Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy September 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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Kate Higgins-Bloom is a U.S. Coast Guard commander. Her staff tours have included a White House fellowship and acting chief of staff for legislative affairs at the Department of Homeland Security. She has deployed throughout the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific; commanded a cutter on a yearlong assignment to the Persian Gulf; and responded to numerous domestic crises, including Hurricane Katrina. Yasha Mounk is a lecturer on government at Harvard University, a senior fellow in the political reform program at New America, and a columnist at Slate. He is also the executive director of the Renewing the Centre team at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change. The host of The Good Fight podcast, he is the author most recently of The People vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and…

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from the editor in chief

AFTER YEARS OF REFINEMENT, a new weapon started cutting a swath through the battlefields of Europe. It was relatively cheap, accurate, easy to use—and so powerful it could punch through the best defenses. With the touch of a trigger, anyone carrying the weapon could render expensive, state-of-the-art combat systems obsolete. The result was widespread carnage and chaos. Leaders panicked and started calling for some kinds of limits on the terrible new device. So in 1139 one of the world’s most powerful international institutions—the Vatican—declared the crossbow anathema and “hateful to God.” You get the point of the story: Anxious discussions about the future of war and the destabilizing impact of novel weapons are hardly new. So why would Foreign Policy wade into the debate again now? The reason is that this…

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words of war

IN WAR, AS IN LIFE, TECHNOLOGY IS KING. As the U.S. military looks to maximize efficiency and minimize civilian casualties, researchers at the Defense Department are developing a range of cutting-edge projects. It’s serious work—but that doesn’t stop them from having a little fun with the naming conventions. 1. Gremlins The U.S. military needs low-cost, operationally flexible killer drones. The answer? Gremlins—unmanned drones just a few yards in length that essentially act in swarms. In combat scenarios, existing aircraft such as C-130 transport planes would deploy an army of gremlins to fight on their behalf and then position themselves at a safe distance. Once the shooting stopped, the transport planes would retrieve the minidrones; each gremlin has an expected lifetime of 20 uses. The gremlins project was launched in 2015, and the…

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the return of the pentagon’s yoda

AT 96 YEARS OLD, ANDREW MARSHALL, still widely touted as a leading U.S. defense intellectual, has reached an age where people mostly reflect on the past, if they are lucky enough to remember it. Yet the man who helped coin the phrase “revolution in military affairs”—the idea that at certain moments the introduction of new technology will transform warfare—is still busy thinking about the future, as his Alexandria, Virginia, apartment makes clear: Books on topics ranging from quantum physics to Russian missile defense lie in piles on nearly every surface, spilling over onto the couch and lined up against the walls. It has been three years since Marshall retired from the U.S. Defense Department, and the famous cold warrior is not ready, like the proverbial old soldier, to fade away. He has…

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why growth can’t be green

WARNINGS ABOUT ECOLOGICAL BREAKDOWN have become ubiquitous. Over the past few years, major newspapers, including the Guardian and the New York Times, have carried alarming stories on soil depletion, deforestation, and the collapse of fish stocks and insect populations. These crises are being driven by global economic growth, and its accompanying consumption, which is destroying the Earth’s biosphere and blowing past key planetary boundaries that scientists say must be respected to avoid triggering collapse. Many policymakers have responded by pushing for what has come to be called “green growth.” All we need to do, they argue, is invest in more efficient technology and introduce the right incentives, and we’ll be able to keep growing while simultaneously reducing our impact on the natural world, which is already at an unsustainable level. In…

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you can’t go home again

FEW POLITICAL IDEALS END UP AS OBJECTS OF NOSTALGIA. The ones that thrive live on the streets and in daily life; the ones that die do so obscurely. But the Nordiska Museet, the great anthropology museum in Stockholm, houses an exhibition devoted to a single word—one that until recently breathed life into Sweden and now, in its absence, haunts its national politics. The word is folkhemmet, and the ideal it represents—and the vacuum left by its disappearance—helps explain the surge of reactionary populism now shaking the country’s political order, as well as the continent’s. Folkhemmet also happens to have no English equivalent. The literal translation—the people’s home—is clunky, but it does capture the central concept: home. The exhibition in Nordiska Museet makes that clear. It displays an entire reconstructed apartment from…