Politics and Strategy

Must Read

The Economist: Governing the Oceans

"Yet the state of the high seas is deteriorating (see article). Arctic ice now melts away in summer. Dead zones are spreading. Two-thirds of the fish stocks in the high seas are over-exploited, even more than in the parts of the oceans under national control. And strange things are happening at a microbiological level. The oceans produce half the planet's supply of oxygen, mostly thanks to chlorophyll in aquatic algae. Concentrations of that chlorophyll are falling. That does not mean life will suffocate. But it could further damage the climate, since less oxygen means more carbon dioxide."

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Must Read

Washington Post: Is Hagel Tying America's Hands (And is That a Bad Thing)?

Author: David Edelstein

"In an ideal world, the United States can guarantee the security of its interests without being tempted to undertake occupations and interventions that have little chance of succeeding and promise high costs. The U.S. military will retain substantial air, sea, and ground capabilities even after the proposed cuts. These capabilities ought to be sufficient to deter the most likely adversaries from taking aggressive actions and to reassure allies about the sincerity of America's commitment to their security."

See more in United States; Politics and Strategy

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The New Yorker: Patriot Games

Author: David Remnick

"Great powers seldom retreat forever. But, to the people who suffer their fall, the sense of diminishment is acute. For Russians, the end of the Soviet Union was not merely a new charter, a new flag, a new set of lyrics to an old anthem. There were plenty, in the cities, mainly, who rejoiced in the liberating sense of possibility—the open borders, the cultural ferment, the democratic potential—but for many millions of their compatriots, Putin among them, the collapse launched a decade of humiliation, marked by geopolitical, economic, and cultural disarray."

See more in Russia and Central Asia; Politics and Strategy

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The Economist: A Useful Campaign

"For years Congress dominated nationally by ignoring how growth is sustained, but promising handouts, especially to villagers, through make-work schemes, subsidies on food, fuel and fertiliser and cash transfers. That approach now brings shrinking electoral returns, ironically, as rural voters get less poor."

See more in India; Politics and Strategy

Must Read

Foreign Policy: The $20 Million Case for Morocco

Authors: Eliza Barclay and Kristen Chick

"Morocco's lobbying efforts still appear capable of influencing American policy. The U.S. mission to the United Nations, for instance, recently proposed adding a human rights mandate to the UN mission in Western Sahara -- it is, after all, currently the only UN peacekeeping force without one. But the United States dropped the proposal after the government of Morocco and its allies lobbied against it."

See more in Morocco; Politics and Strategy

Must Read

Pew Research: Indians Want Political Change

"Seven-in-ten Indians are dissatisfied with the way things are going in India today, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. And, with the Indian parliamentary elections just weeks away, the Indian public, by a margin of more than three-to-one, would prefer the Hindu-nationalist opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to lead the next Indian government rather than the Indian National Congress (INC), which heads the current left-of-center governing coalition."

See more in India; Politics and Strategy

Backgrounder

U.S.-Cuba Relations

Author: Brianna Lee

The U.S.-Cuba relationship remains frozen after fifty years. Despite economic reforms in Cuba and swelling public opinion in favor of resuming diplomatic and economic ties, analysts do not anticipate any normalization of U.S.-Cuba relations in the near to medium term, explains this Backgrounder.

See more in Cuba; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Ask CFR Experts

How does the nuclear deal with Iran affect Hezbollah and its regional influence?

Asked by Ahmad Takouche
Author: Mira Rapp-Hooper

It is not clear how the interim Geneva agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers will affect Iran's relationship with Lebanon-based Hezbollah or Hezbollah's regional influence. According to the IAEA's most recent report, Iran's stockpile of medium-enriched uranium has decreased substantially from its prior levels, suggesting that Iran is implementing the Geneva agreement, at least for the time being. One could certainly argue that if Iran continues to comply with the deal and forecloses its nuclear option, it will no longer be able to easily project influence with the threat of nuclear weapons acquisition or a latent nuclear capability. By this logic, Iran may choose to rely more heavily on Hezbollah to make its presence felt throughout the region. This is certainly a concern of other Gulf States, who fear that the nuclear deal does not address the threat that proxy groups may pose to their regimes.

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See more in Iran; Arms Control, Disarmament, and Nonproliferation; Political Movements and Protests