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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Embracing Assad Is a Better Strategy for the U.S. Than Supporting the Least Bad Jihadis

Embracing Assad Is a Better Strategy for the U.S. Than Supporting the Least Bad Jihadis

Posted: 09/29/2014
The Middle East today is in as big a mess as I’ve seen it in a lifetime. By most measures it still continues to worsen, as ever new enemies to the U.S. pop up onto the scene. It is attracting polarized youthful jihadis from both East and West ready to fight us — all high on the blood aphrodisiac of beheadings and bombings.
The U.S. and most other countries understandably seek to suppress the present savage civil conflicts raging in Iraq and Syria — now exemplified at its worst in the spread of the violent jihadi Islamic State. If so, Washington had best look first to ending the civil conflict in Syria, the most efficacious way to start unraveling the Middle Eastern knot.

Erdogan of Turkey, who wants to revive the universally-hated Ottoman Empire, says that Muslims discovered America.

Obama’s “best friend,” Recip Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who wants to revive the universally-hated Ottoman Empire, says that Muslims discovered America.

Oddly enough, the same claim is made by Spain and Italy, who think it was Colu...

How Hollywood Greed Turned 'The Hunger Games' Into a Tacky, Toothless Mega Project

How Hollywood Greed Turned 'The Hunger Games' Into a Tacky, Toothless Mega Project

The revolution will be franchised.

Squandering a Chance with Iran

Squandering a Chance with Iran

November 25, 2014

Under pressure from hardliners in Congress and Israel, the Obama administration backed away from what could have been a historic agreement with Iran over limiting its nuclear program. Instead coercive diplomacy has become almost an end in itself, as Gareth Porter explains.
By Gareth Porter

How ACA Fuels Corporatization of American Health Care

How ACA Fuels Corporatization of American Health Care

Prosecutor Manipulates Grand Jury Process to Shield Officer

Prosecutor Manipulates Grand Jury Process to Shield Officer

The Price Of Oil Exposes The True State Of The Economy

OPEC Presents: Q4 and Deflation - The Automatic Earth

OPEC Presents: Q4 and Deflation - The Automatic Earth

Workers vs. Undocumented Immigrants: The Politics of Divide & Conquer | naked capitalism

Workers vs. Undocumented Immigrants: The Politics of Divide & Conquer | naked capitalism

Rewriting America’s Thanksgiving History to Remove God Is a Tragic Deception

Rewriting America’s Thanksgiving History to Remove God Is a Tragic Deception

Francis decries forced uniformity, prays at mosque in Turkey | National Catholic Reporter

Francis decries forced uniformity, prays at mosque in Turkey | National Catholic Reporter

Pope in Turkey: Military solutions cannot solve Middle East violence

Pope in Turkey: Military solutions cannot solve Middle East violence

Friday, November 28, 2014

THE DRONE GIFT GUIDE: Drones For Every Budget [Up To 55% Off]

Liberal Treasury Nominee’s Wall St. Prowess May Be a Vulnerability -

Liberal Treasury Nominee’s Wall St. Prowess May Be a Vulnerability -

Nathan Thrall · Rage in Jerusalem · LRB 4 December 2014

Nathan Thrall · Rage in Jerusalem · LRB 4 December 2014

5 Things to Know About the Economy at Thanksgiving - WSJ

5 Things to Know About the Economy at Thanksgiving - WSJ

Despite Aid Push, Ebola Is Raging in Sierra Leone -

Despite Aid Push, Ebola Is Raging in Sierra Leone -

Resignation Capped Tense Year for Defense Secretary Hagel

Resignation Capped Tense Year for Defense Secretary Hagel

Chuck Hagel’s ignored achievements

Chuck Hagel’s ignored achievements

By · November 26, 2014
This is the second in a series on Chuck Hagel’s resignation as the secretary of defense. Click here to read the first part on how his resignation will impact the U.S.’s presence in the Middle East. 
Chuck Hagel, who has been forced to resign by President Barack Obama as secretary of defense, was no defeatist, pacifist or lah-de-dah, naïve idiot always ready to hate and condemn his own country.
He defined himself clearly as a Colin Powell-style strategist and patriot, determined to maintain America as the world’s foremost military power, but to do so responsibly and with restraint.
And that’s why he has just been forced out of arguably the most powerful executive job in government, with the usual pack of media hyenas sneering and snapping at his heels.

