The Great Debate

from Nicholas Wapshott:

U.S. power: Waging cold wars without end

By Nicholas Wapshott
June 26, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses troops at Bagram Air Base in Kabul

Suddenly, it seems, the world is at war.

In Iraq, armed and angry militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are at the gates of Baghdad. In Pakistan, government forces are mounting a ferocious campaign against the Taliban in North Waziristan. In Syria, the civil war drags on. These are “hot wars” involving the clashing of troops and weapons. Having escaped such “hot” conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, these are the sort of war Americans have made it plain they are not prepared to fight.

from Mark Leonard:

Decline of U.S. influence in the Middle East could make for some strange bedfellows

By Mark Leonard
June 25, 2014

RTR3U96U.jpg

Thirty-five years ago Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran chanting “death to America.” But today Iran wants to work with the United States to stabilize Iraq while negotiating a deal on its nuclear program. The journey from death threats to diplomacy is both a triumph of U.S. statecraft and a symbol of its declining power.

No matter what Putin says — Russian people have no appetite for war

By Matthew Rojansky and Kenneth Yalowitz
June 25, 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

Russia and the West are again at odds, eying each other with suspicion over Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support of armed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Basic rules of the game for security, stability and prosperity in Europe and beyond are at stake. Some commentators are calling this a “new Cold War.”

Think we don’t need to update the Voting Rights Act? Check out Tuesday’s primaries.

By Janai S. Nelson
June 25, 2014

mahurin-for-troutt--- nelson

The door is open for Congress to repair the nation’s most transformative election law, which was neutered by the U.S. Supreme Court a year ago today.

from Breakingviews:

Hollywood’s hopes in China rest on Youku

June 24, 2014

By Rob Cox

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

Who would win a World Cup-style tournament on carbon emissions?

By John Licata
June 24, 2014

worldcupcarbon.jpg

I love soccer. In fact, I’ve played competitively for most of my life and even came close to playing in the early days of Major League Soccer – damn knee injury.

from Breakingviews:

Iraq troubles are unlikely to bring new oil crisis

June 24, 2014

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Is this Obama’s ‘malaise’ moment?

By Bill Schneider
June 24, 2014

Obama addresses the White House Summit on Working Families in Washington

Malaise is back.

President Barack Obama’s situation is getting perilously close to President Jimmy Carter’s in 1979.

Should U.S. work with Iran in Iraq? Yes, if it wants to take on the real challenge: China

By Trita Parsi
June 23, 2014

A member of the Kurdish security forces takes up position with his weapon while guarding an oil refinery, on the outskirts of Mosul

To work with Iran or not to work with Iran? That’s the question dogging Washington as Iraq descends into chaos, reminding America that its mission there was never truly accomplished.

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.