The Modern Silk Road

Sino-Gulf trade is booming as the world's two most liquid economies create a host of new alliances that are shifting the world's economic center of gravity.

Christian Charity, Korean Style

South Korean churches are competing to provide humanitarian aid to their compatriots in the atheist north. It's harder to give help than it should be.

China's Underground Banks

Nobody knows exactly how much money changes hands in China's unofficial banking sector, but the private sector would grind to a halt without it.

The Golden Hordes

China's surprisingly steely retail investors are snapping up billions of dollars of foreign assets.

Wall Street Hot on Weapons Makers

It may be too soon to talk about a global arms race, but the shopping spree is on. Nations of the world are buying weapons at the fastest pace since the Soviet Union collapsed 16 years ago. In 2005, according to the latest U.S. government data, the value of signed weapons agreements reached $44.2 billion, up more than 43 percent since 2001 and more than at any time since the cold war ended in 1991, when the figure hovered in the $50 billion range. The global arms bazaar got even busier in late...

In America's Image

You wouldn't think of it as a bastion of economic liberalism. But in the last few years, Syria, Washington's archnemesis and the final, symbolic frontier of Baath Party socialism, has swung open its once shuttered economy with a neoliberal flourish. Where once there were only risk-averse, state-run banks, private lenders are now doing a brisk trade. New investment laws are stimulating foreign direct investment and a simplified tax code is boosting state revenues. Interest rates are low, and a...

Mideast: The New Muslim Brotherhood

Zeki Bany Arshead is the Muslim Brotherhood's new man in Amman. The general secretary of the Islamic Action Front, the Brotherhood's Jordanian chapter, might be expected to spout the rhetoric of his predecessors—heavy on Qur'anic injunctions and talk of a Pan-Arabic Islamic "caliphate." So what's all this about democracy? "Our minimum demand," he says from his businesslike offices in downtown Amman, "is for freedom of expression and assembly, real elections with multiple parties, rule of law,...

The Quiet Exodus from Iraq

He sits in an unheated two-room apartment furnished with plastic chairs and begrimed here and there with mold. Dandling his infant son on his knees, he wears the exhausted, vacant look of a man living on the edge, scrounging daily to make ends meet and feed his wife and young family. For Iraqi physician Nafa Abdul-Hadi, the road to exile and dispossession began in his spacious apartment in an affluent Baghdad neighborhood and has ended here in the tenements of Jordan's east Amman. Threatened...