NEW YORK -- A few weeks ago, the Economist Intelligence Unit published the 10th edition of its Democracy Index, a comprehensive ranking of nations that looks at 60 measures in five categories, ranging from electoral process to civil liberties. For the second consecutive year, the United States failed to make the top bracket of "full democracy" ...Read more
NEW YORK -- There's a lot to be optimistic about today. In almost every part of the world, economies are growing and war, poverty and disease are receding. But then there is the Middle East.
Syria remains a collapsed country; more than 5 million of its people have already fled. Yemen is now the site of the world's worst famine, and the war ...Read more
NEW YORK -- As the world's attention turns briefly away from Donald Trump and toward the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, it's worth focusing not just on the sports but on this year's host country. South Korea is, in some senses, the most successful nation in the world, and its success provides some crucial lessons.
First, the economics -- South...Read more
NEW YORK -- President Trump's State of the Union speech mostly ignored the world outside of America. He made a few tough statements on things like the Iran deal and Guantanamo and described (accurately) the evil nature of the North Korean regime, but he said very little about his foreign policy. This masks a more dangerous reality. The Trump ...Read more
DAVOS -- Ever since Donald Trump was elected president, I have said that when he did something right, I would say so. That's gotten me into trouble with some readers, but I'm going to do it again. On Friday at the World Economic Forum, Trump gave a good speech that was forthright, intelligent and conciliatory, embracing the world rather than ...Read more
NEW YORK -- Emmanuel Macron is today the most admired world leader among liberals, centrists and cosmopolitans around the globe. He has managed to win the French presidency, enact reforms and stay relatively popular -- all while speaking positively about the free market, the European Union, globalization and trade. He has done all this in the ...Read more
NEW YORK -- The fire and fury over Michael Wolff's book has largely centered on the personalities and power struggles within the White House. But behind all of that lies an important political development, one that explains the real rift between Donald Trump and his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon. President Trump seems to have abandoned ...Read more
NEW YORK -- The most enlightening commentary on what is going on in Iran right now was written 162 years ago. In his book on the French Revolution, Alexis de Tocqueville explained, "Revolutions are not always brought about by a gradual decline from bad to worse. Nations that have endured patiently and almost unconsciously the most overwhelming ...Read more
Daniel Kahneman, who won a Nobel Prize in economics for reshaping our understanding of human motivation, once said: "No one ever made a decision because of a number. They need a story." That's as true for nations as for individuals. Countries have always oriented themselves within a larger international story. But what is today's global story?
NEW YORK -- If the Republican tax plan passes Congress, it will mark a watershed for the United States. The medium- and long-term effects of the plan will be a massive drop in public investment, which will come on the heels of decades of declining spending (as a percentage of GDP) on infrastructure; scientific research; skills training; and core...Read more
NEW YORK -- With his decision to move the American Embassy to Jerusalem, President Trump did something puzzling for a person who claims to be a great deal-maker. He made a massive, pre-emptive concession to one side in a complicated negotiation without getting anything for it in return. If that's how he operates, it's no wonder so many of his ...Read more
NEW YORK -- Watching the Republican tax plan race through Congress, one is reminded of a big apparent difference between Donald Trump's program and other populist movements in the Western world. In America, Trump is leading something that is best described as plutocratic populism, a mixture of traditional populist causes with extreme libertarian...Read more
LONDON -- Donald Trump gave a speech this week grading his Asia trip. Not surprisingly, he thought it was a "tremendous success." "Our great country is respected again in Asia," he tweeted. All recent polling data from the region suggests the opposite. A core focus of Trump's trip was Japan and South Korea, but only 17 percent of South Koreans ...Read more
NEW YORK -- The news out of Saudi Arabia has been startling. A country famous for its stability to the point of stagnation is watching a 32-year-old crown prince arrest his relatives, freeze their bank accounts and dismiss them from key posts. But on closer examination, it should not be so surprising. Mohammed bin Salman is now applying to Saudi...Read more
SINGAPORE -- This week's tragic terror attack in New York was the kind of isolated incident by one troubled man that should not lead to generalizations. In the 16 years since 9/11, the city has proved astonishingly safe from jihadi groups and individuals. And yet, speaking about it to officials in this major global hub 10,000 miles away, the ...Read more