Wrestling with Iran

In Iran, wrestling commands the same level of public interest as football in the United States. This is no passing fad. Wrestling is intimately entwined with the history and culture of the country, going back to the legendary matches that Persian kings conducted with their rivals. It’s also a matter of national pride. At the Olympics, Iran wins more medals in wrestling than in any other...
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The Leader Our Foreign Policy Deserves

It’s often said that, in democracies, we get the leaders that we deserve. In the current slugfest masquerading as a presidential race, it looks as though we’re getting the leader that our foreign policy deserves. The results of the first round of the 2016 presidential election in Iowa, with narrow victories by Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton, only underscore this point. Let me explain. The Obama...
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US and Iran Collect Diplomatic Jackpot

In 1748, as part of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, France regained Cape Breton from Great Britain. The island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, had passed back and forth between the two countries over the years, and previous treaties had been as binding as toilet paper. But as part of the 1748 treaty, Great Britain sent several British peers to Paris as a guarantee of the British king’s good faith...
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The Geopolitics of Cheap Oil

The market was supposed to save the planet. That, at least, was the argument of many economists grappling with the problem of climate change. As fossil fuels became scarcer, they pointed out, the price of oil and natural gas would go up. And then other options, like solar and wind, would become cheaper, particularly as investment flowed into that sector and drove down the cost of new...
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Obama: The Fairy-Tale President?

In fairy tales, the hero makes a wish. After a few trials the wish comes true, and everyone lives happily ever after. But only in this Disney version of fairy tales is wish fulfillment so straightforward. In Goethe’s modern fairy tale, a scholar dreams of knowledge and power. A stranger grants his wish, but the ambitious Faust must pledge his soul to the Devil to seal the deal. In the famous...
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Syria: Mission Possible?

Imagine this new TV series coming to HBO in 2016. The planet faces an unprecedented peril. The international community brings together a team of experts, each one with a different specialty: the scientist, the general, the computer geek, the engineer, the spook. It’s their job to avert catastrophe. In the pilot episode, we see each member of the team prepare for the new assignment. They inform...
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