A look at the 2012 Freedom House ranking of 197 countries according to their relative freedom.
The Obama administration must recognize that a total military withdrawal would have effects beyond Afghanistan's borders. It would devastate US interests – both political and economic – throughout Central Asia, a critical region where China and Russia now dominate.
After decades in Afghanistan, a Monitor journalist offers a memoir and field report.
Every year, the group Transparency International releases its Corruption Perception Index, which measures the perception of corruption – misuse of public resources, bribery, and backdoor deals, to name a few – in countries worldwide. On a scale of 0 (most corrupt) to 10 (least corrupt), no country scores a 10 and more than two-thirds of the 183 countries on the index score below a 5. The US comes in at 7.1. The index is built using data from surveys examining enforcement of anticorruption laws, tracking of public funds, kickbacks in government contracts, etc.
The US military had begun shifting its Afghanistan logistics network away from Pakistan and toward Central Asia even before the latest tensions between Washington and Islamabad.
More than 100 Peace Corps volunteers are leaving Kazakhstan, after the US organization announced an abrupt end to its program.
Pakistan announced it was closing its borders permanently to the transport of NATO supplies into Afghanistan. The move was one more retaliatory measure in a long-troubled relationship.