May 3, 2016 This map is designed to show some of the hidden fault lines underlying the states of the Middle East, and the reasons these states, which were held together by foreign powers and domestic tyrants, disintegrated.
The Ottoman Empire lasted for about six centuries before it collapsed after World War I. Towards the waning years of the 17th century, its forces had penetrated as far west as Vienna. Its power and reach were enormous and enduring. The green areas of the map show what remained of the empire in the mid-19th century, after it was long past its prime. Its power had declined, but the extent of its rule, even in decline, bound together a region reaching from the Balkans to the Arabian Peninsula and to a large part of North Africa.
April 14, 2017 Salafism originated in the mid-18th century in an area that now encompasses Saudi Arabia. It can best be described as a tendency that envisions an austere form of Islam. This modern trend within Islam began as a corrective movement in 18th century Arabia to bring Muslims back to the religion’s original creed.
For many decades, the kingdom exported Salafism and associated ultraconservative ideas by constructing and purchasing mosques, underwriting seminaries, publishing literature, dispatching clerics, supporting charities and so on. Over time, however, it gradually lost control over the Salafist ideology itself, and three distinct branches formed: quietist, jihadist and electoral.
Dec. 8, 2017 Over the past year, the U.S. Navy has been under scrutiny because of a series of collisions involving Navy warships from the Pacific Fleet. In May, the USS Lake Champlain guided-missile cruiser collided with a fishing boat in the Sea of Japan. A month later, the USS Fitzgerald destroyer collided with a cargo ship off the coast of Japan. Then in August, another destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, was hit by an oil tanker east of the Strait of Malacca. The latter two collisions resulted in the deaths of 17 American sailors. The Navy concluded that human error was the cause of both of those collisions.
Nov. 3, 2017 Geography affects the development of all nations in profound ways, but rarely has it done so more strikingly than in Spain. Today the country is renowned for its beaches, but its defining geographic feature is its mountains. It is the existence – and more important, the location – of these mountains that has fostered the distinct, regional communities that make Spain so difficult to govern.
Though mountains are Spain’s most conspicuous geographic feature, they are not the only one to impede government efforts to unify the country. The weather patterns in Spain differ profoundly from region to region. Northwestern Spain gets a great deal of rain each year – sometimes as much as 80 inches a year. Compare that to the Southern Meseta, which sometimes sees as little as 10 inches of rain per year. Central and southern Spain are much dryer, though the Guadalquivir River Valley is a notable exception. Northeastern Spain has comparatively less rainfall too, but Catalonia has the Ebro River (and Valencia the Turia River) for irrigation.
Dec. 16, 2016 China has been working on a plan to modernize the legendary Silk Road. The two-part initiative called One Belt, One Road includes both land and sea routes and the opening of multiple economic corridors, spanning an area that covers almost two-thirds of the world’s population and a third of global GDP. Linking Eurasia together will require the construction of roads, railways, ports and other elements across vast distances in some of the harshest terrain and least populated areas in the world.
July 2, 2016 The most striking images are often those that take something we think we know well and turn it on its head. This map is one of those images. The borders of Europe have changed over time, but since national self-determination became the most important organizing principle for European states in the 19th century, there have been some relatively constant entities: France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Spain.
We tend to think of these as coherent nation-states. But even these countries contain groups that don’t identify with their national identity as French, British, German, Italian or Spanish.
April 7, 2017 The world is currently in the midst of an exporters’ crisis. The stagnation in global consumption levels and decline of commodity prices has led to increased instability and insecurity in countries heavily dependent on exports.
The origins of the exporters’ crisis lie in the economic recessions that the United States and Europe experienced due to the 2008 financial crash. These countries were major consumers of Chinese goods, especially low-cost manufactured products. Lost revenue slowed China’s economy, resulting in lower Chinese demand for commodities and goods. This led to falling commodity prices and a decline in global exports.
April 21, 2017 Building economic ties should be the major avenue for Turkey to develop inroads into the Balkans. Turkey is a European power as well as a Middle Eastern power, and it has been a key player in the Balkans for centuries. But Turkey’s influence in the Balkans and the rest of southern Europe is currently limited at best.