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January/February 2011

Every now and then someone emerges on the world scene to lead not because of ambition but because of what matters: the strength and the enduring quality of their character; the nobility of their purpose; and the wisdom, compassion, and humility that has been evenly deployed during a full life’s span of challenges and tests. Most would argue that Vaclav Havel is such a leader. Rather than seek shelter in the life of privilege into which he was born, he suffered humiliation and isolation because he refused to capitulate on the fundamental values that underpin life and civilization as it should be. ... Read More

No Man's Land: The Mystery of Mexico's Drug Wars

What do two gangland massacres in a Mexican no-man's-land say about the country's nebulous world of narco politics and warfare? Gary Moore reports from the outlaw's roost Cerro Prieto, a.k.a. Dark Hill.

The No-Show: Why Values Should Have Mattered in Iraq

The US took its blood and treasure to Iraq to topple a tyrant and build a democracy. But it forgot its most appealing asset, its liberal cultural values, allowing lesser forces to fill the void.

Average Joe: The Return of Stalin Apologists

A spate of new books posits that Stalin wasn't such a bad guy after all—just a strongman boxed in by the perils of history. The journalist Tomasz Sommer and the scholar Marek Chodakiewicz beg to differ.

Spoiler Alert: What Syria's President Really Wants

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wants to play every one of his neighbors (not to mention the West) for all they're worth.

Big Boom: Robert Pape Remakes Terrorism Studies

Meet Robert Pape, the man whose empirical research has helped reshape terrorism studies as we know it.

Menace à trois: Alliances with Iran and Turkey? Please.

In Reset, former New York Times reporter Stephen Kinzer argues for shaking up our traditional ties in the Mideast—and getting more friendly with Turkey and Iran. James Kirchick explains why it shouldn't happen—and never would, anyway.

Uzbekistan: The Enemy We Need

Uzbekistan has one of the most repressive political systems in the world, but these days the country’s strongman Islam Karimov is back in Washington’s good graces.

Anchors Away: American Sea Power in Dry Dock

After a decade of counterinsurgency warfare, it's hard to remember that America's global leadership used to be—and still is—based on its naval power. But that shouldn't excuse utterly neglecting it.