International Politics

72 articles
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Basta Bunga Bunga

On Silvio Berlusconi’s hedonism.

Berlusconi is Italy’s waning Hugh Hefner, alternately reviled and admired for his loyalty to his own appetites—except that he’s supposed to be running the country.

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Man on Fire

The story of one Tibetan’s protest.

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The Truce on Drugs

In Colorado and beyond, a negotiated surrender in the war on drugs.

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Days of Reckoning

On Yemen’s uncertain future.

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Plasenzuela's Dirty Secrets

Welcome to Plasenzuela, whose 500 inhabitants enjoyed no-show jobs, spent millions on phantom projects and defrauded Social Security.

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The Wonks Who Sold Washington on South Sudan

How a group of men with nicknames like “Emperor” and “Spear Carrier” tipped the balance in South Sudan’s fight for independence.

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The Crackdown

The United States, which took a forceful stance on other Arab revolts, remained relatively passive in the face of the kingdom’s unrest and crackdown. To many who are familiar with the region, this came as no surprise: of all the Arab states that saw revolts last year, Bahrain is arguably the most closely tied to American strategic interests.

A report on Bahrain, the Arab Spring’s most ill-fated uprising.

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Ivan the Recumbent, or Demjanjuk in Munich

A report from the trial of Ivan Demjanjuk—a.k.a. “The Last Nazi”—who died on March 17.

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Cable: A Caucasus Wedding

The lavish display and heavy drinking concealed the deadly serious North Caucasus politics of land, ethnicity, clan, and alliance.

In a cable brought to light by Wikileaks, the Ambassador to Russia describes a raucous three-day Dagestani wedding attended by Chechnya’s president Ramzan Kadyrov.

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The Vagabond King

When 25-year-old Valentine Strasser seized power in Sierra Leone in 1992, he became the world’s youngest head of state. Today he lives with his mother and spends his days drinking gin by the roadside.

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The New Decembrists

Hanging out in Moscow with Russia’s yuppie, 20-something journalist revolutionaries:

In other words, the protest was being brought to you by the same people you would have relied on, weeks earlier, for restaurant picks.
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Julian Assange: The Rolling Stone Interview

But now, being a celebrity yourself, you feel differently? I've subsequently changed my opinion. Brad Pitt doesn't have a superpower at his back. He just has some crazed fans and paparazzi. But now, having had all three, I must say, I'm not terribly impressed with the experience.
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Climate Change and the End of Australia

How an increase in the earth’s temperature could wipe out a continent.

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In the Land of the Dear Leader

The author travels to North Korea in the years after Kim Jong Il’s succession. He also gets a haircut:

But suddenly the whole chair starts vibrating and I find myself surrendering to her, as she begins to knead the acupressure points on my forehead and neck. Next it's ginseng unguent all over my face. Gobs of pomade smelling like bubble gum go on my hair. Then, like a true daughter of the revolution, she upholsters her blow dryer and begins combing in the pomade and sculpting my now subdued hair. The pungent aroma of heated pomade, like fat frying in a pan, fills the room. My stylist gives my hair a little twist with the comb. It feels like she's making a Dairy Queen curl on top. Then she fries it in place with the dryer. Another dab of pomade. More mincing motions with the comb. Another blast of hot air. Suddenly I feel a moist breeze around my ears. She's taken out a can of imported aerosol spray and is cementing her creation in place. She's delicately patting my new coiffure now the way a baker taps a loaf of bread to see if it's springy to the touch. She murmurs something. I'm breathless with expectation. I open my eyes and gaze into the mirror. Magnifique! It looks like I have a loofah sponge on my head! I am reborn -- a cross between Elvis and a 1950s Bulgarian hydrology expert! At last I have become a true son of Pyongyang!

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From Pakistan to Afghanistan, U.S. Finds Convoy of Chaos

What happened when Pakistan shut down the vitally important Karachi to Kabul trucking line.

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Exit Havel

A portrait of Czech President Václav Havel as he left office.

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What Really Happened to Strauss-Kahn?

An investigation into the events surrounding Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s May 2011 arrest for sexual assault.

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Highway to Homs

A motorcycle trip through Syria as it descends into chaos.

