THE BEST OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
FROM AROUND THE WEB
October 24, 2014
Twenty-five years after the end of the communism, the prevailing narrative about the postcommunist world has turned gloomy. That narrative is wrong, write Andrei Shleifer and Daniel Treisman for Foreign Affairs: "Not every change has been for the better. But writing off postcommunist reforms as a failure would be a mistake." (metered paywall)
October 23, 2014
The ISIS Propaganda Machine
Marshall Sella analyzes how the terrorist organization mixes new-media savvy with medieval savagery and its effect on its Western audience for Matter: "On one side of it, there’s the recruiting effort... On the other side, the message to those who will not join the cause is: We are going to destroy you..."
October 22, 2014
Inside the fight against Ebola
From the Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone to the Broad Institute at M.I.T., Richard Preston recounts the international fight to contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa for The New Yorker: "By now, the warriors against Ebola understand that they face a long struggle against a formidable enemy."
October 21, 2014
Mugil joined the Tamil Tigers when she was 13 years old. She fought with them for 15 years. Rohini Mohan tells her story for Guernica: "In the tradition of so many youngsters who joined the Tigers, Mugil left a note at home one day, writing about her desire to go to battle with her generation so that her elders and the children of the future would have a country."
October 20, 2014
Assad Goes On
With the war in Syria now focused on the fight against ISIS, life in other parts of the country has returned to, if not normalcy, than at least some semblance of ordinary life, writes Charles Glass for the New York Review of Books. Many of the protestors against Assad have given up, disillusioned with the rebellion that has brought little but destruction.
October 17, 2014
China on top?
Orville Schell discusses his recent essay on how the U.S.-China relationship has changed since the Jimmy Carter era in a Vice News-New York Review of Books video collaboration: "Watching this former US president treated so offhandedly highlighted how the power relationship between the two countries is shifting."
October 17, 2014
The Meat Debate
"Meat—especially beef—is cigarettes and a Hummer rolled into one. For the sake of the animals, our own health, and the health of the planet, we must eat less of it," writes Robert Kunzig for National Geographic. But meat is also delicious and nutritious. Global demand is soaring. "In short, meat—especially beef—has become the stuff of fierce debate."
October 16, 2014
The island of asylum seekers
Australia's Christmas Island is home to 1,000 asylum seekers, 1,400 long-term residents, 600 fly-in-fly out workers, as well as one of Australia’s biggest detention centres. Oliver Laughland paints a picture for The Guardian of living life in limbo.
October 15, 2014
Escaping Boko Haram
When Boko Haram kidnapped 276 Nigerian schoolgirls six months ago, a handful managed to escape. Sarah A. Topol tells the story of their ordeal for Matter: "This is what’s going to happen now. We have to run. If we run and they kill us, so be it. But we have to run now."
October 14, 2014
The guardian of Bossemptele
The story of Father Bernard Kinvi, a priest living in a small town in the Central African Republic, who did all he could to protect Muslims from the antibalaka militia members who wanted to kill them. By Jon Lee Anderson for the New Yorker. The sectarian tensions in the CAR continue to simmer.
October 10, 2014
Myanmar’s Truth Speaker
A profile of Zarganar, Myanmar’s most popular comedian and satirist who was imprisoned and tortured for criticizing the state, by David Pilling for FT. Zarganar is not optimistic about his country's future, despite recent steps towards democratic reforms: "He puts his chances of remaining free at 50-50."
October 9, 2014
Talking to Terrorists
"It is hard not to respond emotionally to a terrorist act in the heat of the moment," writes Jonathan Powell, Britain’s chief broker of the Northern Ireland peace deal, in an essay for the Guardian. You don't want to negotiate with evil, you want to defeat it. But there can never be a purely military solution to a political problem.
October 8, 2014
A pre-failed state?
Westerners, most visibly George Clooney, played a large role in the independence of South Sudan. It was an ambitious project. But when the world's newest country began imploding, it demonstrated the real limitations of humanitarianism, writes Alex Perry for Newsweek. But that doesn't mean Western intervention will stop.
October 7, 2014
The limits of control
Yakzan Shishakly, a Syrian-American, went to Syria with the best intentions. And as the unofficial manager of the Atmeh refugee camp, he did a lot of good. But in Atmeh, much like Syria as whole, even the best intentions can backfire. Joshua Hersh reports for the Virginia Quarterly Review.
October 6, 2014
Egypt through the eyes of a garbageman
"Many things in Egypt don’t work very well," writes Peter Hessler for the New Yorker. "But there hasn’t been a single day when the trash wasn’t cleared outside my kitchen door." Hessler explains how his local garbageman can teach you a lot about the country as a whole.