A sortable index of the best online analyses and inquiries on foreign policy.
"After a decade of paedophilia scandals, the allegations of financial impropriety seemed set to unleash another storm of criticism and had to be addressed. Outside auditors as well as financial risk consultants were already coming into the Vatican but the arrest of Scarano made the case for reform unavoidable. "We cannot have any more scandal. It is so shameful," a senior member of the Vatican's financial administration said."
See more in Holy See/Vatican; Banks and Banking
What the editors of CFR.org are reading for the week of December 2 - December 6, 2013.
See more in Global; Politics and Strategy
"The crisis unleashed by Yanukovich's rejection of EU overtures in favour of closer ties with former master Moscow has cast fresh light on the intrigue and promiscuous politics of Ukraine's post-Orange Revolution elite; like all good businessmen, oligarchs hedge their bets."
See more in Ukraine; Political Movements and Protests
"And as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Richard Fisher helps make the money go round. Meet the Fed's most unlikely central banker."
See more in United States; Economics
"While there is a great deal of variation in the responses based on region, province, urban versus rural, education level, income, and gender, the 2013 survey findings give reason for cautious optimism as Afghans move into critical elections and security transition in 2014."
See more in Afghanistan; Polls and Opinion Analysis
"The path towards 2014 demands greater reconciliation among ethnic groups so as not to derail either the development process or the physical and moral resources of the government in chairing ASEAN and hosting other related summits in 2014."
See more in Burma/Myanmar; Regional Security
"Egyptian voters might well be asked to approve the new constitution without knowing much about when their new president and parliament will be elected or what sort of system will govern the parliament. They may not know whether the defense minister who ousted Morsi will run for president or whether a malleable civilian will be put forward for the job. They may not even know whether the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party will be dissolved and therefore banned from running for seats in parliament. All these are salient points, because the vote in January will be more a popular referendum on the July 2013 coup than one on the draft constitution itself, which few are likely to read."
See more in Egypt; Politics and Strategy
"Snowden grew up in the shadow of the biggest intelligence-gathering organization in the world – the National Security Agency – in the Anne Arundel County community of Crofton, Maryland. A solidly middle-class, planned community of 27,000 that Money has ranked as one of the '100 Best Places to Live,' Crofton, like the towns around it, fed the workforce of the defense and intelligence contractors in the area. The NSA, which employs tens of thousands of people in the public and private sectors, was just 15 miles away, at Fort Meade, whose high school boasts a 'homeland-security program' to funnel kids into the industry."
See more in United States; Defense and Security
"If the eurozone adopts the program outlined above, there should be no need for Germany to pick up any tab. But under the perverse policies that Europe has adopted, one debt restructuring has been followed by another. If Germany and the other northern European countries continue to insist on pursuing current policies, they, together with their southern neighbors, will wind up paying a high price."
See more in Europe; Financial Crises
"All of these steps are meant to ensure that the prime minister, and not the Army chief, is the most powerful Sharif in Pakistan. But that status is not easy to guarantee: before he was toppled by Musharraf, in 1999, Sharif thought that his position was invulnerable, thanks to a landslide victory that gave him an overwhelming majority in Parliament. If the direct threat of a coup has receded, today Sharif faces a broader array of checks on his power."
See more in Pakistan; Politics and Strategy
"The government refuses to confirm or deny whether someone is on the list, officially called the Terrorist Screening Database, or divulge the criteria used to make the decisions—other than to say the database includes 'individuals known or suspected to be or have been engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to terrorism and terrorist activities.' Even less is known about the secondary watch lists that are derived from the main one."
See more in Global; Counterterrorism
"China is eager to re-establish dominance over the region. Bitterness at the memory of the barbaric Japanese occupation in the second world war sharpens this desire. It is this possibility of a clash between a rising and an established power that lies behind the oft-used parallel between contemporary East Asia and early 20th-century Europe, in which the Senkakus play the role of Sarajevo."
See more in China; Regional Security
"A day spent as an inpatient at an American hospital costs on average more than $4,000, five times the charge in many other developed countries, according to the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurance industries. The most expensive hospitals charge more than $12,500 a day. And at many of them, including California Pacific Medical Center, emergency rooms are profit centers. That is why one of the simplest and oldest medical procedures—closing a wound with a needle and thread—typically leads to bills of at least $1,500 and often much more."
See more in United States; Health
"Once you have beaten back a disease to just a few hundred cases, they will almost by definition be concentrated in places where there's some barrier—geographical, cultural, political—to easy vaccination. In general, each marginal case will cost more, and will consume more time and effort and labor, than the one before it...[but] the math of cost-benefit analyses runs aground when it comes to eradication campaigns, because the benefits, in theory, are infinite."
See more in Asia and Pacific; Health
"If Japan's government can overcome a demand setback after the tax increase takes effect – leaving the economy functioning smoothly and initiating a recovery in government revenue – Abe will be able to declare Abenomics an unequivocal success."
See more in Japan; Economic Development
"Unlike his predecessors, Xi is making foreign policy with the mindset of a great power, increasingly probing U.S. commitments to its allies in the region and exploiting opportunities to change the status quo."
See more in China; Business and Foreign Policy
"When asked if Karzai was concerned that the US might lose faith and withdraw altogether, the president's spokesman said: 'We don't believe there is a zero option.' This rock solid belief that the U.S. will not walk away from Afghanistan gives Karzai the confidence to hold out when the Americans, as well as everyone at the jirga...are pressing him to sign."
See more in Afghanistan; Regional Security
"[Karzai] would support an alternate center of power in the provinces in order to undermine the official one, such as the governor, that he had formally appointed. That way, both could be controlled by being balanced against each other; two weak allies were better than a single strong one who might break away. The result was perpetual instability. The tragedy of Karzai is that his survival strategy has been one that ultimately promotes weakness rather than strength."
See more in Afghanistan; Presidents and Chiefs of State
What the editors of CFR.org are reading for the week of November 18 - November 22, 2013.
See more in Global; Politics and Strategy
"In our interview, [Anote] Tong said he believes the Obama administration cares about the issue. But he noted that "there are people in Congress who are allergic to the term 'climate change.' " These are the people, he said, he wants to visit Kiribati before it's too late."
See more in Kiribati; Climate Change
No Exit from Pakistan
The story of the tragic and often tormented relationship between the United States and Pakistan, and a call to prepare for the worst, aim for the best, and avoid past mistakes. More
Pathways to Freedom
An authoritative and accessible look at what countries must do to build durable and prosperous democracies—and what the United States and others can do to help. More
The Power Surge
A groundbreaking analysis of what the changes in American energy mean for the economy, national security, and the environment. More
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Independent Task Force Reports
Now Available: Foreign Policy Begins at Home
New Foreign Affairs eBook: The Clash of Civilizations?