Free | Reality Check

NATO’s Diminishing Military Function

May 30, 2017 The alliance lacks a common threat and is now more focused on its political role.

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Free | This Week in Geopolitics

Russia’s History of Destabilization Campaigns

May 29, 2017 The strategy assumed that the greater the dissension in a country, the weaker it would be.

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Watch List Findings: May 27, 2017

Deep Dive

The Limits of Iranian Power

May 25, 2017 Geography and demography work against the government in Tehran.

Free | Reality Check

North Korea Stares Into the Abyss

May 29, 2017 All the signs are there: The U.S. is telling North Korea, in no uncertain terms, that war is…

Free | Reality Check

Why Russia Can’t End the North Korea Crisis

May 26, 2017 The Kremlin wants to appear influential in an issue that has great consequence for the U.S.

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Watch List: May 25, 2017

Free | Reality Check

What Lies Beneath the Surface in East Asia

May 25, 2017 Two seemingly unrelated events will affect the regional balance of power.

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Watch List: May 24, 2017

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Thinking Through a US Attack on North Korea

May 24, 2017

George Friedman joins the podcast this week to talk about indicators that suggest the U.S. is gearing…

Net Assessments

The Weekly Graphic

How Iran Can Project Power in the Middle East

May 26, 2017 Iran is more formidable on paper than perhaps it is in practice. It is the 17th-largest country in the world and the 17th-most populous. It is the sixth-largest producer of oil and the third-largest producer of natural gas. And, according to the International Monetary Fund, it boasts the world’s 29th-largest economy by gross domestic product despite decades of economic sanctions against it.

But the country is constrained by its demography. Iran has several large minority populations, including Azeris, Kurds, Arabs and Baluchis, all of which have separatist tendencies. Since its founding in 1979, when it toppled the secular monarchy, the current regime has tried to solve this problem by cultivating a national identity steeped in Shiism. (The shared use of the Persian language has also helped in that regard. In fact, historically, it has influenced the cultures and civilizations of peoples in all the surrounding regions.)

But religion can go only so far. Its efforts have not exactly endeared the government to the Sunni minorities that populate Iran’s farther reaches. And the clerics who dominate the government are often at odds with the country’s republican institutions.

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