Foreign Affairs This Week

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The Myth of the Caliphate The Myth of the Caliphate
The Political History of an Idea
By Nick Danforth
Western pundits and nostalgic Muslim thinkers alike have built up a narrative of the caliphate as an enduring institution, central to Islam and Islamic thought between the seventh and twentieth centuries. In fact, the caliphate is a political or religious idea whose relevance...

China Scores China Scores
And What the United States Should Do Next
By Matthew Goodman and Ely Ratner
Nearly two centuries after it lost its traditional place at the center of Asian affairs, Beijing has begun giving shape and substance to its renewed leadership on the regional stage.

Ferguson from Afar Ferguson from Afar
How the World Sees the Protests
By Mary L. Dudziak
As the turmoil in Ferguson unfolds, questions about the United States' commitment to human rights are once more headlining news coverage around the world. That should not be surprising. American racial inequality regularly dominated foreign news coverage during the 1950s and...

Zombie Abenomics Zombie Abenomics
Japan's Missing Economic Revival
By Richard Katz
Abe’s economic revival is hardly going as planned. A consumption tax hike that he introduced in April triggered a recession over the following six months, prompting him to announce the delay of a second planned hike and to vow to dissolve the Japanese parliament.

March on Mexico March on Mexico
Enrique Peña Nieto's Challenge—And Opportunity
By Ralph H. Espach
The Peña Nieto government seems to be facing its worst crisis yet, one likely to persist as police clash with a small minority of protestors who attack property, set fires, and throw Molotov cocktails. The breadth of the public outrage, however, is uncertain, and the movement...

Long View on Iran Long View on Iran
The Real Work Will Start After the Nuclear Deal Is Signed
By Peter D. Feaver and Eric Lorber
As the deadline for reaching a nuclear deal with Iran is pushed once again, observers remain focused on the agreement itself. But the signing would be just the first step on a long road toward ensuring that any accord actually survives.

Culture War Culture War
The Case Against Repatriating Museum Artifacts

By James Cuno
Over the last few decades, governments have increasingly sought to reclaim indigenous artifacts from museums abroad. Yet inappropriate calls for repatriation should be resisted. Encyclopedic museums do more than house artifacts; they also spread cosmopolitan ideas.

The Real Cost of Ebola The Real Cost of Ebola
Letter From Monrovia
By Javier Alvarez
The Liberian government and international organizations have been most focused on containing Ebola, as they should be. The containment policies, however, have come with unintended economic consequences that need to be addressed to avert an even worse crisis.

The War That Didn't End All Wars The War That Didn't End All Wars
What Started in 1914 -- and Why It Lasted So Long

By Lawrence D. Freedman
A hundred years after World War I, new accounts of the drama help readers navigate the intricacies of European politics and the political and diplomatic maneuverings that kicked off the war. Yet there is still no consensus on its origins or lessons.

Hidden Assets Hidden Assets
How Countries Can Capitalize on Public Wealth
By Dag Detter and Stefan Fölster
Most governments know much about their debt but little about their assets. If central governments managed their assets better, they could generate annual returns of roughly $3 trillion—more than the world’s yearly investment in infrastructure including transportation, power,...

Misrule of the Few Misrule of the Few
How the Oligarchs Ruined Greece

By Pavlos Eleftheriadis
Since the early 1990s, a handful of oligarchs has dominated Greece’s economy and politics. So long as these elites have a vested interest in keeping things as they are, the country will never fully find its way out of crisis.

A Republican Foreign Policy A Republican Foreign Policy

By Chuck Hagel

Chuck Hagel just stepped down as secretary of defense. In this 2004 essay, Hagel lays out his views on U.S. foreign policy. He explains that "a wise foreign policy recognizes that U.S. leadership is determined as much by our commitment to principle as by our exercise of power."


