French Barkhane force soldiers who wrapped up a four-month tour of duty in the Sahel board a US Air Force C130 transport plane, leave their base in Gao, Mali, Wednesday June 9, 2021.

Trust the process: Part II

Critical State

Critical State, a foreign policy newsletter by Inkstick Media, takes a deep dive this week into the function of ad-hoc organizations that are formed to address a specific crisis — and then often get dissolved when the crisis ends.

Pakistanis shops in a weekly pet market in Lahore, Pakistan, Nov. 13, 2022.

As Earth surpasses 8 billion people, ‘the planet can feed and sustain billions more,’ demographer says

Four people walk with their belongings outside. A woman wears a blue scarf on her hair. A barefoot man carries a bag on his shoulder.

Climate and human security: Part I

A man, left, takes a photo of a colorful robot that is also working as waitstaff in a restaurant.

A new book suggests AI and robots will take jobs — but make the world better

'Age of Acceleration'

A new book explores how to survive the ‘Age of Accelerations’

US President Barack Obama boards Air Force One after a refueling stop in Lajes Air Base in the Azores, Portugal, on his way to Peru.

Obama faces tough questions about Trump on his last foreign trip

Global Politics

Barack Obama faced tough questions Saturday about Donald Trump’s victory on the last foreign visit of his presidency, to a summit of Pacific leaders that has been upended by the US election and concerns about China’s rise.

A Donald Trump supporter outside a rally at the Dayton International Airport in Dayton, Ohio.

Trump vows to ‘break’ NAFTA, but many workers may owe their jobs to free trade


Here’s why backing out of major US trade agreements like NAFTA might not be such a good idea for US workers.

Ari Páll Kristinsson is in charge of language planning at the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, the Icelandic government's language research agency.

Will Icelanders one day ditch their language for English?


The holy trinity of Icelandic identity is, according to a popular poem, land, nation and tongue. Remove one, and the others will collapse. So, will the Icelandic nation survive if, as some predict, the Icelandic language dies out?

An illustration from an 18th century history of the conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards.

How disease and genocide marked the start of the ‘human age’


A new study gives us a new date for the start of the human, or Anthropocene age: 1610. That’s when the movement of crops, animals and diseases around the world shows up clearly in the geological record — but it still has some competition.

John D. Bassett III re-opening a vacant furniture factory in 2012.

Here’s how an American furniture maker battled globalization, for his employees

Beth Macy’s new book “Factory Man” tells the story of a furniture maker in Virginia who took on the Asian factories that produced inexpensive knock-offs of American furniture. In the story,we meet the people who have been hurt, and helped, by globalization.