The List

The FP Twitterati 100

A who's who of the foreign-policy Twitterverse in 2011.

These days, everyone from the Dalai Lama to Bill Gates is on Twitter, the microblogging platform founded in 2006. During breaking news events like the death of Osama bin Laden or for following the Arab uprisings, it's become an invaluable tool for keeping up to speed. But for many, it's still just another place to promote their own work, rather than engaging in a more natural give-and-take. So how do you tell who's really worth following? FP's got you covered. Here are 100 Twitter users from around the world who will make you smarter, infuriate you, and delight you -- 140 characters at a time.


Danny Ayalon (@DannyAyalon) — Deputy foreign minister of Israel.

Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) — Swedish foreign minister and one of the most candid diplomats around.

Husain Haqqani (@husainhaqqani) — Pakistani ambassador to the United States; fierce advocate of tolerance and healthy bilateral relations.

Stephen Harper (@pmharper) — Prime minister of Canada; prefers overtime to shootouts when breaking an ice-hockey stalemate.

Boris Johnson (@MayorOfLondon) — London's outspoken and colorful mayor; Telegraph columnist.

Birgitta Jónsdóttir (@birgittaj) — Member of the Icelandic parliament; outspoken WikiLeaks supporter.

Paul Kagame (@PaulKagame) — President of Rwanda and Twitter fanatic.

Khalid Al Khalifa (@khalidalkhalifa) — Foreign minister of Bahrain.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen (@AndersFoghR) — Secretary-general of NATO.

Dmitry Rogozin (@DRogozin) — Russian ambassador to NATO; says the darnedest things.

Alec Ross (@AlecJRoss) — Senior advisor for innovation in the office of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Alexander Stubb (@alexstubb) — Finnish minister for Europe and trade; peace enthusiast.

Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) — Indian politician and former undersecretary-general at the United Nations.


C. Christine Fair (@CChristineFair) — Georgetown University assistant professor, dog lover, and sharp-tongued South Asia expert.

Henry Foy (@HenryJFoy) — New Delhi-based correspondent for Reuters.

Mohammed Hanif (@mohammedhanif) — Brilliant Pakistani novelist.

Huma Imtiaz (@HumaImtiaz) — Pakistani journalist based in Washington, D.C.

Saad Mohseni (@saadmohseni) — Afghan-Australian media tycoon based in Dubai.

Nitin Pai (@acorn) — Indian blogger and editor of Pragati -- the Indian National Interest Review.

Arif Rafiq (@pakistanpolicy) — Pakistani-American analyst, consultant, and blogger based in New York.

Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) — Associated Press correspondent in Islamabad.

Declan Walsh (@declanwalsh) — AfPak correspondent for the Guardian.

Omar Waraich (@OmarWaraich) — Freelance journalist based in Islamabad.

Mosharraf Zaidi (@mosharrafzaidi) — Pakistani newspaper columnist and development consultant; Maple Leafs fanatic.


Issandr El Amrani (@arabist) — Writer and analyst based in Cairo.

Aluf Benn (@alufbenn) — Editor and columnist for Haaretz.

Andy Carvin (@acarvin) — Senior strategist at NPR and curator par excellence of the Arab Spring.

Martin Chulov (@martinchulov) — Middle East correspondent for the Guardian.

Golnaz Esfandiari (@GEsfandiari) — Iran reporter and blogger for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, based in Washington, D.C.

Kevin Flower (@KMFlower) — Jerusalem bureau chief for CNN.

Amira Al Husseini (@JustAmira) — Cat-loving Middle East editor for Global Voices, based in Bahrain.

Hussein Ibish (@Ibishblog) — Blogger and senior research fellow for the American Task Force on Palestine.

Gregory D. Johnsen (@gregorydjohnsen) — Yemen expert at Princeton University.

Dalia Mogahed (@DMogahed) — Cairo-born director of the Abu Dhabi Gallup Center and Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.

Eman Al Nafjan (@Saudiwoman) — Saudi Arabia's most prominent female blogger.

Ahmed Al Omran (@ahmed) — The original Saudi blogger; recent Columbia School of Journalism graduate.

Mina Al-Oraibi (@AlOraibi) — Reporter for the pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat.

Sultan Al Qassemi (@SultanAlQassemi) — Prominent Emirati columnist, investor, and art aficionado; go-to source for breaking news from the Arab world.

Shmuel Rosner (@rosnersdomain) — Editor and columnist for the Jerusalem Post.