The Week With IPS

Elections Offer Little Solace to Sri Lanka’s Poor
Amantha Perera
Priyantha Wakvitta is used to seeing his adopted city, Colombo, transform into a landscape of bright sparkling lights and window dressing towards the end of the year. This year, he says, he is having a double dose of visual stimulation, with publicity materials for the January Presidential ... MORE > >

Indigenous Community Beats Drought and Malnutrition in Honduras
Thelma Mejía
In the heart of the Pijol mountains in the northern Honduran province of Yoro, the Tolupan indigenous community of Pueblo Nuevo has a lot to celebrate: famine is no longer a problem for them, and their youngest children were rescued from the grip of child malnutrition. The Tolupan indigenous ... MORE > >

Democratising the Fight against Malnutrition
Geneviève Lavoie-Mathieu
There is a new dimension to the issue of malnutrition – governments, civil society and the private sector have started to come together around a common nutrition agenda. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the launch of the “Zero ... MORE > >

OPINION: All Family Planning Should Be Voluntary, Safe and Fully Informed
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin
The tragic deaths and injuries of women following sterilisation in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh have sparked global media coverage and public concern and outrage. Now we must ensure that such a tragedy never occurs again. Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. Credit: UNFPA The women underwent ... MORE > >

Shale Oil Threatens the High Prices Enjoyed by OPEC
Humberto Márquez
Shale fever and the political chess among major oil producers and consumers have put OPEC in one of the most difficult junctures in its 54 years of history. “OPEC was spoiled for several years by high prices of around 100 dollars a barrel,” Elie Habalián, a former Venezuelan OPEC (Organisation ... MORE > >

Women on the Edge of Land and Life
Manipadma Jena
November is the cruelest month for landless families in the Indian Sundarbans, the largest single block of tidal mangrove forest in the world lying primarily in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. There is little agricultural wage-work to be found, and the village moneylender’s loan remains ... MORE > >

Filipino Farmers Protest Government Research on Genetically Modified Rice
Diana Mendoza
Jon Sarmiento, a farmer in the Cavite province in southern Manila, plants a variety of fruits and vegetables, but his main crop, rice, is under threat. He claims that approval by the Philippine government of the genetically modified ‘golden rice’ that is fortified with beta-carotene, which the body ... MORE > >

Civil Society Freedoms Merit Role in Post-2015 Development Agenda
Mandeep S.Tiwana
Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, an advocacy NGO, is facing criminal charges for sending a tweet that said: “many Bahrain men who joined terrorism and ISIS have come from the security institutions and those institutions were the first ideological incubator”. Yara ... MORE > >

Nuclear Weapons as Bargaining Chips in Global Politics
Thalif Deen
Has the world reached a stage where nuclear weapons may be used as bargaining chips in international politics? So it seems, judging by the North Korean threat last week to conduct another nuclear test - if and when the 193-member U.N. General Assembly adopts a resolution aimed at referring the ... MORE > >

Jewellery Industry Takes Steps to Eliminate “Conflict Gold”
Carey L. Biron
Major U.S. jewellery companies and retailers have started to take substantive steps to eliminate the presence of “conflict gold” from their supply chains, according to the results of a year-long investigation published Monday. Rights advocates, backed by the United Nations, have been warning for ... MORE > >

Gated Communities on the Water Aggravate Flooding in Argentina
Fabiana Frayssinet
The construction of gated communities on wetlands and floodplains in Greater Buenos Aires has modified fragile ecosystems and water cycles and has aggravated flooding, especially in poor surrounding neighourhoods. In the 1990s a high-end property boom led to the construction of private ... MORE > >

Pakistan’s Paraplegics Learning to Stand on their Own Feet
Ashfaq Yusufzai
When a stray bullet fired by Taliban militants became lodged in her spine last August, 22-year-old Shakira Bibi gave up all hopes of ever leading a normal life. Though her family rushed her to the Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar, capital city of Pakistan’s northern-most Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ... MORE > >

Down With Sustainable Development! Long Live Convivial Degrowth!
Justin Hyatt
For anyone who recently attended the Fourth International Conference on Degrowth in Leipzig, Germany, listening in on conference talk, surrounded by the ecologically savvy, one quickly noticed that no one was singing the praises of sustainable development. Nonetheless, development per se and all ... MORE > >

Refugees Between a Legal Rock and a Hard Place in Lebanon
Oriol Andrés Gallart
Staring at the floor, Hassan, a 21-year-old Syrian refugee from Idlib in northwestern Syria, holds a set of identification papers in his hands. He picks out a small pink piece of paper with a few words on it stating that he must obtain a work contract, otherwise his residency visa will not be ... MORE > >

