Media Roundup

United States

Top News

Opinion

Obama’s Futile Overtures to Cuba

By Ileana Ros-Lehtinen | The Washington Times

President Obama’s argument for unilaterally reversing U.S.-Cuba policy rests on the false premise that engagement with dictators and terrorists will somehow get them to change their ways.

Obama’s Faulty Logic on Cuba

By Jackson Diehl | The Washington Post

The most revealing sentence in President Obama’s explanation of his radical revision of U.S. Cuba policy last week was his admonition to Americans, and Cubans, that they should not seek the “collapse” of the Castro regime.

Off the Radar

U.S. Sends Four Guantanamo Prisoners Home to Afghanistan

By Matt Spetalnick | Reuters

Four Afghans held for over a decade at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been sent home, the Pentagon said Saturday, the latest step in a gradual push by the Obama administration to close the jail.

U.S. Delivers 10 Apache Helicopters to Egypt

By AFP | Defense News

The United States delivered 10 Apache helicopters to Egypt in recent weeks after lifting part of a freeze on aid to the North African nation, a U.S. official said Saturday.

The Americas

Top News

Rising Anger as Nicaragua Canal to Break Ground

By Peter Orsi | The Associated Press

As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn’t want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for his land, Ruiz insists, “I’m not going to run.”

Opinion

Why Cuba Turned

By Jorge G. Castañeda | Project Syndicate

The agreement between the U.S. and Cuba to resume diplomatic relations looks like a victory for the communist island. But that conclusion leaves out a crucial variable: the collapse in the price of oil, which leaves Cuba economically vulnerable and increases the likelihood of political change.

Who Benefits if the Embargo Is Lifted?

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady | The Wall Street Journal

The Castros already welcome foreign trade and investment. Fat lot of good it’s done for Cubans.

Off the Radar

Ecuador Signs Hydorcarbon Deal With Russian Oil Giant Rosneft

Latin American Herald Tribune

An Ecuadorian government official and Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft’s representative for Latin America signed a memorandum of understanding on exploring future investments in the Andean nation’s hydrocarbons sector.

Landmark U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Goes Into Effect

By Zach Dyer | The Tico Times

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which covers tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, as well as the vast trade in small arms, goes into effect this Thursday.

Europe

Top News

Belarus Enjoys Bonanza Amid Russia-West Tensions

By Yuras Karmanau | The Associated Press

As relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated, there’s one country that’s reaping rewards—Belarus, whose authoritarian leader was once dubbed “Europe’s last dictator” by the United States and the European Union.

Russian Minister Talks Up the Ruble

The Associated Press

A senior Russian minister said on Monday he’s expecting the ruble to extend its recent gains and said the government is not planning to introduce currency controls on Russian companies.

Opinion

Leaving the West Behind: Germany Looks East

By Hans Kundnani | Foreign Affairs

The Ukraine crisis has reopened old questions about Germany’s relationship to the rest of the West, as Germany drifts away from the United States and gravitates toward Russia and China.

Off the Radar

Africa

Off the Radar

South Africa Leader on Tour of East Africa

By Ivan Okuda | Africa Review

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma is in Uganda on a state visit that is expected to bolster the “new” partnership with host President Yoweri Museveni.

China Sends 700 Peacekeepers to South Sudan

The Associated Press

China will send 700 troops to South Sudan as part of the country’s first infantry battalion to participate in a United Nations peacekeeping mission, state media reported Monday.

Sierra Leone Peacekeepers to Leave Somalia Mission

The Associated Press

A Sierra Leone military official says the country is withdrawing from the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia after being blocked from rotating its soldiers over concerns about the spread of Ebola.

Middle East

Top News

Budget Pressure Unlikely to Deflect Iran From Nuclear Goals

By Mehrdad Balali | Financial Times

A big oil price slide will hurt Iran’s attempts to rescue battered living standards, but economic pain is unlikely to soften its stance in nuclear talks or end aid to allies such as Syria, matters seen by its ruling clerics as strategic priorities.

Why Saudis Decided Not to Prop Up Oil

By Jay Solomon and Summer Said | The Wall Street Journal

Behind OPEC’s decision not to cut crude output was Saudi Arabia’s view that America’s energy boom poses a new threat — one factor in a growing distance between the two allies.

Opinion

The Winners and Losers in the Qatari–Egyptian Accords

By Salman Aldossary | Asharq Alawsat

With the exception of the 369 days during which the former Egyptian president and senior Muslim Brotherhood member, Mohamed Mursi, held the reins of power in Egypt, relations between Cairo and Doha have in recent years been strained to say the least.

Off the Radar

Turkish Prime Minister Visits Macedonia to Renew Ties

Hurriyet Daily News

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was set to leave for the Macedonian capital of Skopje on Dec. 22, for a visit aimed at boosting bilateral relations with the Balkan country, as well as reiterating support for ethnic Turkish communities there.

Asia / Pacific

Top News

In 2008 Mumbai Killings, Piles of Spy Data, but an Uncompleted Puzzle

By James Glanz, Sebastian Rotella and David E. Sanger | The New York Times

An investigation reveals how American, British and Indian agencies failed to pull together intelligence streams, including a plotter’s online activity, before attacks that Indians regard as their 9/11.

India Lawmakers Demand Modi Speak on Hindu Conversions

By Nirmala George | The Associated Press

Opposition lawmakers, charging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done little to stop hard-liners in his party from forcibly converting religious minorities to Hinduism, threw Parliament into an uproar Monday, with the upper house repeatedly adjourned after descending into shouting matches.

