President Barack Obama had to deal with a dysfunctional state system and fraying civil societies, as well as blowback from George W. Bush’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet his own actions and inactions throughout two terms of office contributed significantly to the great unraveling of the Middle East.
In 2014, Cuba and the United States shocked the world by announcing the normalization of bilateral relations after a half century of hostility. Yet with political leadership changing soon in both Havana and Washington, the path forward is still marked with uncertainty. Decades of enmity will not be easily forgotten.
After the Arab Spring, the rise of Islamists stirred social polarization in many countries. The most potent Islamists today are the jihadists who have seized control of territory through extreme violence. Can political Islam be reconciled with secular modernity?
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) proclaimed a caliphate in 2014. An in-depth report on how its militants are using severe brutality and radical interpretations of sharia law to govern a large civilian population.
Greece’s European Union creditors showed little sympathy for the country’s financial crisis, blaming a poor national work ethic and insisting on shock therapy. But Germany had its own reasons for pressuring Athens: economic windfalls and political hegemony.
Washington’s foreign policy rests on shaky ground due to longstanding mistrust by Arabs and Iranians alike. To ease tensions and fight terrorism, the United States should support a new order based on cooperation among regional powers.