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Weekly Roundup
Yule Blogs, Capitalism, South Sudan, and the Threat of Violence in Ukraine

The American Interest is operating on a skeleton crew this late December week as we all spend time with our families all across the country and around the world. Here’s what you might’ve missed this week if you too were spending less time online.

The Yule Blog, Parts 0 – 5: Walter Russell Mead’s annual series of essays on the meaning of Christmas got their start on Christmas Eve, and will be running through January 6. Catch up here: [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Anti-Semitism and other conspiracy mongering is an important ‘tell’ that points to important limits on Egypt’s potential for political, social and economic progress. Further, it leads to some very uncomfortable reflections about the potential for democracy in many countries beyond Egypt, and casts a dark shadow over the prospects for the development of a stable and prosperous Palestinian state. It suggests that there are narrow limits on what we can expect from diplomacy with Iran. (Also nota bene, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is at it again with his ‘interest rate lobby’ talk.)

Could violence still break out in Ukraine? ‘Yes’, argues Lilia Shevtsova. The West needs to wake up to the gravity of the situation. More is at stake than just the political future of one country.

Could it ever have worked? As South Sudan teeters on the verge of civil war, Armin Rosen reminds us that the world’s newest state was never stable. It was never on a trajectory toward becoming a normal Westphalian state, no matter what foreign observers hoped and wished.

Swing and a miss. A group of Democratic Senators is hoping to coerce colleges into getting costs under control by fining them if a certain percentage of their graduates default on their loans. It’s the cowardly way to handle this, as colleges will ultimately do the Senators’ dirty work for them: limit the number of risky students into their programs.

Capitalism, especially the dread Anglo-Saxon model, still seems to be the best way to achieve world-beating growth. Case in point: there are predictions afoot that the UK could become the biggest economy in the EU in the next twenty years.

The best commerce is e-commerce, at least for this Christmas shopping season: online sales were up 16.5 percent from last year. And it’s a harbinger of things to come, both positive and negative, as the information revolution really hits its stride.

Finally, your photo of the week:

A child of the Fouh district in Bangui in the Central African Republic wears a Christmas hat on December 28, 2013. © MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

A child of the Fouh district in Bangui in the Central African Republic wears a Christmas hat on December 28, 2013. © MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

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