A pedestrian walks near an electric market board in Tokyo, Sept. 16, 2008 (AP photo by Katsumi Kasahara).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. It’s been almost five years now since the global financial and economic crisis formally began with Lehman Brothers’ filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008. In today’s fast-paced, high-tech, hyperconnected world, five years is an eternity. In autumn of that year, the iPhone was barely one year old and only in its second iteration. No one had ever shared a photo of their dessert on Instagram because the service was […]

On Aug. 13, Vladimir Putin made his first visit to Baku in seven years, marking only his third trip to Azerbaijan as president of Russia—a gap reflecting the complex and sometimes strained relationship between Moscow and Baku. The two have grown apart due to Russia’s closer ties with Armenia as well as Azerbaijan’s westward-oriented energy focus. Azerbaijan’s leaders have been trying to leverage their country’s pivotal location, energy resources and other assets to help manage their volatile neighborhood. Meanwhile, they are pursuing their own regional objectives, which focus on recovering territories occupied by Armenia, averting a war with Iran while […]

It is now something of a cliche to note that Turkey’s foreign policy mantra of “zero problems” has given way to problems everywhere Ankara looks. Nowhere is that truer than in the Turkey-Iran relationship, which has been buffeted from all sides over the past three years, reaching its lowest ebb with the two sides’ diametrically opposed positions in the stalemated Syrian civil war. In that time, Turkey and Iran have increasingly vied for influence across the region. In Iraq, Turkey backed the losing electoral bloc in the 2010 elections, and currently shelters fugitive Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi. By contrast, […]

At a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid in Ankara last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described Khurshid’s visit to Turkey—the first by an Indian foreign minister in 10 years—as “historic.” The visit can be seen as part of an effort to visibly raise the profile of India-Turkey relations, which have been characterized by steadily expanding common ground on the geoeconomic front. India is now Turkey’s second-largest Asian trading partner, and Turkey is seeking more bilateral high-level exchanges as a precursor to expanded people-to-people contacts. For India, whose president will visit Turkey in the coming months, […]

China’s rapid economic growth over the past 30 years has transformed the world’s most populous country almost beyond recognition and reshaped the international economic and geopolitical landscape, forcing huge shifts in global international trade and investment flows. This growth is now slowing, meaning many of the key dynamics that have accompanied China’s rise are themselves evolving. While many observers are nervous about the Chinese slowdown and its implications, a more balanced, less inflationary and less resource-intensive model of economic expansion may bring more sustainability to China’s development story and allow Beijing to fundamentally rebalance its relations with international partners. The […]

Five years ago, Georgian forces crossed into the Moscow-backed separatist territory of South Ossetia, seeking to clamp down on attacks against ethnic Georgian villages along the de facto boundaries and re-establish authority over the breakaway region. Russia’s response was swift: Its troops poured into South Ossetia, pushing out Georgia’s overmatched military. When the guns were finally silenced after the short but fierce war, hundreds had been killed or wounded and tens of thousands of civilians were displaced. Although the global community refused to follow Moscow’s lead in recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Georgia’s other separatist province, the […]

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Many countries have welcomed the election of Iran’s newly inaugurated president, Hasan Rouhani, while remaining cautious about the prospects for major shifts in Iranian policy as a result of his victory. But few countries have responded as erratically as Russia. Recent weeks have seen media reports that President Vladimir Putin would visit Tehran and that Moscow would sell Iran advanced weaponry—only to be retracted days later. Russia’s interests regarding Iran are complex and often conflicting, explaining Russian policymakers’ seemingly erratic behavior. Moscow has six core goals regarding Iran: supporting nonproliferation, preventing war or regime change, maintaining regional security, minimizing sanctions, […]