Asia Rivalries Play Role in Aid to the Philippines
By Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
"The typhoon, described as the most devastating natural calamity to hit the Philippines in recent history, is emerging as a showcase for the soft-power contest in Asia. The geopolitical tensions have been stoked by China's territorial claims in the South China Sea, and heightened by American efforts to reassert its influence in the region."
Assets of the Ayatollah
By Steve Stecklow, Babak Dehghanpisheh, and Yeganeh Torbati
This three-part series from Reuters examines how Setad, a little-known organization controlled by Iran's Supreme Leader, grew into one of the most powerful property and corporate empires in Iran.
Masked Pakistani pro-Taliban militants who are supporters of Maulana Fazlullah, a hardline cleric, stand at a check post in Charbagh, a Taliban strong hold, near Mingora, the main town of Pakistan's Swat valley lying close to Pakistan's lawless tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. (Photo: Courtesy Reuters)
Why Pakistan Lionizes Its Tormenters
By Mohammed Hanif
The New Yorker
"Why does Pakistan's political and military élite celebrate the very people it is fighting? The logic—or its absence—goes like this: Hakimullah Mehsud was our enemy. But the United States is also our enemy. So how dare the Americans kill him?"
How to Stop the Fighting, Sometimes
"[T]he number of medium-to-large civil wars under way—there are six in which more than 1,000 people died last year—is low by the standards of the period. This is because they are coming to an end a little sooner. The average length of civil wars dropped from 4.6 to 3.7 years after 1991, according to Kristian Skrede Gleditsch, a professor at the University of Essex."
Deciphering Xi Jinping's Dream
By Ouyang Bin
"Xi has indicated very clearly from the time that he became General Secretary of the Party that he was obsessed, as maybe other Chinese leaders are also, with the Gorbachev syndrome. Xi Jinping realizes, like Li Keqiang, that there is a need for deep economic reforms—really very important and very difficult economic reforms. But what I think they worry about is that they don't know which reforms could be the ones which unleash a Gorbachev-type situation, where one thing follows another and before you know it the whole country and the whole party system has collapsed."
The Future of Arctic Shipping: A New Silk Road?
By Malte Humpert
The Arctic Institute
"Arctic shipping will remain of limited importance to China, as it will for the rest of the world. Future shipping in the Polar region will mostly consist of seasonal destinational transport, delivering supplies into the Arctic for its increasing economic activity and transporting the region's natural resources to markets in East Asia."
Treasure Hunters of the Financial Crisis
By Peter Lattman
New York Times
"Much attention has been lavished on the speculators who reaped huge paydays betting against the subprime mortgages that stoked the financial crisis…But what about the big long? During the dark days of late 2008, while other investors dumped their holdings or sat paralyzed on the sidelines, who decided that it was time to put money on the line? Who bought low and then sold high?"
Must Reads sample analyses, reporting, and inquiries on foreign policy from around the web selected each week by CFR Editors. See more Must Reads here.