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Geopoliticus: The FPRI Blog

Geopoliticus: The FPRI Blog

Iran Before and After 1979: How Did We Get Here from There?

April 24, 2015 - 2:05pm

Thirty-six years ago on February 11, 1979, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s monarchy came to an end and with it the commencement of an era of disorder throughout the Middle East. Just previously characterized by President Jimmy Carter as an “island of stability,” the political Shi’a clerics’ rapid confiscation of the state apparatus under the... Read more... Tags: Iran, U.S. Foreign Policy, Democracy

One year later, ISIS overtakes al Qaeda: What’s next?

April 8, 2015 - 8:32am

A year ago, the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) was on the rise but few expected them to travel such a rapid trajectory to the top of the global jihadi community.  The fighting (fitnato kick off 2014 between ... Read more... Tags: Islamic State, ISIS, IS, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra, abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Khorasan Group, al-Shabaab

Do sanctions on Russia create more problems than they solve?

March 31, 2015 - 10:05am

The sanctions on Russia seem to be working. The sanctions, coupled with large victories by pro-Western parties in 2014 Ukrainian parliamentary elections, may contribute to a sense that matters are heading in the right direction for the U.S.

Why... Read more... Tags: Russia, U.S. Foreign Policy, sanctions, Ukraine

In China: “A Peaceful Democratic Transition?"

March 22, 2015 - 9:04am


Nothing appears by accident in the Global Times, Beijing’s mass-circulation tabloid owned by the People’s Daily and run by the Communist Party. So I was astonished to read there, in an editorial feature this past March 9, the following sentence:  “The West has never thought that China will have a ‘peaceful democratic transition," [... Read more... Tags: China, Xi Jinping, Democracy, democratic transitions, Zhou Yongkang

Bundeswehr 2.0: A German Military for a New Normal

March 19, 2015 - 12:02pm

A visit to Germany’s military history museum in Dresden reveals just how deeply ambivalent modern Germany is about its military, the Bundeswehr.  One account described it as “a meditation on mankind’s addiction to state violence.”  No wonder that Germany—despite being Europe’s most populous and wealthiest country—has continuously cut the size of the Bundeswehr since the end of the Cold War.  While much of that was warranted, given the disappearance of the Soviet threat, today’s Bundeswehr is... Read more... Tags: Germany, military, army, navy, air force, Russia, NATO, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin