From the editor

The World Today Updated 7 December 2018 Published 3 June 2013 1 minute READ

The Syrian conflict is entering a more dangerous phase. What started as a peaceful protest has created a zone of instability from the Mediterranean to the Iranian frontier, enveloping Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Civil wars have always invited outside powers to back different sides, but Syria is different. This conflict cannot be contained within its borders. Indeed, the borders are likely to be the next casualty.

Our cover story asks whether we are seeing the dissolution of the national boundaries imposed by Britain and France after the First World War. Michael Williams, drawing on his service as UN envoy in Lebanon, dares to imagine what the Balkanization of Syria would mean. Hugh Pope writes that Turkey, in the absence of US leadership, is now following its dream to reconnect with the former Ottoman lands.

The US may be sitting on its hands in the Middle East but, as Daniel Drezner points out, it still leads the world in producing policy-relevant ideas. How can Britain match this? Phillip Blond has a plan.

Joseph Nye, the doyen of international relations experts, argues that America’s relative economic decline does not mean the end of its role as global power. America’s failures have stemmed not from weakness but misunderstanding the limits of power.

We look at two aspects of Britain’s 14 overseas territories. Michael Binyon reports that British taxpayers are funding a £250 million project to open up the remote South Atlantic island of St Helena. As pressure mounts to curb tax avoidance, Ronen Palan asks how long Britain’s Caribbean islandterritories can continue as tax havens.