Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 21

Iraq and the Islamic State are on the center of the global stage on their own this week. President Obama’s Administration is still struggling to find a balance between the perceived need to intervene and limit action of IS (roll it back, too?) and the mantra of “don’t do stupid s**t” that supposedly drive the current external action. But how much of a threat is the IS? This article reviews the American debate, showing the diversity of views among US policy-makers, pundits, and so on.

Still on perception and communication of foreign policy, Ryan Evans assesses the link between events occurred two years ago in Benghazi, Libya, with the killing of an American diplomat and Obama’s foreign policy (not just on Libya).  On the one hand, too much focus on a single event, related attempt to build a political case against the President’s management of the issue, can lead to overlooking the big picture. On the other, the case “laid bare” more structural shortcomings of “Obama’s national security communications apparatus” (Evans talks about “incompetence” and “cynicism”).

Israel is now disappearing from the news, with military confrontation in Gaza stopped. There has been some revival in the interest over Israeli nuclear program, starting from its origins. The Atlantic features an article calling for Israel to be more transparent on its nukes, arguably the country’s “worst kept secret”.

Thursday might be a historical moment for Scotland, as the vote on the referendum on independence will be cast. The London Review of Books presents a wide panel of opinions on the vote and its consequences for Scotland and the UK.

Finally, a group of American and Russian experts met in Finland for a classic “Track 2 diplomacy” initiative. Robert Legvold on the National Interest assesses the suggestions of the panel of experts and discusses critiques brought by opposers of the initiative.




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