There are so many gaps in the reporting about the effort to use economic sanctions against Russia to get President Vladimir Putin to pull back support for the Ukraine separatists that it makes sense to devote my whole column this week to listing them.
Stories I’d like to see
1. Figuring out the Iron Dome:
As I kept reading and seeing television reports last week about how the Iron Dome missile defense system was doing such a good job protecting Israel from Hamas’ rockets, this intriguing story by the highly regarded veteran journalist James Fallows appeared on the Atlantic website.
This piece has been updated with a postscript at the end.
1. Postal Service blues:
Last week’s report that the U.S. Postal Service lost another $1.9 billion in the last financial quarter made me yearn for a story detailing the cost constraints afflicting this largest and most hidebound of government services. Everything from union restrictions, to legacy pension obligations, to congressional pressure that keeps even the smallest rural post office not only open but open on Saturdays, to lobbyist strong-arming that keeps the service from using its 32,000 retail footprints to offer other services.
The mysterious allure of cruises, Al Sharpton conflict check, and doing the math on Ukraine bailouts
1. Why do people take cruises?
A few weeks ago, USA Today reported that “More than 160 of 3,104 passengers on Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess “had fallen ill with a gastrointestinal illness that the cruise line suspected was norovirus — a highly contagious infection that causes severe vomiting and diarrhea.”
1. Ambassadors without portfolios?
What happens when you’re an ambassador whose government has been overthrown?
With the Ukrainian government being deposed last week, I’m wondering about the fate of the country’s envoys and their families. As key appointees of President — now fugitive — Viktor Yanukovich, have they been replaced and evicted from their embassies in Washington, New York (the United Nations ambassador), London or Paris? Or are they all professional foreign service officers, able to roll with the punches?