By Fareed Zakaria
“[S]hots fired by the U.S. in Syria will echo loudly in Russia. The great irony is that Putin is now seeking to do in Ukraine exactly what Assad has done so successfully: portray a legitimate political opposition as a gang of thugs and terrorists, while relying on provocations and lies to turn non-violent protest into violent attacks that then justify an armed response,” writes Anne-Marie Slaughter in Project Syndicate.
Recall that the Syrian opposition marched peacefully under fire for six months before the first units of the Free Syrian Army tentatively began to form. In Ukraine, Putin would be happy to turn a peaceful opposition’s ouster of a corrupt government into a civil war. Putin may believe, as Western powers have repeatedly told their own citizens, that NATO forces will never risk the possibility of nuclear war by deploying in Ukraine. Perhaps not. But the Russian forces destabilizing eastern Ukraine wear no insignia. Mystery soldiers can fight on both sides.”
“Sixty-one years ago, a telegram arrived at the State Department from the U.S. embassy in Moscow. Its purpose was to examine the sources of the conduct of the men who ruled in the Kremlin. Its impact was immediate,” writes Yuliya Tymoshenko for Foreign Affairs’ iPad extra on Ukraine. “The ‘Long Telegram,’ penned by a young diplomat named George Kennan, became the basis for U.S. policy toward the Soviet Union for the next half century. Although the Soviet Union is long gone, the West is once again groping to understand what motivates the leaders in the Kremlin.”
“[T]he Iraq Syndrome has generated its own myths and knee-jerk reactions. Among those is an oversimplification of the Iraq war itself, often portrayed (both by leftists and Ron Paul libertarians) as a criminal act of wanton slaughter by the U.S.,” argues Cathy Young in TIME. “In reality, nearly 90 percent of war-related Iraqi deaths were at the hands of other Iraqis in sectarian or insurgent violence – and numerous surveys over the years have found Iraqis themselves consistently ambivalent about the invasion, with just over a quarter calling it ‘absolutely wrong’ and three out of four agreeing that Saddam Hussein’s removal was worth it. A similarly simplistic narrative of American evildoing shows up in denunciations of drone strikes, which even some critics grudgingly admit are far less deadly to civilians than either terrorist attacks or anti-terror operations by the domestic military in the same regions.”
“The lack of maintenance in our transportation grid is putting the U.S at a competitive disadvantage. The U.S. once led the world in infrastructure development,” writes Barry Ritholtz for Bloomberg. “We have now fallen to 15th in infrastructure as China and India leapfrog us. Both invest as much as 9 percent of their gross domestic product in infrastructure construction and maintenance. In the U.S., we now spend less than 2 percent of GDP on such projects. Our system is so old and decrepit that we should be running much closer to those nations in terms of spending.”