June 21st, 2013
05:08 PM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

Scholars who study small arms proliferation have looked at the 2011 war in Libya as a guide and found evidence of illegal arms transfers and poor tracking of weapons, writes Marc Herman in Pacific Standard. "More than a year after the war ended, no overall accounting exists of the total amount of lethal material allies like France and Qatar imported to Libya. The doesn’t mean the same will be true in Syria. And the U.S., which has some of the world’s most stringent weapons tracking rules, was not a key supplier of lethal material to Libyan rebels. But the parallels worry scholars."


The case for combating debilitating inequality in India is not only a matter of social justice, argues Amartya Sen in the New York Times.

“Unlike India, China did not miss the huge lesson of Asian economic development, about the economic returns that come from bettering human lives, especially at the bottom of the socioeconomic pyramid. India’s growth and its earnings from exports have tended to depend narrowly on a few sectors, like information technology, pharmaceuticals and specialized auto parts, many of which rely on the role of highly trained personnel from the well-educated classes. For India to match China in its range of manufacturing capacity — its ability to produce gadgets of almost every kind, with increasing use of technology and better quality control — it needs a better-educated and healthier labor force at all levels of society.”

“It's not a stretch to say the whole financial industry revolves around the compass point of the absolutely safe AAA rating. But the financial crisis happened because AAA ratings stopped being something that had to be earned and turned into something that could be paid for,” writes Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone.

"That this happened is even more amazing because these companies naturally have powerful leverage over their clients, as they are part of a quasi-protected industry that enjoys massive de facto state subsidies. Largely that's because government agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission often force private companies to fulfill regulatory requirements by retaining or keeping in reserve certain fixed quantities of assets – bonds, securities, whatever – that have been rated highly by a ‘Nationally Recognized’ ratings agency, like the ‘Big Three’ of Moody's, S&P and Fitch. So while they're not quite part of the official regulatory infrastructure, they might as well be."

Washington needs to continue developing a coherent approach to the Arctic, as other countries have already done, writes Scott G. Borgerson in Foreign Affairs.

“This May, the White House published the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. The document is a promising start, and it goes a long way toward updating the thin National Security Presidential Directive that the George W. Bush administration issued in 2009. In devising the strategy, the Obama administration deserves credit for reaching out to the Alaskan government, and especially to indigenous populations, whose voice and experience are critical. But the United States is late to the game, and there is still much work to be done in thinking through a national approach to the Arctic and developing the capabilities to project power there.”


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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. JAL

    God, pragmatism and growing pains.

    June 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Reply
    • JAL

      ...oh and ice cream.

      June 22, 2013 at 6:09 pm | Reply
  2. Muin

    Xenophobia already exists in American society. Immigration legislation push worsens it.

    June 24, 2013 at 1:55 am | Reply

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