Must Reads

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

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

Financial Times: Obama Walks Into Crossfire of Asian Tensions

Authors: Geoff Dyer, Demetri Sevastopulo, and Simon Mundy

"The U.S. has been particularly frustrated at the deterioration in relations between Tokyo and Seoul, as it believes that relationship is important to help check the rise of China in the region, which is one reason that some high-profile Asia experts in the US have been urging Mr Obama to visit South Korea."

See more in Japan; South Korea; Economic Development; Global Governance

New York Review of Books: Africa Attacks the International Criminal Court

Author: Kenneth Roth

"The court's future now rests to a large extent on the battle being waged between African leaders with little interest in justice and those Africans, including many activists and victims, who see an end to impunity for mass atrocities as essential for Africa's future. One can only hope that the welfare of African people takes precedence over the perceived interests of African leaders."

See more in Africa (sub-Saharan); Global Governance

The Diplomat: Japan and Russia: Arctic Friends

Author: Stratos Pourzitakis

"Through its warming ties with Russia, Japan seeks to exploit the Arctic's potential and to win support in standing up to what it regards as China's assertive policies. Working with Russia is a great opportunity for Japan to strengthen ties with the most important player in the Arctic and gain leverage within the Arctic Council. It will also give Japanese energy and maritime corporations and scientific institutions valuable Arctic access."

See more in Japan; Russia and Central Asia; Energy Policy

New Republic: The Loneliness of Vladimir Putin

Author: Julia Ioffe

"The increasingly real threat of economic turmoil is already chipping away at Putin's power with more effectiveness than any protest movement. There is bound to be a vacuum when the forces of economics prevail. But a movement that is pulled in myriad different directions, that cannot decide on an identity, and yet lacks variety in its leaders cannot fill the void. By crushing the opposition, Putin has all but ensured that, once again, Russia's history will repeat itself, and only the wrong people will be there to step in—the ultra-nationalists, childlike faddists, and dangerous purists."

See more in Russia and Central Asia; Economics; Development