Foreign Policy

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Power lunch: Photographer Renee Comet and food stylist Lisa Cherkasky created our most memorable cover of the year for the May/June food issue. The "corn rocket" was a perfect metaphor for how stressed food supplies and soaring prices are fast becoming a vital global security issue.

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Return of the domino: Aaron Goodman's evocative Indiana Jones-esque photoillustration perfectly set up Stephen M. Walt's exploration of where bad policy ideas -- from the Domino Theory to preemptive war -- come from, and why they keep coming back.

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Crack in the wall:  Guy Billout illustrates an endless -- but crumbling -- wall of banks for Paul Seabright's piece, "The Imaginot Line," which asks why governments continue to put their faith in central banks to protect them from recession.

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You think I'm funny? Just weeks before the fall of Hosni Mubarak's regime, Issandr el Amrani wrote about the long tradition of Egyptian political humor as a way for citizens to cope with life under the absurdities of authoritarianism. In a graphic designed by Julie Teninbaum, you can almost imagine Mubarak laughing his way into his own jail cell.

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Hegemickey:  This terrifying image created by Stephen Savage accompanied Charles Kenny's broadside against the Walt Disney Corporation's exploitative copyright practices.

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Like father, like son: Andrea Ventura painted this original portrait of Teodorin Nguema Obiang Mangue and his father, the longtime dictator of Equatorial Guinea, to accompany journalist Ken Silverstein's investigation of the Obiang family's corruption and young Teodorin's lavish American lifestyle.

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The general and his legal pad: Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, provided FP with his sketch he jotted down on a flight from Mosul to Baghdad in 2003, outlining his vision for how to transform the U.S. military engagement in Iraq. In his article for FP, 8 years later, McChrystal argues that the U.S. must adopt the networked tactics of the Taliban to defeat it.

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I've got a secret: To accompany a package of articles by five prominent scholars on the history of secrecy, written in the wake of the WikiLeaks State Department cable dump, we ran this eerie photoillustration with lettering by James Victoire that puts the revelations unveiled by Julian Assange in the context of state secrets of the past -- both explosive and mundane.

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Iron ladies: Stephen Kroninger's unforgettable illustration of some of this year's most prominent female hawks accompanied Joshua E. Keating's survey of recent political science research showing that female heads of state are actually more likely to engage in warlike behavior than their male counterparts.

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Stars and stripes: This mash-up of the flags of the United States and Israel created by Joe Zeff drove home Amb. Michael Oren's argument that U.S. and Israeli security interests are more intertwined than ever.

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Here's the beef: Renee Comet and Lisa Cherasky got their hands dirty with this illustration for Lester Brown's "The New Geopolitics of Food," illustrating the increasing demand for meat in the growing global middle class.

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The power of pork: Michael Witte's unforgettable illustration accompanied an item of China's "strategic pork reserve" from Joshua E. Keating's global round-up, "How food explains the world."

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The colonel's last charge: The image Witte crafted for Keating's write-up from the same piece, this time on Egyptian state media's accusation that the Tahrir Square protesters had been off with buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, referenced one of the iconic images of the Egyptian revolution.

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We've come a long way, baby: FP went sci-fi with Aaron Goodman's cover for our Sept/Oct "future" issue, which featured forward-looking contributions from Robert D. Kaplan, Mohamed El-Erian, Ayesha and Parag Khanna and more.

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General Tso meets his match: Colonel Sanders made his second appearance in the pages of FP this year thanks to Tomasz Walenta's illustrations of Dustin Roasa's list of the surprising companies that have made it big in Asia. In addition to KFC, Playboy, Krispy Kreme, and Pabst Blue Ribbon have all gone upscale out east.

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We come with croissants: State Department veteran Peter van Buren made a splash this year with his exposé of some of the wasteful and often absurd projects that Uncle Sam had lavished money on in Iraq. One of the most egregious was a nearly $10,000 program to teach Iraqi women the fine art of making French pastries. This watershed moment in the history of public diplomacy was brought memorably to life by illustrator Ward Sutton.

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Decline and gobble: What ails America? According to Dutch writer Ian Buruma, it's the "illusion of omnipotence." And rendered by Javier Jaen Benavides, the future Thanksgiving dinner shown above certainly seems to have a healthy self-image.

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Operation Dumbo GOP: Matt Dorfman's blind elephant is the perfect accompaniment to James Traub's withering assessment of the know-nothing foreign-policy ideas espoused by the 2012 Republican field.

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House of cards: Hanoch Piven's illustration conveys both the critical importance, and precarious position, of central bankers Ben Bernanke, Jean-Claude Trichet, and Zhou Xiaochuan, who share the No. 10 spot on our 2011 Global Thinkers list.

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Tout va bien:  Jason Seiler captured the triumphalism of France's President Nicolas Sarkozy (#21 on the Global Thinkers list) and its most famous philosopher, Bernard-Henri Levy (#22) following the fall of Muammar al-Qaddafi's regime. It was also eerily prescient in anticipating how the Libyan leader would soon meet his end.

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Rage against the reactor: Victo Ngai conveyed the anger and authority of Japanese activist Mizuho Fukushima and Yuichi Kaido (#29), who had been warning the Japanese public about the dangers of nuclear power long before this year's catastrophe.

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Tiger style: Amy Chua (#35) made a splash this year well beyond the normal audience for parenting memoirs with her account of raising her two American daughters in the strict style she learned from her Chinese parents. As Joe Ciardiello's illustration indicates, this involved an awful lot of violin practice.

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A pirate's life for me: Quickhoney's 8-bit portrait did justice to digital rebel Rick Falkvinge (#98), founder of the Swedish Pirate Party and anti-copyright activist. 

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