October 03, 2009
The Iranian regime has made headlines this week with its announcement that it will allow inspections into its recently discovered enrichment site in Qom, and its agreement, albeit ambiguously, to allow enrichment to be handled by Russia or France.
October 01, 2009
Jewish history in the 20th century is full of might-have-beens, most of them too sorrowful to bear thinking about. The brief cultural moment that Kenneth B. Moss resurrects in Jewish Renaissance in the Russian Revolution (Harvard University Press) is one of the least known and most fascinating of those aborted futures: a two-year period when writers, artists, and activists in Russia and Ukraine believed they were midwiving the birth of a new Jewish culture.
Are Fossil-Fuel Subsidies On The Way Out?
September 22, 2009
In other big U.N. news, Barack Obama gave a lofty climate speech today that was... well, mostly barren of specifics. Let's see: Global warming's a real crisis, it's a generational challenge, our security and prosperity's in jeopardy, the House passed a climate bill, it'd be swell if the Senate did too (he didn't exactly tighten the vise on the dawdling Senate)... All the usual fare. Except for one little newsy bit. Obama also said he'd "work with my colleagues at the G20 to phase out fossil-fuel subsidies." Now there's a concept!
Time For The President To Press "The Reset Button" Between His Administration And The C.I.A.
September 18, 2009
The FT yesterday used President Obama's own metaphor from Washington's relations with Moscow. He has, that is, resolved to press "the reset button" with Vladimir Putin's Russia But, of course, he can do so only from our side. Putin has sent him a big mazal tov but no reciprocal gift. Quite to the contrary. As the Financial Times points out, Russia has embarked on an aggressive foreign policy in Latin America, partnering with Hugo Chavez, the wild man of the region. Russia is also now doing military exercises with Belarus.
What You Need to Know About the State of Our Financial System
September 14, 2009
Financial markets have stabilized--people believe that the U.S. and West European governments will not allow big financial institutions to fail. We have effectively nationalized any banking system losses, but we’ll let bank executives enjoy the full benefits of the upside. How much shareholders participate remains to be seen; there will be no effective reining in of insider compensation (my version; Joe Nocera’s view). Small and medium-sized banks, however, will continue to fail as problems in commercial real estate continue to mount.
September 14, 2009
Jonathan Chait: Ayn Rand and the invincible cult of selfishness on the American right
The Next Financial Crisis
September 08, 2009
It's coming—and we just made it worse.
Business as Usual
August 17, 2009
To confront Iran, the United States must first confront Europe--and more specifically, the continent's powerful business lobby. This confrontation will come into focus in the next months. As Iran refuses Barack Obama's open-handed offer of engagement, the administration will turn towards sanctioning the Islamic Republic. And while there are surely ways in which the United States can tighten the economic screws on the Mullahs, it is Europe that has a much livelier trading relationship with Iran.
Good News And Bad News From Pakistan
August 14, 2009
Good news: Pakistanis' views on the Taliban have shifted dramatically in the past year, with 70 percent now opposing the militants, according to a new [Pew Global Attitudes] poll. That's great! USA! USA! Oh, wait--bad news: The United States doesn't fare well either, with 64 percent of Pakistanis seeing Washington as an enemy. Still some work to be done.... (Full results here.) P.S. In the data from other countries, note the high skepticism for Obama in Russia, Turkey and the Palestinian territories. --Michael Crowley
Maybe Russia's Not So Thrilled With Global Warming
August 03, 2009
Last week, I noted a story in the Abu Dhabi National about how many Russians appear to be remarkably nonchalant, or even sanguine, about the potential impacts of global warming on their country. There were even quotes to this effect from high-ranking officials in Moscow, including Vladimir Putin, who, back in 2003, was daydreaming of a time when Russians could shed their fur coats. It didn't exactly bode well for global climate talks.