A decade ago, when the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, the United States chose to immerse itself in the greater Middle East when it had little reason to dive in. But now that most Americans want little to do with the region, U.S. officials are finding it difficult to turn away, writes Richard N. Haass.
See more in Middle East and North Africa; United States; Wars and Warfare; Politics and Strategy
Sub-Saharan Africa's GDP has grown five percent a year since 2000 and is expected to grow even faster in the future. Although pessimists are quick to point out that this growth has followed increases in commodities prices, the success of recent political reforms and the increased openness of African societies give the region a good chance of sustaining its boom for years to come.
See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Economic Development; Emerging Markets
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton helped restore America's standing in the world, but she left office with no signature achievement. If she gets her way, her tenure as the country's top diplomat will come to be seen simply as a stepping-stone to the presidency
See more in United States; Diplomacy and Statecraft
The U.S. energy revolution is not confined to a single fuel or technology: oil and gas production, renewable energy, and fuel-efficient automobile technologies all show great promise. To best position the country for the future, U.S. leaders should capitalize on all these opportunities rather than pick a favorite; the answer lies in 'most of the above.'
See more in United States; Energy Policy
Since the end of the industrial age, Americans have worried about improving their education system. But the country has never been able to make much progress. Other nations do it better, and the United States must learn from their examples if it hopes to catch up.
See more in United States; Education
Pope Benedict XVI made reaching out to other faiths and promoting Christian unity hallmarks of his tenure. Pope Francis will continue this work, not only because he has a history of facilitating religious dialogue, but also because global Catholicism requires it.
See more in Holy See/Vatican; Religion
Looming budgetary constraints and the U.S. Army's ongoing downsizing have enhanced the appeal of forces that are lighter, smaller, and cheaper than tanks and other protected vehicles. But not only have armored forces proved critical in yesterday's wars; they will also be needed to win tomorrow's.
See more in Defense and Security; Defense Budget
Conventional wisdom holds that the U.S. Army will bear the brunt of forthcoming defense cuts. But that need not be the case, provided it shifts its focus away from traditional ground forces toward more relevant weapons: land-base missile systems.
See more in Defense Strategy; Defense and Security
Anti-Americanism might have ebbed momentarily thanks to U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and support for the Arab Spring. But hostility is once again mounting in the Arab world. In Amaney Jamal's new book, she tries to determine why.
See more in Diplomacy and Statecraft; Middle East and North Africa
The Venezuelan revolutionary Simon Bolívar has a remarkably elastic legacy. Ever since his death in 1830, Latin American politicians across the political spectrum have claimed to be his rightful heir. What Bolívar left behind, it turns out, was less a coherent set of ideas than an abstract vision of Latin American unity -- a vision that remains impossible today.
See more in Venezuela; History and Theory of International Relations
For the U.S. economy to reach its full potential, argues Edward Conard, Washington should decrease federal spending and ease government regulation. Fareed Zakaria demurs, contending that structural reform and government investment are what the U.S. economy needs most.
See more in United States; Financial Regulation
The former Afghanistan and special forces commander talks frankly about his accomplishments, his mistakes, his lessons learned, and the future of the new American way of war he helped create.
See more in Defense Strategy; Wars and Warfare
The Obama administration's "pivot" to Asia made sense, because China was starting to doubt U.S. staying power. Now that Washington has sent Beijing a clear message it will be around for the long haul, however, the time has come for the two countries to deepen and institutionalize their relationship in order to secure Asia's lasting peace and prosperity.
See more in China; United States; Politics and Strategy
Thanks to a once-obscure law passed in 1789, foreign victims of foreign human rights abusers can use U.S. courts to sue their abusers. But the Supreme Court may soon ban such suits. That would be a shame, since they offer victims some measure of solace and give substance to underenforced human rights laws. The law should be upheld, and other countries should follow the U.S. lead.
See more in Courts and Tribunals; Human Rights; Global
Despite media hoopla, cross-border crime -- illegal drugs sales, evasion of taxes, intellectual property theft, and money laundering -- is hardly a new phenomenon. For much of history, moreover, the United States was as much perpetrator as victim. Recognizing this awkward truth should help cool down overheated debates about today's transnational problems and how to respond to them.
See more in Trade; Transnational Crime
Inequality is rising across the post-industrial capitalist world. The problem is not caused by politics and politics will never be able to eliminate it. But simply ignoring it could generate a populist backlash. Governments must accept that today as ever, inequality and insecurity are the inevitable results of market operations. Their challenge is to find ways of shielding citizens from capitalism's adverse consequences -- even as they preserve the dynamism that produces capitalism's vast economic and cultural benefits in the first place.
See more in Financial Markets; Poverty
Even as Mexico continues to struggle with grave security threats, its steady rise is transforming the country's economy, society, and political system. Given the Mexico's bright future and the interests it shares with the United States in energy, manufacturing, and security, Washington needs to start seeing its southern neighbor as a partner instead of a problem.
See more in Mexico; Economic Development; Latin America and the Caribbean
Instead of continuing their endless battling, the United States and Pakistan should acknowledge that their interests simply do not converge enough to make them strong partners. Giving up the fiction of an alliance would free up Washington to explore new ways of achieving its goals in South Asia. And it would allow Islamabad to finally pursue its regional ambitions -- which would either succeed once and for all or, more likely, teach Pakistani officials the limitations of their country's power.
See more in Diplomacy and Statecraft; Pakistan
The election of the hawkish Shinzo Abe as Japan's prime minister has the world worrying that Tokyo is about to part with its pacifist strategy of the last 70 years. But Japan's new leaders are pragmatic, and so long as the United States does not waver in its commitment to the country's defense, they are unlikely chart a new course.
See more in Japan; Diplomacy and Statecraft
For half a century, deterrence was the backbone of U.S. national security strategy. But now, Washington doesn't seem to know how and when to use it properly. The United States has needlessly applied deterrence to Russia, failed to apply it when it should have against Iraq and Iran, and been dangerously confused about whether to apply it to China. U.S. policymakers need to relearn the basics of deterrence in order to apply it successfully in the appropriate circumstances.
See more in Defense Strategy; United States