The Great Debate

How to bring North Korea to its cyber-knees

By Matthew Gault
December 23, 2014

North Korean leader Kim gives field guidance at the Kim Jong Suk Pyongyang Textile Mill in this undated photo released by KCNA in Pyongyang

President Barack Obama, during his year-end news conference,  promised a proportional response to North Korea’s cyber-attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment. “They caused a lot of damage,” Obama said, referring to the theft and exposure of corporate records and private emails. “And we will respond. We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose.”

Why it’s easier for affluent women to find Mr. Right

By Lynn Stuart Parramore
December 23, 2014

A single woman looks at bachelor's photos which are displayed at the French dating site 'adopt-a-guy' (adopte-un-mec) store in Paris

Economic inequality, accelerating since the late 1980s, is shaping American lives in every dimension — and finding a partner is no exception.

From democrat to autocrat: NATO ally turns back on group’s ideals

By Andrew Finkel
December 22, 2014

RTR4ISVE.jpg

Police stage a dawn raid on a large-circulation newspaper armed with warrants to take the editor-in-chief into custody. There can be no image quite so potent of a government that has lost its democratic legitimacy or one that has something to hide. It’s happened in Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe, and Somaliland. Last Sunday, it happened in Turkey.

Prediction: Obama will decide to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016

December 22, 2014

U.S. Marines prepare to board a plane at the end of operations for U.S. Marines and British combat troops in Helmand

In 2015, I predict that President Barack Obama will rethink his plan to have all operational U.S. combat forces out of Afghanistan by the end of 2016.

Sony hack reveals Hollywood’s bitter civil war

By Neal Gabler
December 19, 2014

Jodie Foster poses with co-chairperson of Sony Pictures Entertainment Amy Pascal at the 16th annual Women in Entertainment breakfast in Beverly Hills

Nobody ever plunked down 14 bucks to see a movie executive on screen.

That may be an odd takeaway from the Sony hacking scandal that has been wracking the company and the film studio it owns, Sony Pictures Entertainment. But the relative invisibility of these executives vis-a-vis their talent — and what looks like the executives’ anger about this — are among the biggest revelations in the document dumps.

from Anatole Kaletsky:

The reason oil could drop as low as $20 per barrel

By Anatole Kaletsky
December 19, 2014

An oil pump jack pumps oil in a field near Calgary

How low can it go -- and how long will it last? The 50 percent slump in oil prices raises both those questions and while nobody can confidently answer the first question (I will try to in a moment), the second is pretty easy.

U.S.-Cuba deal: What the two sides get out of it

By Peter Hakim
December 18, 2014

A vintage car drives by a mural showing Cuba's former leader Fidel Castro in Havana

President Barack Obama has inverted U.S. policy on Cuba. His Wednesday speech adopted the proposals of those who have spent a half-century arguing for a rethinking of Cuba policy. The president recognized Washington’s failure to achieve its goal of bringing political and economic openness to Cuba.

Vladimir Putin in jeopardy on all sides as Russia’s economy stumbles

By John Lloyd
December 18, 2014

Russian President Putin is seen on a screen during his annual end-of-year news conference in Moscow

MOSCOW – What a difference a plunging ruble makes. A few short days ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin was a strategic genius, outplaying Western leaders everywhere – in the Middle East, in China, and especially in Ukraine. Today, he’s the destroyer of his country and his political life could be in jeopardy.

How to pay North Korea back for Sony hack? Hit Kim’s cronies where it counts – their wallets

By Kent Harrington
December 18, 2014

North Korean leader Kim visits the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to mark the 61st anniversary of the victory of the Korean people in the Fatherland Liberation War

Moviemakers strive to outdo themselves with fantastic plots, super-heroes and special effects. But the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment this month proves that, even in Hollywood, reality is still stranger than fiction.

from Breakingviews:

Sony email shareholders would like to see

December 17, 2014

By Rob Cox

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