Sanctions hurt Russia, but still far from changing minds -Reuters

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An analysis of the sanctions regime levied against Russia because of the Ukraine crisis. As the title suggests, the article argues that sanctions will not force Moscow to change its policies any time soon: “two more years of these sorts of sanctions will be rough but not impossible for Russia…” and that is with oil prices staying low.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/04/us-investment-russia-sanctions-analysis-idUSKBN0L80W720150204

Photos To Remind You How Beautiful Yemen Is -Scoopempire.com

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With the country slipping quickly into civil war, its easy to focus entirely on the warring factions and violence and write the country off. It is easy to forget what is being lost in Yemen, just like what was lost in Syria.

The following photo essay shows what is at risk in Yemen: http://scoopempire.com/photos-remind-beautiful-yemen/

To add some perspective, see Al Jazeera, “Death of Aleppo”. http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/aljazeeraworld/2015/03/150325072934200.html

Aleppo was a UNESCO world heritage site, it is now in ruins. In a sense, for Yemen, Alleppo is the ghost of Christmas future (to borrow a little bit of Dickens) .

Saudi Arabia, Iran and the ‘Great Game’ in Yemen -al Jazerra

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Interesting article on the unrest in Yemen and where it fits in the Saudi-Iranian rivalry. I think the author is correct in his argument that the Yemen is intrinsically important to Saudi Arabia, but is primarily seen as leverage in Iran. If so, hopefully they will cash in their bargaining chip quickly.

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/09/saudi-arabia-iran-great-game-ye-201492984846324440.html

Debate: The expansion of Canada’s mission into Syria -Globe and Mail versus McLeans

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The Harper government’s decision to expand its anti-ISIS military operations was sure to be controversial. The Globe and Mail editorial supports operations in Iraq, but stakes out a pragmatic argument for staying out of Syria. The rebuttal, from Michael Petrou, makes a humanitarian argument for getting involved. Who is right? http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/editorials/why-canada-is-in-iraq-and-should-stay-out-of-syria/article23603559/ http://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/three-reasons-why-we-must-expand-our-mission-into-syria/

China Can’t Be Contained; It Has to Be Accommodated -The New Yorker

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Interesting take on the rise of China. Also of note: another historical analogy involving Germany. This time however it is Germany pre-WW1 not Pre-WW2, and the argument is not that we must always stand up to tyrants, but that being overly defensive guarantees a hostile response.

What, then, should Obama do? Despite all the uproar about corporate espionage and hacking, the first thing on his to-do list should be reassuring the Chinese government, and the Chinese people, that the United States seeks cooperation rather than confrontation. As Ross wrote: “The right China policy would assuage, not exploit, Beijing’s anxieties, while protecting U.S. interests in the region.” That doesn’t mean ignoring examples of egregious behavior by Chinese, but it means dealing with them in the right setting. For example, complaints about intellectual property theft can be pursued through the World Trade Organization, which China joined more than a decade ago.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/china-cant-be-contained-it-has-to-be-accommodated