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Q&A: Edward Luttwak

Edward Luttwak is a rare bird whose peripatetic life and work are the envy of academics and spies alike. ...he published his first book, Coup d’État: A Practical Handbook, at the age of 26. Over the past 40 years, he has made provocative and often deeply original contributions to multiple academic fields, including military strategy, Roman history, Byzantine history, and economics.
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King of Kings

On the life, legacy, and last days of Muammar Qaddafi.

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The Revolutionary

A profile of Hugo Chávez, two years into his presidency.

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Who Killed Che?

He arrived in Bolivia in November 1966, disguised as a Uruguayan businessman. After desertions, drownings, and difficulty contacting their support group in La Paz, his small troop was surrounded the following October. The inside story of how they were found and destroyed.

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Falling Man

On the rise and fall of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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An Interview With Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

N.K.: So when you saw the photo of Neda Soltan, what did you think? M.A.: It was incredibly sad, due to many reasons. First we have proof that that scene was staged, and she was killed later, at a later point. This footage was shown for the first time by BBC. Our security officers and officials had no information of such a thing. but if BBC makes the complete footage from beginning to end available to us, we will analyze it, we will research it because we do search for those who are truly guilty of murdering this young lady. And also, a scene fairly close to this—almost a photocopy I would say—was repeated previously in a South American country—in a Latin American country. this is not a new scene. And they previously tell those who are due to participate, they tell them that “you will be participating in making a short footage, a short movie, a short clip.” After their participation is finished they take them to some place and they kill them. If BBC is willing to broadcast this film, this footage in its entirety, any viewer would be able to distinguish whether it is as we say or it is as they maintain.
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Pashean Play

At a dinner party, the author meets one of Afghanistan’s last remaining maskhara  an entertainer, thief and murderer.

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Among the Hostage-Takers

In 1979, a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy and held the entire American diplomatic mission hostage for fifteen months. Twenty-five years later, the students reflected on their actions, many with regret.

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Corruption, Murder, and the Beautiful Game

On FIFA’s history of scandal.

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Cyber Weapons: The New Arms Race

Around the world, governments and corporations are in a race for code that can protect, spy, and destroy—hacks some secretive startups are more than happy to sell.

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The All-American

In Afghanistan and other zones of international crisis with John Kerry:

Why, then, does Kerry bother? Why is he racing back and forth to put out the fires being set by a serial arsonist? I asked him about this on the short flight from Kabul to Islamabad. Kerry tried to put the best possible face on what he had learned. Despite the warlords in Kabul, he said, Karzai had appointed some talented officials at the provincial and district levels. “It’s a mixed bag,” he concluded gamely. Kerry knew Karzai’s failings as well as anyone, but he was not prepared to abandon Afghanistan’s president, because he was not prepared to abandon Afghanistan. But why not?

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Meltdown

Boris Yeltsin’s right-hand man tells the inside story of the 1991 coup that killed glasnost:

"That scum!" Boris Yeltsin fumed. "It's a coup. We can't let them get away with it."

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The Downfall of Dominique Strauss-Kahn

The anatomy of a scandal.

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Havana: The State Retreats

On the ground to witness Cuba’s last days:

“Either we rectify our course or the time for teetering along on the brink runs out and we go down. And we will go down…[with] the effort of entire generations.”—Raul Castro

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Woman of the World

On Hillary Clinton’s Arab Spring.

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The Missing Mahatma

Why has the Palestinian cause failed to produce a Martin Luther King-like leader with a platform based on non-violence?

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Taking the Veil

How France’s public schools became the battleground in a culture war.

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Lula's Brazil

A 12,000-word profile of recently departed Brazilian President Luiz Inácio da Silva, the “most successful politician of his time.”

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For Us Surrender Is Out of the Question

A first-person account of the author’s time spent volunteering with a group of Burmese activists in Thailand, who turn out to be not Korean but in fact Karen, members of Burma’s persecuted ethnic minority. In the course of her time there, they show her videos of their risky forays across the border, and she shows them MySpace.

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A Declaration of Cyber-War

“While its source remains something of a mystery, Stuxnet is the new face of 21st-century warfare: invisible, anonymous, and devastating.”

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The Heir

One of most popular Libyan figures amongst Western intellectuals and democracy advocates is… Qaddafi’s second son, Saif.

