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For all the tremendous change China has experienced in recent decades—phenomenal economic growth, improved living standards, and an ascent to great-power status—the country has made little progress when it comes to the treatment of its ethnic minorities, most of whom live in China’s sparsely populated frontier regions.
See more in China; Ethnicity, Minorities, and National Identity
Until recently, most Europeans believed that their post–Cold War security order held universal appeal and could be a model for the rest of the world. This conviction was hardly surprising, since Europe has often played a central role in global affairs. For much of the last three centuries, European order was world order—a product of the interests, ambitions, and rivalries of the continent’s empires.
See more in Europe; Wars and Warfare
Two months from now, the U.S. Congress may shutter a government agency that, in the past six years, has supported more than 1.3 million American jobs and generated more than $2 billion in deficit-reducing profits.
See more in United States; Corporate Regulation
At a 2013 conference held by The Economist in New York, business and policy leaders debated whether talented university graduates should join Google or Goldman Sachs. Vivek Wadhwa, a serial entrepreneur, spoke up for Google. “Would you rather have your children engineering the financial system [and] creating more problems for us, or having a chance of saving the world?” he asked.
See more in United States; Economics
Nearly a century after it first emerged in Egypt, political Islam is redefining the Muslim world. Also called Islamism, this potent ideology holds that the billion-strong global Muslim community would be free and great if only it were pious—that is, if Muslims lived under state-enforced Islamic law, or sharia, as they have done for most of Islamic history.
See more in Middle East and North Africa; Europe; Religion
In the beginning, drones were almost exclusively the province of militaries. At first little more than remote-controlled model planes used in the World War I era, military drones advanced steadily over the decades, eventually becoming sophisticated tools that could surveil battlefield enemies from the sky. Today, the terms “drone” and “unmanned aircraft system” denote a vehicle that navigates through the air from point A to point B and is either remotely controlled or flies autonomously.
See more in Global; Space
Starting with the Soviets’ launch of Sputnik in 1957, early space missions were funded exclusively by national governments, and for good reason: going to space was astronomically expensive. Setting up a successful space program meant making major investments in expertise and infrastructure, along with tolerating a great deal of risk—which only the superpowers could do.
See more in Global; Space
housands of years ago, agriculture began as a highly site-specific activity. The first farmers were gardeners who nurtured individual plants, and they sought out the microclimates and patches of soil that favored those plants. But as farmers acquired scientific knowledge and mechanical expertise, they enlarged their plots, using standardized approaches—plowing the soil, spreading animal manure as fertilizer, rotating the crops from year to year—to boost crop yields.
See more in Global; Agricultural Policy
One of the most persistent challenges of U.S. national security policy is balancing
the short-term benefits of secrecy with the long-term benefits of openness. Government agencies responsible for dealing with national security threats will often be more effective if they are allowed to keep certain details about their activities secret.
See more in United States; Politics and Strategy
At the end of World War II, the United Kingdom built memorials to every military branch save one: the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. The group had skillfully carried out its mission, leveling German cities in raids that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. But by 1945, the British public had developed second thoughts about the morality and efficacy of that mission.
See more in United States; Intelligence
For many who arrived in Moscow in recent decades, the city had an almost narcotic effect. In the vacuum created by the Soviet collapse, unabashed opportunism and a limitless sense of the possible became the closest thing the wounded country had to a collective ideology.
See more in Russia and Central Asia; Economics
Once upon a time, smart people thought the world was flat. As globalization took off, economists pointed to spreading market forces that allowed consumers to buy similar things for the same prices around the world.
See more in Americas; Global; Economics
In past years, Andrew Krepinevich, Jr., has argued for a U.S. military operational concept in the Pacific theater called “Air-Sea Battle.” This concept relies heavily on preemptive deep strikes in the early stages of a conflict and would have been highly escalatory.
See more in Asia and Pacific; Defense and Security
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
See more in Middle East and North Africa; Intelligence
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to New York to convince the world that the United States is working toward a world free of nuclear weapons. He has a stronger case than you might think.
See more in Global; Nonproliferation, Arms Control, and Disarmament
Regulating the Rise of Post-Snowden Spyware
See more in Global; Cybersecurity
The OECD’s approach to bringing in emerging powers as “key partners” is a smart way to remain relevant in a quickly shifting global landscape, argue Stewart Patrick and Naomi Egel. Other multilateral organizations should pay attention.
See more in Global; Global Governance; Economics
Janine Davidson, writing on ForeignAffairs.com, evaluates President Obama’s second and final National Security Strategy. According to Davidson, the document carries a coherent philosophy, reaffirming the patience and smart multilateralism that has long characterized Obama’s foreign policy.
See more in United States; Presidents and Chiefs of State
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