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  • Author: Stephen Biddle
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: International forces in Afghanistan are preparing to hand over responsibility for security to Afghan soldiers and police by the end of 2014. U.S. President Barack Obama has argued that battlefield successes since 2009 have enabled this transition and that with it, “this long war will come to a responsible end.” But the war will not end in 2014. The U.S. role may end, in whole or in part, but the war will continue -- and its ultimate outcome is very much in doubt.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Taliban
  • Author: Ruchir Sharma
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When Nitish Kumar became chief minister of the dirt-poor Indian state of Bihar in 2005, kidnapping was said to be the leading industry in the capital city of Patna. People searching for stolen cars were advised to check the driveway of a leading politician, who reportedly commandeered vehicles for “election duty.” Although known for his soft-spoken manner, Kumar cracked down hard. He straightened out the crooked police, ordering them to move aggressively against all criminals, from the daylight robbers to the corrupt high officials. He set up a new fast-track court to speed the miscreants to jail. As Biharis gained the courage to go out on the street, even after dark, Kumar set about energizing a landlocked economy with few outlets for manufactured exports. He focused on improving the yields of Bihar's fertile soil and ushered in a construction boom. Within a few years, a state once described by the writer V. S. Naipaul as “the place where civilization ends” had built one of the fastest-growing state economies in India. And Kumar was recognized as a leader in the new generation of dynamic chief ministers who are remaking the economic map and future of India.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: India, Patna
  • Author: Avery Goldstein
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Much of the debate about China's rise in recent years has focused on the potential dangers China could pose as an eventual peer competitor to the United States bent on challenging the existing international order. But another issue is far more pressing. For at least the next decade, while China remains relatively weak compared to the United States, there is a real danger that Beijing and Washington will find themselves in a crisis that could quickly escalate to military conflict. Unlike a long-term great-power strategic rivalry that might or might not develop down the road, the danger of a crisis involving the two nuclear-armed countries is a tangible, near-term concern -- and the events of the past few years suggest the risk might be increasing.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United States, China
  • Author: Macky Sall
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Since it gained independence from France in 1960, the West African country of Senegal has been a bastion of stability and democracy on a continent that has seen relatively little of either. During the presidency of Abdoulaye Wade (2000–2012), however, the Senegalese exception seemed under threat. The elderly Wade grew increasingly authoritarian and corrupt, and he managed to run for a third term even though the constitution prohibited him from doing so. But in March 2012, Senegalese voters dealt Wade a decisive defeat, electing the reformist candidate Macky Sall instead. Trained in France as a geological engineer, Sall had served in a number of government posts under Wade, including prime minister, before publicly breaking with him in 2007. In opposition, Sall created a new political party; served a second term as mayor of his hometown, Fatick; and organized an anti-Wade coalition. Sall spoke with Foreign Affairs senior editor Stuart Reid in Dakar in June, days before U.S. President Barack Obama's arrival in Senegal for a state visit.
  • Topic: Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Jagdish Bhagwati, Francisco Rivera-Batiz
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Ever since Congress passed the Immigration Reform and Control Act, in 1986, attempts at a similar comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policies have failed. Yet today, as the Republican Party smarts from its poor performance among Hispanic voters in 2012 and such influential Republicans as former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have come out in favor of a new approach, the day for comprehensive immigration reform may seem close at hand. President Barack Obama was so confident about its prospects that he asked for it in his State of the Union address in February 2013. Now, the U.S. Senate looks poised to offer illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship.
  • Topic: Government, Immigration, Reform
  • Political Geography: United States, Syria
26. Left Out
  • Author: Henning Meyer
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, social democrats in Europe believed that their moment had finally arrived. After a decade in which European politics had drifted toward the market-friendly policies of the right, the crisis represented an opportunity for the political center left's champions of more effective government regulation and greater social justice to reassert themselves.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe, France, Denmark, Slovakia
  • Author: Henry Farrell, Martha Finnemore
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The U.S. government seems outraged that people are leaking classified materials about its less attractive behavior. It certainly acts that way: three years ago, after Chelsea Manning, an army private then known as Bradley Manning, turned over hundreds of thousands of classified cables to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, U.S. authorities imprisoned the soldier under conditions that the UN special rapporteur on torture deemed cruel and inhumane. The Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, appearing on Meet the Press shortly thereafter, called WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange, “a high-tech terrorist.”
