Must Reads

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

New Yorker: Who Will Protect the Crimean Tatars?

Author: Natalia Antelava

"There are about three hundred thousand Crimean Tatars on the peninsula, and although they constitute only fifteen per cent of its population they have great political significance. If they do not back the upcoming referendum, it will be far more difficult for the pro-Moscow government in Crimea to legitimize what is in effect a Russian annexation of the peninsula."

See more in Ukraine; Politics and Strategy

The Diplomat: Could a ‘Third Front’ Win?

Author: Ram Mashru

"With no major party likely to win an outright majority of 272 and with Congress's vote-share likely to crumble, if the BJP underperform or fail to woo coalition partners a third front government may just steal a victory."

See more in India; Elections

Political Violence at a Glance: Boarding Up Windows of Opportunity in Ukraine

Author: Andrew Kydd

"Eventually the new regime will consolidate power and increase its ties to the West, possibly joining the EU or even NATO. At that point, intervention would be prohibitively risky and Russia would simply have to live with the loss of Ukraine.…This seems to leave Putin no choice but to intervene now and press his advantage to the point of peaceful partition, if the Ukrainians do not resist, or civil/international war if they do. Windows of opportunity are powerful things. When you combine demonstrated hostility, present weakness and future strength, the incentive to act can be overwhelming."

See more in Ukraine; Politics and Strategy

CNN: If Russia Swallows Ukraine, the European System is Finished

Author: Timothy Snyder

"In Vienna, where I live, one also hears constant mentions of 1938. Austrians and other citizens of European Union countries are beginning to consider what the end of Ukraine might mean for their own European system. The point is not that Putin is like Hitler; the point is that the removal of a state from Europe has consequences for the continent."

See more in Ukraine; Politics and Strategy

n+1 Magazine: Ukraine, Putin, and the West

"What role has the American intellectual community played in this saga, if any? Certainly we failed to prevent it. But there is more. For the past two years, since Putin re-assigned himself to the Russian presidency, we have indulged ourselves in a bacchanalia of anti-Putinism, shading over into anti-Russianism."

See more in Ukraine; Politics and Strategy

Economist: What's Gone Wrong with Democracy

"Democracy is going through a difficult time. Where autocrats have been driven out of office, their opponents have mostly failed to create viable democratic regimes. Even in established democracies, flaws in the system have become worryingly visible and disillusion with politics is rife. Yet just a few years ago democracy looked as though it would dominate the world."

See more in Global; Russian Federation; Organization of Government

Washington Post: Interview: Karzai Says 12-Year Afghanistan War Has Left Him Angry at U.S. Government

Author: Kevin Sieff

"In an unusually emotional interview, the departing Afghan president sought to explain why he has been such a harsh critic of the twelve-year-old U.S. war effort here. He said he's deeply troubled by all the casualties he has seen, including those in U.S. military operations. He feels betrayed by what he calls an insufficient U.S. focus on targeting Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. And he insists that public criticism was the only way to guarantee an American response to his concerns."

See more in Afghanistan; Defense and Security

New Yorker: Putin Goes to War

Author: David Remnick

"Putin's reaction exceeded our worst expectations. These next days and weeks in Ukraine are bound to be frightening, and worse. There is not only the threat of widening Russian military force. The new Ukrainian leadership is worse than weak. It is unstable. It faces the burden of legitimacy."

See more in Ukraine; Wars and Warfare

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."

See more in Arctic; Politics and Strategy

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

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

NYT: Turkish Leader Disowns Trials That Helped Him Tame Military

Author: Tim Arango

"Whether the corruption charges are justified or not — there has been plenty of leaked evidence, especially wiretapped conversations, that appears incriminating — the corruption probe has laid bare the influence of the Gulen movement within the Turkish state, which had largely been suspected but hard to prove."

See more in Turkey; Politics and Strategy

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