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Week in Review

Simmering tension in the Muslim world continued to hit the headlines last week. Via Meadia took note of how the White House is still organizing its stance on the Middle East:

None of President Obama’s big policies in the Middle East have worked out as he hoped. That whole “fix the peace process by pushing the Israelis” thing turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. Coming into office, President Obama was sure he’d be able to straighten this out; he’s been the least effective president in terms of the Arab-Israeli relationship since Kissinger launched his shuttle diplomacy back in the Nixon administration and his ill-considered approach achieved the unusual result of angering both sides.

The “reconciliation with the Muslim world” concept did succeed, for a while, in turning down the heat in the relationship, but the Cairo speech never had the kind of policy follow up that people in the Middle East were waiting for, and today there is precious little to show for what was once hailed (by the reflexively pro-Obama MSM, anyway) as a historic turning point, one of the greatest speeches ever, and on and on and on.

Meanwhile, Hassan Nasrallah appeared in public to threaten the U.S. and the Afghan surge petered out with a whimper. Looking eastwards, Japan and China continued a dance with daggers drawn: Anti-Japan protests raged across China; Chinese government ships and a fleet of fishing boats set sail for the islands whose ownership is in dispute; and in Japan, nationalist, anti-China politicians are growing more popular. At the same time, Xi Jinping and Leon Panetta vowed to tighten U.S.-China military ties, and shortly afterwards Xi showed up at an ASEAN meeting in southern China to promise China’s southeastern neighbors that Beijing would resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea peacefully.

But most importantly, China unveiled its ultimate weapon in disputes with the neighbors: the economy.

Elsewhere in Asia, there are hints Burma’s “opening” won’t lead to economic growth like we saw in Asia’s tiger economies, and India struggled to shore up support for recent economic reforms.

On the domestic front:

  • The Chicago teacher strike brought out the underlying tensions between democrats’ stalwart communities—the consumers and producers of government services.
  • One year after it exploded across American cities, OWS is dead and buried.
  • California’s estimated total debt was revised upward to $335 billion.
  • Blue politics are rotting the Big Apple.
  • Coursera is winning big in the battle for online education.
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