There are two simultaneous and contradictory trends occurring right now in the international system. The first is the diffusion of power, as reflected by the displacement of the old Group of Seven, which at its founding in the 1970s comprised the bulk of the world’s productive capacity, by the Group of 20, where there is no longer one dominant power capable of driving the global agenda. The second is the reality that the United States still far outstrips any other one state or group of states in terms of capabilities, ranging from the power of its currency to its ability […]

In the past few decades, Latin America has emerged as the world’s unlikely laboratory for democracy. No other region has produced the sheer diversity of democratic configurations and permutations, including some that at times appear to undermine the very essence of democratic principles. The region that for so many years made news due to violence and authoritarianism is now an active workshop, tinkering with and sometimes transforming the shape of democracy. Latin America became the stage for the rise of iconic figures such as former Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to name just […]

Last week, I noted one of the ironies of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan since 2009: From the perspective of civil-military relations, the process worked. Regardless of one’s opinion of the Obama administration’s strategy in Afghanistan and despite the high degree to which the U.S. government and its allies have struggled to implement that strategy, the division of labor between civilian officials and military officers in formulating the strategy itself functioned more or less according to design. In light of the reaction the column generated, I’d like to examine civil-military relations in the United States more broadly. Today, I will […]

The Middle East Institute’s Center for Turkish Studies in collaboration with the Institute for Turkish Studies held their third annual conference on Turkey last Wednesday. Several themes emerged at the event that deserve to be highlighted. Turkey has clearly become a country of intense fascination for Washington players. Some 700 people registered to attend the conference, and it is easy to understand why: During the past decade, under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has become a much more prominent global actor backstopped by a dynamic diplomacy and one of the world’s most powerful economies, in a region […]

Having done all the right things at last week’s European Union summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel found herself blamed, even attacked, in Germany for the summit’s outcome. Merkel helped prevent Spain — and, further down the line, Italy — from going bankrupt, thereby protecting German industries from the potential consequences. Yet, she faced an outcry back home that she had effectively allowed Germany to be blackmailed at the summit by a hostile alliance of French President François Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. This gap between what might be the first step toward a […]

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