The Great Debate

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Ukraine’s frozen war brings dramatic changes to world economy

By Anatole Kaletsky
December 12, 2014

Pro-Russian separatists from the Chechen "Death" battalion take part in a training exercise in the territory controlled by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic

The “day of silence” observed this week by the Ukrainian army and its pro-Russian rebel opponents was an event of enormous economic importance for global economics as well as geopolitics.

Cops scan social media to help assess your ‘threat rating’

By Brent Skorup
December 12, 2014
minority-report1

Tom Cruise in Minority Report. Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

A national spotlight is now focused on aggressive law enforcement tactics and the justice system. Today’s professional police forces — where officers in even one-stoplight towns might have body armor and mine-resistant vehicles — already raise concerns.

The best way to spend the $6.2 billion Congress set aside to fight Ebola

By Bill Frist
December 12, 2014

Ebola treatment facility specifically built for medical workers who become infected is seen in a U.S. Army handout picture in Monrovia

If we have learned anything from the Ebola epidemic, it’s that managing and treating infectious disease globally and at home is a continual commitment — not just the latest issue in the news cycle. As we search for a vaccine, rapid diagnostic test or wonder drug, the best-known strategy is still containment and access to adequate healthcare resources. The chink in our infectious-disease armor is preparedness and training, not the lack of a blockbuster drug.

Torture, deny, repeat: ‘Enhanced interrogation’ never works, the CIA never learns

By Tim Weiner
December 12, 2014

A Guantanamo detainee's feet are shackled to the floor as he attends a "Life Skills" class at Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base

When the United States was attacked on 9/11, every member of the Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine services had a rule book on the conduct of interrogations. It was clear and concise.

Details of how U.S. rebuked foreign regimes while using same torture methods

By James Ross
December 11, 2014

A protester dressed as a detainee of the US government demonstrates outside the White House in Washington

So the CIA doesn’t consider “waterboarding” — mock execution by near drowning — to be torture, but the U.S. State Department does.

Will cheap gas last? The answer and nine other predictions for 2015

By John Lloyd
December 11, 2014

A customer fills up his tank in a gasoline station in Nice

It’s something of a tradition in journalism to gaze into the crystal ball and give readers a view of what we believe will come with the New Year. Below are my 10 predictions for 2015.

Ghost army: You, too, can command an Iraqi division for only $2 million

By Peter Van Buren
December 10, 2014

Members of Iraqi security forces and Shiite fighters eat on their vehicle on the outskirts of Baiji

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi recently revealed that there are 50,000 “ghost soldiers” who haunt the payrolls of the Iraqi Army. Many see the phenomenon as a factor in the army’s defeat at the hands of the Islamic State, and as an example of how Prime Minister Abadi is trying to initiate reform.

It’s a weird war when Iran and the U.S. are bombing the same country

By Michael Williams
December 10, 2014

A Syrian Air Force fighter plane fires rockets during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat

The McDonnell Douglas’ F4 Phantom was a workhorse of the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War in the 1960s. It was retired from the USAF and the British Royal Air Force some 20 years ago. But the vintage fighter-bomber put in a surprise performance a few days ago over the skies of northern Iraq.

#BlackLivesMatter: How the world sees Eric Garner, Michael Brown cases

By Amana Fontanella-Khan
December 9, 2014

A police officer holds a shield outside the Berkeley Police Department headquarters in Berkeley

Across the world, people are learning different lessons from #BlackLivesMatter.

In some countries, developments in Ferguson and Staten Island are leading opinion makers to question the United States and what it stands for. Their judgment, in other words, is focused outwards. Elsewhere, the opposite is true, as some use this moment to raise uncomfortable questions about their own imperfect democracies.

To deter U.S. from torturing again, those involved should be prosecuted

By Kenneth Roth
December 9, 2014

Barbed wire fence surrounding a military area is pictured in the forest near Stare Kiejkuty village, close to Szczytn

The publication of the long-awaited summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s torture provides a useful moment to consider the lessons learned from this sorry chapter in American history and the steps that might be taken to avoid its recurrence. With the truth now told about this blatantly illegal policy, President Barack Obama has a chance to reverse his misguided refusal to prosecute the officials who authorized the torture, ending the impunity that sets a horrible precedent for future United States presidents and governments worldwide.