Global

Foreign Affairs Article

The Clean Energy Revolution

Authors: Varun Sivaram and Teryn Norris

If the world is to avoid climate calamity, it needs to reduce its carbon emissions drastically by the middle of this century—a target that is simply out of reach with existing technology. Varun Sivaram and his co-author present the case for a massive investment in clean energy research and development to reach that goal. 

See more in Global; Renewable Energy

Foreign Affairs Article

The IMF’s Next Five Years

Author: Robert Kahn

In the next five years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will face new challenges as it struggles to come to terms with a rapidly changing global marketplace and with lending rules poorly suited for the crises the institution will likely face. These challenges will force the IMF to scrutinize and adjust its lending rules. A broader issue is also at play: financial markets are becoming bigger more quickly than the institution’s resources are, and IMF rescue alone may be insufficient in the future . How the financing burden is shared with other official creditors will help determine whether the fund is an effective leader of the global effort to prevent and resolve economic crises in the coming decades.

 

See more in Global; International Finance; International Organizations and Alliances

Foreign Affairs Article

Digital Counterinsurgency: How to Marginalize the Islamic State Online

Author: Jared Cohen

The Islamic State, or ISIS, is the first terrorist group to hold both physical and digital territory: in addition to the swaths of land it controls in Iraq and Syria, it dominates pockets of the Internet with relative impunity. But it will hardly be the last. Although there are still some fringe terrorist groups in the western Sahel or other rural areas that do not supplement their violence digitally, it is only a matter of time before they also go online.

See more in Syria; Global; Cybersecurity; Counterterrorism

Foreign Affairs Article

Ebola’s Lessons

Author: Laurie Garrett

In a biological sense, last year’s Ebola epidemic, which struck West Africa, spilled over into the United States and Europe, and has to date led to more than 27,000 infections and more than 11,000 deaths, was a great surprise. Local health and political leaders did not know of the presence of the hemorrhagic fever virus in the 35,000-square-mile Guinea Forest Region, and no human cases had ever been identified in the region prior to the outbreak.

See more in Global; Public Health Threats and Pandemics

Foreign Affairs Article

City Century

Author: Michael Bloomberg

Although history is not usually taught this way, one could argue that cities have played a more important role in shaping the world than empires. From Athens and Rome to Paris and Venice to Baghdad and Beijing, urban ideas and innovators have left indelible marks on human life. 

See more in Global; Climate Change

Foreign Affairs Article

Bean Counters to the Rescue

Author: Diane Coyle

What is a company worth? On its latest balance sheet, Apple showed assets of $261 billion, including $8.7 billion of “intangibles,” such as the positive views of the company held by consumers and investors.

See more in Global; Economics

Foreign Affairs Article

The Next 
Safety Net

Authors: Nicolas Colin and Bruno Palier

As advanced economies become more automated and digitized, almost all workers will be affected, but some more than others. Those who have what the economists Maarten Goos and Alan Manning call “lovely jobs” will do fine, creating and managing robots and various digital applications and adding lots of value in service sectors such as finance.

See more in Global; Digital Infrastructure

Foreign Affairs Article

The Decline of International Studies

Author: Charles King

In October 2013, the U.S. Department of State eliminated its funding program for advanced language and cultural training on Russia and the former Soviet Union. Created in 1983 as a special appropriation by Congress, the so-called Title VIII Program had supported generations of specialists working in academia, think tanks, and the U.S. government itself. But as a State Department official told the Russian news service RIA Novosti at the time, “In this fiscal climate, it just didn’t make it.”

See more in Global; History and Theory of International Relations

Foreign Affairs Article

Improving 
Humanitarian Aid

Authors: David Miliband and Ravi Gurumurthy

Every month, nearly one million people flee their homes because of conflicts or natural disasters. With few wars ending, and new wars starting, the number of people displaced by conflict now exceeds 50 million. Not since World War II have people sought refuge—in their own countries or in neighboring states—on such a scale.

See more in Global; Humanitarian Intervention

Foreign Affairs Article

Regime Change for Humanitarian Aid

Authors: Michael N. Barnett and Peter Walker

The global humanitarian system, already under considerable strain, will soon be tested as never before. In 2013, the gap between the funds available for humanitarian aid and estimated global needs reached $4.5 billion, leaving at least one-third of the demand unmet. The gap seems certain to widen, as key donors cut their contributions and humanitarian disasters grow more frequent and severe.

See more in Global; Humanitarian Intervention

Foreign Affairs Article

The Facts of Life

Author: Jill Lepore

Where do little children come from?’ This is an embarrassing question,” admitted Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Best, he thought, was to hope your kid doesn’t ask it. But if the question does come up, Rousseau advised in 1762, answer it “with the greatest plainness, without mystery or confusion.” 

See more in Global; Education

Foreign Affairs Article

Drone On

Author: Gretchen West
In the beginning, drones were almost exclusively the province of militaries. At first little more than remote-controlled model planes used in the World War I era, military drones advanced steadily over the decades, eventually becoming sophisticated tools that could surveil battlefield enemies from the sky. Today, the terms “drone” and “unmanned aircraft system” denote a vehicle that navigates through the air from point A to point B and is either remotely controlled or flies autonomously.

See more in Global; Space

Foreign Affairs Article

The Democratization of Space

Authors: Dave Baiocchi and William Wesler IV

Starting with the Soviets’ launch of Sputnik in 1957, early space missions were funded exclusively by national governments, and for good reason: going to space was astronomically expensive. Setting up a successful space program meant making major investments in expertise and infrastructure, along with tolerating a great deal of risk—which only the superpowers could do.

See more in Global; Space

Foreign Affairs Article

The Precision Agriculture Revolution

Author: Jess Lowenberg-DeBoer

housands of years ago, agriculture began as a highly site-specific activity. The first farmers were gardeners who nurtured individual plants, and they sought out the microclimates and patches of soil that favored those plants. But as farmers acquired scientific knowledge and mechanical expertise, they enlarged their plots, using standardized approaches—plowing the soil, spreading animal manure as fertilizer, rotating the crops from year to year—to boost crop yields.

See more in Global; Agricultural Policy