Following Syria’s promise to give up its chemical weapons, Egypt and Russia on Monday pledged to work harder to garner Middle Eastern support for a conference on establishing a region-wide ban against unconventional weapons, ITAR-Tass reported.
“We agreed [to] practical steps to invigorate the preparation of this important event, especially against the background of the Syrian leadership’s decision to join the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after meeting with his Egyptian counterpart, Nabil Fahmy.
Syria’s willingness to go along with WMD-free zone talks is expected to have repercussions on other regional states thought to possess unconventional weapons. Syria has a sizable chemical-weapons arsenal and a suspected biological weapons program.
International efforts in late 2012 to convene a U.N.-backed conference on negotiating a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone for the whole Middle East fell apart after Israel would not confirm its participation in the event. As Israel is widely seen as holding the region’s sole nuclear arsenal, the Jewish state’s involvement in the conference is seen is as essential for it to be a success.
Washington supports Israel’s position that a regional prohibition on weapons of mass destruction is not realistic if there is no all-encompassing Arab-Israeli peace deal and if Iran maintains its enrichment of uranium and other nuclear-weapon-related activities.
International attention on Syria’s chemical arsenal also has meant that some of the spotlight also is on Israel’s own suspected chemical-weapon capabilities. Israel has signed but not ratified the CWC accord, the Associated Press reported.
Onetime Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz in a Monday radio interview would not discuss questions about his nation’s suspected chemical arsenal. “It’s clear to everyone that [Israel] is a democratic, responsible regime,” he said. “I very much hope and am certain that the international community will not make this a central question and we will maintain the status quo.”
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Paul Hirschson said his government could not ratify the CWC pact in the present security circumstances.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”