February 13th, 2013
01:10 PM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama urged the U.S. to “cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years.” Is it possible? Brad Plumer, writing for the Washington Post’s Wonkblog, looks at the feasibility:

“Boosting efficiency could save money and curtail the carbon emissions that are warming the planet. But that raises an obvious question: If efficiency is so wonderful, why don’t consumers and businesses already do more of it? Why does the government need to step in?”

There is nothing India needs more than an energy technology revolution, argues Thomas Friedman in the New York Times.

“If every village had some reliable power, plus access to high-speed Internet (I.T.), hundreds of millions of Indians would be able to live locally but act globally — that is, they would be able to remain in their villages, yet have access to the education and markets that could enable them to escape poverty and not have to join the hordes in the megaslums of the megacities like Mumbai or Kolkata.”

Predictably, the U.N. Security Council looks set to call for tougher sanctions following North Korea’s latest nuclear test. But just as predictably, such moves will fail suggests Simon Jenkins in The Guardian. And the same goes for Iran:

"If Iran really wants a nuclear weapon, it will get one – the more so when it is threatened with dire retribution if it does. That is how such states react to pressure. Ever since the dodgy election of 2009, threats and sanctions have not weakened the regime's determination to proceed, but rather weakened opposition to it. If ever there was a country unlikely to respond to diplomatic bullying, it is Iran. If ever there was a country that might respond to constructive engagement, to commercial, governmental and cultural intercourse, it is also Iran."

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soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. JAL

    The mechanism of Islam (via the Arab World) coupled with massive economic initiatives/financial investment is the solution for ending global poverty. Lets get moving...

    February 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply
  2. Abram

    It is true that "If ever there was a country unlikely to respond to military threat and to diplomatic bullying, it is Iran. If ever there was a country that might respond to constructive engagement, to commercial, governmental and cultural intercourse, it is also Iran." A different approach, that is devoid of sanctions and threats of military option being on the table, is the best answer and the best solution to Iran's nuclear energy program question.

    February 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Reply

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