Top News

Opinion

Obama’s Futile Overtures to Cuba

By Ileana Ros-Lehtinen | The Washington Times

President Obama’s argument for unilaterally reversing U.S.-Cuba policy rests on the false premise that engagement with dictators and terrorists will somehow get them to change their ways.

Obama’s Faulty Logic on Cuba

By Jackson Diehl | The Washington Post

The most revealing sentence in President Obama’s explanation of his radical revision of U.S. Cuba policy last week was his admonition to Americans, and Cubans, that they should not seek the “collapse” of the Castro regime.

Off the Radar

U.S. Sends Four Guantanamo Prisoners Home to Afghanistan

By Matt Spetalnick | Reuters

Four Afghans held for over a decade at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been sent home, the Pentagon said Saturday, the latest step in a gradual push by the Obama administration to close the jail.

U.S. Delivers 10 Apache Helicopters to Egypt

By AFP | Defense News

The United States delivered 10 Apache helicopters to Egypt in recent weeks after lifting part of a freeze on aid to the North African nation, a U.S. official said Saturday.

Top News

Rising Anger as Nicaragua Canal to Break Ground

By Peter Orsi | The Associated Press

As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn’t want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for his land, Ruiz insists, “I’m not going to run.”

Opinion

Why Cuba Turned

By Jorge G. Castañeda | Project Syndicate

The agreement between the U.S. and Cuba to resume diplomatic relations looks like a victory for the communist island. But that conclusion leaves out a crucial variable: the collapse in the price of oil, which leaves Cuba economically vulnerable and increases the likelihood of political change.

Who Benefits if the Embargo Is Lifted?

By Mary Anastasia O’Grady | The Wall Street Journal

The Castros already welcome foreign trade and investment. Fat lot of good it’s done for Cubans.

Off the Radar

Ecuador Signs Hydorcarbon Deal With Russian Oil Giant Rosneft

Latin American Herald Tribune

An Ecuadorian government official and Russian state-controlled oil giant Rosneft’s representative for Latin America signed a memorandum of understanding on exploring future investments in the Andean nation’s hydrocarbons sector.

Landmark U.N. Arms Trade Treaty Goes Into Effect

By Zach Dyer | The Tico Times

The United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, which covers tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, as well as the vast trade in small arms, goes into effect this Thursday.

Top News

Belarus Enjoys Bonanza Amid Russia-West Tensions

By Yuras Karmanau | The Associated Press

As relations between Russia and the West have deteriorated, there’s one country that’s reaping rewards—Belarus, whose authoritarian leader was once dubbed “Europe’s last dictator” by the United States and the European Union.

Russian Minister Talks Up the Ruble

The Associated Press

A senior Russian minister said on Monday he’s expecting the ruble to extend its recent gains and said the government is not planning to introduce currency controls on Russian companies.

Opinion

Leaving the West Behind: Germany Looks East

By Hans Kundnani | Foreign Affairs

The Ukraine crisis has reopened old questions about Germany’s relationship to the rest of the West, as Germany drifts away from the United States and gravitates toward Russia and China.

Off the Radar

Off the Radar

South Africa Leader on Tour of East Africa

By Ivan Okuda | Africa Review

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma is in Uganda on a state visit that is expected to bolster the “new” partnership with host President Yoweri Museveni.

China Sends 700 Peacekeepers to South Sudan

The Associated Press

China will send 700 troops to South Sudan as part of the country’s first infantry battalion to participate in a United Nations peacekeeping mission, state media reported Monday.

Sierra Leone Peacekeepers to Leave Somalia Mission

The Associated Press

A Sierra Leone military official says the country is withdrawing from the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia after being blocked from rotating its soldiers over concerns about the spread of Ebola.

Top News

Budget Pressure Unlikely to Deflect Iran From Nuclear Goals

By Mehrdad Balali | Financial Times

A big oil price slide will hurt Iran’s attempts to rescue battered living standards, but economic pain is unlikely to soften its stance in nuclear talks or end aid to allies such as Syria, matters seen by its ruling clerics as strategic priorities.

Why Saudis Decided Not to Prop Up Oil

By Jay Solomon and Summer Said | The Wall Street Journal

Behind OPEC’s decision not to cut crude output was Saudi Arabia’s view that America’s energy boom poses a new threat — one factor in a growing distance between the two allies.

Opinion

The Winners and Losers in the Qatari–Egyptian Accords

By Salman Aldossary | Asharq Alawsat

With the exception of the 369 days during which the former Egyptian president and senior Muslim Brotherhood member, Mohamed Mursi, held the reins of power in Egypt, relations between Cairo and Doha have in recent years been strained to say the least.

Off the Radar

Turkish Prime Minister Visits Macedonia to Renew Ties

Hurriyet Daily News

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was set to leave for the Macedonian capital of Skopje on Dec. 22, for a visit aimed at boosting bilateral relations with the Balkan country, as well as reiterating support for ethnic Turkish communities there.

Top News

In 2008 Mumbai Killings, Piles of Spy Data, but an Uncompleted Puzzle

By James Glanz, Sebastian Rotella and David E. Sanger | The New York Times

An investigation reveals how American, British and Indian agencies failed to pull together intelligence streams, including a plotter’s online activity, before attacks that Indians regard as their 9/11.

India Lawmakers Demand Modi Speak on Hindu Conversions

By Nirmala George | The Associated Press

Opposition lawmakers, charging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done little to stop hard-liners in his party from forcibly converting religious minorities to Hinduism, threw Parliament into an uproar Monday, with the upper house repeatedly adjourned after descending into shouting matches.