July 30th, 2013
09:48 AM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

“Al Qaeda has come back largely because Iraqi Sunnis feel sidelined and disenfranchised by the Shiite-dominated government, led by Nouri al-Maliki, which came to power following the U.S. occupation of Iraq. And the Americans are gone. Iraq’s sectarian enmity has also been rekindled by the vicious battle between communities in Syria, where the rebels are mostly Sunni (and include Baghdadi’s al Qaeda affiliates), and where the Assad regime is dominated by Alawites, members of a Shiite minority offshoot,” writes Jon Lee Anderson in the New Yorker.

“Five hundred al Qaeda terrorists back on the streets can do a lot of damage wherever they choose to go—to Iraq, to Syria, to Lebanon, or to the fragile Jordan, where hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees now live in camps along the border. Martin Kobler, the U.N. envoy to Iraq, warned this week that the likelihood of a regional conflagration was growing.”


“Japan eschewed an American-style unemployment-insurance system because companies never laid off workers,” argues William Pesek on Bloomberg. “The reason Tokyo spent so much time and money propping up banks in the late 1990s and early 2000s was so they could keep so-called zombie companies afloat and unemployment low. Before Abe helps companies to sack 20,000 workers here and 50,000 there, he must create a social-benefits program and fund extensive job-retraining programs.”

“Otherwise, Abenomics will only exacerbate Japan’s underappreciated working-poor problem.”


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