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Week in Review

In case you missed them, this week’s long-form essays took a critical look at President Obama’s Afghanistan policy, linked the rise of the Blue model with the ascent of self-indulgent consumerism and tried to parse Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy rhetoric in the run-up to the Russian elections.

We outlined the challenges that “quangos”—NGO’s primarily funded by governments—pose to American foreign policy. We rolled our eyes at the well-meaning but ultimately useless hot air that was the result of the latest conference on Somalia. And we noted the endemic corruption and violence which continues to plague Nigeria.

Bad news for two key players in the Asian Great Game: India continues to stagnate under high interest rates, rising inflation, and a moribund manufacturing sector, while China seems to be heading for a series of speedbumps of its own. The two regional powerhouses continued to spar, however, in a way helping ensure that the United States keeps calling the shots at the World Bank.

On the green front, we cited an FT article which highlighted potential upsides to global warming, sceptically examined some up-and-coming lithium batter technology, and shook our head at how German costly energy policies are keeping some people from heating their homes this winter.

Speaking of European problems, we highlighted severe Greek discontent at the prospect of being forced out of the euro, even as new cracks began to appear in the latest layer of eurofudge. And as the French courts rightly struck down a draconian Armenian genocide-denial law on the grounds of its essential illiberalism, thousands of Turks took to the streets of Istanbul to display some old-fashioned nationalism and bigotry.

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