Mahmoud Salem (@Sandmonkey) — Foul-mouthed Egyptian revolutionary blogger and son of a former ruling-party parliamentarian, based in Cairo.

Yigal Schleifer (@YigalSchleifer) — Former Turkey correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor.

Lara Setrakian (@Lara) — Reporter for Bloomberg and ABC News. Currently based in Dubai.

Brian Whitaker (@Brian_Whit) — Middle East editor for the Guardian and a keen analyst of regional politics and trends.

Ben Wedeman (@bencnn) — Roving Middle East correspondent for CNN; first Western reporter to enter Libya during the uprising.


Scott Baldauf (@baldaufji) — Africa bureau chief for the Christian Science Monitor.

Ian Birrell (@ianbirrell) — Former deputy editor at the Independent and David Cameron speechwriter; now a columnist and the co-founder of Africa Express music project.

Howard French (@hofrench) — Former New York Times correspondent in Africa and China.

Rebecca Hamilton (@bechamilton) — Sudan correspondent and author of Fighting for Darfur.

Andrew Mwenda (@AndrewMwenda) — Managing editor of Uganda's Independent magazine; aid critic.


William Andrew Albano (@niuB) — Taipei-based tech writer who has built a handy list of other China feeds to follow. (Not to be confused with @niubi, another excellent feed by tech CEO Bill Bishop, who is based in Beijing.)

Melissa Chan (@melissakchan) — Intrepid China correspondent for Al Jazeera English.

Gady Epstein (@gadyepstein) — Wickedly funny Beijing correspondent for the Economist, formerly with Forbes.

Steve Herman (@W7VOA) — Voice of America reporter based in Seoul.

Kaiser Kuo (@KaiserKuo) — American-raised blogger, dot-com entrepreneur, and rock guitarist based in Beijing; spokesman for search engine company Baidu.

Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) — Peripatetic Asia correspondent for Canada's Globe and Mail.

Evan Osnos (@eosnos) — Staff writer for the New Yorker; former Beijing bureau chief and Middle East correspondent for the Chicago Tribune.

Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi) — Tokyo correspondent for the New York Times.


Alastair Campbell (@campbellclaret) — Former advisor to British Prime Minister Tony Blair; master of spin.

Miriam Elder (@MiriamElder) — Freelance journalist in Moscow.

Edward Lucas (@edwardlucas) — International editor for the Economist, with a focus on Eastern Europe.

Alex Massie (@alexmassie) — Scottish writer and blogger for the Spectator.

Hans Rosling (@HansRosling) — Swedish demographer and global health expert.

Doug Saunders (@DougSaunders) — Europe bureau chief for Canada's Globe and Mail.

Jon Snow (@jonsnowC4) — Anchor for Britain's Channel 4 News.

Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) — Brussels-based communications chief for the International Crisis Group.

Praveen Swami (@praveenswami) — Diplomatic editor for the Daily Telegraph; terrorism expert.


Jared Cohen (@JaredCohen) — Director of Google Ideas; formerly a member of the policy planning staff at the U.S. State Department.

Philip J. Crowley (@PJCrowley) — Former State Department spokesman, now unleashed.

Will McCants (@will_mccants) — Former counterterrorism analyst at the State Department; now an expert at CNA.

Vali Nasr (@vali_nasr) — Iranian-American academic and professor at the Fletcher School at Tufts University; former State Department advisor on Pakistan .

Anne-Marie Slaughter (@SlaughterAM) — Professor at Princeton University and former head of policy planning at the State Department.


Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) — National security correspondent for Wired's Danger Room; tweets on everything from Afghanistan policy to comic books to punk rock.

Joe Cirincione (@Cirincione) — President of the Ploughshares Fund, expert on nonproliferation issues, Washington Nationals fanatic.

Steve Clemons (@SCClemons) — Washington impresario, Atlantic editor, and realist blogger at the Washington Note.

Andrew Exum (@abumuqawama) — Former Army Ranger, blogger, and counterinsurgency guru at the Center for a New American Security.

Joshua Foust (@joshuafoust) — Irascible former intelligence analyst, blogger, and expert on South and Central Asia; unforgiving media critic.

James Joyner (@drjjoyner) — Managing editor at the Atlantic Council, blogger at Outside the Beltway, Gulf War veteran.

Micah Zenko (@MicahZenko) — Analyst at the Council on Foreign Relations; drone critic.


Lou Charbonneau (@lou_reuters) — Reuters reporter at the United Nations.

