Middle East Articles

One hundred forty-three of the 192 countries in the world are involved in human trafficking. Though our civilization is currently flirting for the second time with globalization, enhanced technologically and scientifically from its first experiment in the pre-World War I era, it nevertheless carries the vestiges of its most primitive beginnings. If the lasting stone monuments of the ancient world were built by slave labor, it seems that the modern world is experiencing a forced labor of its own.

By Jessica Caplin  |  March 21, 2009

Only a short time ago, economists were predicting that the number of currencies in the global monetary system would fall from more than 150 to perhaps three or four. In 2001, Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff wrote in the American Economic Review, “It appears likely that the number of currencies in the world, having proliferated along with the number of countries over the past fifty years, will decline sharply over the next two decades.” While a domestic currency had traditionally been conceived as part of a nation’s sovereignty and tied to its political existence, there was no reason for that to persist.

By Ellen E. Meade  |  March 21, 2009

In traditional Chinese medicine, the doctor is paid as long as the patient is healthy. The patient comes in four times a year for a checkup, with adjusted lifestyle recommendations. Payment is stopped once the patient is ill. In the US, as long as the economy is healthy, “the financial doctor” in the form of the prudential regulator is considered redundant. Moreover, the prudential regulator is frequently viewed as a spoiler who inhibits growth and development. This is the paradox of prudential regulations in a capitalist economy—the better the regulator’s performance, the lower the demand for its services.

By Joshua Aizenman  |  March 21, 2009

US presidents invariably point to Iran’s human rights record, support for terrorism, and the regime’s incendiary rhetoric as the basis for admonishing Iran, which has been designated a founding member of the Axis of Evil during the second Bush Administration. The real concern, however, is Iran’s regional policies, because they threaten US interests and national security. Iran has supported a number of anti-American entities, whether in the Middle East, the Far East, or Latin America. It has tried to undermine Middle Eastern governments friendly to the United States.

By Hossein Askari  |  March 4, 2009

Within the last decade, several presidents, especially in resource-reliant countries, have attempted to remold their countries' constitutional design for their own benefit by removing presidential term limits. It appears that these attempts have been largely successful in allowing incumbents to stay in power. Just slightly more than a week ago, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won a referendum that allows him to run for re-election indefinitely after his tenure expires in 2012.

By Farid Guliyev  |  February 28, 2009

One of the first priorities of US President Barack Obama will be to ensure that Iran does not acquire nuclear weapons. A nuclear Iran would pose a strategic threat not only to the region, but to the world. It would seriously undermine the non-proliferation regime. Regional powers such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey might be tempted to enrich uranium, a situation which may lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Ultimately, we may be faced with a large number of countries with uranium enrichment programs. The likelihood that a terrorist organization will acquire nuclear weapons in the future increases as more national governments acquire nuclear capability.


By Nicola Clase  |  February 7, 2009

Since 2006, Security Council resolutions aimed at compelling Iran to halt its nuclear activities have not only been counterproductive, but they have undermined the Council’s legitimacy even further. This is not just because the Security Council has sheltered an “Axis of Evil” nation from the current global financial crisis by cutting its ties to the doomed market. It is also because the Council’s irrational and illegal demands no longer suit Iran’s new stature within the regional and international conjuncture.

By Reza Nasri  |  January 19, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama was the world’s favored candidate in what has been called the first global election. In Muslim countries, however, considerable scepticism existed as to whether US foreign policy would change for the better with a new President. Prior to the election, a poll in Pakistan found an overwhelming majority of people believing that even if Obama won, little change would manifest with his administration. A Gallup poll conducted in 70 countries worldwide found that 9 out of 10 Pakistanis had no preference between the Presidential nominees. This mood changed significantly with his victory.

By Maleeha Lodhi  |  December 20, 2008

Ambassador Khalilzad (“Peace in the Middle East,” Summer 2008) presented productive answers to the questions posed to him regarding strategies to contain extremism. He spoke of the importance of understanding the struggle today between conservatives and liberals within the Muslim world. He spoke of the need to resolve regional issues like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He spoke of the need to incentivize societies around a centrist platform. He spoke of the need for the United States to use diplomacy as much as possible towards Iran, while bringing Iraqis together.

By Hady Amr  |  December 19, 2008

Seven years after the fall of the Taliban regime, Afghans—and the international community—are still struggling to construct a state with a functioning government, licit economic growth, and improved social conditions. While the country has seen significant advancements since 2001, particularly in terms of health, education, and other socioeconomic factors, few would argue that the situation in Afghanistan is progressing well.

By Nita Colaco  |  December 19, 2008