What CFR.org editors are reading the week of February 17–21, 2014.
A sortable index of the best online analyses and inquiries on foreign policy.
What CFR.org editors are reading the week of February 17–21, 2014.
"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."
"Kilis is one of the cleanest, most humane, most efficiently run refugee camps in history. And therein may lie the problem."
"The campaign of looting and murder in recent weeks has led to an alarming demographic crisis in the Central African Republic. About 1 million of its 4.6 million people have been displaced and at least 2,000 have been killed."
"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."
"[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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"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."
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.
What CFR.org Editors are reading the week of February 10–14, 2014.
"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."
"The 2014 World Press Freedom Index spotlights the negative impact of conflicts on freedom of information and its protagonists. The ranking of some countries has also been affected by a tendency to interpret national security needs in an overly broad and abusive manner to the detriment of the right to inform and be informed."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"Of the approximately hundred thousand Jews in Iran at the time of the revolution, only twenty thousand remain. They…no 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."
"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."
Smith's insightful book explores the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate its relationship with an advancing China. More
This revolutionary new look at volatility and crisis in oil markets explores the conditions in which oil supply fears arise, gain popularity, and eventually wane. More
Maximalist finds lessons in the past that anticipate and clarify our chaotic present, revealing the history of U.S. foreign policy in an unexpected new light. More
Rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries are increasing faster than in wealthier countries. The Independent Task Force outlines a plan for collective action on this growing epidemic.
This Independent Task Force asserts that elevating and prioritizing the U.S.-Canada-Mexico relationship offers the best opportunity for strengthening the United States and its place in the world.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
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