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Cool calculations

the economistVie, 13/06/2014 - 21:24

AVOIDING aggressive questions is a hallmark of the White House press corps. So it should be no surprise that reporters watching President Barack Obama make an emergency statement on Iraq on June 13th  failed to pelt him with the queries that lurk at the centre of the debate over America’s role in the Middle East. Namely: Mr President, did you help to bring these horrors about when you rushed to pull American combat troops out of Iraq as quickly as possible? And, Mr President, does any part of you regret ignoring pleas to arm and train non-extreme opposition forces across the border in Syria over the past two years?

Instead reporters allowed Mr Obama to explain why American involvement in Iraq would be limited, would take “several days” to be sent, would not involve any return of ground troops and was conditional on Iraq’s central government coming up with a “sincere” political plan to resolve sectarian divisions. “We can’t do it for them,” Mr Obama said severely.

"Nobody has an interest in seeing terrorists gain a foothold inside of Iraq and nobody is going to benefit from seeing Iraq descend into...Continue reading

Polar vortex

the economistVie, 13/06/2014 - 00:50

IT'S hard to see what it is that congressional Republicans have done in this session of Congress to anger Tea Party supporters, mainly because it's hard to see what it is that congressional Republicans have done in this session of Congress. Eric Cantor's primary loss Tuesday was clearly a full-throated rejection of immigration reform, but Republicans haven't actually passed an immigration reform bill, or even made any serious effort to do so. As Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard, Mr Cantor's offence comes down to the fact that John Boehner, the speaker of the House, "from time to time this year, talked vaguely of enacting an immigration reform bill. What that legislation might contain, he didn’t say. But this allowed opponents of any immigration measure to shout 'amnesty.'" The mere whisper of a rumour that Republicans might someday enact some sort of immigration reform, and Mr Cantor's occasional hints that he might back...Continue reading

Losing while winning

the economistJue, 12/06/2014 - 21:45

Our correspondents discuss the defeat of Eric Cantor in Virginia by a Tea Party candidate, and whether winning the Senate could be harmful to Republicans in the long run

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