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U.S. Defense Secretary Says Iraqis Have Lost The Will To Fight ISIS

Iraq US Flag

Some unusually blunt, but true, language from the U.S. Secretary Of Defense.

Saudi Arabia Wants To Be The Head Of The U.N. Human Rights Council

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Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to make a bid to head the United Nations Human Rights Council: Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to make a bid to head the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, in a move that has been described as the “final nail in the coffin for the credibility” of the HRC. Reports of […]

Irish Voters Overwhelmingly Vote In Favor Of Same-Sex Marriage

Ireland Marriage Referendum

Voters in Ireland have overwhelmingly approved a referendum legalizing same-sex marriage.

Ukraine Heads Down The Authoritarian Road With New Restrictions On Speech

Ukraine Flag

Disturbing developments on the part of the Ukrainian government.

Meanwhile, In North Korea

North Korea Military Parade Weapons

North Korea now claims it has miniaturized nuclear warheads sufficienctly so that they can be placed on missiles. They also say they can launch missiles from submarines.

ISIS Captures Another Key Iraqi City

ISIS Fighters

ISIS has captured Ramadi, and revealed yet again how fractured Iraq actually is. Fixing that isn’t something that American aid or arms can accomplish.

What Went Wrong With The Polls In The British Election?

polling-stick-figures-1

Pollsters on both sides of the Atlantic have been trying to figure out why the polls released right up until the eve of the British General Election were so wrong. Here’s one theory, and it’s very compelling.

Former Egyptian President Morsi Sentenced to Death

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Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first truly-elected president, has been sentenced to death by the government which ousted him in a coup.

David Cameron To Propose Broad Expansion Of Powers To Crackdown On ‘Extremism’

David Cameron

Fresh off an election victory, British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to propose a series of new measures to crackdown on extremism that raise serious civil liberties concerns.

Saudi, U.S. Relationship Becoming More Tense

Obama King Salman

The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia has seen better days.

Vatican To Recognize Palestinian State

Pope Palestine

The Vatican has announced that it will recognize Palestinian statehood, but this is not going to resolve the underlying issues that prevent a Palestinian state from actually coming into existence.

Irish Voters To Vote On Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage On May 22nd

Gay Marriage Wedding Cake Two Women

In just over a week, Ireland seems set to become the first nation in the world to legalize same-sex marriage via referendum: DUBLIN — In less than two weeks, the Republic of Ireland could become the first country in the world to allow same-sex couples to marry thanks to a popular vote, boosting the marriage-equality […]

Top North Korean General Executed For ‘Showing Disrespect’ To Kim Jong Un

North Korean Flag

North Korea’s mercurial leader has apparently executed yet another high ranking official.

The British General Election And The Future Of The United Kingdom

British Houses Of Parliament

With the election behind him, David Cameron’s biggest problems may be yet to come.

European Commission Plan Would Require All E.U. Members To Accept Migrants

European Union Flag

A plan to distribute migrants from the conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa across the entire European Union seems destined to cause political conflict.

Jim Messina Beats David Axelrod In British Election Battle

David Axelrod Jim Messina

The just-concluded British General Election was also a clash between two former top advisers to President Obama.

Jeb Bush Says His Top Middle East Adviser Is George W. Bush

US President George W. Bush (L) looks on

Jeb Bush told a group of supporters that his brother is his top Middle East policy adviser. This strikes me as being a bad idea.

David Cameron And Britain’s Conservative Party Score A Surprising Win

David Cameron

After weeks of polls predicting a political stalemate or worse, British voters delivered a strong win for David Cameron and the Tories.

Germans Restrict Cooperation With The U.S. On Intelligence

Obama Merkel

Largely in reaction to revelations about N,S.A. surveillance, Germany has cut back on its intelligence cooperation with the United States.

Netanyahu Forms Government At Last Minute, Beating Deadline

Netanyahu Victory

As expected, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was able to reach an agreement with several smaller parties to allow him to form a government before yesterday’s deadline expired: JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel barely met the legal deadline to form a new government on Wednesday night and will start his fourth term […]

As Great Britain Heads To The Polls, Uncertainty Reigns

British Flag

The political outlook in the United Kingdom is as uncertain as it has ever been.

Benjamin Netaynahu Having Trouble Forming Government As Deadline Nears

Benjamin Netanyahu

There hasn’t been much attention paid to Israeli politics since March, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to have coasted to an overwhelming victory in elections that many thought would end up being closer than they ended up being. The only thing that remained for Netayanyahu after the results were clear was to put together […]

The Most Important Person In British Politics May Be Someone Who Isn’t On The Ballot

Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National Party, could hold the key to the future of Britain in her hands after the election ends on May 7th.

Chart: Deaths from Police Shootings

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I do not have a lot to say about the following at the moment, but it is still worth a look (via The Economist):   Yes, one comparative stat is not sufficient to tell the whole story (as was true when I posted on the death penalty and the US in comparative perspective).  I will […]

Headline of the Day (UK Elections Edition)

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Via The Telegraph:  Student loses trousers while taking selfie with Nick Clegg. Video at the link.

