Special projects

STRALSUND, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 16:  A vandalized billboard showing German Chancellor and Christian Democrat (CDU) Angela Merkel stands on September 16, 2017 Stralsund, Germany. Merkel is seeking a fourth term in federal elections scheduled for September 24. She currently holds an approximate 16-point lead over her main rival, German Social Democrat (SPD) Martin Schulz. Both the German Greens Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) are hoping to position themselves to be part of the next coalition government. The right-wing, populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) will likely finish above the 5% election votes minimum and hence win seats in the Bundestag.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The Dam Will Hold. Until It Doesn’t.

Europe has managed to slow the flow of migrants, at least for now — but is undermining its most-cherished values in the process.

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Nearly There, but Never Further Away

Europe has outsourced the dirty work of border control to Libyan militias. In doing so, it has turned African migrants into commodities to be captured, sold, and traded like slaves.

LAMPEDUSA, ITALY - MAY 19: A man is helped off a small rubber boat by crew members from NGO Sea-Eye on May 19, 2017 in international waters off the coast of Libya.  (Photo by Christian Marquardt/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Savior’s Dilemma

Are naval search-and-rescue operations saving migrants’ lives — or just encouraging them to take greater risks?

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All for Nothing

Migrants who fail to reach Europe face humiliation, isolation, and impoverishment at home.

AGADEZ, Niger - Adji, driver. Adji has a wife a two children, and also cares for his deceased brother's eight children. He says the EU policy has made it too risky for him to continue driving as his family cannot survive if he were to be arrested. He has not found other work though, and his family is struggling to buy their daily rice.

A historical smuggling hub through which as many as 13,000 migrants passed each month in 2016, Agadez has been the site of a recent crackdown on human smugglers after the EU struck a $635 million deal with Nigerian authorities to keep a lid on migration. (Photo by Nichole Sobecki)

My Smuggler, My Savior

They’re migrants’ only chance of making it safely across the Sahara. They’re also outlaws engaged in a deadly game of cat and mouse with Niger’s military.

Amadou Coulibaly, Association des Maliens Expulsés

The Deported

Europe is expelling thousands of Africans. To one Malian deportee, that looks like a recipe for revolution.

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Highway Through Hell

The human-smuggling route across the Sahara may have been the deadliest on Earth. Then the EU paid Niger’s army to shut it down — and made it even more treacherous.

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Mali’s Migrant Crackdown

Europe has been helping fight the country’s jihadis for years. Now it’s turning its sights on human smugglers.

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Europe Slams Its Gates: Imperiling Africa – And Its Own Soul

An unprecedented wave of African migration is warping Europe’s politics and threatening its stability. Can the Continent respond without destroying its values and wreaking havoc in Africa? FP’s special investigation examines Europe’s desperate campaign to barricade itself — and the policies’ unintended consequences.

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The U.S.-China 50

Meet the people powering the world's most complex and consequential relationship.

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What China Didn’t Learn From the Collapse of the Soviet Union

Xi Jinping sees the Soviet Union as a cautionary tale. But Beijing is learning all the wrong lessons.

TOPSHOT - US President Barack Obama (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk before an economic leaders meeting at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit at the Lima Convention Centre on November 20, 2016 in Lima.
Asia-Pacific leaders are expected to send a strong message in defense of free trade as they wrap up a summit that has been overshadowed by US President-elect Donald Trump's protectionism. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski        (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Russian Question

Moscow may no longer be a superpower, but its revanchist politics are unsettling the international order. How should Donald Trump deal with Vladimir Putin?

Visitors examine exhibits at the exhibition "The myth of the beloved leader" in the Historical Museum in Moscow on April 2, 2014. The exhibition devoted to the history of the cult of Soviet leaders Lenin and Stalin, presented personal belongings, gifts and works of art from the collection of the former Lenin Museum. AFP PHOTO / VASILY MAXIMOV        (Photo credit should read VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The Soviet Union Is Gone, But It’s Still Collapsing

And 5 other unlearned lessons from leading experts about modern Russia and the death of an empire.

http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ds.07025

George Kennan Is Still the Russia Expert America Needs

The architect of Washington’s Cold War strategy offers President-elect Trump the best guide for managing Moscow.

Alma-ata, president of the rsfsr boris yeltsin (l) and president of kazakhstan nursultan nazarbayev are pictured at the press-conference, december 21, 1991. (Photo by: Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images)

The Birth of ‘Absurdistan’

How I experienced the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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Global Thinkers 2015 Issue Cover