  • Topic: Security, Government, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, India
  • Author: Laurie Garrett
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: In May 2010, the richest, most powerful man in biotechnology made a new creature. J. Craig Venter and his private-company team started with DNA and constructed a novel genetic sequence of more than one million coded bits of information known as nucleotides. Seven years earlier, Venter had been the first person in history to make a functioning creature from information. Looking at the strings of letters representing the DNA sequence for a virus called phi X174, which infects bacteria, he thought to himself, “I can assemble real DNA based on that computer information.” And so he did, creating a virus based on the phi X174 genomic code. He followed the same recipe later on to generate the DNA for his larger and more sophisticated creature. Venter and his team figured out how to make an artificial bacterial cell, inserted their man-made DNA genome inside, and watched as the organic life form they had synthesized moved, ate, breathed, and replicated itself.
  • Author: Ronald K. Noble
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Ongoing research and discoveries in the life sciences -- the latest and most promising involving synthetic biology -- have led to extraordinary advances that will benefit society. But criminals and terrorists could manipulate such advances to disrupt public safety and national security. Since its founding in 1923, Interpol has learned that the most effective way to keep up with a constantly changing world is by engaging law enforcement and consulting experts in its 190 member countries. Effective solutions to new global security threats require the exchange of information and intelligence. As the methods criminals employ have developed, so, too, has Interpol's capacity for deploying new strategies and offering assistance to stop them.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism
  • Author: Cindy Williams
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: On March 1, 2013, the U.S. Department of Defense lost $37 billion overnight to sequestration. The cut marked the first wave of a series of planned cutbacks that will shrink future budgets across the federal government by about $1 trillion over nine years. The reductions had been set in motion back in 2011, when a special “super committee” established by the Budget Control Act (BCA) failed to reach a deficit-reduction agreement, triggering automatic cuts designed to punish both parties. Unlike other budget cuts, sequestration is implemented across the board, taking the same percentage bite out of every account. Except for the decision to spare the military personnel account that provides the pay for the United States' men and women in uniform, defense leaders had no choice about where to take the 2013 cuts. And so, with just seven months left in the fiscal year, sequestration abruptly erased about eight percent of the the Pentagon's budget for the year.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Melvyn P. Leffler
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The United States is now in a period of austerity, and after years of huge increases, the defense budget is set to be scaled back. Even those supporting the cuts stress the need to avoid the supposedly awful consequences of past retrenchments. “We have to remember the lessons of history,” President Barack Obama said in January 2012. “We can't afford to repeat the mistakes that have been made in the past -- after World War II, after Vietnam -- when our military policy was left ill prepared for the future. As commander in chief, I will not let that happen again.” Similarly, then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told Congress in October 2011, “After every major conflict -- World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the fall of the Soviet Union -- what happened was that we ultimately hollowed out the force. Whatever we do in confronting the challenges we face now on the fiscal side, we must not make that mistake.”
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: United States, Soviet Union, Vietnam, Korea
  • Author: Thomas Rid
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Cyberwar Is Coming!” declared the title of a seminal 1993 article by the RAND Corporation analysts John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt, who argued that the nascent Internet would fundamentally transform warfare. The idea seemed fanciful at the time, and it took more than a decade for members of the U.S. national security establishment to catch on. But once they did, a chorus of voices resounded in the mass media, proclaiming the dawn of the era of cyberwar and warning of its terrifying potential. In February 2011, then CIA Director Leon Panetta warned Congress that “the next Pearl Harbor could very well be a cyberattack.” And in late 2012, Mike McConnell, who had served as director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush, warned darkly that the United States could not “wait for the cyber equivalent of the collapse of the World Trade Centers.”
