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Week in Review


Two big items US security policy hit the news this week. On the domestic front, disaffected libertarian Edward Snowden released information on a secret NSA spying program that has the Beltway elite wringing their hands over the death of privacy and civil liberties. But polls reveal that both ordinary Americans and Europeans are comfortable with government surveillance programs. Apparently people everywhere understand the threat we face, even if President Obama has tried to downplay it.

On the foreign front, Syria dominated the papers. This week’s essay discusses the looming prospect of US intervention in Syria:

We’ve thought for some time that steps like this were inevitable sooner or later, and in some ways it would have been better to take these steps earlier, before Syria had so thoroughly unraveled, 93,000 people had died, and the two sides had become so radicalized, so infused with hatred and the hunger for revenge, that there was no easy route to a post-conflict peace. We’ve argued that the mounting violence and horror of the conflict, its growing potential to destabilize the wider region, and the geopolitical need to curb Iran’s push for control would ultimately make abstention impossible—but that the longer the destruction of Syria went on, the harder it would be to deal with the conflict when the day of intervention finally dawned.

Elsewhere, Iranians elected a moderate President, but this is unlikely to change much in Iranian society or politics. The Supreme leader controls the nuclear reins in Iran’s deep state, and the public at large still seems in favor of the country’s nuclear programs.

In China, the public maintains a very high degree of trust in their government despite recent economic slowdowns. Meanwhile, the Pacific century is here in full force, with China and the US creating better diplomatic ties, China playing the long game in North Korea, and Abenomics getting a boost this week. As the growing nationalism across Asia pushes China into more disputes with neighbors, however, Chinese leaders are going to have a harder and harder time keeping their citizens happy.

Speaking of unhappy citizens, both Greeks and Turks are up in arms this week over government actions. In Greece, pols closed the public broadcaster as the country teeters on the edge of collapse, while in Turkey protests continue over Erodgan’s crackdowns. This week saw conflicts between states as well as within them: Ethiopia and Egypt are trading sharp words about the former’s plan to dam the Nile.

Meanwhile, Germany beat a hasty retreat back from its Green energy policies, more information about Gazprom’s “spectacular mismanagement” came to light, and we learned more about just how much shale is potentially available world-wide. But the biggest energy news was the Grey Lady’s reluctant acknowledgement that global warming isn’t happening nearly as fast as the experts predicted.

Elsewhere on the domestic front, support for Obamacare continued to plummet, as Congressmen and their staff considered fleeing the Hill to avoid the impact of the ACA.  The grim reality of retirement is pushing more older Americans into working longer. Luckily for them, wages for the 65-74 age bracket are better these days than those for under 65.

[Image of combatants in Syria courtesy of Shutterstock]

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  • ljgude

    “The Supreme leader controls the nuclear reigns in Iran’s deep state” …Them’s reins professor Meade. I guess you haven’t driven a hoss in a while. Reigns be fer kings and such. 😉

    • Jamie Horgan

      Fixed. Thanks for the heads up!

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