Must Reads

A sortable index of the best online analyses and inquiries on foreign policy.

New York Review of Books: Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine

Author: Timothy Snyder

"To set its own course, Ukraine needs normal public debate, the restoration of parliamentary democracy, and workable relations with all of its neighbors. Ukraine is full of sophisticated and ambitious people. If people in the West become caught up in the question of whether they are largely Nazis or not, then they may miss the central issues in the present crisis."

See more in Ukraine; Russia and Central Asia; Politics and Strategy

WSJ: Ukraine Exposes EU Policy Disarray

Authors: Stephen Fidler, Laurence Norman, and Bertrand Benoit

"The deadly violence that exploded this week in Ukraine has another victim: Europe's foreign-policy credibility.

A few months ago Ukraine looked on course to be drawn into the Western orbit through a wide-ranging trade-and-aid agreement with the European Union. Today, Ukraine is advertising Europe's helplessness to influence events even in countries close to its borders."

See more in Ukraine; Political Movements and Protests

Financial Times: Washington Regrets the Shinzo Abe It Wished For

Author: David Pilling

"[Shinzo Abe] is the first leader in years with any hope of solving the festering issue of US marine bases in Okinawa. He is willing to spend more on defence after years of a self-imposed limit of 1 per cent of output. Those policies, however, come with a price tag: a revisionist nationalism that many in Washington find distasteful."

See more in Japan; Politics and Strategy

Time: What You Should Know About Ukraine

Author: Ian Bremmer

"Sadly, [President] Yanukovych's ouster won't solve Ukraine's larger problem: Its Russian-dominated past exerts a powerful pull and Europe is nowhere near ready to help the country build a more peaceful and prosperous future."

See more in Ukraine; Economic Development

NYT: Nobel Winner’s Frank Advice to China’s Leadership

Author: Jonathan Schlefer

"While Mr. Spence has come away impressed with how 'curious and open' Chinese officials are, he also doesn't mince words about how serious China's problems are. With the global economy increasingly dependent on China, the danger is that the nation is 'on a collision course with its own growth model,' he said in an interview."

See more in China; Economics

New York Review of Books: Syria's Polio Epidemic: The Suppressed Truth

Author: Annie Sparrow

"The UN's current polio vaccination program—sponsored by UNICEF and delivered in UN-financed convoys and flights—is fully orchestrated by the Syrian government, and in opposition-held areas, it is dependent for administration on volunteers from the government-dominated Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC). SARC's president, Abdul Rahman Attar, is closely tied to the government, and even has his own pharmaceutical company, which has influenced the preference given to regime territory in the administration of polio vaccines during these last three years."

See more in Syria; Health; Children

Human Rights Watch: "I Wanted to Lie Down and Die"

"Since 2006, tens of thousands of Eritreans fleeing widespread human rights abuses and destitution in their country have ended up in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Until 2010, they passed through Sinai voluntarily and generally without problems and crossed into Israel. But over the past three years, Sinai has increasingly represented a dead-end comprised of captivity, cruelty, torture, and death."

See more in Egypt; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights

Project Syndicate: China’s Risky Reforms

Authors: Ian Bremmer and David Gordon

"For outsiders, the reform process also poses risks that extend well beyond the global economic fallout of a sharp Chinese slowdown. The country's neighbors, particularly Japan, have the most to fear. If reforms become broadly unpopular or expose dangerous divisions within the leadership, the government will have good reason to divert public attention from controversies at home by picking fights abroad."

See more in China; Economics

Carnegie Endowment: How India's Parliamentary Elections Work

An infographic on the upcoming elections in India, including an explanation what's at stake in 2014, a history of past elections, and information on the mechanics of the elections. The graphic explores the key parties and the formation of the national government as a whole. India's sixteenth general election is set to take place in late Spring 2014 once the term expires for the current Lok Sabha on May 31, 2014.

See more in India; Elections

Financial Times: Courts, Voters and the Threat of Another Euro Crisis

Author: Gideon Rachman

"Two of the most respected institutions in Germany, the Bundesbank and the constitutional court, are now on record as registering profound objections to the policies underpinning the euro.

As long as the German economy is strong, such laments are unlikely to churn up mainstream German politics. But when things get tough, as they inevitably will at some point, the intellectual groundwork has been laid for a "stab-in-the-back" theory that will explain Germany's problems by reference to the illegal and improvident acts of the European institutions."

See more in Europe; Economics; Politics and Strategy

Committee to Protect Journalists: Attacks on the Press in 2013

"CPJ developed the Risk List in 2012 to highlight countries where press freedom is on the decline. This year, we chose to add the supranational platform of cyberspace to the list because of the profound erosion of freedom on the Internet, a critical sphere for journalists worldwide. In 2013, CPJ also identified Egypt and Bangladesh, torn apart by political polarization, with journalists caught in the middle; Syria, which continues to be wracked by violent conflict; and authoritarian Vietnam."

See more in Global; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights

Brookings Essay: Monnet's Brandy and Europe's Fate

Author: Strobe Talbott

"Monnet is once again exerting his influence, this time from beyond the grave. The crisis in the eurozone has focused minds in key capitals on cobbling together institutional measures of the sort that he believed were necessary for monetary union. As a result, his vision of a united Europe may well survive and, over time, succeed."

See more in Europe; Economics

NYT: Rein in the Saudi Religious Police

Author: Manal Al-Sharif

"The government, for its part, is wary of clamping down on the mutaween for fear of inciting a conservative backlash and is walking a fine line between the religious police and an increasingly angry populace. While dismantling of the force is unrealistic, this delicate moment opens a window of opportunity for Saudis. By continuing to voice anger and disapproval, the public may provide Riyadh with the leverage it needs to demand police adherence to regulations already in place, and slowly weaken the commission's influence."

See more in Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights; Saudi Arabia

NYT: Iran Must Embrace Religious Pluralism

Author: Camelia Entekhabifard

"Of the approximately hundred thousand Jews in Iran at the time of the revolution, only twenty thousand remain. Theyno longer felt welcome in their homeland. Today, despite promises by the new president, Hassan Rouhani, to protect the freedom of ethnic and religious minorities (and the appointment of an aide to focus on their affairs), the persecution continues."

See more in Iran; Religion

Project Syndicate: Death by Finance

Author: Dani Rodrik

"This is not the first time that developing countries have been hit hard by abrupt mood swings in global financial markets. The surprise is that we are surprised. Economists, in particular, should have learned a few fundamental lessons long ago."

See more in Global; Financial Markets