THE BEST OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
January 28, 2015
The future of digital currency
Bitcoin is only six years old, and already many are declaring it dead. But whether or not bitcoin itself survives misses the larger point – the technology underlying it will only become more influential going forward. The centralized global financial system is just too vulnerable to disruption. From the Wall Street Journal.
January 27, 2015
The independent press
In Egypt, the major private media belong to industrial conglomerates that must maintain good relations with the government for the sake of business. But small news websites are trying to counter the official narrative while keeping the doors open. The Guardian profiles, Mada Masr, the largest among a handful of independent online news outlets.
January 26, 2015
An interview with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on the war, negotiating with the rebels, Syria's relationship with Iran and Hezbollah, allegations torture, and the United States. Assad remains as slippery as ever. "Before talking about winning territory, talk about winning the hearts and minds and the support of the Syrian people. That’s what we have won."
January 23, 2015
Climate Change Adaptation, Florida Style
Florida’s long, low coastline makes it particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels. And while many U.S. politicians don't want to talk about climate change, those conversations are happening at the local level. Adaptation means elevating roads, fortifying seawalls and, this being Miami, building floating residential areas.
January 22, 2015
Development through remittance?
In 2015, workers in the West will send an estimated $454 billion to relatives in developing countries, writes Doug Saunders for the Literary Review of Canada. That's more than three times the size of all foreign aid spending. The question is, is that money more effective at spurring development than aid?
January 21, 2015
To catch a terrorist
What is the best way to stop the 'bad guys'? The NSA thinks that collecting phone metadata is vital, because terrorists often work within networks. But if you collect all of the hay, can it make it more difficult to find the needle? Mattathias Schwartz considers the example of Basaaly Moalin, the only case where the NSA’s phone-records program proved decisive.
January 20, 2015
The path to the Charlie Hebdo attack
How Chérif and Saïd Kouachi became terrorists: "The 10-year evolution from easily spooked amateur to hardened killer is a story of steadily deepening radicalism that occurred virtually under the noses of French authorities." By Rukmini Callimachi and Jim Yardley for the New York Times.
January 19, 2015
France’s new antisemitism
More and more French Jews are moving to Israel. What is driving them out of France? While there has been a dramatic waning of old-school French antisemitism over latter part of the 20th century, there has been a spike in anti-Jewish violence committed by Muslims since 2000. By Natasha Lehrer for The Guardian.
January 15, 2015
The death of Dr. Khan
Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan was a hero in the early fight against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, writes Joshua Hammer for Matter. When he eventually tested positive for Ebola himself, "a debate began about how to save him — one that would be steeped in agonized second-guessing and lingering controversy."
January 15, 2015
"In the decades to come, the city, not the state, will decide stability and development," writes Robert Muggah for Foreign Affairs. But while some cities are growing richer, other cities are becoming more violent and dangerous. What causes this urban 'fragility' and how do we fix it?
January 14, 2015
The real enemy
While the West has been preoccupied with ISIS, little attention has been paid to the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, writes Ahmed Rashid for the New York Review of Books. The Paris attacks demonstrate that the latter organization represents the greatest danger.
January 13, 2015
Turkey on the edge
"Turkey, geographically and culturally, is the east of the west and the west of the east," writes David Gardner for Financial Times. That is and used to be the country's selling point. Now it's increasingly a source of tension dividing the country and could ultimately lead to it "slipping from the ragged edges of Europe into the vortex of the Middle East."
January 12, 2015
Colombia’s Next Act
"They say Colombia is on the brink of historic change," writes Stephanie Nolen for the Globe and Mail. Ongoing peace talks between the government and FARC could soon end a 40-year war. But rebuilding the country after decades of conflict will take much more than a peace agreement.
January 9, 2015
The cartoonist Joe Sacco reacts to the murders at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris as only he can: "When we draw a line, we are often crossing one too. Because lines on paper are a weapon, and satire is meant to cut to the bone. But whose bone? What exactly is the target? And why?" For the Guardian.
January 8, 2015
Russia’s secret war
The story of Petr Khokhlov, a Russian solider captured in Ukraine. The story raises questions about the extent of the Russian military's involvement in the country and the impact of that involvement not just on Ukraine, but also on the families of the Russian soldiers fighting there. By Joshua Yaffa for the New York Times Magazine.