Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy July 2018


FOREIGN POLICY is the premier, award-winning magazine of global politics, economics, and ideas. Our mission is to explain how the world works -- in particular, how the process of global integration is reshaping nations, institutions, cultures, and, more fundamentally, our daily lives.

United States
Foreign Policy
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Christina Larson is an award-winning foreign correspondent and science journalist based in Beijing and a former FOREIGN POLICY editor. She has reported from nearly a dozen countries in Asia. Her features have appeared in the New York Times, Wired, Science, Scientific American, the Atlantic, and other publications. In 2016, she won the Overseas Press Club of America’s Morton Frank Award for international magazine writing. Alexander Zaitchik has written for the Nation, the New Republic, Rolling Stone, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the New York Times, and the Guardian. He is the author of The Gilded Rage: A Wild Ride Through Donald Trump’s America and currently divides his time between New Orleans and the western Amazon. Molly Kinder is a senior advisor on work, workers, and technology at New America; a fellow at…

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from the editor in chief

IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, it has felt like every big election has focused on jobs and the threats they (supposedly) face: from trade, from immigrants, and, most accurately, from technology. No wonder. Until recently, the forecasts were almost unanimously grim: The robots were coming, we were told, and they’d soon make us humans redundant. In the summer of 2015, the Atlantic captured the panic with a cover story titled “A World Without Work,” which warned that the moment when machines make workers obsolete “may finally be arriving.” Then, on March 18 of this year, a self-driving car hit and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona—and the conversation began to shift. Suddenly the fear that humans would soon be superfluous started to seem a little less likely. Around the same time, the…

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south koreans learn to love the other

FROM JAPAN TO THE UNITED KINGDOM, developed countries face a two-pronged problem: aging populations and a deepening hostility toward the immigrants who could keep their aging economies growing. One country may have found the answer to both. In South Korea, a top-down campaign begun in 2005 to remake the nation’s ethnic self-image has had remarkable results. In less than a generation, most South Koreans have gone from holding a narrow, racial concept of nationality to embracing the idea that immigrants of Chinese, Nigerian, Vietnamese, or North American descent can be as Korean as anyone else. Part of what makes South Korea’s story so striking is its speed. Until the early 2000s, the country’s textbooks, immigration policies, and national imagery had placed a heavy value on the purity and unity of what…

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pride and prejudice in tehran

MISCOMMUNICATION BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND IRAN is nothing new. But now that U.S. President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the nuclear deal with Iran, guaranteeing that tensions will worsen in the months ahead, those hoping to avoid a crisis should start studying a little Farsi, beginning with one word: nafs. The concept most purely defines the essence of Iranian political culture stretching back centuries, especially as it relates to interactions with foreigners. It also offers insight into how the Iranian government approaches difficult diplomacy of the sort it now faces. Nafs literally means “self,” but what matters is the nuance with which Iranians use the term. The most common usages are etemad be nafs, which means self-confidence; shekast-e nafs, which means “broken self”—essentially, modesty; and ezat-e nafs, which denotes self-respect,…

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longtime neighbors

IN THE LAST FEW YEARS, Poland’s far-right nationalists have worked hard to project an image of a country that is ethnically homogenous and overwhelmingly Catholic. But this nationalist vision overlooks inconvenient realities such as Podlaskie: a forested region that includes the city of Bialystok and that has been home, for hundreds of years, to a small, vibrant Tatar Muslim community. Podlaskie’s Tatars migrated from Crimea and Central Asia in the 14th century. By the early 20th century, they numbered around 6,000 and maintained 17 mosques in the region. Then came World War II. In its aftermath, borders shifted, and Poland’s new communist rulers suppressed Islam along with all other religions. Intermarriage and assimilation further thinned the ranks of the region’s Tatars. They now number fewer than 3,000. But in the nearly 30…

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thank you, jimmy carter

WHEN THE HISTORIAN WALTER RUSSELL MEAD, in a FOREIGN POLICY article published in early 2010, sought to criticize the Obama administration and warn it against the risks of “weakness and indecision” and “incoherence and reversals,” the essay’s headline evoked the threat of a “Carter syndrome.” The meaning was clear: a damning allusion to President Jimmy Carter’s famously weak foreign-policy record. But there was a problem with Mead’s comparison: The conventional wisdom about Carter is wrong. Far from the feckless leader he’s often portrayed as today, Carter racked up more tangible successes in just four years than most other presidents have in eight. Consider the global situation that Carter bequeathed to Ronald Reagan when he left office in January 1981. Through assertive diplomacy, the outgoing president had dramatically improved America’s global image, then…