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READINGS

THE BEST OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
FROM AROUND THE WEB

  • July 28, 2014

    Putin’s Challenge to Europe

    "Along with countless shells and missiles, what Russian President Vladimir Putin has lobbed into Ukraine is a set of ideological challenges to the post-Second World War peace built on progressive pluralism and European cooperation," writes Doug Saunders for the Globe and Mail.

  • July 25, 2014

    One Day in the Life of Vladimir Putin

    Ben Judah sketches out Putin's private habits and routines based on a series of interviews with Russian officials in a rather personal look at "this latter-day dictator", published by Newsweek: "He is obsessed with information. The thickest, fattest folders at his request are not intelligence reports: they are press clippings."

  • July 24, 2014

    Minnow Embassies

    When you're the ambassador of a country of 100,000 people, it can be difficult to make your voice heard in a place as big as China. But when your country relies on the outside world for its livelihood, you find a way, writes Oscar Holland for That's: "It is easy to dismiss these embassies as glorified travel agencies, but their work is wide-ranging."

  • July 23, 2014

    Beyond Borders

    "Inspired by a vision of a pre-modern world with more freedom to wander, [Ecuador] has been experimenting with making political boundaries more flexible. It’s one of the world’s boldest contemporary efforts to reinvent human migration," writes William Wheeler for The Atlantic. The results have been mixed.

  • July 22, 2014

    Failed Diplomacy

    The "explosive" (and very detailed) inside story of the failed peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine instigated by John Kerry, by Ben Birnbaum and Amir Tibon for the New Republic: "We seem to have reached the end of an era in the peace process. And no one harbors much hope for what comes next."

  • July 21, 2014

    Living Downstream from China

    One day last December, the water level of the Mekong River in northern Thailand suddenly rose by several metres. Then in February, the water level suddenly fell by a metre in some parts. Were these fluctuations the result of natural phenomenon, or were two massive dams in China to blame? Pilita Clark reports for FT.

  • July 18, 2014

    Fanning the Flames

    The New Yorker editor David Remnick on the situation in eastern Ukraine and Putin's role: "[Putin] has fanned a kind of prolonged political frenzy... that serves his immediate political needs but that he can no longer easily calibrate and control." The crash of Flight MH17 could escalate things further.

  • July 17, 2014

    On the Front Lines in Eastern Ukraine

    A Radio Free Europe interview with Artur Gasparyan, an Armenian who volunteered to fight in eastern Ukraine. He barely survived the battle for Donetsk Airport: "There was gossip that supposedly we were so tough and everyone was afraid of us. But it turned out just the opposite."

  • July 16, 2014

    Costs and Benefits

    "Trade, Not Aid" has become a popular slogan in development, but more foreign investment doesn't necessarily mean more development, writes Christiane Badgley for Foreign Policy: "Many African governments are offering increasingly lucrative terms to attract foreign investment. But will the cost of these incentives outweigh the benefits to Africans?"

  • July 15, 2014

    Can the BRICS Change the World?

    "Every time [the BRICS summit] happens, there are questions about whether the Brics grouping is anything more than a catchy acronym," writes Katy Watson for BBC News. But while trade may not be a strength, there is something else that united them: a dissatisfaction with the current global order.

  • July 14, 2014

    Social Media in Putin’s Russia

    When the FSB asked Pavel Durov – Russia's Mark Zuckerberg – for personal data about Ukrainians criticizing Moscow on VK, the social network Durov ran, he told the security agency to get lost. Five days later, Durov has been removed as VK's CEO. James Bradshaw tells the story for the Globe and Mail.

  • July 11, 2014

    How Things Fall Apart

    In Nigeria, writes Alex Perry for Newsweek, "prejudice, rumor and suspicion rule; certainty and knowledge are lost." It's a vacuum where sectarianism, self-interest, corruption, ruthlessness, and brutality can grow. Exhibit A, Boko Haram. Exhibit B, the Nigerian government and its security services.

  • July 10, 2014

    Spying Comes Home

    Glenn Greenwald's big story this week: "The National Security Agency and FBI have covertly monitored the emails of prominent Muslim-Americans—including a political candidate and several civil rights activists, academics, and lawyers—under secretive procedures intended to target terrorists and foreign spies."

  • July 9, 2014

    GDP, What is it Good For?

    In the abstract, we tend to think the bigger the number, the better the economy. But the more you dig into where that number comes from, writes David Pilling for Financial Times, the more slippery it becomes, entirely failing "to capture the complex trade-offs between present and future, work and leisure, 'good' growth and 'bad' growth."

  • July 8, 2014

    Tough Times for Liberal Democracy

    Are the authoritarians winning? asks Michael Ignatieff in an article for the NYRoB. It's probably not a high point for liberal democracies, what with austerity, political logjams, and a retreat from internationalism. Ignatieff's solution: double down on liberal institutions and enough taxes to pay for them.

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