Saudi King Salman Shakes Up Royal Family Succession

King Salman

Saudi Arabia’s new King has shaken up the Royal Family, and that could have interesting results.

Kazakhstan Overwhelmingly “Re-Elects” Nursultan Nazrabayev

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Nursultan Nazarbayev has been the leader of Kazakhstan since it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991, and before that he had served in pretty much every high-level position in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic dating back to 1984. This weekend, he was overwhelmingly “elected” to his fifth term in office: Election officials in […]

An Odd Incentive in Venezuela

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Via the BBC: Venezuela mango-thrower gets flat from president A Venezuelan woman has had her wish for a flat granted by President Nicolas Maduro after she made her point by hitting him on the head with a mango. Marleny Olivo threw the fruit at the president while he was driving a bus through the central […]

Mapping Languages Worldwide

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Some interesting stuff via WaPo:  The world’s languages, in 7 maps and charts.

Two Hostages, Including One American, Killed In Raid On Al Qaeda Targets

Predator Drone

An attack on al Qaeda outposts in January resulted in the death of two hostages, but also resulted in the death of two high value al Qaeda targets.

China Warns U.S. About North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal

North Korea Nukes

Chinese analysts are telling their American counterparts that North Korea’s nuclear arsenal is far more sophisticated than previously believed.

The Complexity of Genocide

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The Holocaust was a very atypical case of genocide.

Egyptian Court Sentences Former President To 20 Years

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An Egyptian Court has sentenced former President Mohammed Morsi, who was deposed in a July 2013 coup, to 20 years in prison for his alleged role in the deaths of civilians during protests while he was in office: CAIRO — An Egyptian criminal court on Tuesday sentenced ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years […]

Cuba To Be Removed From List Of Terrorist States

Cuban American Flags

Another step forward for U.S.-Cuban relations.

US-Latin American Relations

Barack Obama, Raul Castro

Some thoughts on a column by Roger Noriega on the Obama administration and Latin America,

Pope Francis Speaks The Truth About The Armenian Genocide, Turks Get Predictably Upset

Armenian Genocide

Unlike most world leaders, Pope Francis is wiling to call a genocide a genocide.

Chart of the Day: An Example of American Exceptionalism

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The following charge underscores how exceptional the United States is in this policy area is when compared to other democracies (note the countries the US finds itself neighbors with, so to speak).  Source:  The Economist.

UK Poll Tracker

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House of Commons elections are set for May 7th.  Here is the Economist‘s poll tracker:  click.

A History of Failed Rapprochement

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Worth a read from Foreign Policy:  From Washington to Tehran: A Legacy of Failure. If this deal holds it is a very, very big deal.

Reactions To Iran Nuclear Deal About What You’d Expect

Iran Nuclear Accord Photo Op

The Iranian nuclear accords are barely 24 hours old and some people have already made up their mind about them.

Most Cuban-Americans Support Obama’s Opening To Cuba

Diana Nyad

New polling on President Obama’s opening to Cuba is likely to surprise some, and disappoint others.

Yemen Civil War Becoming Regional

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With everything going on in Libya, Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia, the last thing that the world needed was for unrest and war to spread to yet another country in the Middle East. Yemen, the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula and a historic site of unrest, is the latest to be engulfed in the sectarian […]

Lee Kuan Yew’s Legacy

lee-kuan-yew

Modern Singapore’s founder passed away at age 91 earlier this week.

Rand Paul Tries To Explain Why He Signed The Cotton Letter To Iran, And Fails

Rand Paul

Rand Paul now says he signed the Cotton Letter to strengthen the Administration’s bargaining position.

Benjamin Netanyahu Appears To Secure Victory In Israeli Elections

Netanyahu Victory

After appearing to be behind in pre-election polling, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seems to have secured a victory in Israel’s elections.

Netanyahu Trailing In New Polls, But He Could Remain In Power

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu is trailing in the final polls leading to Tuesday’s election, but he still may be able to form the coalition needed to stay in power.

Some Charts for the Morning: Latin American Economies

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Via The Telegraph:  Colombia: from failed state to Latin American powerhouse Some regional comparisons:  

In the Company of Misery

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Via Bloomberg:  The 15 Most Miserable Economies in the World. Misery, as in the misery index (“unemployment rate + change in the consumer price index = misery”):

From the “You Can’t Make this Stuff up” File (TP for Oil Edition)

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Via Bloomberg:  Tissue Paper-for-Venezuelan Oil Swap Offered by Trinidad. The absurd nature of the headline aside, this is not a funny story at all given the utter disaster that is the Venezuelan economy.  The unnecessary and man-made nature of the the situation just adds to the tragedy.

Latin American Stall?

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An ominous headline from The Economist:  Latin America’s progress has stopped For the past three years, the poverty rate has stayed stubbornly at around 28% of the population, according to household surveys collated by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). The proportion that is extremely poor (with a daily income of […]

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