Honor guards stand at the Pentagon Memorial on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the Pentagon, Arlington, VA, Sept. 11, 2011 (AP photo by Charles Dharapak).

Hide in Plain Sight: The Strategic Challenge of ‘Gray Swans’

By Michael J. Mazarr
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Conventional wisdom holds that the biggest threats to strategy come from sudden and unexpected events, or “black swans.” But too little attention has been paid to a more common problem: “gray swans,” risks that are anticipated but that remain fundamentally improbable, and for that reason are disregarded.
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Anti-government protestors burn tires as they protest a new law that could delay the scheduled election to be held in 2016, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 20, 2015 (AP photo by John Bompengo).

From Bullets to Ballots: The Next Battle for Congo’s Future

By Jason Stearns
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For years, the international community has focused on war in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But in the capital of Kinshasa, the real crisis concerns who will succeed President Joseph Kabila, who appears to be trying to illegally extend his presidential mandate.
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A protester holds a poster of German Chancellor Angela Merkel reading ‘Mrs Merkel, here is the people’ during a rally of the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA), Dresden, Germany, Jan. 12, 2015 (AP photo by Jens Meyer).

Germany’s Deceptive Calm: The Hidden Rifts in Merkel’s Consensus

By Paul Hockenos
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On the surface, Germany under Chancellor Angela Merkel appears a model of harmony and consensus. But while Merkel has been an energetic modernizer of German conservatism, her success has overshadowed a number of deep divisions that threaten the stability she has built.
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A man travels along a street in his wheelchair during a three-day lockdown to prevent the spread on the Ebola virus, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Sept. 21, 2014 (AP photo by Michael Duff).

Quarantined: How Ebola Derailed Sierra Leone’s Postwar Recovery

By Tamasin Ford
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In 2002, Sierra Leone emerged from a decade-long civil war, one of the bloodiest in Africa. What followed next was a decade of unprecedented reconstruction, reconciliation and phenomenal growth rates. That is, until last year, when a crippling disease ripped through every facet of society.
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A Palestinian refugee poses for a picture in front of a wall painted with a mural in the Kalandia refugee camp between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, June 18, 2014 (AP photo by Muhammed Muheisen).

Prisoners of Oslo: Palestine After the Peace Process

By George Hale
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Two decades after the Oslo Accords, nationhood seems more distant than ever for the Palestinians who returned to the West Bank hoping to build a new state. Reporting from Bethlehem, George Hale assesses the bleak mood of post-Oslo Palestine, where no peace with Israel is in sight.
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A woman dances to Gaga Afro-Caribbean music during a protest against racial discrimination and “denationalization” of Dominicans of Haitian descent, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, March 21, 2014 (AP photo by Ezequiel Abiu Lopez).

Internal Exile: The Plight of Dominicans of Haitian Descent

By Liliana Gamboa, Laura Bingham
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In 2013, a Dominican court ruled that a woman born in the country to Haitian parents in 1984 should be retroactively deprived of Dominican nationality due to her parents’ migratory status. The decision touched off a political and humanitarian crisis that stretches beyond the island nation’s borders.
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A Pakistani religious student stands before a fire set by protesters demanding the government unmask culprits of the Taliban attack on a school, Peshawar, Pakistan, Dec. 16, 2014 (AP photo by Mohammad Sajjad).

FATA: The Never-Ending War on Pakistan’s Periphery

By Asad Hashim
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The recent attack on a school in Peshawar, and the Pakistani government’s response, sum up life in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)—a frontier region on the edge of Pakistan that has been overtaken by militants, the military and the struggle to survive in the tiny space between them.
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Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff cries during a speech at the launching ceremony of the National Truth Commission Report in Brasilia, Dec. 10, 2014 (AP photo by Eraldo Peres).

From Amnesty to Accountability: Transitional Justice in South America

By Naomi Roht-Arriaza
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Like much of Latin America, Argentina, Chile and Brazil experienced long military dictatorships whose influence lingered even after democracy was restored. But the three have begun to pursue prosecutions and reparations that are now seen as a template for similar efforts around the world.
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Egyptian youths shout slogans against the country’s ruling military council during a demonstration in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 30, 2011 (AP photo by Bela Szandelszky).

Down but Not Out: Youth and Revolution in Egypt and Beyond

By Thanassis Cambanis
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Young people and youthful energy propelled the Egyptian uprising that began in 2011, and they remain the Arab world’s best hope. Today the military appears to have won in Egypt, but the long-term outcome of the struggle there is still in question; how it unfolds will be a bellwether for the Arab world.
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Oil sands refinery in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, Feb. 10, 2012 (photo by Flickr user kris krüg, licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license).

Shifting Sands: How Energy Is Shaping Canada’s Foreign Policy

By Mike De Souza
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The Canadian government has been engaging in an aggressive public relations campaign for its energy industry as part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s declared goal of making Canada an energy superpower. In the process, Canada’s foreign policy and climate change agenda have also been transformed.
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