It’s hard to pick winners from among the scores of online columns we publish in a given year, especially one as eventful as 2014. Over the last 12 months, the world has witnessed historic nuclear negotiations with Iran, wars in Ukraine and Syria, a pandemic in West Africa, and major announcements by the United States and China on climate change policy—all with major global repercussions. Our contributors weighed in on these subjects and many more with analyses not found anywhere else.
Here are eight pieces from the last year worth revisiting, because they are especially provocative, lively, original, timely, or timeless—or some combination
By Siegfried S. Hecker and Abbas Milani
Why Iran should follow the South Korean model of nuclear development, reaping
enormous economic benefits by eschewing the kind of uranium enrichment that worries the world. This piece was eventually translated into Farsi and posted on an Iranian government website—an almost unheard-of level of attention for an article on nuclear affairs emanating from the West.
By Dawn Stover
Climate activists have split into two warring camps—playing right into the hands of fossil fuel interests.
By Hugh Gusterson
The downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over the Ukraine-Russia border hardened
Western opinion against Moscow in 2014 and incited talk of a new Cold War.
But when a US warship shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in 1988, killing 290
people, American leaders defended the deed.
By Kennette Benedict
How the two major foreign policy debacles the United States faces today could have
been avoided, if the West had built new multilateral institutions when the opportunity
presented itself at the end of the Cold War.
By Laura H. Kahn
What's gone wrong and what's going right in dealing with Ebola, in Africa and America.
By Ariane Tabatabai
Shia doctrine, a mystery fatwa, and Tehran's real interests.
By Seth Baum
Just because something has never occurred doesn’t mean it won’t happen. So how probable is a nuclear conflict?
By Dawn Stover
New pledges to reduce emissions and fund climate action are not enough to stave off danger. Not even close. Here’s what’s really needed.