The Story Behind Syria and Egypt

New York Times,
July 12, 2013
In 15 years of thinking, reporting and writing about global affairs, I’ve come to the conclusion (after plenty of false starts) that often the best way to understand and explain big events is not by focusing on them directly, but by approaching them through smaller stories. This insight is probably not original or profound. But...

Asian Tensions and the Problem of History

The New York Times,
May 24, 2013
The political turmoil currently roiling Northeast Asia — a region that should otherwise be basking in success right now — can often seem bewildering to outsiders. One key to understanding, however, can be found in a surprising location: a single recent photograph. On May 12, a journalist snapped a picture of Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo...

China and US: War?

The Brian Lehrer Show,
December 19, 2012
Brian recently visited China on a trip for journalists sponsored by the Committee Of 100. He and his fellow travelers will be posting reflections on the blog over the next week. Here Jonathan Tepperman of Foreign Affairs follows up on a conversation with Brian on air. When last we spoke, I tried to sound an...

Why Israel Should Withdraw From the West Bank—Now

The Atlantic,
August 2, 2012
These generally feel like good times in Israel. The existential dangers facing the country often seem to have subsided, with sanctions starting to bite Iran and most Israelis, secure behind their wall, able to ignore the Palestinians. Recent protests in Tel Aviv have focused on social security, not the physical kind. Yet the dangers posed...

The Perils of Piecemeal Intervention

New York Times,
March 8, 2012
SYRIA’S rebels are in retreat, President Bashar al-Assad’s loyalist forces are laying waste to their former strongholds, and the death toll is mounting: the latest United Nations reports put it around 7,500. As the body count has increased, so, too, have calls for outside intervention. It’s time for the West to step in — but...

More Global Engagement, Not Less

Huffington Post,
November 29, 2011
As the global financial crisis rages on, European leaders bicker endlessly, the Middle East seethes, China flexes its muscles, and Washington debates cutting defense spending and foreign aid budgets and withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, politicians and publics around the world are starting to worry — with good reason — about a global...

Obama Makes Some Authoritarian Friends in Asia

The Atlantic,
November 4, 2010
Given the thumping that President Obama knew the Democrats would take at home this week, you can hardly blame him for deciding to hit the road with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and get as far from Washington, D.C. as physically possible. No surprise, then, that Obama picked this Friday to set sail for a...

An Ugly Answer to Israel’s Arab ‘Problem’

The Atlantic,
October 15, 2010
Last Sunday, the Israeli cabinet approved a controversial new draft law that would require non-Jews hoping to become Israeli citizens to swear a loyalty oath to the nation as a democratic and–here’s the ugly bit–Jewish state. The measure, which is aimed at foreign Arabs who come to Israeli in order to marry local Muslims or...

Ahmadinejad’s Quiet Coup

The Atlantic,
September 29, 2010
Yesterday morning, my Eurasia Group colleague Cliff Kupchan and I posted an item at Foreign Policy, highlighting a new internal battle brewing in Iran that will likely undermine any chance of productive negotiations with the West–and that, if it escalates, could tear the regime apart. This may seem a weird moment even to be mentioning...

Understanding the $60 Billion Saudi Arms Deal: It’s About Iran

The Atlantic,
September 21, 2010
Last week, the Obama administration unveiled a massive new US-Saudi arms deal. In the days since, the proposed package–which still needs congressional approval–has received relatively little attention from the press and foreign policy pundits (one exception, I should note, is my boss at Eurasia Group, Ian Bremmer). That in itself is surprising, as the deal...