soviet union

Workers spray contaminated houses within the “no-go” cordon around Chernobyl (Igor Kostin/Sygma via Getty Images)

Meltdown at Chernobyl

On the podcast: A journalist reconstructs the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

Egyptian army commandos go through a hand-to-hand combat drill at their camp somewhere in the Saudi desert on Nov. 27, 1990. (MIKE SARGENT/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Has Wasted Billions of Dollars on Failed Arab Armies

Military cooperation with Middle East allies can work—if Washington rethinks its premises.

Vladimir Putin poses for a photo with the Kremlin-friendly rapper, Timati, during a meeting with his campaign activists in Moscow, on March 5, 2012.

Putin’s Public Enemy

The Kremlin is going after Russian rappers, but the government can't control a culture it doesn't understand.

A member of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces takes down a tattered Islamic State flag in Tabqa, Syria, in April 2017. (Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images)

The New Face of Terrorism in 2019

Forget the Middle East—it’s time to prepare for attacks from the former Soviet Union.

U.S. President George H.W. Bush in the White House on Sept. 27, 1991 (Luke Frazza/AFP/Getty Images)

 George H.W. Bush’s Misunderstood Presidency

The late 41st U.S. president’s prudence was once derided as the wimp factor, but it has aged well.

A convoy of Russian troops makes its way through the mountains in the village of Dzhaba on August 9, 2008 as Georgian troops battled with Russian forces over breakaway provinces.

Ethnic Nationalism Gave Georgia Freedom. Now It Needs Civic Nationalism to Survive.

The Caucasus is a complex ethnic and religious patchwork, and only a shared identity can help Georgians push back against Putin.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan shaking hands with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at the Kremlin Place prior to their last summit meeting on June 1, 1988.

What Would Reagan Do on Iran?

If Washington wants to pressure Tehran, the White House should stop alienating allies, empowering hard-liners, and harming regular Iranians.

British Prime Minister Theresa May looks back as she and other leaders depart at a summit of leaders of the European Union on September 20, 2018 in Salzburg, Austria.

Theresa May’s Government Is Steering Britain Toward an Iceberg

The Conservative Party's negotiating strategy is premised on telling the EU one thing and British voters another. Doublespeak won't deliver a deal; it will lead to economic and political disaster.

Joan Wong illustration for Foreign Policy; David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images/Dirck Halstead/Liaison via Getty Images/AFP/Getty Images/Corbis via Getty Images

Thank You, Jimmy Carter

Restoring the reputation of America’s most underrated foreign-policy president.

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C. in December 1987. (AFP/Getty Images)

When Ronnie Met Mikhail​

On our podcast: As Trump sits down with Putin, we look back at a summit in Reykjavik that helped end the Cold War.

A woman is locked up in a transparent suitcase reading "Stop Human Trafficking! 60 Years of Human Rights" on a luggage belt at the airport in Munich, Germany, on December 11, 2008. The Human Rights organization Amnesty International staged the action to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Putin Doesn’t Care about Sex Trafficking

Russia could have done something to prevent sexual exploitation of foreign women during the World Cup. It chose not to.

U.S. President Gerald Ford (L) speaks with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev (R) during the European Summit focused on Security and Cooperation on August 7, 1975 in Helsinki.

Once Upon a Time, Helsinki Meant Human Rights

Trump’s summit with Putin risks tarnishing a legacy of Republican moral leadership.

China's Chairman Mao Zedong met U.S. President Richard Nixon in Beijing on Feb. 21, 1972.

Some Summits Soar, Some Plunge

Nixon and Reagan managed to negotiate with Mao and Gorbachev because they had personal chemistry, common goals, and control of their domestic politics.

People celebrate Armenian prime minister Serzh Sarkisian's resignation in downtown Yerevan on April 23, 2018. (VANO SHLAMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Sometimes Armenian Protests Are Just Armenian Protests

Not every post-Soviet revolution is about the geopolitics of Russia.

A man looks at a caricature depicting Russian Premier Vladimir Putin as Leonid Brezhnev on his computer screen in Moscow on Oct. 5, 2011. 
 (Alexander Nemenova/AFP/Getty Images)

Putin Isn’t a Genius. He’s Leonid Brezhnev.

Why Russia’s strongman economy can’t reform.

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks at a map in his country at his residence of Novo-Ogaryevo outside Moscow, on Aug. 11, 2006. (Dmitry Astakhov)

Russia’s Clash With the West Is About Geography, Not Ideology

The Marshall Plan recognized the limits of U.S. power in Europe. To be successful, so must diplomacy with Moscow today.

A U.S. Air Force 'Reaper' drone passes a C-130 cargo plane at an airbase in the Persian Gulf on Jan. 7, 2016. (John Moore/Getty Images)

America’s Military Is Choking on Old Technology

As its rivals invest in new military hardware, Washington is stuck refurbishing obsolete equipment.

German soldiers beside a tank during World War II (German Federal Archives via Wikimedia Commons).

WWII query: Why did France surrender so quickly while Russia held out for years?

After eight years at Foreign Policy, here are the ten most popular Best Defense posts.

The nuclear football. (Wikimedia Commons)

It Is High Time to Do Away With the President’s Nuclear ‘Football’

The recent Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on nuclear weapons introduced some unsettling possibilities.

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 17, 2015. (Sergei Ilnitsky/AFP/Getty Images)

Vladimir Putin Isn’t as Russian as He Seems

The Russian president cloaks himself in nationalism, but that’s not where his heart is.

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