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Weekly Roundup
Dividing and Conquering, a New Middle East Alliance, and Bombs Over Baghdad

Good afternoon, TAI readers! We hope you’ve had a restful weekend. As you gear up for the week ahead, take a look at what you may have missed on the site during the week we’ve left behind:

Getting back on track with Iran. The Middle East may be collapsing into chaos, but Washington must change the incentives for Iran, and employ “[a] little more tough and a little less love” if it wants Tehran to pull in its horns, writes Walter Russell Mead.

Putin divides, then conquers. Vlad pushed the Russian parliament to revoke authorization of military action in Ukraine this week, but this was a calculated move aimed at stalling further sanctions against Moscow. It appears to have worked. But this is no time for the U.S. to let down its guard.

The Israeli-Turkish-Kurdish triangle isn’t as catchy as, say, the Bermuda triangle, but it is at least as interesting. Israel is reportedly buying Kurdish crude shipped through Turkey, and that transactional relationship could lay the foundation for a more lasting alliance in a very shaky part of the world, writes Ofra Bengio.

Remembering Fouad Ajami. The author, teacher, and public intellectual, died this week at 68. Michael Mandelbaum reflects on Ajami’s legacy as one of the most important authors on the contemporary Middle East during the last fifty years, and writes fondly that he was a “wry, witty, an elegant speaker (and more often maker) of English phrases, someone without illusions about the ways of the world and with a knack for illuminating discrete events by placing them in a wider context.”

Hell hath no fury like China scorned. China’s bitter disappointment at the Paris Peace Conference planted the seeds for the country’s long revolution, and many of the grudges borne back then are still at play today, writes Brent Crane.

Bombs over Baghdad? To strike or not to strike? That is the question, writes Adam Garfinkle, who notes that there aren’t many good reasons for the U.S. to employ airpower in Iraq. There are some scenarios, however, in which air strikes could serve a strategic interest for the U.S.

Walter Russell Mead talks with Robert Kagan. The two sat down at a recent conference on democracy promotion, hosted by The American Interest, Freedom House, and Johns Hopkins-SAIS to discuss grand strategy in the age of Obama.

Religion matters in the ongoing violence in the Middle East. It isn’t the only thing at play in the recent eruption of violence in that part of the world, but Peter Berger writes that there are very real differences between the Sunni and Shi’a branches of Islam, and that these distinctions threaten to spark an international war between them.

The coming crony capitalism crackup. Tyler Cowen speaks with Ralph Nader about the activist and presidential candidate’s new book, which looks at the manner in which American politics seems to be aligning itself against the corporate state.

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