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Week in Review

Usually the mainstream media is kind to President Obama, especially on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but is that starting to change? Consider:

The New York Times and the Washington Post are both thoroughly alarmed by the state of the region after 9/11/12 and the reporters if not the editorial pages have moved on from the “Blame Bush” approach. The latest article by Helene Cooper and Robert Worth in the Times cites some pretty biting criticism about the President’s approach to the Arab Spring from (unnamed) top aides and associates. It even quotes an Arab diplomat who sounds nostalgic for the good old days of W to illustrate a criticism of the President made by an (unnamed) State Department official who said, speaking of the President: “He’s not good with personal relationships; that’s not what interests him … But in the Middle East, those relationships are essential. The lack of them deprives D.C. of the ability to influence leadership decisions.”

There’s more here and, most recently, here.

Speaking of the Middle East, the Syrian rebels launched a “decisive” assault to take Aleppo this week, with mixed strategic results, but the city, including the centuries-old souk (a UNESCO heritage site), is in flames. There are signs that Syria’s Kurds are preparing for an autonomous state like Iraqi Kurdistan. Meanwhile, reports are emerging that Hezbollah is actively fighting for the Assad regime.

In China, Wang Lijun, Bo Xilai’s former police chief, was sentenced to prison for “abuse of power” and other crimes. A few days later Bo himself was booted out of the Communist Party. There were more riots in Foxconn’s facilities.

Riots also swept through Greece and Spain this week. Spain’s restive Catalonians urged independence, so far unsuccessfully.

Despite these troubling stories of riots and civil wars, the week ends on a high note, with signs that driverless cars are one step closer to reality.

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