July 25th, 2013
11:51 PM ET

What we're reading

By Fareed Zakaria

“There are many other examples of Syrian-Iranian coordination and the utter ruthlessness of both states in pursuing their objectives, such as the 2005 assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri. During my time in Lebanon, we had a dark joke about ‘Hama rules,’ meaning there were no rules governing Syrian conduct,” writes Ryan Crocker in Yale Global.

“So this current fight didn’t start in the southern Syrian city of Dara’a in 2011. Nor is it part of the so-called Arab Spring. It began decades before. Lebanese, Palestinians, Iranians, Jordanians, Iraqis and Syrians – Sunnis, Alawis, Christians and Druze – all remember. Americans may not have ever really understood it in the first place. The history helps explain the ferocity of the fight on the part of both the regime and its opponents, and it illustrates why this regime is not like those in Egypt, Tunisia or Libya. It was ready for this war.”


“Whatever hope Egypt’s transitional government has instilled in Egyptians as it gets to work, it also faces an angry and resentful Muslim Brotherhood that is determined to do what it can to disrupt the political process,” argues Steven Cook in Foreign Affairs.

“The Brothers might ultimately be unsuccessful, but their sit-ins, demonstrations, and not-so-hushed rhetoric of violence and martyrdom vastly complicate the tasks ahead. The narrative of victimhood will stir a base that might have otherwise dissipated had the calamitous Morsi been permitted to carry on. Of course, the Brothers’ commitment to the ballot box has always been most pronounced when the group is under pressure. If the now-deposed president had stayed in office, he and the Brothers’ guidance office would likely have found a way to ensure the Brotherhood’s political power regardless of the group’s performance. It now seems unlikely that the colorless jurist who is palace-sitting has the ability to match the Brothers’ war of position with anything other than coercion. This portends a slide toward authoritarianism, not democracy.”


“The government is using a variety of instruments, including financial-sector credit discipline, to rein in investment demand. Essentially, the government guarantee associated with financing public-sector investment is being withdrawn – as it should be,” writes Michael Spence for Project Syndicate.

“But, to circumvent the restrictions in the state-dominated financial system, a shadow banking system has developed, raising new risks: economic distortions; reliance on excess leverage to drive growth in the consumer, real estate, corporate, and government sectors; and dangers associated with inadequate regulation. As a result, investors are worried that China could slip into the excess-leverage growth model that has served many developed economies so poorly.”


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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. JAL

    Time for me to polish the ole resume.

    July 26, 2013 at 7:29 am |
  2. Chukwuemeka

    Fareed i think your research on the historical dimensions of the conflict in Syria is a good one. I wish you could publish it for us to be better informed. We have similar incidences in the Congo and some other parts of Africa.

    July 27, 2013 at 1:44 am |
  3. j. von hettlingen

    The situation in Egypt is most unfortunate. Both Morsi's supporters and opponents had made huge mistakes. The military has been extremely heavy handed in dealing with Morsi. He himself had been too stubborn and too proud to compromise. Had he called for earlier elections, he might still be able to let the Brotherhood stay as a political force. It would have saved his party and the country a whole lot of agony.

    July 28, 2013 at 5:22 pm |

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