Mark Leon Goldberg (@MarkLGoldberg) — Blogger for the United Nations Foundation's UN Dispatch, which covers the inner workings of Turtle Bay and Foggy Bottom.


Mark Knoller (@markknoller) — Longtime White House correspondent for CBS News; fount of obscure presidential trivia.

Ben Smith (@benpolitico) — Breathtakingly fast political reporter and blogger for Politico

Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) — ABC News correspondent; master of Twitter snark.

Chuck Todd (@chucktodd) — Reporter (and self-described "political junkie") for NBC News


Jackson Diehl (@JacksonDiehl) — Deputy editorial page editor at the Washington Post.

David Frum (@davidfrum) — Canadian pundit and former speechwriter for George W. Bush; sort of coined the phrase "Axis of Evil."

Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) — Crusading columnist for the New York Times; has traveled to every member of the Axis of Evil at least twice.

Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) — Outspoken executive director of Human Rights Watch.


Mikko H. Hypponen (@mikkohypponen) — Finnish cybersecurity expert.

Rebecca MacKinnon (@rmack) — Former Beijing bureau chief for CNN focusing on global Internet policy; fellow at the New America Foundation.

Zeynep Tufekci (@techsoc) — Turkish-born blogger; assistant professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; authority on social media.

Jillian C. York (@jilliancyork) — Blogger, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Ethan Zuckerman (@EthanZ) — Co-founder, with MacKinnon, of the social media network Global Voices; Berkman Center fellow and blogger.


Tyler Cowen (@tylercowen) — Professor of economics at George Mason University, author, ethnic food expert, and pioneering econoblogger.

William Easterly (@bill_easterly) — New York University economics professor and aid skeptic. Takes pride in being the 8th-most-famous person from Bowling Green, Ohio.

Richard Florida (@Richard_Florida) — Urbanist and scholar at the University of Toronto; famous for his theories on the "creative class."

Dambisa Moyo (@dambisamoyo) — London-based author and aid critic. 

Catherine Rampell (@crampell) — Editor of the Economix blog at the New York Times.

Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) — NYU professor of economics and international business; prophet of doom.

Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon) — Eclectic finance blogger for Reuters.


Also available as a Twitter list

Foreign Policy (@FP_Magazine) — The official Foreign Policy feed

AfPak Channel (@afpakchannel) — The latest on Afghanistan and Pakistan from the New America Foundation in partnership with Foreign Policy

Middle East Channel (@MideastChannel) — The latest on the Middle East from Foreign Policy and the Project on Middle East Political Science

P.J. Aroon (@pjaroonFP) — FP copy chief; tweets about women and typos.

David Bosco (@multilateralist) — FP contributing editor and blogger; U.N. expert and author of Five to Rule Them All.

Christian Caryl (@ccaryl) — Washington chief editor of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; FP contributing editor.

Elizabeth Dickinson (@dickinsonbeth) — Former Nigeria correspondent for the Economist and features editor at Foreign Policy; now a freelance journalist.

Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) — Professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and writer of an eponymous blog.

Rebecca Frankel (@becksfrankel) — Deputy managing editor, web.

David E. Hoffman (@thedeadhandbook) — Pulitzer Prize-winning author and former foreign editor of the Washington Post; Foreign Policy contributing editor and blogger.

Charles Homans (@chashomans) — Features editor.

Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) — Managing editor.

Julia Ioffe (@ioffeinmoscow) — FP correspondent in Moscow.

Joshua E. Keating (@joshuakeating) — Associate editor

David Kenner (@DavidKenner) — Associate editor.

Charles Kenny (@charlesjkenny) — Former World Bank economist; now an FP columnist and fellow at the New America Foundation; author of Getting Better.

Parag Khanna (@paragkhanna) — Globe-trotting, bestselling author; Foreign Policy videoblogger.

Christina Larson (@larsonchristina) — Contributing editor at Foreign Policy and freelance journalist based in China.

Steve LeVine (@stevelevine) — Author of The Oil and the Glory; blogs on the geopolitics of energy for Foreign Policy.

Colum Lynch (@columlynch) — Washington Post U.N. correspondent and Turtle Bay blogger.

Marc Lynch (@abuaardvark) — Associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and Middle East blogger.

Suzanne Merkelson (@suzmerk) — Editorial assistant.

Evgeny Morozov (@evgenymorozov) — fellow at Stanford University and writer of FP's Net Effect blog.

