Politics & Policy : Parallels U.S. policy can change the course of another country and, increasingly, the reverse is true. From social issues to geopolitical strategy, we connect the dots — and seek out possible lessons for the future.

Parallels

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Politics & Policy

A chocolate cake is shaped like Europe, with new EU members Romania and Bulgaria (far right), at a welcoming ceremony for their entry into the bloc on Dec. 14, 2006. Curbs on the movement of citizens of the two countries end on Jan. 1, raising fears in Western Europe of an influx of Bulgarian and Romanian workers. Thierry Charlier/AP hide caption

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Thierry Charlier/AP

A man smokes marijuana outside Uruguay's parliament in Montevideo on Wednesday, where lawmakers in the lower house debated and passed a bill that would legalize marijuana and regulate its production and distribution. Matilde Campodonico/AP hide caption

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Matilde Campodonico/AP

A fresco painting from the Chehel Sotun Pavillion in Isfahan, Iran, depicts Persian warfare during the Safavid dynasty period. Dave Bartruff/Corbis hide caption

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Dave Bartruff/Corbis

The Origins Of The Shiite-Sunni Split

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