The Great Debate

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.

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.

Missouri governor’s pre-emptive state of emergency is an alarming mistake

By Janai S. Nelson
November 24, 2014

Missouri state troopers stand guard outside the Ferguson Police Station in Missouri

As America awaits a St. Louis grand jury’s decision on whether to indict a Ferguson police officer in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to declare a preemptive state of emergency in anticipation of the announcement has heightened the anxiety.

Can you live a moral life in the holy city of Jerusalem?

By Amy Wilentz
November 24, 2014

A man holds an Israeli flag during a mass prayer for soldiers and civilians at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City

While you are reading about violent attacks in Jerusalem on the home page of your newspaper, Jerusalemites are living their lives, most of the time, as if they dwelled in a happy little European nation, say Luxembourg or the Netherlands… or suburban New Jersey. That’s how you can feel there a lot of the time, if you live on the Israeli side. That is assuming you’re not a crazed extremist of some kind.

A misconception that could scuttle nuclear talks with Iran

By Jim Walsh and Aron Bernstein
November 24, 2014

EU envoy Ashton, Britain's Foreign Secretary Hammond and Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif sit at a table during talks in Vienna

As nuclear talks between Iran and the other members of the so-called P5+1 group are extended for another seven months, one issue is sure to remain a sticking point. The most important differences between all sides relates to the size of Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.

The scientific explanation of why people kill each other over TVs on Black Friday

By Laurence Ashworth
November 23, 2014

Shoppers rush for televisions at a Target store in Chicago

What causes people to kick, shove and even stab each other on Black Friday?

Each year there are reports of violence during the Black Friday sales. Last year, in Philadelphia – the City of Brotherly Love, no less – two families fought until one of the women ended matters with a stun gun. In a New Jersey Walmart, a belligerent shopper had to be pepper sprayed by police. And in Virginia, one man slashed another with a knife in an argument over a parking spot. This year, there are sure to be similar cases.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

Why Britain’s days as a haven of political, economic stability are numbered

By Anatole Kaletsky
November 21, 2014

Flares are let off as police stand guard while pro-union protestors clash with pro-independence protestors during a demonstration at George Square in Glasgow

For the past five years, Britain has been a haven of political and economic stability amid the turbulence in Europe. No longer.