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Politics

The Middle East's Sick State

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Will the Middle East be as unstable 10 years from now as it is today? I asked that question this week to a class of students at Harvard's Kennedy School. About half answered yes -- that things will be as bad or worse, no matter what America does.

These Harvard graduate students sense what many Middle East experts are ...Read more

Off to a Fuzzy Start

WASHINGTON -- Hey, "everyday Americans," what are you getting ready for? One couple is having a baby boy. Another couple wants to train the dog to stop eating the trash. Some people are starting new jobs, others retiring. And what about you, Hillary Clinton? "I'm running for president," because "everyday Americans need a champion."

Clinton's ...Read more

Brennan's CIA Makeover

WASHINGTON -- CIA Director John Brennan has just done what many of his predecessors at the agency surely dreamed of doing over the past few decades, which is to put the existing organization chart in the shredder and redo it.

Brennan's makeover order came in a March 6 memo to the workforce titled "Our Agency's Blueprint for the Future." It was ...Read more

Obama's Tricky Path on Iran

WASHINGTON -- There's a buoyant sense at the White House this week -- a feeling that a much-embattled President Obama has achieved the goal he set in January 2009 of engaging Iran on the basis of "mutual interest and mutual respect." But like the dog who catches the car he's been chasing, Obama must now worry about what to do next.

The first ...Read more

A Better-Than-Expected Nuclear Deal

WASHINGTON -- The most compelling argument President Obama made for the nuclear framework deal with Iran was also the simplest one: The pact, once concluded, would be preferable to any realistic alternative.

It's not a perfect agreement, and certainly not a permanent solution to the threat an aggressive Iran poses for Israel and other nations ...Read more

The Transformational Nature of the Iran Talks

WASHINGTON -- The British diplomat Harold Nicolson observed in 1960 that "a good negotiation takes about as long as it takes an elephant to have a baby." That has been true in the protracted Iran nuclear talks, although in this case, the baby may turn out to be stillborn.

Negotiators were still haggling over the framework as they pushed through...Read more

Japan's Prime Minister Has Goal of Stronger Japan

TOKYO -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he wants to restore "animal spirits" in the long-moribund Japanese economy. That kind of muscular talk makes some critics anxious, but Abe gave a compelling explanation Thursday of how he's trying to push Japan out of its 15-year "doldrums."

In an hour-long interview at his office here, Abe offered a ...Read more

NATO's New Perils

BRUSSELS -- The NATO alliance seems stuck at a crossroads on Ukraine, unsure whether to move toward greater confrontation with Russia or accept the deadlocked "frozen conflict" that has emerged there.

It's a unified morass, at least, with President Obama sharing the reluctance of European leaders to escalate the crisis by providing defensive ...Read more

Lee Kuan Yew, The Fearful Visionary

BRUSSELS -- Lee Kuan Yew, the man who created the modern miracle of Singapore, was one of the visionary leaders of the 20th century. But as I discovered in several conversations with him, he was also a paradoxical figure who never lost his sense of vulnerability and combativeness toward those he feared might undermine his authority.

Lee, who ...Read more

Turbulence Ahead for U.S.-Israel Relationship

WASHINGTON -- It's March Madness in the Middle East: The U.S. and Israel are trading private barbs and public reassurances after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's defiant re-election victory, just as the U.S. is nearing a nuclear deal with Israel's chief adversary, Iran.

It's a volatile situation, with the Obama administration signaling its ...Read more

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