It is very likely that come the end of November, after a busy month traveling to Asia and Europe, President Barack Obama will have emerged with few decisive victories to burnish his image after the “shellacking” he took in the midterm elections. Instead, Obama and his team will have to adjust to some hard realities. Though the new Congress will not be seated until January 2011, we are already seeing changes in the political climate in Washington that will test the administration’s ability to show, both to Americans and to other governments, that the executive branch is still in the […]

On Nov. 12, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed the formation of a new coalition government in Baghdad, calling it “a milestone in the emergence of the new Iraq and . . . a testament to the determination of the Iraqi people to build their own democracy . . . ” President Barack Obama offered a similar greeting from Seoul, where he was attending the G-20 economic summit. The new Iraqi government, should it hold, will be welcomed throughout the country as well as by its foreign partners. Its members’ immediate challenge will be to finalize the details of their […]

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I had the pleasure of participating last Friday in France 24’s panel discussion program, The World This Week, along with the IHT’s Eric Pfanner, Newsweek’s Christopher Dickey and the AFP’s David Clarke. The topics were the G-20 summit, Ireland’s debt crisis, the newly formed Iraqi government and George W. Bush’s return to the spotlight. Part one can be found here. Part two can be found here.

Writing recently in the Financial Times, long-time economic journalist Gideon Rachman lamented the passing of a post-Cold War “golden age,” in which “countries shared a belief in globalization and Western democratic values.” In Rachman’s calculation, that consensus has been battered by the global financial crisis, which ushered in a “new, less-predictable era.” Rachman, whose book entitled “Zero-Sum Future” comes out next February, is clearly prepping the literary battlefield by positioning himself as an “anti-Robert Wright.” The latter’s book, “Non-Zero: The Logic of Human Destiny,” argued that human progress has been characterized by — and thus depends on — our increasing […]