The Russian intervention in Syria begins a new and even more dangerous phase in the continuing nightmare of the Syrian civil war. Obama administration critics often portray the incident as a test in comparative presidential masculinity. As The New York Post would have it, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia wants to “humiliate” President Obama or, as Senator John McCain informed us, Mr. Putin has exploited Mr. Obama’s “weakness.”
Clearly, this sort of policy by machismo is good politics in both the United States and in Russia. American presidents like to look tough, and the Russian president has demonstrated that riding around bare-chested on horses and tagging tigers on camera can improve one’s domestic approval rating.… Seguir leyendo »
CNN Opinion asked a range of contributors to give their take on Britain’s election, what it means and what we can expect moving forward. The opinions expressed in these commentaries are solely their own.
First surprise of Britain’s election on Thursday — everyone was WRONG. So it’s time to really dissect opinion polls — any kind of polling, really, and the media herd mentality. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron won, securing an overall majority. No one even came close to predicting that.
So, was it the 40% undecided that caused the tsunami?
Continuity wins — change loses. It was a victory for traditional party politics that has dominated the United Kingdom for centuries.… Seguir leyendo »
Afghanistan has been at war more or less continuously for more than 30 years. The country has been invaded and effectively destroyed multiple times. With frequent reports of clashes and strife over the upcoming presidential election, most polls depict Afghans on the brink of an abyss and cite growing frustration with the violence, the United States and the international community. But research we conducted this year reveals that, relative to international norms, Afghans remain surprisingly happy. And unless we understand what makes Afghans so counterintuitively cheerful, we are unlikely to ultimately win their “hearts and minds.”
A certain level of stability, of course, is necessary for society to function.… Seguir leyendo »