Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, shakes hands with Ukraine's President Petro PoroshenkoPhoto by Daniel Dal Zennaro/Reuters
Kiev, once an easy-going city famed for its hospitality, has become a gloomy place after almost a year of nonstop strife, from protests and street battles to revolution and war. Many residents worry about staying warm this winter if a dispute with Russia over natural-gas prices isn’t resolved. Others wonder whether the fighting will reach the capital. One influential TV journalist privately says he expects Russia to launch airstrikes on the city to open a land corridor to the Crimean peninsula, which is cut off from sea routes during the winter.
Man on a mission: a U.S. Forest Service ranger on Mount Silcox, in Montana, 1909. (Corbis / W. J. Lubken)
The depressing bottom line is that given how self-reinforcing the country’s political malaise is, and how unlikely the prospects for constructive incremental reform are, the decay of American politics will probably continue until some external shock comes along to catalyze a true reform coalition and galvanize it into action.
"The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder," President George W. Bush told the nation in a speech televised from the Oval Office on March 19, 2003. AP
War On Terror: The Islamic State somehow now possesses the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein never had. If the U.S. had finished the job in Iraq, neither IS nor its WMD would exist.
From 2004 to 2011, American and Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and at times were wounded by, chemical weapons that were hidden or abandoned years earlier.
Photographer: Omer Urer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Smoke rises after U.S. airstrikes against Islamic State, in Kobani, Syria.
Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark, whose combined populations are less than half that of their German neighbor, have sent warplanes to strike Islamic State. Germany is sitting this conflict out. While Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is supplying weapons to Kurdish forces fighting the militants in Iraq, it has stopped short of joining the U.S.-led coalition pounding Islamic State targets from the air. It’s a decision that belies German ambitions to step up international engagement to match the country’s economic clout as Europe’s export powerhouse.
No one reasonably disputes that attendance in Christian churches is in sharp decline. The real lingering question is “why?”. Who needs a church or a priest when spiritual seekers believe they can access God directly?