  • Topic: Security, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alan Greenspan
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: It was a call I never expected to receive. I had just returned home from playing indoor tennis on the chilly, windy Sunday afternoon of March 16, 2008. A senior official of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of Governors was on the phone to discuss the board's recent invocation, for the first time in decades, of the obscure but explosive Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. Broadly interpreted, that section empowered the Federal Reserve to lend nearly unlimited cash to virtually anybody: in this case, the Fed planned to loan nearly $29 billion to J.P. Morgan to facilitate the bank's acquisition of the investment firm Bear Stearns, which was on the edge of bankruptcy, having run through nearly $20 billion of cash in the previous week.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Charles W. Calomiris, Stephen H. Haber
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: People routinely blame politics for outcomes they don't like, often with good reason: when the dolt in the cubicle down the hall gets a promotion because he plays golf with the boss, when a powerful senator delivers pork-barrel spending to his home state, when a well-connected entrepreneur obtains millions of dollars in government subsidies to build factories that will probably never become competitive enterprises. Yet conventional wisdom holds that politics is not at fault when it comes to banking crises and that such crises instead result from unforeseen and extraordinary circumstances.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Author: Jose W. Fernandez
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: International development has moved beyond charity. Gone are the days when the United States would just spend its seemingly bottomless largess to help less fortunate or vanquished countries, as it did after World War II. International development has reached a new, globally competitive stage, bringing with it enormous strategic and economic implications for the United States in the years ahead.
  • Topic: Development, War
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Alan B. Sielen
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Of all the threats looming over the planet today, one of the most alarming is the seemingly inexorable descent of the world's oceans into ecological perdition. Over the last several decades, human activities have so altered the basic chemistry of the seas that they are now experiencing evolution in reverse: a return to the barren primeval waters of hundreds of millions of years ago. A visitor to the oceans at the dawn of time would have found an underwater world that was mostly lifeless. Eventually, around 3.5 billion years ago, basic organisms began to emerge from the primordial ooze. This microbial soup of algae and bacteria needed little oxygen to survive. Worms, jellyfish, and toxic fireweed ruled the deep. In time, these simple organisms began to evolve into higher life forms, resulting in the wondrously rich diversity of fish, corals, whales, and other sea life one associates with the oceans today.
  • Author: Sebastian Thrun
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: Sebastian Thrun is one of the world's leading experts on robotics and artificial intelligence. Born in Solingen, Germany, in 1967, he received his undergraduate education at the University of Hildesheim and his graduate education at the University of Bonn. He joined the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University in 1995 and moved to Stanford University in 2003. Thrun led the team that won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, a driverless car competition sponsored by the U.S. Defense Department, and in 2007, he joined the staff of Google, eventually becoming the first head of Google X, the company's secretive big-think research lab. He co-founded the online-education start-up Udacity in 2012. In late August, he spoke to Foreign Affairs editor Gideon Rose in the Udacity offices.
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany
  • Author: Max Hastings
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: For decades, World War II suffused the hearts and minds of the American generation that experienced it as “the good war,” in which Allied virtue eventually triumphed over fascist evil. Today, Western societies are mature enough to adopt a more nuanced perspective. There remains no doubt that “our side” deserved to win; terrible consequences would have befallen the world following an Axis victory. But the Allied cause was morally compromised by the need to enlist the services of Joseph Stalin's tyranny in order to defeat the forces of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Hideki Tojo.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Pankaj Mishra
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: According to Perry Anderson's new book, The Indian Ideology, India's democracy -- routinely celebrated as the world's largest -- is actually a sham. It is fatally compromised by its origins in an anticolonial struggle led by the “monolithically Hindu” Congress party, which Anderson holds largely responsible for the bloodiness of the partition of the British-ruled subcontinent in 1947. Anderson describes India's most famous leader, Mahatma (“Great Soul”) Gandhi, as a crank and a “stranger” to “real intellectual exchange.” Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi's political disciple and India's first prime minister, was a mediocrity. And both of these upper-caste maladroits were considerably inferior to their sharpest critic, B. R. Ambedkar, the leader of the Dalits (low-caste Hindus) and the main framer of India's constitution.
  • Political Geography: India
  • Author: John Pomfret
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Foreign Affairs
  • Institution: Council on Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: My First Trip to China: Scholars, Diplomats, and Journalists Reflect on Their First Encounters With China. 
Edited by Kin-Ming Liu. East Slope Publishing, 2012, 316 pp. $28.00. Over the last decade or so, historians and journalists have chipped away -- some with sledgehammers, others with mallets -- at several long-standing myths about China's past. China wasn't all darkness and pain before the communist revolution of 1949, and Western efforts to change the country, long portrayed by historians as a tragic dead end, have been far more successful than anyone could have ever dreamed -- to cite just two. The weight of these and other revelations should demand a fundamental reassessment of China's position in the world, both in the past and going forward. But don't hold your breath. China scholars and average citizens alike still cling to their own personal notions of the “authentic” China, deeply rooted in the soil of their imaginations.
  • Political Geography: China