from The Great Debate:

Hunting for scapegoats, Obama bagged the wrong guy in Hagel

By Lawrence Korb
November 24, 2014

U.S. Defense Secretary Hagel listens as President Obama announces Hagel's resignation at the White House in Washington

The timing of Chuck Hagel’s resignation as secretary of defense may have been a surprise, but the fact that he was on his way out has been rumored for weeks. The real issue is why he either stepped down or was forced to leave after such a comparatively short time in office.

from MacroScope:

Iran talks stumble on

By Mike Peacock
November 24, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry and Iranian FM Zarif before their meeting in Vienna

Officials say it will not be possible to reach a comprehensive deal between Iran and six world powers aimed at resolving the stand-off over Tehran's nuclear ambitions by today’s deadline.

from MacroScope:

Draghi back in the dock

By Mike Peacock
November 17, 2014

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European Central Bank President Mario Draghi faces lengthy interrogation at the European Parliament today.

from The Great Debate:

Seven unlikely events in the fight against Islamic State, and their likely outcomes

By Aki Peritz and Tara Maller
November 17, 2014

Shi'ite fighters, who have joined the Iraqi army to fight against militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), take part in field training in the desert in the province of Najaf

It’s easy to get depressed about the Middle East these days. The bloodshed continues unabated in Syria. Islamic State advances across Iraq, sacking towns and slaughtering innocents. Millions are refugees. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad seems well ensconced in Damascus, on track to outlasting President Barack Obama in office.

from MacroScope:

The rouble and the hryvnia

By Mike Peacock
November 11, 2014

A reflection of a yearly chart of U.S. dollars and Russian roubles are seen on rouble notes in this illustration picture taken in Warsaw

Ukraine's currency shed nearly 5 percent on Monday after a weekend that saw the heaviest shelling in a month of the main rebel stronghold in the east and signs that Moscow had dispatched troops and tanks to reinforce separatists. The prospect that a two-month-old ceasefire could collapse has helped drive the currency 12 percent lower since the central bank abandoned an unofficial peg a week ago.

from John Lloyd:

Should the West withdraw from the world to win its love?

By John Lloyd
November 6, 2014

Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st rest as they wait to pack their weapons for shipment back to the United States at Camp Virginia, Kuwait

In his original and argumentative history of the Anglo-American domination of the past three or more centuries, Walter Russell Mead writes that both the UK and the United States believed their imposition of a world order served the highest interests of humanity. From Oliver Cromwell’s denunciation of Spanish cruelty in the 1650s to Ronald Reagan’s characterisation of the Soviet Union as an evil empire in the 1980s, the two main Anglophone states have seen their global expansionism as a blessing for the world: what’s good for us is good for everyone.

from MacroScope:

EU forecasts put France, Italy under the microscope

By Mike Peacock
November 4, 2014

France's President Hollande talks with Italy's Prime Minister Renzi during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Milan

After euro zone inflation ticked up for the first time in many months and the latest PMI surveys showed factory activity expanded only very slightly last month, today the European Commission publishes its autumn economic forecasts.

from Stories I’d like to see:

Did Islamic State really call a convention of nuts and have 15,000 people show up?

By Steven Brill
November 4, 2014

Islamic State fighter gestures from a vehicle in the countryside of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, after the Islamic State fighters took control of the area

Last week, the Guardian reported, “The United Nations has warned that foreign jihadists are swarming into the twin conflicts in Iraq and Syria on ‘an unprecedented scale’ and from countries that had not previously contributed combatants to global terrorism.”

from The Great Debate:

Did Islamic State really call a convention of nuts and have 15,000 people show up?

By Steven Brill
November 4, 2014

[CROSSPOST blog: 2398 post: 2005]

Original Post Text:

Islamic State fighter gestures from a vehicle in the countryside of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, after the Islamic State fighters took control of the area

Last week, the Guardian reported, “The United Nations has warned that foreign jihadists are swarming into the twin conflicts in Iraq and Syria on ‘an unprecedented scale’ and from countries that had not previously contributed combatants to global terrorism.”

from MacroScope:

Fed heads one way, BoJ the other. What now for ECB?

By Mike Peacock
November 3, 2014

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After the Federal Reserve wound up its bond-buying programme, as expected, and the Bank of Japan sprung a surprise by sharply increasing the pace of its money-printing, this week the European Central Bank takes its monthly bow and will probably come up with nothing new.