Given the threats it faces, from nuclear-armed autocracies to terrorists, the United States cannot afford to scale back its military, argues Paul Miller. Micah Zenko and Michael Cohen reply that the danger of these challenges is vastly exaggerated and that an overly militarized foreign policy has not made the country safer.
See more in United States; Homeland Security
Iraq is hardly the failed state that Ned Parker portrayed in these pages, argues Antony Blinken, the U.S. vice president's national security adviser. Norman Ricklefs sees Iraq's politics becoming more moderate and less sectarian. Parker replies that despite these improvements, Baghdad still violates human rights and ignores the rule of law.
See more in Iraq; Politics and Strategy; Rule of Law
Brazil's rise never depended on the sale of commodities, and thanks to recent reforms, the country will continue to prosper, write Shannon O'Neil, Richard Lapper, and Larry Rohter. Ronaldo Lemos, meanwhile, claims that those reforms have not gone far enough.
See more in Brazil; Economic Development
The link between crime and the state is neither as new nor as scary as Moisés Naím depicted it, argues Peter Andreas; after all, criminals have been corrupting governments for centuries.
See more in Global; Transnational Crime
Shannon K. O'Neil discusses how a stronger democracy will help check the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico.
See more in Mexico; Political Movements and Protests; Democratization; Latin America and the Caribbean
Populations throughout the developed world are aging and shrinking, with dire consequences. Yet decline is not inevitable. Even in the industrialized world, governments can encourage childbearing through policies that let women reconcile work and family.
See more in Population; Women
With the Iraq war over and U.S. troops returning from Afghanistan, the U.S. Army faces a decade of change, writes its chief of staff. It will need to adjust to smaller budgets, focus more on Asia, and embrace a fuller range of potential missions.
See more in United States; Defense Strategy
Mexico is winning its death match against the drug cartels and rebuilding once-corrupt institutions in the process. But an election is approaching, and the candidates are calling for a truce. Mexico can take its place in the sun, but only if it wipes out the cartels for good.
See more in Mexico; Drug Trafficking and Control
In 64 BC, the great Roman lawyer and orator Marcus Tullius Cicero ran for consul. His younger brother, Quintus, wrote a detailed strategy memo laying out just what Marcus needed to do to win. It's the best guide to electioneering you'll ever read, presented here with a commentary by the legendary political consultant James Carville.
See more in Elections; United States
Judged by the standard of protecting U.S. interests, things have worked out quite well for the Obama administration; judged by the standard of midwifing a new global order, they remain a work in progress.
See more in History and Theory of International Relations; United States
When it comes to Iran's nuclear program, then, the United States and its allies should get out of the way and let Iran's worst enemies -- its own leaders -- gum up the process on their own.
See more in Iran; Weapons of Mass Destruction
As Europe emerges from economic crisis, a larger challenge remains: finally turning the eurozone into an optimal currency area, with economies similar enough to sustain a single monetary policy.
See more in Financial Crises; EU
The West's recent growth was dependent on borrowing. Going even further into debt now won't help; instead, countries need to address the underlying flaws in their economies.
See more in United States; Financial Crises
Brazil's economy depends too much on high commodity prices, and as demand falls, so may Brazil.
See more in Brazil; Economic Development
Unions are declining, and the working and middle classes are paying the price. Reviving labor won't be easy -- but doing so is critical to preserving America's economic and social health.
See more in United States; Labor
Mafia states enjoy the unhealthy advantages of their hybrid status: they're as nimble as gangs and as well protected as governments, and thus more dangerous than either.
See more in Transnational Crime; Global
Reining in pollution would thus accomplish two goals, while finally getting countries such as China and India into the climate-change business.
See more in Pollution; Climate Change
Recent advances have made wind and solar power more competitive than ever. Still, governments must redesign their policies and help renewables slash costs.
See more in Renewable Energy; Global
The main health threat in developing states today is not plagues or parasites but illnesses such as cancer and diabetes, noncommunicable diseases long associated with the rich world.
See more in Diseases, Noncommunicable; Global
A pair of books by Charles Mann describe life in the Americas before and after Columbus linked the hemispheres and kicked off the first era of globalization. It turns out that the New World was far more technologically advanced than subsequent generations have realized, with plenty to teach the Old -- especially about how to simultaneously exploit and preserve key natural resources.
See more in Latin America and the Caribbean; History and Theory of International Relations