The State of the Anglosphere

The decline of the English-speaking world has been greatly exaggerated. Joel Kotkin and Shashi Parulekar It’s indisputable that the Anglosphere no longer enjoys the overwhelming global dominance that it once had. What was once a globe-spanning empire is now best understood as a union of language, culture, and shared values. Yet what declinists overlook is … Continue reading

Is Spring coming to Japan?

Clyde Prestowitz After achieving its post war economic miracle in the 1960s, Japan emerged in the quarter century after 1965 as the main economic challenger to the United States. Indeed, it played a role somewhat similar to that now being played by China. Then, in 1992, its bubble collapsed and since then commentary on Japan … Continue reading

LeeKuanYew-istan Forever

After more than 50 years of running Singapore, its octogenarian leader is stepping aside. Can the island nation stay prosperous and peaceful as democratic storms begin to blow? BY PARAG KHANNA It is impossible to write a political obituary of someone who not only hasn’t yet passed away, but whose influence will assuredly live on … Continue reading

Immoral Hazard

There’s no way the Europeans should get to pick one of their own as the new IMF chief. BY PAUL BLUSTEIN Ever since International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest last weekend, eye-popping developments have come fast and furious — most memorably the "perp walk" the Frenchman took to face prosecutors’ accusations that he … Continue reading

Shifting sands

Sam Mendelson Qatar, the world’s richest country, is playing a dangerous game “And the winner is… Qatar!” On 2nd December a tiny country just 100 miles long and 50 wide, with summer temperatures well above 40C and the population of a medium-sized English town, was named host of the 2022 World Cup. To worldwide astonishment, … Continue reading

China Benefits as U.S. Continuously Shoots Itself in the Foot

Ted Galen Carpenter Members of China’s political elite who are eager for the Middle Kingdom to displace the United States as the world’s leading power probably can’t believe their good fortune. America has so many natural advantages that such a displacement would normally take several generations, if it occurred at all. Yet clumsy, counterproductive U.S. … Continue reading

We’re No. 1!

But only when it comes to domestic appliances. By Mark Vanhoenacker As a U.S. citizen who has just returned from a decade in Europe, I can’t report much good news about the relative standing of the American dream. My experience is that—despite their own economic crises—Europeans have far less reason to worry about job security, … Continue reading

America Primed

Robert D. Kaplan, Stephen S. Kaplan THE PAST century has seen a multi-polar world through the end of World War II, a bipolar world through the end of the Cold War and a dissipating unipolar world since. Economic multipolarity is already a reality. And, in military terms, America’s unipolar dominance over the air and sea-lanes … Continue reading

5 Myths About the Chinese Communist Party

Market-Leninism lives. BY RICHARD MCGREGOR "China Is Communist in Name Only." Wrong. If Vladimir Lenin were reincarnated in 21st-century Beijing and managed to avert his eyes from the city’s glittering skyscrapers and conspicuous consumption, he would instantly recognize in the ruling Chinese Communist Party a replica of the system he designed nearly a century ago … Continue reading

What Hu Jintao Wants to Know

How the Chinese president views the world. BY THOMAS FINGAR In November, Forbes dubbed Hu Jintao the world’s most powerful person. One might quibble with that ranking, or the magazine’s bald assertion that the Chinese president can single-handedly "divert rivers, build cities, jail dissidents and censor [the] Internet without meddling from pesky bureaucrats." But take … Continue reading


A special anniversary report challenging the world’s most dangerous thinking. Daniel W. Drezner  China is a great power in every sense of the word. It is the most populous country in the world. The Middle Kingdom has weathered the Great Recession better than the West. It is developing a blue-water navy to rival the United … Continue reading


A special anniversary report challenging the world’s most dangerous thinking. Joseph S. Nye Jr.  Thucydides famously attributed the Peloponnesian War to the rise in power of Athens and the fear it created in Sparta. A century ago, Germany’s rise and the fear it created in Britain helped cause World War I. Now, it’s become a … Continue reading

WikiLeaks, Clinton and China

By Jonathan Manthorpe, Vancouver Sun … Far from being an assault on government secrecy, the diplomatic cables and even the on-the-spot battlefield reports were a lengthy accolade for the openness of the American government. When WikiLeaks is able to put up secret assessments made by senior officials in North Korea, Burma, Iran, Zimbabwe and Cuba, … Continue reading

Think Again: American Decline

This time it’s for real. BY GIDEON RACHMAN "We’ve Heard All This About American Decline Before." This time it’s different. It’s certainly true that America has been through cycles of declinism in the past. Campaigning for the presidency in 1960, John F. Kennedy complained, "American strength relative to that of the Soviet Union has been … Continue reading

Back to Normalcy

Is America really in decline? Paul Kennedy Where on earth is the United States headed? Has it lost its way? Is the Obama effect, which initially promised to halt the souring of its global image, over? More seriously, is it in some sort of terminal decline? Has it joined the long historical list of number … Continue reading

Another "Morning in America"?

Geoffrey Kemp  The prevailing narrative about America is that its best days are over. We are becoming a third world country with antiquated infrastructure, a lousy primary education system, and an industrial base that produces fewer and fewer world class products. Yes, we still have the largest and best equipped military in the world but … Continue reading

Empire Falls

Robert A. Pape  AMERICA IS in unprecedented decline. The self-inflicted wounds of the Iraq War, growing government debt, increasingly negative current-account balances and other internal economic weaknesses have cost the United States real power in today’s world of rapidly spreading knowledge and technology. If present trends continue, we will look back at the Bush administration … Continue reading

Harbinger or Hoax: The First Painting of Kim Jung Un?

