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Must Reads of the Week: Obama’s Trip to Asia, Resurgence of Iraq’s Shiites, Moldova's Future, and More

Author: CFR.org Editors
April 25, 2014

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"Obama's Strategic Shift to Asia Is Hobbled by Pressure at Home and Crises Abroad"
By David E. Sanger and Mark Landler
New York Times

"The premise of Mr. Obama's strategy — that American power must follow its economic interests in a region where a growing middle class yearns for everything from iPhones to the new Ford Mustang — still makes sense, his advisers say. But they acknowledge that it faces acute challenges, which will demand a delicate balancing act."

Obama Asia TripU.S. president Barack Obama addresses a news conference with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka guesthouse in Tokyo. (Photo: Courtesy Reuters)
"What We Left Behind"
By Dexter Filkins
New Yorker

"The resurgence of Iraq's Shiites is the greatest legacy of the American invasion, which overthrew Sunni rule and replaced it with a government led by Shiites—the first since the eighteenth century. Eight years after Maliki took power, Iraqis are sorting through the consequences. The Green Zone—still known by its English name—has the same otherworldly feel that it did during the American war: a placid, manicured outpost in a jungle of trouble. Now, though, it is essentially a bastion of Shiite power, in a country shot through with angry Sunni citizens."

"Tiny Moldova Faces Its East-West Moment of Truth"
By Robert Coalson
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

"Torn between Russia and the West, Moldova's fault lines are visible everywhere and are rendered more volatile by the country's weak sense of national identity. And the tension is clearly being strained by the crisis in neighboring Ukraine, as well as by Moldova's successful European-integration driveand Moscow's determination to prevent it."

"Xi's Dilemma: How Tough to Be on China Elite's Dealings"
By Andrew Browne
Wall Street Journal

"Chinese society is among the most unequal on earth. Wealth and power are highly concentrated at the top, which means that the stability of the whole system depends on keeping the elites contented and, thus, united behind the party."

"Paid News Clouds India Elections"
By Baba Umar
Al-Jazeera

"According to various estimates, political parties in the world's largest democracy are pumping about $5bn into vigorous campaigns to lure 814 million voters - a sum second only to the 2012 US presidential polls, in which more than $6bn was spent."

"60 Words"
Radiolab

"In the hours after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a lawyer sat down in front of a computer and started writing a legal justification for taking action against those responsible. The language that he drafted and that President George W. Bush signed into law called the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) has at its heart one single sentence, 60 words long. Over the last decade, those 60 words have become the legal foundation for the 'war on terror.'"

"Of Transitology and Counter-Terror Targeting in Yemen"
By Sheila Carapico
Muftah

"Washington does not have a Yemen policy, much less a progressive vision for the country. Instead, American policies in the Peninsula privilege the permanence and prosperity of the GCC monarchies, notably the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Neither the Bush nor the Obama administrations have regarded Yemen as a real place with real politics."

"Investigating Family's Wealth, China's Leader Signals a Change"
By Michael Forsythe, Chris Buckley, and Jonathan Ansfield
New York Times

"Some political analysts argue that a leader of Mr. Zhou's status would not face an inquiry of this kind unless Mr. Xi regarded him as a direct threat to his power. … But another school of thought is that Mr. Xi considers the enormous agglomeration of wealth by spouses, children and siblings of top-ranking officials a threat to China's stability by encouraging mercenary corruption and harming the party's public standing."


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.

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