Joshua Kurlantzick

Joshua Kurlantzick is a senior correspondent at The American Prospect and a special correspondent at The New Republic. He is also a scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of Charm Offensive: How China's Soft Power is Transforming the World.

Recent Articles

Twilight of the Autocrats

The global financial crisis is threatening the delicate bargain that the Chinese, Russian, and Venezuelan regimes have struck with their citizens.

Gansu is one of interior China's most forlorn provinces, one that has gone largely unnoticed by the outside world. When I worked in rural Gansu two years ago, I met few people who had ever left their hometown. In one tiny village, ethnic minority Muslims were eking out a living as farmers in the dusty, arid climate and sleeping in simple stone huts that looked like they'd been built centuries earlier. Most villagers had never met a foreigner before.

Then last fall, Gansu suddenly hit the news. Some 2,000 people rioted in one district, torching cars, smashing up the local Communist Party offices, and attacking policemen with iron rods, chains, and axes in protest of a local government decision that might have forced some of them to resettle.

Tomorrow, the World

Flush with cash and ancient hatreds, American evangelicals are incubating a Christian right in secular Europe.

In the isolated Swedish island village of Borgholm, on a summer day in 2003, the Rev. Ake Green stepped to the front of his Pentecostal congregation. On this desolate isle, cut off from the mainland and dotted with ruins of a towering stone fortress, Green's church normally attracted few followers; at this service he addressed fewer than 100 people. The conservative preacher, a taciturn figure with a crown of white hair on his balding dome, and a stern, lined face, delivered a searing message. "Sexually twisted people will rape animals," Green thundered. "Sexual abnormalities," including homosexuality, he said, citing Leviticus, are "a deep cancerous tumor in the entire society."

The China Syndrome

On a trip to Cambodia last winter, I sat down for breakfast with Loh Swee Ping, a Malaysian-Chinese journalist based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital. Between large bites of spare ribs, a Chinese breakfast, Loh told me that she moved to Phnom Penh nearly a decade ago, after the factions in Cambodia's civil war signed a peace deal and the United Nations arrived to oversee the nation's transition to democracy.

Continental Shift

This past weekend, Beijing, normally a hectic and polluted city, shut down. Streets were closed, traffic rerouted or banned, all to make way for an unusual event: A two-day summit of African heads of state and Chinese leaders, highlighted by billboards around the city depicting giraffes, African sunsets, and warriors. The event attracted the leaders of 35 African countries and 1,700 delegates, making it a colossal affair. The dignitaries closed the meeting by signing nearly $2 billion in deals and launching a new “strategic partnership” between China and Africa.

What Lies Beneath

Joern Skov Nielsen surely qualifies as one of the more obscure government ministers in the world. Head of Greenland's Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum, he operates out of an office in Nuuk, capital of Greenland, a semiautonomous region of Denmark with fewer than 60,000 people living on a landmass that covers more than 800,000 square miles. In summer, Nuuk resembles a small Midwestern suburb, its low-lying ranch-style buildings spread across a wide plain and painted in stark primary colors, with only the occasional chunky office building breaking the town's low skyline. In winter, much of the town shuts down, bathed in darkness and battered by fierce storms.