The Great Debate

from John Lloyd:

Should the West withdraw from the world to win its love?

By John Lloyd
November 6, 2014

Soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st rest as they wait to pack their weapons for shipment back to the United States at Camp Virginia, Kuwait

In his original and argumentative history of the Anglo-American domination of the past three or more centuries, Walter Russell Mead writes that both the UK and the United States believed their imposition of a world order served the highest interests of humanity. From Oliver Cromwell’s denunciation of Spanish cruelty in the 1650s to Ronald Reagan’s characterisation of the Soviet Union as an evil empire in the 1980s, the two main Anglophone states have seen their global expansionism as a blessing for the world: what’s good for us is good for everyone.

from Jack Shafer:

One journalist’s vote for divided government

By Jack Shafer
November 5, 2014

U.S. President Barack Obama departs after delivering remarks on student loans at the White House in Washington

Count the Washington press corps as unintended beneficiaries of last night's slaughter of the Democrats by the Republicans. Now, with the Republicans taking of the Senate in addition to the House, leaving them in control of all congressional committees, we can expect up to twice as many Capitol Hill investigations into alleged fraud, abuse, waste, and perfidy by the Obama administration. Witnesses called! Testimony given! Evidence subpoenaed! Executive privilege claimed! 

The 3-step guide to de-radicalizing jihadists

By Arie W. Kruglanski
November 5, 2014

Militant Islamist fighters on a tank take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province

It might seem hard to believe but, according to psychological science, even the most hardened jihadists can be de-radicalized.

A quick guide to the smartest midterm election analysis

By Allison Silver
November 5, 2014

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addresses supporters with his wife Elaine Chao at his midterm election night rally in Louisville

Early Election Night, there was a lot of parsing of the term “wave election.” It sure quacks like one. The Washington Post had no trouble declaring a GOP wave well before midnight Tuesday. (The piece posted at 11:33 p.m., but pulls together too many stats to have been written on the spot.)

from Stories I’d like to see:

Did Islamic State really call a convention of nuts and have 15,000 people show up?

By Steven Brill
November 4, 2014

Islamic State fighter gestures from a vehicle in the countryside of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani, after the Islamic State fighters took control of the area

Last week, the Guardian reported, “The United Nations has warned that foreign jihadists are swarming into the twin conflicts in Iraq and Syria on ‘an unprecedented scale’ and from countries that had not previously contributed combatants to global terrorism.”

Putin’s created an economic crisis and left Moscow no easy way out

By William E. Pomeranz
November 4, 2014

Russia's President Putin chairs a meeting with members of the government at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow

Western sanctions have left Russia in dire financial circumstances — stuck somewhere between recession and stagnation. Though proven solutions exist for what now ails Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s geo-strategic and political choices have rendered these traditional economic approaches unworkable.

The most expensive political contest in California is for an office nobody’s heard of

By Sherry Bebitch Jeffe and Douglas Jeffe
November 3, 2014

A woman inserts her ballot into an intake machine at a polling station during the U.S. presidential election in Los Angeles

On Tuesday, California may not have a suspenseful governor’s race, but the contest for an obscure state education post has attracted an astonishing amount of outside money and turned into a high-stakes test run for the 2016 presidential campaign.

from Breakingviews:

Don’t blame the messenger, Jefferies

November 3, 2014

By Rob Cox

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

Political parties swap roles: Can social issues help Democrats?

By Bill Schneider
November 3, 2014

U.S. Senator Hagan speaks with the media after addressing a group of campaign volunteers in Cornelius

The 2014 campaign marks a departure: It is the first campaign in 50 years in which Democrats are relying on social issues, while economic issues seem to be helping Republicans.

Whack-a-mole: A lesson in the unexpected consequences of ‘cleaning up’ politics

By Richard White
November 3, 2014

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I may be the one person who listens to the election news and thinks about Benjamin Harrison. You don’t remember him? President of the United States from 1888-1892? The scion of a political dynasty that yielded enough failed presidencies to make the Harrisons the Bushes of the 19th century? So why do I think of Harrison? Because this is an election year that centers on money.