THE BEST OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
August 29, 2014
"ISIS has grown from being a small offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq into the wealthiest terror group in the world," writes Sheera Frenkel for Buzzfeed. The group is making millions selling oil and artifacts on the black market and running racketeering and kidnapping schemes. And since that wealth is produced locally, it isn't as vulnerable to outside sanctions.
August 27, 2014
Our Plasticized Oceans
The five major oceanic gyres – large systems of rotating ocean currents – make up about a quarter of the Earth’s surface. And we're slowly filling them with plastic, writes Bucky McMahon for Matter. That plastic eventually dissolves into dust that leaches toxic substances. Those substances are eaten by fish which we eat in turn.
August 27, 2014
The Seed Debate
Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva is leading the charge against industrial agriculture that relies on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fossil fuels, cheap water, and increasingly biotechnology like GMOS, writes Michael Specter for the New Yorker. But while Shiva's rhetoric is damning, the science doesn't always agree with her.
August 26, 2014
The “Kabubble” Breaks
At the height of the surge, Kabul was a boomtown full of expats with too much easy money and an inclination to misbehave, writes Matthieu Aikins for Rolling Stone. Now the party is over and foreign civilians are being targeted, sometimes by the Taliban and sometimes by Afghans who just don't like Westerners.
August 25, 2014
Going It Alone
Scotland will vote on whether or not to become an independent country on September 18, but there are some key questions that remain unanswered. The BBC's Vanessa Barford lists five big ones, including what currency the new country would use and how much oil revenue it can expect from the North Sea.
August 22, 2014
Meet Brazil’s Marina
When Presidential candidate Eduardo Campos was killed in a plane crash earlier this month, his choice for vice president Marina Silva was suddenly in the running. With her candidacy confirmed this week, as Dom Phillips reports in Time, the environmentalist is expected to shake up the campaign before October elections.
August 21, 2014
Defeating the Islamic State
While it appears the Islamic State is finally on the defensive in northern Iraq, it is far from defeated. It may be "only a matter of time before transnational operations are launched," The Economist reports. Military and political might is needed, including careful action by Iraq's new Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi.
August 20, 2014
The new ‘humanitarian innovation’ machine
With more people displaced than at any time since the Second World War, The Independent's Suzy Madigan looks at the transformation of the aid industry by those searching for radical solutions: "The aid sector is opening membership to business, technology developers and, crucially, affected populations."
August 19, 2014
A miners’ massacre in South Africa, two years on
The development of platinum mining was considering one of South Africa's recent "good stories" but the killing of 34 mineworkers two years ago exposed an ongoing struggle for justice. The Guardian's Jack Shenker looks at the battle for power and change in its wake.
August 18, 2014
China’s own ‘war on terror’
Violence in China's Western region of Xinjiang has raised questions whether the state is fighting terrorism or trying to repress the Uighur minority, as Nathan VanderKlippe reports in the Globe and Mail: "Are nations prepared to overlook China’s chokehold on religious groups?"
August 15, 2014
Inside the Islamic State
Vice News embedded itself in the Islamic State – "the world's newest declared state" – travelling from the group's power base in the Syrian city of Raqqa, where it continues to fight with the forces of Bashar al-Assad, to what used to be the Syrian-Iraq border, which they are in the process of erasing from the map.
August 14, 2014
Selling Libya By the Pound
The plundering of Libya's oil wealth began long before militias started collecting billions in cash payouts from the central state authority, writes David Samuels for Bloomberg Businessweek. Western banks lost billions that Qaddafi had invested with them while collecting sky-high fees.
August 13, 2014
At the Epicentre of the Ebola Outbreak
"This is the reality of fighting this Ebola outbreak. Too many patients, too many bodies, and not nearly enough money, people, chlorine or even ambulances to stop the dying." Jennifer Yang reports from a Médecins Sans Frontières Ebola treatment centre in Sierra Leone for the Toronto Star.
August 12, 2014
Clinton’s Foreign Policy Doctrine
Jeffrey Goldberg interviews the former secretary of state for The Atlantic about her take on American foreign policy, including Israel and Palestine, Iran, Iraq, and Syria : “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”
August 11, 2014
Unmasking China’s man in Africa
He goes by at least seven names and has clinched deals across five continents worth tens of billions of dollars. Tom Burgis investigates the man known as Sam Pa for the Financial Times Magazine, exposing a different side of China’s dealings in Africa: "one that heralds not a new dawn but the risk of perpetuating past misrule."