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Weekly Roundup
Obama's Bergdahl Flub, a New Emissions Mission, and the Pope's Attack on Cat Ladies

Good afternoon, readers! We trust you’ve had a productive weekend, the last before World Cup fever descends on the world. As you kick your heels up this Sunday, take the time to look back at what you may have missed on the site over the last week:

With Obama’s foreign policy failing, it’s time for a reset. The Russian reset didn’t work out, but with a resurgent Moscow, an invigorated al Qaeda, a beleaguered Syria, a stand-offish Saudi Arabia, and crises in both Libya and Egypt, the President must make a very serious course correction. As Walter Russell Mead sees it, “he must either dial back his idealism or dial back on his promises to pull the United States back from the global front lines.”

The Pope takes on cat ladies. Pope Francis may not be quite the cuddly progressive he’s made out to be, as his Holiness criticized couples who adopt pets in lieu of having children at a recent mass. He may have a point, but it will be interesting to see how the media reacts to this confirmation that the Pope is still, after all, Catholic.

Obama blinks in stand-off with Putin. President Obama’s speech at West Point sparked plenty of media controversy, perhaps for good reason. Lilia Shevtsova walks through some of the more questionable aspects of his remarks, and concludes that the President doesn’t fully understand the rules of the game he is playing with his Russian adversary.

An inconvenient truth: Europe’s energy security problems, and more specifically its reliance on Russian gas imports, are in large part self-inflicted. So argue Gal Luft and Anne Korin, who note that the bloc’s pursuit of climate policies has undermined the resilience of its baseload energy mix, and in so doing has played right into Putin’s hand.

Taking Iran’s ideological threat seriously. While so much of the world’s attention vis-à-vis Iran is focused on its nuclear weapons program or its military capabilities, the country’s anti-Semitism is often glossed over or ignored altogether. Jeffrey Herf reminds us that a radical hatred of Judaism and the state of Israel is a core belief of Iranian leadership, something the U.S. needs to keep in mind when crafting its Middle Eastern policy.

The U.S. and the UK have a not-so-special relationship. D-day in Normandy was 70 years ago, and it marked the pinnacle of the so-called “special relationship” between America and Britain. Today, that partnership is in trouble. The British military is a shadow of its former self, and it continues to dwindle amid budget cuts and drawdowns. The Anglo-American alliance may fade with it.

The White House flubs the Bergdahl release, at a time when it really can’t afford to be making trouble for itself. The circumstances of Bergdahl’s capture by the Taliban are murky, and while we can certainly applaud the safe return of one of our own, the logic behind the White House’s decision to shine a spotlight on such a complicated issue is questionable at best.

Obama launches a new emissions mission. The EPA announced a draft rule that will require states to reduce carbon emissions from their power plants by 30 percent by 2030 (down from 2005 levels). It amounts to the biggest climate policy step the US has taken to date, and unsurprisingly it’s set off a firestorm of controversy.

Merkel defends France selling warship to Russia. The timing may be awkward, but the German Chancellor doesn’t see a problem with France selling military ships to sanctions-bound Russia because, well, we’re not at that stage of sanctions yet. Business as usual, then, nothing to see here.

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  • stan

    The logic behind the decision to trade war criminals for a deserter is a lot more questionable than the logic behind the decision to have a photo op.

  • lukelea

    “Syria is descending into a Somalia-style failed state run by warlords which poses a grave threat to the future of the Middle East, former peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has said. ”


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