Smoke and fire from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, July 29, 2014 (AP photo by Hatem Moussa).

In the wake of the latest round of fighting between Israel and Hamas, Israel remains in the spotlight for the civilian casualties and widescale destruction of civilian areas caused by its attacks on Gaza. Like most democracies whose air wars kill large numbers of civilians, Israel claims the moral high ground. Though acknowledging that the harm caused to civilians was regrettable, Israel argues that its armed forces took all feasible precautions to avoid it, while taking care to aim their strikes at Hamas military targets. By contrast, according to Israel, Hamas was targeting Israeli civilians directly and intentionally. But this […]

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, right, sits with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio at the start of a G-7 foreign ministers meeting in London, May 4, 2021 (pool photo by Ben Stansall via AP).

The travails of the rules-based international system have set off a vigorous debate within U.S. foreign policy circles over the most promising institutional foundations for world order in the 21st century. The Washington establishment is united in its repudiation of Donald Trump’s “America First” orientation. But it remains divided on what form of U.S. internationalism is best suited to a historical moment defined by two powerful, countervailing trends: the rise of transnational challenges that can only be resolved through collective action and the resurgence of geopolitical competition that hinders international cooperation. The four distinct models of multilateralism currently vying for […]

An Israeli artillery unit fires shells toward targets in Gaza Strip, at the Israeli-Gaza border, May 19, 2021 (AP photo by Tsafrir Abayov).

After 11 days of rocket fire and air strikes, a tenuous cease-fire has brought to a close, at least for now, the latest outbreak of violence between the Israeli government and the armed group Hamas in Gaza. As in previous rounds of fighting between them, narratives about which side was to blame and whether either or both were committing war crimes were rampant in media coverage, social media debates and commentary on the conflict. These narratives included a number of misconceptions about or mischaracterizations of the nature of the conflict as well as of belligerents’ obligations under international law more […]

A gas station that ran out of gas to sell following a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, in Atlanta, Georgia, May 11, 2021 (AP photo by Ben Margot).

The internet today is on the brink of reaching a state of entropy, as anyone who tried to fill up the gas tank of their car anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States this week knows. Nearly a week after a crafty network of cybercriminals penetrated the databases of the company that operates the massive Colonial fuel pipeline, which runs nearly the entire length of the East Coast, the United States is still reeling from the crippling cyberattack. The ransomware attack forced the Colonial Pipeline company to close down a sizable portion of its 5,500-mile-long fuel conduit for […]

A protester holds up a sign that reads in Spanish, “No more corruption,” during a demonstration outside the attorney general’s office in Panama City, Panama, Jan. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Arnulfo Franco).

The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic has generated an unprecedented level of spending, with more than $21 trillion committed to fighting the coronavirus so far, much of it falling under emergency measures that bypass bureaucratic hurdles and expedite the flow of funds. The speed and scale of this spending has created new opportunities for state-level corruption—ranging from fairly mundane examples, like demanding bribes for medical services, to more systemic forms of financial malfeasance, shady procurement practices and opaque spending. The pandemic has also drawn attention to the ways in which pervasive graft exacerbates inequality in development outcomes, within and […]

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president for a Europe fit for the digital age, speaks on Europe's Digital Future at EU headquarters in Brussels, Feb. 19, 2020 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

It may be some years before your AI-powered assistant can sit at your kitchen table, finishing off a haiku while debating the nuances of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” as imagined by Ian McEwan in his 2019 novel, “Machines Like Me.” Even if that always remains the stuff of fiction, AI, short for artificial intelligence, has already crept into daily life. It is now helping heart surgeons spot minor problems that go undetected in routine scans. It is similarly more accurate than human experts at interpreting mammograms to detect early stage breast cancer. And it is starting to solve the complexities of […]

A researcher for Brazil's state-run Fiocruz Institute handles a cage of captured monkeys at Pedra Branca State Park, near Rio de Janeiro, Oct. 29, 2020 (AP photo by Silvia Izquierdo).

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted humanity’s growing vulnerability to emerging infectious diseases and underscored the need to reduce our collective exposure to these pathogens. Not surprisingly, then, the past year has seen a torrent of reports on pandemic preparedness, including one I co-authored for the Council on Foreign Relations. Most of these focus on controlling outbreaks after they start, rather than averting them in the first place. Moving from reaction to prevention requires identifying and mitigating the main drivers of new infectious diseases. These drivers are almost entirely anthropogenic and are the same forces responsible for precipitous declines in global […]

Security guards march past a shop selling Apple and Huawei phones in Beijing, China, March 6, 2019 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

What is it with technical standards these days? Suddenly, this closed and unwelcoming world populated by guys with shirt-pocket protectors working on incomprehensible documents thick with unexplained acronyms—as well as not-so-hilarious racism and misogyny under the flimsy cover of April Fool’s Day jokes—is today’s hot internet governance topic. To anyone familiar with the world of technical standards, it still feels incongruous to hear people like British Prime Minister Boris Johnson—who would be cruelly laughed out of the room at the Internet Engineering Task Force, one of the leading standards bodies—extolling the virtues of making “our voices heard more loudly in […]