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Teodorin's World

A profile of Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the Malibu-dwelling, “fantastically corrupt” dictator-in-waiting of Equatorial Guinea. Teodorin, as his friends call him, is considered by U.S. intelligence to be “an unstable, reckless idiot.”

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Why Egypt's Progressives Win

An opinion piece on the structural causes of unrest in Egypt; the business fraternity, globalization, and the fate of Egyptian women.

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Mubarak’s Last Breath

A primer on Egypt’s political landscape.

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Masters of the Universe Go to Camp

The Bohemian Grove is an exclusive, all-male club made up of Presidents, ambassadors, and other world leaders, with a 33 year waiting list for membership. Their booze-soaked annual retreat outside of San Francisco had never been infiltrated—until this story.

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Martin Peretz Is Not Sorry About Anything

A primer on Peretz, longtime owner/editor of The New Republic, committed Zionist, and author of the line “Muslim life is cheap.”

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Can Europe Be Saved?

How the dream of the Euro became a nightmare.

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The Dubai Job

Last year, an Mossad hit squad traveled to Dubai to assassinate a Hamas leader. They completed their mission, but were later humiliated when a twenty-seven minute video of their movements was posted online. How their cover got blown.

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North Korea's Dollar Store

Inside Office 39, a state-run counterfeiting operation designed to keep Kim Jong-il flush.

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A Mountain of Trouble

Anatomy of an international incident; how three idealistic young American hikers wandered across the Kurdistan-Iran border and ended up in Iranian prison charged with spying.

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The Concealed Battle to Run Russia

Putin, Medvedev, and how the Russian security agency FSB became the “new nobility.”

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Running in the Ruins

On the post-quake presidential election in Haiti.

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The Shipbreakers

On a desolate, six-mile stretch of Indian beachfront, the bulk of the world’s big ships are dismantled for scrap. Though a ship is usually worth over $1 million in steel, the margins are low, the leftovers are toxic, and the labor—which employs huge numbers of India’s poor—is wildly dangerous.

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An Interview With WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

The unedited transcript of an interview with Julian Assange for the cover story of Forbes’ December issue. His next target? A major U.S. bank.

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Leaked Cables Uncloak U.S. Diplomacy

The latest WikiLeaks unveiling has exposed more than 250,000 sensitive messages from American diplomats. Among the revelations: the plan for a unified Korea, the Chinese government’s hacking strategy, and negotiations with countries for housing Gitmo detainees.

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Republic or Empire

Scenario-based forecasts on the future of America, in the style of the C.I.A’s National Intelligence Estimate.

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The Man Behind Mumbai

An investigation into Lashkar-i-Taiba, the group behind the 2008 Mumbai massacre, and why Pakistani authorities has not arrested their leaders.

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The Online Threat

Are we at war? The U.S. government’s evolving response to cyber security and its impact on privacy.

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Germany's Unlikely Diplomatic Triumph

A behind-the-scenes account of the tense negotiations, involving Gorbachev, Kohl, Bush, and Thatcher, that led from the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall to a reunified Germany. (Translated from German.)

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The Mega-Bunker of Baghdad

Foreign policy as architecture; how embassies went from lavish social hubs to reinforced strongholds.

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The Big Lie of Foreign Aid

An interview with Michael Maren, who spent nearly twenty years working in Africa as an aid worker and then a journalist, on why NGOs and “feed an African child” charities do more harm than good.

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Arms and the Man

A profile of Viktor Bout, believed to be the largest arms trafficker in the world. A Russian who bought his first cargo planes at age 25, Bout has been in the news recently after being arrested in Thailand.

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The War for Drugs

How Juarez became the murder capital of the world.

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After the Crackdown

A year after dozens died protesting his election and hundreds more were imprisoned, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad grants a rare interview to an American journalist.

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What It’s Like to Be a Refugee in America

Refugees arriving in the U.S. after receiving asylum face challenges that have led some to return to their war-torn homelands.

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D’Escoto Inferno

Sandinista, reverend, and president of the U.N. General Assembly.

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No Secrets

A profile of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.

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The Land of Perpetual Revolution

What’s really happening in Kyrgyzstan.

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China Storms Africa

China is securing sub-Saharan Africa’s natural resources at a staggering rate. With the buying spree comes contracts, workers, and of course, politics. (Part 1 of a 6 part series, rest here)