Fred Kaplan,in his article on the ongoing Egypt bloodbath,begins with a statement that must be foremost on the minds of most Americansthe US should cut off all military aid to Egypt. The author goes on to mull what kind of effect,if any,such a decision by President Barack Obama may have on the nation and the surrounding regions. Obama has condemned the violence in the strongest possible terms but said nothing about the annual $1.5 billion US aid. Kaplan says,When it comes to foreign policy,Obama has never been one to take a moral stance without regard to national interests. He has criticised George W Bush for his moralistic tendencies and is well aware of the dreadful policies they unleashedmost notably the invasion of Iraq,which also boosted the power of Iran,re-energised al Qaeda,and did much to destabilise the region.
Dont punish Putin thus
Punishing Russia is quite the rage these days,writes Daniel Treisman. After Moscow granted temporary asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden,US Senator John McCain proposed extending the Magnistky List,speeding deployment of missile defences in Europe and even rapidly expanding NATO to include Georgia. British actor Stephen Fry and various LGBT activists have advocated a boycott of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics to protest recent Russian policies targeting gays and lesbians. Most important among all these developments is Barack Obamas decision to cancel a September summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow,expressing displeasure over Snowden,among other things. However,Treisman asks those eager to punish Russia to consider two things. First,why is Putin behaving in this way? And second,will the sanctions in question hurt him or actually benefit him? Given that Putin is currently fighting for his political life,a public showdown with the West will help him stay afloat.
The New Yorker
This week brought the first good news in decades about the obesity epidemic in America. Data from the Centers for Disease Control showed that in 19 states and US territories,the obesity rate among poor preschool-aged children had finally dropped. The reductions were modest just a single percentage point but,at last,the numbers were going in the right direction. Margaret Talbot discusses how this development came about. In 2009,the USDA made a major revision in the list of foods that could be bought with coupons from the federal programme known as WIC (Supplemental Nutritional Programme for Women,Infants,and Children). The new package included healthier items and fewer dubious ones. This was significant as the changes were so purposefully aimed at improving nutrition for low-income Americans. Talbot says,In many of the low-income neighbourhoods where women and children rely heavily on WIC,supermarkets are few and far between. Residents with limited funds for transportation are often forced to shop at the kind of gas-station quick marts where they can find plenty of beef jerky,chips,and soda However a few WIC-authorised stores across Connecticut had found a way to make room for low-fat milk on their shelves,and stock fruits and vegetables and whole-grain breads and other products they had not sold before.