US Opinion and Commentary

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The Politics of Polio Eradication

Posted March 15th, 2016 at 1:44 pm (UTC-5)
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During the past five years, polio cases have occurred almost exclusively in five conflict-affected countries: Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria. Because immunization programs are led by national governments and the WHO…it can be difficult to carry out vaccinations in areas where militants wage war against the state.

The Upside of Plunging Oil Prices

Posted March 3rd, 2016 at 1:25 pm (UTC-5)
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Many big oil exporters just aren’t the kind of countries you’d want to bring home to mother….And in many cases — Russia, Iran, and Venezuela, for instance — their hydrocarbon bounty has enabled them to intimidate neighbors, fuel adventurism, and generally project a baleful influence.

More War Than Peace

Posted February 17th, 2016 at 3:29 pm (UTC-5)
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Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz two centuries ago gave the pithiest answer to the question of why we resort to violence: War is an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will.” But can force alone compel the submission of the Islamic State and the demise of jihadist extremism in the Muslim world?  

Nigeria Is Coming Apart at the Seams

Posted February 9th, 2016 at 1:24 pm (UTC-5)
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The resurgence of the Biafran secessionist movement is symptomatic of a much deeper problem with the Nigerian state. The federal government’s chokehold on states and ethnic groups is fueling multiple demands for autonomy and the right to manage resources at a local level — demands that could ultimately lead to a fracturing of the country.

Oil Dictator Dominos

Posted February 8th, 2016 at 4:45 pm (UTC-5)
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Central Asia’s oil-producing dictatorships, including Azerbaijan, have been among the countries hardest hit by the drop in prices – especially because, as ex-Soviet states, they remain heavily dependent on trade with Russia, another oil producer.

Africa’s Boom Is Over

Posted January 6th, 2016 at 10:31 am (UTC-5)
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[I]t looks like the skeptics were right. Oil and commodity prices are plunging, China’s purchases are slowing, and GDP growth rates across the continent are in steep decline. … [T]he IMF has cut its 2015 projection for growth in sub-Saharan Africa from 4.5 to 3.75 percent …

Boko Haram is Wounded and Dangerous

Posted December 8th, 2015 at 1:48 pm (UTC-5)
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[I]f Boko Haram has seen its territorial ambitions dashed in recent months, it is hardly on the verge of defeat. In a way, Boko Haram has come full circle, reverting back to the kind of asymmetrical warfare that was once its grisly hallmark.