What does a mysterious North Korean image tell us about its next leader? BY RÜDIGER FRANK Kim Jong Un in Europe (or Kim Il Sung in Jilin?) Ever since Kim Jong Un was introduced to the public in late September, when he was promoted to the rank of general and then received a number of … Continue reading

China’s next leaders love Hollywood WWII movies, Oklahoma

By Blake Hounshell China’s next leader, Xi Jinping, "is a fan of Hollywood World War II movies and criticizes Chinese moviemakers for neglecting values they should promote," according to a confidential cable from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The cable, dated March 19, 2007, and signed by then ambassador Clark Randt, describes Xi as extremely … Continue reading

Lebanon’s Hariri takes pragmatic approach in seeking unity

Janine Zacharia  BEIRUT – Since Saad Hariri was thrown into Lebanese politics after his father’s assassination five years ago, he has worked to keep the politically and religiously fractious country unified. Now the question is whether the pragmatic approach he’s employed as prime minister will be enough to hold Lebanon together. In the past year, … Continue reading

All calculus, no answers

Mosharraf Zaidi Today at Friday prayers, a bomb detonated in a mosque in Darra Adam Khel, killing more than 66 worshippers. It was the work of, by most accounts, a suicide bomber. In the Pakistani press and on the two dozen news channels that feed us a constant and unrelenting stream of what is happening … Continue reading

The real choice Turkey has to make when it comes to Israel

By Michael Singh While all eyes are fixed on the faltering Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Israel is involved in another diplomatic standoff whose consequences may be just as dire for the future of the Middle East. The impasse in question is between Turkey and Israel — erstwhile allies whose deteriorating relations undermine the security of the entire … Continue reading

The Gates Foundation’s Delusional Techno-Messianism

David Rieff   At what point do the moral claims we in the rich world make for our actions in the poor world stop being just relatively harmless, feel-good stories to which government officials turn when they need to enlist the support of legislatures, and to which activists resort in order [to] mobilize constituencies, and … Continue reading

Is Bill Gates monopolizing development?

By David Bosco David Rieff is worried that the Gates Foundation is having an outsized influence on how governments, international organizations, and publics think about development challenges: [A]mericans, like people everywhere in the rich world to a greater or lesser degree, are in love with quick fixes. As one relief officially put it to me … Continue reading

Turkey’s Doing It Without the Fez On

Michael C. Desch  Turkey is at a crossroads: Its economy is booming, and the Turkish economic miracle is the direct result of the current government’s willingness to foster domestic entrepreneurship and do whatever is necessary to integrate the country into the twenty-first century’s global economy. In addition, it is once again becoming one of the … Continue reading

Xi’s the one?

By Blake Hounshell Before he became Barack Obama’s running mate, Joe Biden famously ripped his then opponent’s lack of experience. "The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training," he said. Nowhere is this more true than in China, where would-be leaders spend years toiling in the Communist Party’s lower ranks, clawing their … Continue reading

All Roads Lead to Istanbul

Turkey is more popular now than it has been since the Ottoman Empire. But can it please all of its new friends at the same time? BY JAMES TRAUB ANKARA, Turkey – It’s great to be Turkey just now. The economy, barely scathed by the global recession, grew 11.7 percent in the first quarter of … Continue reading

A Puzzle in Pyongyang

Kim Jong Un’s ascension in North Korea poses as many questions as it answers. BY RÜDIGER FRANK "Finally," one is tempted to say. The years of speculation and half-baked news from dubious sources are over. A senior North Korean official has confirmed the unbroken line of power from father to son to grandson. The nagging … Continue reading

The declinism industry in America

By Daniel W. Drezner My post yesterday on following Vizzini’s advice U.S. retrenchment from Central Asia generated a bit of pushback. I should point out that my concern here is that the U.S. husbands its power resources with a bit more acumen. Sure, Central Asia has some strategic significance, but the thing is, every region … Continue reading

The invisible man takes over the second most powerful job in Washington

By David Rothkopf Pete Rouse is one of the great untold stories of President Barack Obama’s White House. In fact, his is a great story precisely because, until now, it has been untold. Rouse has toiled tirelessly for the president, serving an absolutely vital role and to his credit he has not attracted one one … Continue reading

What China learned from Vladimir Putin

By Steve LeVine Call it the Georgia lesson. In 2008, Russia informed the United States and the rest of the West that the former Soviet Caucasus and Central Asia were no longer their playland, but rather Moscow’s sovereign sphere of influence. How did it do so? By going to war with Georgia. Now we have … Continue reading

Wallowing in Decline

Americans have gone from gloating over their global influence to bemoaning the loss of it. They were wrong then, and they’re wrong now. BY JAMES TRAUB In Super Sad True Love Story, the novelist Gary Shteyngart imagines a not-very-remote future in which the United States, having giddily spent itself into bankruptcy, falls into the hands … Continue reading

Did Ban just hire the first female Secretary General?

Posted By Colum Lynch U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today wrapped up a long campaign to recruit former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet into the U.N. system, announcing today that he had hired her to run a new U.N. entity to promote women’s equality. The question is: Why did she take the job? For months, Bachelet had … Continue reading

The Bordello State

Italy’s descent under Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. BY JAMES WALSTON Ahi serva Italia, di dolore ostello, nave sanza nocchiero in gran tempesta, non donna di province, ma bordello! Quoting Dante is, I admit, the last resort of a scoundrel or at least the indolent scribe. But this one, from The Inferno, is too apposite not … Continue reading

BRICs at the Gate

Posted By David Bosco Former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castañeda warns in a new Foreign Affairs essay that the BRICs—Brazil, Russia, India, and China—are not ready for leadership roles in key international institutions. The gist of the argument is that their committment to democracy and human rights is shaky and that handing them keys to … Continue reading