24 March 2015   Leave a comment

US-Israeli relations took another hit as news outlets are reporting that Israel has been spying on the current Iranian negotiations with the P5+1 and leaking that information to members of Congress in its attempts to derail the negotiations.   The fact that Israel is spying on the negotiations is hardly surprising; indeed, one would have to assume that Israel would do so given how seriously takes the prospect of an Iranian deal.  But leaking that information in an effort to undermine US diplomacy is clearly out of bounds for two erstwhile allies.   Israel is playing a very high-risk game.

It is very difficult to comprehend how extraordinary China’s economic growth has been in recent years–it is truly unprecedented in human history.  The Washington Post ran an article today with this factoid embedded in a fascinating slew of charts and photos:  China used more cement in the last three years than did the US in the entire 20th century.  I definitely recommend the photos of Shanghai in 1987 and in 2013: a remarkable transformation.  There are, however, some problems with such rapid construction.

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The President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, was in Washington, DC and asked the US to slowdown its troop withdrawal from his country.  US relations with Ghani are much better than those with his predecessor, Hamid Karzai.  US President Obama agreed to the slowdown because of a widespread belief in Washington that the rapid removal of US troops from Iraq allowed the rapid growth of the Islamic State.  I am not persuaded that the analysis is correct (it conveniently omits the role of the total breakdown of authority in Syria as a causal factor).  Obama’s agreement is yet another indication that he has decided that his planned disengagement of the US from global affairs needs to be reassessed.

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Posted March 24, 2015 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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