The Buzz

The World Needs More Nobel Controversies

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has abandoned its recent fondness for giving the Peace Prize to aseptic international bureaucracies, giving this year’s award to Malala Yousafzai, a human, and Kailash Satyarthi, another human. That’s a positive step, and the two clearly deserve recognition.

Leon Panetta’s Worthy Fight?

President Barack Obama has a lot on his plate: a U.S. military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; the Ebola outbreak in West Africa; the stalemate in Ukraine; terrible poll numbers; sincere doubt among the American people on his presidential leadership abilities; and the fact that his party is likely to lose control of the Senate in November.

A Man-Made Ecological Catastrophe: More Than Half of All Earth’s Vertebrates Have Disappeared

In a world of crises from Ebola to Syria, it’s easy to overlook slow-motion calamities. Both the U.S. government and the mainstream media are vulnerable to this myopia, the former in thrall to the tyranny of the in-box, the latter forever chasing what’s “new” in the news. This may account for the silence that has greeted recent scientific evidence that the Earth is experiencing a devastating and potentially irreversible loss of biodiversity. Unfortunately, this man-made ecological catastrophe is unfolding at a gradual, if inexorable, pace in multiple areas of the world.

Selling Vietnam Lethal Weapons: The Right Move?

Last Friday, the Obama administration partially lifted the U.S. ban on lethal arms sales to Vietnam, which had been in place since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. According to the Associated Press, on Friday, “State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters the United States will now allow sales of lethal maritime security capabilities and for surveillance on a case-by-case basis.” These lethal arms sales will, for now, remain relatively limited, though the United States could sell Vietnam boats and planes, which would theoretically be used for Vietnam’s coast guard.

Avoiding the Long War Redux

As bombs and missiles have begun to drop in ISIS strongholds in northern Syria, military experts are warning that the air campaign will be measured in months, if not years, and that a ground campaign must certainly follow.  President Obama said as much in his address announcing the commencement of the campaign against the IS.

Nuclear Negotiations: Iran's Quest for Status

Policy makers tasked with cutting a deal with Iran over its nuclear program by the November deadline may find a set of useful lessons from the French nuclear-weapons program. Scott Sagan points out that France was largely motivated to pursue the bomb to restore the grandeur it lost during the Second World War. For de Gaulle and his predecessors, the bomb was an important symbol of French independence; after France lost Algeria, it demonstrated that France was still a great power.

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