Will Myanmar’s ‘Triple Transition’ Help Eradicate Crushing Poverty?
Amantha Perera
Myanmar is never out of the news for long. This has been the case since a popular uprising challenged military rule in 1988. For over two decades, the country was featured in mainstream media primarily as one unable to cope with its own internal contradictions, a nation crippled by ... MORE > >

AIDS Is No. 1 Killer of African Teenagers
Sam Olukoya
Two years ago, Shola* was kicked out of the family house in Abeokuta, in southwestern Nigeria, after testing HIV-positive at age 13. He was living with his father, his stepmother and their seven children. “The stepmother insisted that Shola must go because he is likely to infect her children,” ... MORE > >

Thursday, November 27, 2014

WPR Articles This Week Nov. 22, 2014 - Nov. 28, 2014

Articles This Week Nov. 22, 2014 - Nov. 28, 2014

With Reforms, China’s Xi Seeks Course Correction, not Power Grab

By: Iain Mills | Briefing
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption and governance reforms are not attempts to recentralize power or even re-establish a “cult of personality.” Rather, Xi has acknowledged fundamental problems within the Chinese political economy and is taking meaningful steps to address them.

Russia-Pakistan Defense Accord Signals Shifting Regional Alignments

By: Richard Weitz | Column
On Nov. 20, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu visited Islamabad and signed an unprecedented Russia-Pakistan defense cooperation agreement. The new Russia-Pakistan partnership is understandable in light of changing geopolitical developments in the region, particularly regarding Afghanistan.

Adaptive Engagement: China’s Approach to Southern Africa

By: Cobus van Staden | Feature
Observers of China’s engagement with Africa often assume that Africa is passive in the relationship. A look at Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa shows that the reality is more complicated: Chinese actors often try to partially adapt to specific African systems, with varying degrees of success.

To Soothe Investors, Mexico’s Pena Nieto Must Tackle Graft

By: Nathaniel Parish Flannery | Briefing
President Enrique Pena Nieto’s crafted image of a Mexico open for business after a series of economic reforms has been sullied by scandals that could discourage the foreign investment that is so key to his agenda. Investors will watch closely to see what steps Pena Nieto takes to address corruption.

Bold or Not, Next U.N. Secretary-General Faces World of Pain

By: Richard Gowan | Column
Earlier this month a campaign was launched to overturn the “outdated and opaque” process for selecting the U.N. secretary-general. But with global divisions threatening the organization’s ability to improve international cooperation, it’s questionable how much impact the post can really have.

Brazil’s Petrobas Scandal Forces Rousseff’s Hand on Corruption

By: Sean Goforth | Briefing
With a corruption investigation of state-owned oil company Petrobras, the ground is shifting for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Arrests for kickbacks on contracts underscore the close and crooked ties between Petrobras and the political coalition that has governed Brazil for the past 12 years.

Mongolia Shuffles PMs to Address Self-Inflicted Economic Crisis

By: The Editors | Trend Lines
Last week Mongolia’s parliament appointed Chimed Saikhanbileg prime minister, two weeks after Norov Altankhuyag lost a no-confidence vote. In an email interview, Julian Dierkes, associate professor at the University of British Columbia, discussed Mongolian politics.

European Commission President Likely to Survive Lux Leaks Scandal

By: Maria Savel | Trend Lines
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is in hot water over the Lux Leaks scandal—the publication of documents exposing how international firms avoided paying billions of dollars in taxes while maintaining only a token presence in Luxembourg.

In South Sudan, U.N. Peacekeepers’ Biggest Challenge: Staying Neutral

By: Aditi Gorur | Briefing
Protecting civilians from violence in South Sudan’s civil war rests in large part on U.N. peacekeepers, who to do so must be perceived as neutral. An upcoming Security Council resolution on the peacekeeping mission’s mandate could expand its writ, but also threaten its much-needed neutrality.

China, South Korea Conclude FTA as Regional Deals Stall

By: The Editors | Trend Lines
Earlier this month, China and South Korea reached a free trade agreement (FTA). In an email interview, Tony Nash, global vice president of Delta Economics, discussed the implications of the China-South Korea FTA.

Obama Faces Nothing but Problems in Finding Hagel Replacement

By: Nikolas Gvosdev | Column
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel apparently drew the short straw and emerged as the first sacrificial victim dispatched by President Barack Obama after the dismal midterms. Obama must locate a new defense secretary who can be part of his inner circle rather than being held at arm’s length.