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The growing inequality that triggered the Occupy protests, such as this one in Bennington, Vermont, is now registering as an issue with politicians at the highest level. Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Case

The growing opportunity gap facing American children

The opportunity gap between well-off and poor American children is vast and, more alarmingly still, it is growing. Some political leaders are starting to take note of the grim consequences.
Benjamin Netanyahu was the first foreign leader to be invited to address Congress without a US president’s consent or knowledge. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Netanyahu address to Congress was more about domestic politics than Iran

For many Israelis, the potential danger of a bad deal with Iran pales in comparison to the damage caused to US-Israeli relations by Benjamin Netanyahu’s trickery.
In this 2008 photograph, former ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert H Tuttle greets President George W. Bush. Prior to becoming an ambassador, Tuttle was known for his empire of car dealerships. Jason Reed/Reuters

How do you become an ambassador?

If you want a desirable ambassadorship, becoming a Foreign Service Officer and earning the relevant degrees – in other words, accumulating experience – might not be the best plan of action.
The FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile is the sort of ‘lethal defensive weapon’ the US may consider supplying to Ukraine. Wikimedia Commons/US Army

Purely ‘defensive weapons’? There’s no such thing for Ukraine or anywhere else

Barack Obama is considering supplying "lethal defensive weapons" to Ukraine. But how meaningful is that description? There are simply "weapons", all of which can be used for defence or for aggression.
Speaking softly… Mike Segar/Reuters

Obama sounds a quiet revolution in foreign policy

President Obama’s publication of his 2015 National Security Strategy on February 6th is the kind of event that generates great heat and discussion among a relatively small group of policymakers, pundits…
Presidents Obama and Castro instigated rumors of a thaw when they shook hands for the first time at the memorial for Nelson Mandela in December last year. Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

History lessons from China for future relations with Cuba

This past December, Presidents Barack Obama and Raoúl Castro ended over fifty years of economic and political isolation between the US and Cuba with their shock announcement that they intend to re-establish…
‘Yemen is safe’ – for how long? Wadia Mohammed/EPA

Does Obama face the prospect of boots on the ground in Yemen?

Events in Yemen are moving fast: the US-backed president, Abd Rabbuh Manṣūr Hadi, has been deposed by Shia rebels, after a “slow coup” that saw the Iran-backed Houthi militia take effective control of…
Not as important as the invisible primary…. DonkeyHotey

The invisible primary - number one

What’s the best predictor of which candidate will win the presidential nomination. The winner of the Iowa caucus? The winner of the New Hampshire primary? Actually neither is as good a predictor as the…
With the US economy back on its feet, US President Barack Obama has returned to his earlier reformist stance. Davis Turner/EPA/AAP

Obama’s ‘middle-class economics’ reminiscent of Rudd and Keating

Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last week was important for both policy and political reasons. In it, Obama argued for a more egalitarian “middle-class economics”. In the process, he prepared…
We’re making progress. POOL New/ Reuters

Most Americans want diplomatic engagement with Iran

In his State of the Union address, the President’s core message was that the US has emerged strong from the twin crises caused by the 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2008 global recession. And the challenge…
One more SOTU to go Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

The State of the Union 2015 – theater, traditions, politics

Editor’s note: “The state of the union is good,” and the attitude of President Barack Obama in his annual speech to Congress was upbeat. Good economic news and no more election campaigns were the backdrop…
Here’s what’s on the agenda. POOL New/ Reuters

The State of the Union 2015 – a closer look at the president’s ‘ambitious agenda’

Editor’s note: “The state of the union is good,” and the attitude of President Barack Obama in his annual speech to Congress was upbeat. Good economic news and no more election campaigns were the backdrop…
Barack Obama outlined a vision of post-recession liberalism that was at once hopeful and limited in his State of the Union address. EPA/Astrid Riecken

With a liberal State of the Union agenda, Obama revives theme of hope

On Tuesday night (US time), President Barack Obama gave his second-last State of the Union address – and the last one that has the potential to shape his legacy. Next year the country will be caught up…
Barack Obama is now entering the period when the notion of his legacy as US president becomes increasingly pertinent. EPA/Mandel Ngan

Obama defies lame duck fears with State of the Union address

President Barack Obama has pointed to an improving economy and the need for a taxation system that shares the benefits in an agenda-setting State of the Union challenge to the Republican congressional…

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