Unlike other economic powerhouses, the United States does little to help its own companies win business abroad, and that timidity has allowed China to devour market share in emerging economies. It is time for Washington to shed its hang-ups about lobbying on behalf of American firms and start taking commercial diplomacy seriously.
See more in United States; Corporate Regulation
Coal combustion is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions on the planet. But the fuel isn't going away anytime soon, since demand for it is ballooning in the developing world. So instead of indulging in quixotic visions of a coal-free world, policymakers should focus on supporting new technologies that can reduce how much carbon coal emits.
See more in Coal; Global
Yet another bout of worry about long-term U.S. decline has generated yet another countersurge of defensive optimism. What new books by Robert Kagan and Robert Lieber miss, however, is the critical role played by multilateral institutions in the perpetuation of the United States' global leadership.
See more in United States; International Organizations and Alliances; History and Theory of International Relations
As the global financial sector has swelled, the gap between the rich and the poor has grown. Three new books -- by James Galbraith, Robert Shiller, and Charles Ferguson -- come down differently on how much banks are to blame for inequality and what the government should do about it.
See more in International Finance; Financial Crises; Global
With Vladimir Putin back in power in Russia, understanding him is more important than ever. Two recent books attempt to unravel the mystery, adding new insight into the Russian leader's life and rule.
See more in Russian Federation; Presidents and Chiefs of State
A new book aims to settle the long-running debate over democracy and "Asian values," arguing that culture is not to blame for the fact that only six of the 16 countries of East and Southeast Asia are functioning democracies.
See more in Religion; Asia and Pacific
Democratic revolutionaries always confront the same problem: how to replace the old order without replicating its flaws. A new biography of the French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre's reveals that today's radicals might learn from Robespierre's failure to resolve that dilemma.
See more in Political Movements and Protests; History and Theory of International Relations; France
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