Must Read

Majalla: Iran's Fourth Estate

Author: Arash Karami

"The state of the Iranian media can serve as a bellwether for understanding where the country is headed. In the past, the restrictions under which Iranian journalists had to operate fluctuated as the political fortunes of conservatives and reformists shifted."

See more in Iran; Censorship and Freedom of Speech

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Carnegie Europe: Foundations of German Power

Author: Ulrich Speck

"Without a strong and assertive Germany, there can be no strong and assertive EU in the world. And without a more self-confident EU, the liberal global order―built and underpinned for decades by the United States―might not be sustainable. Germany must start to invest more in an order from which it has benefited so much over the decades."

See more in Germany; Business and Foreign Policy

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Congressional Research Service: Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

"Although Russia may not be as central to U.S. interests as was the Soviet Union, cooperation between the two is essential in many areas. Russia remains a nuclear superpower. It still has a major impact on U.S. national security interests in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Russia has an important role in the future of arms control, the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the fight against terrorism."

See more in Russian Federation; United States; Defense and Security

Op-Ed

Israel Gets No Credit From Obama for a Year of Moderate Settlement Construction

Authors: Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot
Washington Post

President Obama recently complained about "aggressive" settlement construction by Israel, but the facts are otherwise. The new statistics show that Israel is building energetically in Jerusalem and in the blocs it will obviously keep, and slowing construction in smaller settlements beyond its security barrier in areas that may someday be part of a Palestinian state. Elliott Abrams and Uri Sadot explain.

See more in Israel; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights

Article

China Wakes Up to Its Environmental Catastrophe

Author: Elizabeth C. Economy
BusinessWeek

China's premier declared a "war on pollution" at the National People's Congress, responding to the Chinese public's distress over the state of the country's environment. Though the government announced an array of new targets and measures, Elizabeth Economy argues that Beijing must move beyond bold promises of change and initiate real environmental reform.

See more in China; Pollution

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Financial Times: North Korea: Glimmer of Hope

Author: Simon Mundy

"After the starvation of up to 1m people in the famine demonstrated the state's inability to feed its people, it was forced to turn a blind eye to the informal markets that sprang up. For residents of cities such as Hyesan, near the border with China, the opportunity to engage in illicit trade with Chinese merchants has been especially lucrative."

See more in North Korea; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights

Article

Obama’s Focus Is on Nation-Building at Home

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
The New York Times

Every period of great exertion in American foreign policy — World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the cold war, the post-9/11 wars — has been followed by some sort of downsizing. To many, this feels like weakness; to others, mere realism. But there's no arguing with the pattern. The past few years were going to be a time of retrenchment no matter who was in charge.

See more in United States; Development

Testimony

The Northern Ireland Peace Process Today

Author: Richard N. Haass

In his testimony before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs' Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations and Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, Richard N. Haass discusses his role as the chair of the Panel of parties in the Northern Ireland Executive and the remit of forging consensus on the use of flags and emblems; the regulation of parades, commemorations, and attendant protests; and contending with the past.

See more in Ireland; Peace, Conflict, and Human Rights