Putin's Game: Why Russia won't cooperate on Iranian sanctions. Russia's corporate giant Gazprom inspires anxiety among those who suspect it of doing the Kremlin's geopolitical dirty work, but changes in the global economy are threatening to rob the company of its mojo. Two dissimilar economic paths: How China won and Russia lost. The Unbalanced Triangle: What Chinese-Russian relations mean for the United States. The Great Leap: In the midst of a global financial crash and the climate crisis, New China enters its third act. New rules for the West: Chinese competition in 21st century Africa. China wins struggle for Pipelinestan: While the U.S. is stuck in Afghanistan, China sneaks off quietly with the resource prize. While nobody was paying attention, Beijing was busy cornering the market on a little-known, but much coveted, strategic commodity. Heavy metal: China’s monopoly on rare earth metals could choke economies across the world. Fareed Zakaria on why terrorism and economic turmoil won't keep the world down for long. An empire at risk: We won the cold war and weathered 9/11 — but now economic weakness is endangering our global power. Power of consumption: David Brin on how we Americans spent ourselves into ruin — but saved the world. What is American foreign policy about? George Scialabba investigates. A review of One Nation Under Contract: The Outsourcing of American Power and the Future of Foreign Policy by Allison Stanger (and more). Power Shortage: No one wants America to be the sole global superpower, but no one wants to share the load.

Rob M. A. Nelissen and Marcel Zeelenberg (Tilburg): Moral emotions as determinants of third-party punishment: Anger, guilt, and the functions of altruistic sanctions. Drama Tween: Twenty years ago, Sara Wildman confided the titillations and tortures of middle school in her 8th-grade diary; now she was ready to relive that angst in front of 300 strangers. From TED, Loretta Napoleoni on the intricate economics of terrorism. Terminator 2009: Rebecca Solnit on judgment days in Copenhagen. A review of The Evolution of Obesity by Michael L. Power and Jay Schulkin. Top 10 Obesity Myths: What if being overweight isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world, or for your body? For nearly a decade, TomDispatch has been home to reportage and essays that chip away, week after week, at America's endless wars. The case against the new year: Midnight revelry amounts to sheer malarkey, when the tradition that preceded it called for a reflective morning celebration. America is facing dramatic problems, but none will be solved until we fix the dysfunctions of the Senate (and Ezra Klein interviews Barbara Sinclair, Andy Stern, Tom Harkin and Jeff Merkley on the filibuster). Juan Cole on the top ten worst things about the Bush decade (and more by Thomas Frank, and more from Vanity Fair). This was, nationally and globally, a lousy decade — but the next one has every prospect of being worse. A Russian official claims the remains of Adolf Hitler were burned in 1970 by Soviet KGB agents and thrown into a river in Germany. An excerpt from The Trashing of Margaret Mead: Anatomy of an Anthropological Controversy by Paul Shankman.

And please take advantage of Special Holiday Savings from Bookforum, with offers of 1 year (5 issues) for only $12.00, or 2 years (10 issues) for $24.00.

From Psychology Today, a look at why your friends have more friends than you do. The first chapter (and video) of The Calculus of Friendship: What a Teacher and a Student Learned about Life while Corresponding about Math by Steven Strogatz (and more). A growing body of experimental evidence suggests that, on the whole, we know significantly less about our friends, colleagues, and even spouses than we think we do. Faux Friendship: Enveloped by networks, do we still know how to make meaningful connections? A review of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives by Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler (and more). From Sirens, two longtime pals chat honestly about surviving one friend’s motherhood when the other remains happily child-free; and female friendship is complicated in and of itself, but when one woman gets a ring, how do the rules change? Social networking is not killing friendship: A culture that punishes men who express emotional vulnerability does a lot more damage than Facebook. From THES, a review of Mark Twain and Male Friendship: The Twichell, Howells and Rogers Friendships by Peter Messent. An article on why you should rank your friends (but not tell them). There's an awful moment in any friendship when it becomes obvious that you no longer like each other — what do you do? Friends may not always conform to the traditional idea of what a mate should be, but that isn't such a bad thing.

A review of Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language by Patricia T O’Conner and Stewart Kellerman and The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution of "Proper" English, from Shakespeare to South Park by Jack Lynch (and more and more). Some care about getting English right; others don’t — for those who do, there is Fowler’s Dictionary of Modern English Usage. The two-volume, 4,448-page Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary lays claim to being the largest and the first historical thesaurus compiled for any language. William Zinsser on writing English as a second language. From The Guardian Weekly, an article on a policy in Mauritius that banishes the majority language of Kreol from schools and imposes English in its place; and international charities are warning that global efforts to raise education outcomes are being held back by the widespread denial of schooling in children’s first languages. Is technology dumbing down Japanese? Here's a map of the world that shows countries re-sized in proportion to the number of languages they’ve produced. The beckoning silence: Why half of the world's languages are in serious danger of dying out. Languages are vanishing — so what?: Maybe fewer languages would be better. Meep!: Jan Freeman on the power of the meaningless. Skxawng: Ben Zimmer on the making of science-fiction languages. Linguist Paul Frommer, creator of the Na’vi language in James Cameron's Avatar, is holding out hope that Na’vi will follow the example of Klingon, the “gold standard for this alien language niche” (and more and more and more).