Moisés Naím (@MoisesNaim) — Former editor in chief of Foreign Policy; now at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Benjamin Pauker (@BenPauker) — Senior editor.

Britt Peterson (@brittkpeterson) — Deputy managing editor.

Josh Rogin (@joshrogin) — Staff writer and Cable blogger.

The List

False Spring

Can we please stop calling every protest an Arab Spring?

These days, it seems like observers and journalists -- as well as participants -- are quick to attribute any street demonstration or public unrest to the domino effect from the Arab Spring. Not that Foreign Policy would ever do this, of course. Sometimes, though, a protest is just a protest.


The nature of the peaceful protest, including Twitter messages to alert supporters, echoed the pro-democracy rallies that revolutionised Egypt. ... In another echo of the Cairo rallies that eventually forced President Hosni Mubarak from power in February, the Spanish protesters have set up citizens' committees to handle communications, food, cleaning, protest actions and legal matters. — BBC, May 18, 2011

On Sunday, some banners even evoked the Arab Spring movement to oust authoritarian rule. 'From Tahrir Square to Syntagma Square, we support you!' read one banner.  Daily Mail, June 6, 2011 

Like the Arab Spring protests, Spain's anti-austerity demonstrations were spurred by mass youth unemployment. But unlike young people in the Arab world, Spain's demonstrating youth live in one of the world's most generous welfare states and have the right to vote out their leaders. That's not to say that their grievances aren't serious or that their protests aren't significant, but the parallel doesn't quite work. It would be unfortunate if "Tahrir Square" were turned into the 21st-century equivalent of the Che Guevara T-shirt.

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images


"All I know is that last week, when people were asking where Mubarak was -- whether he had gone to Sharm el-Sheikh or Paris -- I was saying he was ensconced in the governor's mansion in Madison."   Former U.S. Rep. David Obey (D-WI)

Union protests against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's plan to cut public sector benefits and collective bargaining rights happened almost concurrently with the protests that led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Comparisons between the two cases were common from both outside commentators and the protesters themselves. Best of all, right-wing commentator Glenn Beck argued that the unions and the Muslim Brotherhood were in league in the effort to create a New World Order.

Of course, the goals and tactics of Wisconsin's public sector unions and the anti-Mubarak protesters were about as alike as koshary and cheddar.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


In fact, many protesters in Mexico City's central plaza said they were directly inspired by the uprisings in the Arab world.

"People are standing up to transform their societies in Egypt and in Syria. We have to do the same thing here -- to change our country from the bottom up," said Ruben Bueno, a 42-year-old school teacher, who said two of his valued students had been gunned in the violence. "Mexico's Arab Moment," Global Post. May 10, 2011

When thousands of Mexicans took to the streets of the capital in early May to protest against President Felipe Calderon's war on drugs, it may have represented a shift in public opinion and a potential turning point in his presidency. But there's one major difference between Calderon and the leaders of Egypt and Syria: Mexicans voted him into office and he has to step down next year. 



An Uprising in the Caucasus, but No Arab Spring in Georgia Time headline, May 27, 2011

Oh, how quickly our all-purpose metaphors change. Remember way back in the 2000s when the "color revolution" was all the rage? Inspired by the overthrow of governments in Georgia (Rose), Ukraine (Orange) and Kyrgyzstan (Tulip), observers tried to impose this label on unlikely candidates like Lebanon (Cedar). Now, we're quick to slap "Spring" after anything in the atlas. In any event, the Georgian opposition has been holding mass rallies in Tbilisi against President Mikheil Saakashvili since 2007.



"I believe similar protests are quite possible [in Central Asian countries]. I think so because the current unrest in Arab countries in the Middle East is essentially different from the powerful fundamentalist movements of the past. These new protests emerge in the younger middle class -- although Muslim believers, they are modern people who use the web and do not want to live in an endless authoritarian regime. These young people have traveled to the West and assumed some Western habits and lifestyles. They wish to have a similar political system controlled by society in their own countries, free from corruption and outrageous favoritism." Russian historian Andrei Zubov

It's not a season any more so much as a virus. From Pakistan to China to sub-Saharan  Africa, regional scholars, journalists, and activists see signs of spring everywhere. Perhaps Zubov is right that conditions in Central Asia lend themselves to a possible democratic uprising, but forcing the "Spring" label onto every new antigovernment protest, wherever it takes place, both understates the uniqueness of this year's events in the Arab world and doesn't give enough credit to the complex and particular grievances that citizens elsewhere have when choosing to stand up to the power of the state.