THE BEST OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
May 22, 2015
The rise of Yemen’s Houthis
In the London Review of Books, Ghaith Abdul-Ahad paints the most intimate picture of Houthi rebels: "The supreme military commander is a delicate and compact man... One evening I watched him enter the Houthis’ headquarters accompanied by two gunmen; his arrival caused a flutter among even the most senior apparatchiks..."
May 22, 2015
Canada’s Arctic Authority
The battle between the U.S. and Canada over the Northwest Passage has been simmering for decades. As Monte Reel writes in Bloomberg Business, it "has as much to do with the geopolitics of the Middle East as it does with the Arctic." Can Canada prove its jurisdiction with the help of Jim Balsillie and the HMS Erebus?
May 20, 2015
An unwanted people
Thousands of migrants, many of whom are Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar, travel to Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia despite a recent crackdown on human trafficking. As Niniek Karmin writes in the Globe and Mail, the Rohingya are "one of the world’s most persecuted minorities, yet their situation has long been ignored."
May 14, 2015
The Colder War
Much ink has been spilled on whether Russia is a military threat in the Arctic. We should be more worried about technical espionage than battleships: "Over the past few years, in fact, the Arctic Ocean countries have been busy building up their espionage armories with imaging satellites, reconnaissance drones, eavesdropping bases, spy planes, and stealthy subs."
May 13, 2015
Chrystia Freeland’s Ukraine
The Canadian politician reflects on the conflict between Ukraine, the homeland of her maternal grandparents, and Russia, in this essay for Brookings: "At its heart... the conflicts within Ukraine, and the fight Putin has picked with Ukraine, are about post-Soviet kleptocracy, and where and whether there is a popular will to resist it."
May 12, 2015
Street protests have rocked Burundi. At issue is President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term, despite evidence that this would violate both the constitution and the agreement that ended the country's 12-year civil war. How the protests play out could reverberate across Africa. By Geoffrey York for the Globe and Mail.
May 8, 2015
Belief and betrayal in Mali
A #longread from the Atavist Magazine on Mali through the lens of two friends who started a music festival that attracted some of the biggest rock stars in the world. That friendship would then be severed by ideology when one turned to radical Islam. A personal story as much as one about geopolitics.
May 6, 2015
The great migration goes home
In 2015, an estimated 170 million people travelled from China’s largest cities to their hometowns, mostly in the countryside, for the lunar New Year. That tide of migrants from the countryside to the cities has fueled the country's economic growth. And it might be coming to an end. From Financial Times.
May 5, 2015
Ahead of the British election this Thursday, the Guardian dissects David Cameron's tenure as prime minister and his chances for retaining the position: "Almost 10 years since he became Tory leader, Cameron was still fighting to convince the nation that he was more than a competent manager."
May 4, 2015
Can the U.S. military still “win”?
"The American military is unrivaled in its global reach, technological sophistication and destructive power," write Jeff Stein and Jonathan Broder for Newsweek. But when the nature of conflicts and the idea of "victory" change, that overwhelming military power doesn't mean as much as it once did.
May 1, 2015
The Mekong River begins in China. Downstream are Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. It's the world’s most productive inland fishery. It also has the potential to be a major source of electricity through dams. The problem is that those two things aren't necessarily compatible. From National Geographic.
April 30, 2015
With Argentina's history of financial instability, many Argentines want to trade their volatile pesos for more stable currencies. More and more, they're using Bitcoin, which can be cheaper and more convenient than using Argentina’s financial establishment. It's an experiment that could eventually disrupt banking sectors all over the world. From the New York Times Magazine.
April 29, 2015
Why austerity doesn’t work
Paul Krugman, writing for the Guardian this time, on austerity: "It is rare, in the history of economic thought, for debates to get resolved this decisively. The austerian ideology that dominated elite discourse five years ago has collapsed, to the point where hardly anyone still believes it." Except for the British that is.
April 28, 2015
Ed Crooks goes inside the U.S. shale revolution, from its initial boom to the recent drop in oil prices that has slowed but not killed off the sector, and its implications for the rest of the world, where an effective cap on oil prices because of increased U.S. production is bad news for a lot of economies. From Financial Times.
April 27, 2015
Crossing the Mediterranean
Why would someone pay $2,000 to risk their lives on an overcrowded, unseaworthy boat to cross the Mediterranean? Doug Saunders considers the question. For some – refugees from Syria recently – they are fleeing violence. For others – relatively wealthy Africans – they are heading towards a specific, chosen employment opportunity. From the Globe and Mail.