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Week in Review

President Obama, who’d like to avoid going to war with Iran, is finding himself drawn more and more closely to it on account of his public pronouncements. “Of all the many paradoxes and ironies of this President’s foreign policy,” we wrote, “the reliance of ‘No Drama Obama’ on fomenting a crisis to stave off a war is one of the strangest — and perhaps the most fateful.” Brinksmanship is a dangerous game.

But Obama should take heart: it’s not just our ally Israel that’s edging towards conflict with Iran. Iran and Saudi Arabia already appear to be engaged in some kind of shadow war even as Saudi Arabia and Iraq grow closer together. And further west, Hamas denied that it would launch an attack on Israel at the behest of Tehran. In any case, America’s core goals in the Middle East enjoy wide, even unprecedented support.

While the press wrings its hands over Iran, it remains determined to have something done about Syria. They’re overstating the weakness of Assad’s regime and overselling marginal stories of refugee plight. U.S. generals, however, respectfully disagree with their contention that Assad is in any way losing. And the Saudis, who’ve paid lip service to helping Syria’s rebels, are not-so-surprisingly not stepping up as promised.

In Asia, military spending for the first time surpassed that of Europe, showing that our pivot toward that region could not be happening at a better time. Chinese response to the pivot has so far hewn to the Deng Xiaoping line of thinking: peaceful rise and ongoing dialogue. We should accommodate these kinds of players in China, rather than the kind that advocate for Maoist revival.

Closer to home, we saw online higher education gallop forward at an astounding pace, while parents in California sought to take control of a failing local school. The war against the blue model continued in Washington state and in Massachusetts (where, incidentally, Elizabeth Warren is not doing so well). And the greens got their way as construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline was struck down a second time, this time on a Senate vote after heavy White House intervention.

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