In the era of globalization, policymakers are increasingly debating the proper role of international law, and a group of legal scholars have embraced transnationalism, the idea that growing interconnectedness should dissolve international boundaries. But that approach is at odds with basic American principles.
See more in Global; International Law; Treaties and Agreements
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
Since their inception in 2000, The Millennium Development Goals have revolutionized the global aid business, using specific targets to help mobilize and guide development efforts. They have encouraged world leaders to tackle multiple dimensions of poverty simultaneously and provided a standard for judging performance. As their 2015 expiration looms, the time has come to bank those successes and focus on what comes next.
See more in International Organizations and Alliances; Poverty; Global
Debates about the possibility of containing a nuclear Iran often hinge on judgments of whether the regime there is rational. But as a wealth of recently released Iraqi documents about Saddam Hussein's tumultuous reign in Iraq show, even an arguably rational leader can be unreasonable -- and very hard to deter.
See more in Global Governance; Iraq
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
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
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
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
Selections from the Foreign Affairs archives tracing the ideological battles of the past century and the evolution of the modern order.
See more in Global Governance; Americas
Intelligent observers of Europe in the 1930s thought its future belonged to communism or fascism and would have ridiculed the notion that decades later the entire continent would be democratic.
See more in Global Governance; Europe
John Lewis Gaddis' magisterial authorized biography of George Kennan tells the story of a brilliant diplomat who helped define postwar U.S. foreign policy. Yet the public triumph was matched with private frustration, and the prickly Kennan never won the influence he craved.
See more in Global Governance; United States
In his new book, the acclaimed psychologist Steven Pinker argues that despite the horrors of the twentieth century, global violence is actually on the decline over the long term.
See more in Americas; Global Governance
President Viktor Yanukovych has led Ukraine, no stranger to crisis, into yet another round of turmoil.
See more in Rule of Law; Ukraine
The Palestinian plan to ask the UN for statehood in September has provoked intense anxiety in Jerusalem and Washington.
See more in International Organizations and Alliances; Palestine
Robert Danin argues that by adopting a publicly confrontational approach, the Palestinians risk undermining the goodwill and security that Fayyad's nation-building program has so painstakingly created.
See more in International Organizations and Alliances; Palestine; Israel
Is reducing the world's nuclear arsenals to zero possible, or even desirable?
See more in Global; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament; Treaties and Agreements
It is time to face reality: the current round of multilateral trade talks is doomed.
See more in International Organizations and Alliances; Trade
A decade on, the ICC is still trying to find its footing, thanks partly from the chief prosecutor's poor management and excessive ambition.
See more in Global; Courts and Tribunals
Depending on how locals and outsiders react to events in Sudan, the secession referendum scheduled for January could trigger either the country's partition or a new explosion of violence.
See more in Sudan; South Sudan; Sovereignty