Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain welcomes Ashton Carter, President Barack Obama’s choice to be defense secretary, before the panel to consider his nomination, Washington, Feb. 4, 2015 (AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite).

Shell Game: Congress, the Pentagon and Defense Sequestration

By W. Jonathan Rue
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When Republicans took control of the U.S. Congress last year, some in Washington believed that defense spending caps imposed in 2011 would be loosened, and the threat of sequestration repealed. But Congress and the Pentagon prefer to game the system, inflicting more damage on the military.
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reviews members of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) during the Self-Defense Forces Day at Asaka Base, north of Tokyo, Oct. 27, 2013 (AP photo by Shizuo Kambayashi).

Defining Defense: Japan’s Military Identity Crisis

By Sheila A. Smith
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has implemented a rapid succession of security reforms meant to respond to Northeast Asia’s changing threat environment. Yet the Japanese public remains skeptical and cautious when it comes to lifting the post-WWII constitution’s limits on the use of the military.
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Young Malian migrants watch the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla from a clandestine immigrant camp located at Mount Gourougou, near Nador, Morocco, Nov. 6, 2014 (AP photo by Santi Palacios).

Almost Home? Morocco’s Incomplete Migration Reforms

By Katharina Natter
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Migration from Africa to Europe is a hotly debated topic, and Morocco plays a key role as both a transit route and a destination. The country’s new migration policy has led to some needed reforms. However, recent raids of irregular migrant settlements suggest the limits of the new policy.
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Nigerians protest against government corruption and the removal of a fuel subsidy, Lagos, Nigeria, Jan. 9, 2012 (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File).

Thunder God: Values, Corruption and Nigeria’s Election

By Sarah Chayes
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Corruption is not only a problem of governance, but a profound moral challenge for Nigerian society. It helps explain the results of last month’s remarkable presidential election, as well as the emergence and endurance of the radical Boko Haram insurgency that has terrorized northern Nigeria.
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Iranians celebrate the announcement that Iran and six world powers have reached a preliminary nuclear agreement, Tehran, Iran, April 2, 2015 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

Truce: Iran, the U.S. and the Middle East After the Nuclear Deal

By Trita Parsi
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The recent framework agreement between Iran and the P5+1 removed a major hurdle toward resolving the standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program. Could a final deal bring about a broader rapprochement between the U.S. and Iran? And how would it affect Iran’s regional policy in the Middle East?
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Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders of other countries line up for a photo at a ceremony to mark the decision to set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Beijing, China, Oct. 24, 2014 (Pool photo by Kyodo News via AP Images).

New Order: China’s Challenge to the Global Financial System

By Daniel McDowell
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China is an economic titan, but until recently, its impressive rise had not been accompanied by a vision to reshape the global economic order. However, with the recent introduction of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the promotion of the yuan as a global currency, this is beginning to change.
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Russian air force helicopters fly over Red Square during a Victory Day parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2014 (AP photo by Denis Tyrin).

Hybrid Power: The Limits of Russia’s Military Resurgence

By Richard Weitz
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Despite the remarkable recovery of its military-industrial complex in the past decade, Russia remains a regional military power with limited global power-projection capabilities. Recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian defense sector is crucial for assessing a potential Russian military threat.
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Iraqi security forces hold a flag of the Islamic State group they captured during an operation outside Amirli, north of Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 7, 2014 (AP file photo).

End Game: Al-Shabab as a Model for the Islamic State’s Decline

By Clint Watts
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What might the decline of the Islamic State look like? The best recent historical model may be al-Shabab, the terrorist group that once governed Somalia but which has now entered a state of gradual decline. Such a comparison would be useful for dealing with the implications of IS’ likely fall.
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A juvenile detainee stares out the window at the Naguru Remand Home, Kampala, Uganda, Nov. 13, 2006 (photo by Flickr user Endre Vestvik, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license).

Hidden Cruelties: Prison Conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Martin Schönteich
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As in other parts of the world, most prison systems in sub-Saharan Africa are abusive. This article looks at examples from Uganda, Sierra Leone, Namibia and South Africa in order to better understand the challenges facing the continent’s prison systems and the possible paths to reform.
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Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the closing ceremony of the Rio+20 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 22, 2012 (AP photo by Andre Penner).

Sustainable Partnership: Security and the Post-2015 Development Goals

By Johan Bergenas
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The Sustainable Development Goals being developed by the United Nations place a greater emphasis on the role of security in achieving global development. This provides an opportunity to engage defense and security actors and to form partnerships with the private sector across traditional divides.
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