The Great Debate

Which past is prologue for Putin’s Russia?

By Hannah Thoburn
November 30, 2014

People attend a rally called "We are together" to support the annexation of Ukraine's Crimea to Russia in Red Square in central Moscow

As Russia moved into Crimea in March, annexed it and then began to create, promote and support separatist movements in eastern Ukraine, commentators and citizens alike worried about a “new Cold War.” Others compared Russian President Vladimir Putin’s land grab to Nazi Germany’s 1938 annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Stock markets set to take off as Europe, Asia abandon austerity

By Anatole Kaletsky
November 28, 2014

A pedestrian walks past an electronic board showing Japan's Nikkei average outside a brokerage in Tokyo

The Great Divergence is a term coined by economic historians to explain the sudden acceleration of growth and technology in Europe from the 16th century onward, while other civilizations such as China, India, Japan and Persia remained in their pre-modern state. This phrase has recently acquired a very different meaning, however,  more relevant to global economic and financial conditions today.

My journey back to Ferguson, seeking a path forward

By Chip Goines
November 27, 2014

People walk towards a car lot where several cars had been burned and damaged following a night of rioting in Ferguson

As a black man who grew up near Ferguson, I dreaded going home for Thanksgiving this week. I watched cable news with dismay while I packed Tuesday. Familiar parts of my old neighborhood were burning. While the Tuesday morning sky was relatively calm above Ferguson as I landed, I knew things on the ground were different as soon as I saw the National Guard Humvees and police cruisers parked along the roads as I left Lambert-St. Louis Airport. Not even in the paranoid months following Sept. 11 had they been out in such force.

Here’s why killing the head of Islamic State wouldn’t yield results

By Arie W. Kruglanski
November 27, 2014

Aerial view of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad

Many believe that killing the leaders of terrorist organizations like Islamic State could change the course of events in Iraq and Syria. Like the cutting off of a snake’s head, eliminating the chief of a terrorist organization is assumed to deal it a fatal or near fatal blow. The U.S. government, for instance, has often boasted about eliminating major al Qaeda leaders, and viewed such assassinations as a clear mark of progress in the ‘global war on terror.’

Manufacturing’s false promise of a decent payday

By Catherine Ruckelshaus and Sarah Leberstein
November 26, 2014

An employee works on the assembly line at the General Motors plant in Asaka

Manufacturing, economists say, is the key to our nation’s economic recovery.  

Barack Obama and Ferguson: The cost of being the reluctant black president

By Peniel Joseph
November 26, 2014

Police officers shadows are cast onto graffiti on the wall of a Subway during the second night of demonstrations in Oakland

America, not for the first time, stands at a racial crossroads. The crisis of race and democracy unfolded before a global audience on Monday night as hundreds of demonstrators set police cars on fire and engaged in sporadic looting in the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the death of 18-year-old teenager Michael Brown.

from Breakingviews:

American banking has its own Tea Party

November 25, 2014

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Should Putin fear the man who ‘pulled the trigger of war’ in Ukraine?

By Lucian Kim
November 25, 2014

Figurines of former pro-Russian separatist commander Igor Strelkov from the collection entitled "Toy Soldiers of Novorossiya" are on display at a workshop in Moscow

The official Kremlin narrative on the war in eastern Ukraine is clear and simple: after seizing power in February, a Western-backed “junta” in Kiev sent neo-Nazi gangs – then tanks and warplanes – to stamp out peaceful protests by the Russian-speaking community. The locals who took up arms are freedom fighters, and the only help they get from Russia is humanitarian aid. For the past six months, Russian state television has carpet-bombed its viewers with this message, day in and day out.

Ferguson questions swirl: If it’s about finding facts, why no trial?

By Allison Silver
November 25, 2014

Demonstrator sits in front of a street fire during a demonstration following the grand jury decision in the Ferguson, Missouri shooting of Michael Brown, in Oakland, California

The St. Louis Prosecutor Robert McCulloch made a series of highly unusual decisions on Monday. He was reportedly seeking to defuse the highly charged situation in the wake of a white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer killing an unarmed black teenager.

Sunni vs. Shi’ite: Why the U.S. plan to save Iraq is doomed to fail

By Peter Van Buren
November 25, 2014

Iraqi security forces march on the outskirts of Najaf, south of Baghdad

If the United States was looking for the surest way to lose Iraq War 3.0, it might start by retraining the failed Iraqi Army to send north — alongside ruthless Shi’ite militias — into Sunni-majority territory and hope that the Sunnis will welcome them with open arms, throwing out the evil Islamic State.