Foreign Affairs

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Who Lost Libya?

Authors: Derek H. Chollet and Ben Fishman

A close call. It is tempting to view the chaos in Libya today as yet one more demonstration of the futility of U.S.-led military interventions. That is precisely the case that Alan Kuperman makes in his article (“Obama’s Libya Debacle,” March/April 2015), which asserts that NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya was “an abject failure” that set free Libya’s vast conventional weapons stockpiles, gave rise to extremist groups, and even exacerbated the conflict in Syria.

See more in Libya; NATO

Warning Signs

Author: Paul B. Stares
Intelligence analysts have labored for years to identify the factors that make countries unstable. For those wanting to anticipate the next failed state, Nassim Nicholas Taleb and Gregory Treverton (“The Calm Before the Storm,” January/February 2015) offer a counterintuitive insight: “Disorderly regimes come out as safer bets than commonly thought—and seemingly placid states turn out to be ticking time bombs.”

See more in Middle East and North Africa; Intelligence

Race in the Modern World

Author: Kwame Anthony Appiah

Nineteenth-century intellectuals saw races as biological and political facts. Their twentieth-century successors rejected both propositions—but identities rooted in the reality or fantasy of shared ancestry remain central in politics, both within and between nations.

See more in United States; Ethnicity, Minorities, and National Identity

Racial Inequality After Racism

Authors: Fredrick C. Harris and Robert C. Lieberman

What accounts for the continuity of racial inequality in a postracist America? The fact that an earlier era’s racism was built into the structure of various economic, social, and political institutions, so that even their race-neutral operations today produce imbalanced outcomes.

See more in United States; Ethnicity, Minorities, and National Identity

Syria's President Speaks

Author: Jonathan Tepperman

The civil war in Syria will soon enter its fifth year, with no end in sight. On January 20, Foreign Affairs managing editor Jonathan Tepperman met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus to discuss the conflict in this exclusive interview.

See more in Syria; Presidents and Chiefs of State

Obama's Libya Debacle

Author: Alan J. Kuperman

The U.S. intervention in Libya was a complete failure. Libya has not only failed to evolve into a democracy; it has devolved into a failed state. Violent deaths there have increased, and the country now serves as a safe haven for terrorists.

See more in United States; Libya; Humanitarian Intervention

How to Deter China

Author: Jr. Andrew F. Krepinevich

To deter Chinese expansionism, the United States must deny China the ability to control the air and sea around the “first island chain”—Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan—and offset the PLA’s efforts to destabilize the region’s military balance.

See more in United States; China; Preparedness

Disrupting the Intelligence Community

Author: Jane Harman

Ten years from now, the CIA’s primary mission will be covert action; the NSA will move away from collecting personal data; and traditional espionage—the use of spies to gather human intelligence—will become less valuable than open-source intelligence.

See more in United States; Intelligence

Solar Power Comes of Age

Authors: Dickon Pinner and Matt Rogers

Solar power has been declared a winner before, only to flounder. But these days it is expanding faster than any other power source, with momentum that has become unstoppable. The potential benefits—both economic and environmental—could be profound.

See more in United States; Renewable Energy

Battery Powered

Author: Steve LeVine

When it comes to energy, new technologies can upend the status quo almost overnight, surprising everyone. And just as the shale revolution, unleashed by fracking, has largely triggered the current oil upheaval, so progress in improving batteries could roil geopolitics and business in major ways.

See more in United States; Renewable Energy

Upgrading the Grid

Author: Brian Warshay

The U.S. electrical grid has hardly changed since the 1880s, and its reliability, effectiveness, and affordability are increasingly being brought into question. To prevent disaster, regulators must abandon outdated electrical architecture and redesign the grid.

See more in United States; Energy Policy