The Great Debate

from Reihan Salam:

Reality check: Death penalty is too expensive to make sense

By Reihan Salam
June 20, 2014

Handout of revamped lethal injection room at San Quentin State Prison

Last week saw the first executions in the United States since the botched lethal injection of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett, which drew renewed attention to the death penalty. Despite a sharp decrease in support for the death penalty -- from 78 percent as recently as 1996, to 55 percent in a survey conducted last year by the Pew Research Center -- the practice remains on the books in 32 states. This reflects the fact that support for the death penalty is uneven, with conservatives and Republicans far more likely to support it than liberals and Democrats.

The capture of Khatallah: How things went down in Libya

By David Wise
June 20, 2014

Navy SEAL photo downloads

When Ahmed Abu Khatallah, accused of leading the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was seized by U.S. special forces in Libya after midnight Monday, it raised a number of questions. Not the least being why it took 21 months to capture him.

Is Iran being victimized by sanctions it doesn’t deserve?

By Yousaf Butt
June 20, 2014

A security official stands in front of the Bushehr nuclear reactor

Iranian officials met this week with their six-power counterparts to try to hammer out the outlines of a comprehensive nuclear deal set to last for several years. But its precise duration remains undecided.

Putin face-off: Make Schwarzenegger our man in Moscow

By Nina Khrushcheva
June 20, 2014

arnold & putin -- facing out!!

Russian President Vladimir Putin is star-struck.

He has the American action star Steven Seagal talking up Moscow’s Crimean policies. He extended Russian citizenship to the French movie icon Gérard Depardieu, who now owns a vineyard in Crimea. He basks in the ways that Russia’s cultural and artistic cognoscenti are supporting Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Yellen’s remarkably unremarkable news conference – and why it’s a good thing

By Anatole Kaletsky
June 19, 2014

Yellen holds a news conference following two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting at the Federal Reserve in WashingtonJohn Maynard Keynes famously said that his highest ambition was to make economic policy as boring as dentistry. In this respect, as in so many others, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is proving to be a loyal Keynesian.

from Ian Bremmer:

Obama isn’t the only one with a passive-aggressive foreign policy

By Ian Bremmer
June 19, 2014

 China's President Xi speaks during his meeting with U.S. President Obama, on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit, in The Hague

America and China are the world’s two major powers, with the largest economies and militaries. The stakes are high for them to practice what they preach on foreign policy: their words and actions influence the global economy, as well as the behavior of allies and enemies.

from John Lloyd:

If Prince Charles becomes King Charles, will his kingdom leave him?

By John Lloyd
June 19, 2014

Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla arrive for the second day of the Royal Ascot horse racing festival at Ascot, southern England

Could Prince Charles finally get his crown? And if he does, could it mean the end of the United Kingdom?

US-Iran relations: When history isn’t history after all

June 19, 2014

STUDENTS MARCH TO GATES OF TEHRAN UNIVERSITY AFTER NATIONAL STUDENT'S DAY RALLY.

I learned what a trickster history can be 20 years ago at Hanoi airport. After everything the United States gave and lost in Vietnam while trying to keep it safe from Communism, who would have thought you would find the lion lying down with the lamb at a business convention? But there it was, capitalism in capital letters, a billboard advertising VIETNAMERICA EXPO!

Sending Benghazi suspect to Gitmo would be obstruction of justice

By Daphne Eviatar
June 18, 2014

The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest

Within hours of the Pentagon’s announcement that the key suspect in the Benghazi attack on the U.S. mission had been apprehended, the usual suspects came out to denounce the Obama administration.

Today’s South is boldly moving backward

By Nelson Lichtenstein
June 18, 2014

mahurin for bishop

We used to call it the “New South.” That was the era after Reconstruction and before the Civil Rights laws — when the states of the old Confederacy seemed most determined to preserve a social and economic order that encouraged low-wage industrialization as they fought to maintain Jim Crow.