THE BEST OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
April 1, 2015
The rise of Podemos
A year ago, many dismissed Spain's Podemos ("We Can" in Spanish) as an angry, anti-austerity party that would fade away within months. Now it leads the polls. The Guardian reports on the origins of the upstart party that wants to bring the spirit of Greece’s Syriza to the euro zone's fourth-largest economy.
March 31, 2015
Living (and staying) in Iran
A female reporter's reflections on her life Iran: "I've chosen the harder path. Which means: not running off to another world as soon as life gets tough. It means staying in your own country and engaging in its discourse... I stay because, as my mother never stopped repeating, I am my own woman, but also my own man." From Guernica.
March 30, 2015
Who is Xi Jinping?
Xi Jinping is one of the most important leaders in the world – perhaps the most important. But what kind of leader is he? This New Yorker profile paints the picture of a man who is both a reformer and authoritarian, struggling to save his party while developing his country at a key juncture in its modern history.
March 27, 2015
The new arms race
It's no longer how many nuclear weapons you have, it's how innovative the weapons you do have are. The U.S. and others are upgrading lower yield weapons to make them more accurate. Not only is this process extremely expensive, but the increased accuracy might make it more tempting to actually use them. From Foreign Policy.
March 26, 2015
The Great Wall of India
When it is completed, the border fence between India and Bangladesh will stretch 2,545 miles, making it the world’s longest. And yet, in many ways the border it stands on is an imaginary one. Goods and people continue to pass through. More real are the stories of those people, "inscribed on a fiction, the one that no nation-state can live without." From n + 1.
March 25, 2015
In defence of submarines
Canada's fleet of submarines, bought second hand from the British Navy, are an expensive albatross. Or so the story goes. But is there any truth to that narrative, asks Nathan M. Greenfield. He defends the vessels here, arguing that it is the public’s lack of "sea consciousness" that is the real problem. From The Walrus.
March 24, 2015
The Fourth Reich?
Comparisons to Nazi Germany usually signal the loss of an argument (see Goodwin's law), but here Spiegel takes the idea of Germany's "Fourth Reich" head on. Yes, Germany dominates the euro zone, but it remains a foreign policy dwarf. Nonetheless, a little less hubris from Berlin could go a long way in dispelling fears elsewhere in Europe.
March 23, 2015
When seven young students left Montreal to join ISIS, it raised some big questions about the relationship between Quebec culture (and Canada's) and its Muslim minority. "The conflict sets small-but-growing Muslim communities who hold fast to faith against a majority population that prefers religion to remain entirely private." From the Globe and Mail
March 20, 2015
A new chance for an impossible peace
Colombia has been at war since 1948, with the Farc, the army, paramilitaries, and narco-traffickers battling over terrain. Talks this week in Havana are "determined, against the odds, to broker what for many has become an impossible dream of peace and with it some kind of justice," writes Ed Vulliamy in The Guardian.
March 18, 2015
“What will it take?”
What will it take to push the international community into greater action on Syria? It might take years, writes Lyse Doucet. Russia and the U.S. are at odds over Ukraine, the focus is on the fight against ISIS and a nuclear deal with Iran, and the "moderate" opposition is losing ground. From BBC News.
March 17, 2015
The future of European Jewry
"Is it time for the Jews to leave Europe?" You would think the answer would be obvious: of course not. But Jeffrey Goldberg is not optimistic. The long shadow of the Holocaust is fading and anti-Semitism is on the rise, now a mixture of Muslim Judeophobia and old-fashioned European fascist tropes. From The Atlantic.
March 16, 2015
There's no shortage of analysis of ISIS, but what about the forces fighting on the other side? Shiite militias have proven to be effective on the battlefield, but if they dominate the Iraqi security forces (and they now outnumber the army and police), what does that mean for a country rife with sectarian tension? From Rolling Stone.
March 16, 2015
Settlers of the West Bank
Benjamin Netanyahu's record on settlements in the West Bank is a central element of his troubled relationship with the US and Europe. The New York Times crunches the numbers on overall settlement growth (Netanyahu's policy is hardly an outlier compared to past Israeli leaders) and takes a closer look at four specific settlements.
March 13, 2015
Cuba on the brink
As relations with the US get warmer, Cuba is going to go through a lot of changes over the next decade. But who will benefit from those changes and who will be left behind? The country's entrepreneurial class, used to wheeling and dealing on the black market, will certainly benefit. Others, not so much. From Newsweek.
March 12, 2015
The stark reflections of Rithy Panh, a documentary filmmaker and Khmer Rouge survivor, on interviewing Duch, the commandant of the notorious S-21 prison. A meditation on Cambodia's history, but also truth, knowledge, memory, and trauma. A harrowing read. From Longreads.