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. Gansu isn't the only Chinese province that has erupted in social unrest lately. Taxi drivers have gone on strike in several Chinese cities, people who lost money in illegal fundraising have protested in Beijing, and demonstrators have gathered...

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." Green's fiery sermon attracted attention throughout Sweden, which has laws against hate speech and maintains some of Europe's most liberal statutes on gay rights. Mainstream Swedish Christian leaders roundly condemned Green. Soon he was sentenced under Sweden's hate-speech laws to a month in jail. Quickly, a...

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. Around the same time, Sin Chew, a Chinese-language publishing giant based in Malaysia, began to diversify into other markets where they thought there would be greater demand for news about China. Cambodia seemed an obvious choice at a time when Chinese companies were flocking to Phnom Penh, Chinese language schools were opening across the country, and the Cambodian government was cultivating close ties with Beijing. Sin Chew launched their Cambodian paper in November 2000 and hired Loh to edit it. The paper quickly established a reputation for independent, honest reporting. While...

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. Just the fact that China, which a decade ago had little relationship with Africa, could attract nearly all the continent's most important leaders shows how rapidly Beijing has become a force in international affairs. But there's much more. Ten years ago, China offered roughly $100 million in aid to the continent; today it offers some $2.7 billion in grants and loans, putting it in competition with other major donors to 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. But obscure Greenland also sits in the crosshairs of the global warming industry. This summer more than 15 energy companies showed up at Nielsen's door. They arrived after Greenland called for a meeting to discuss potential exploration off its west coast, where melting ice has opened up new offshore areas -- and where exploratory...

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