When Russians look at Iran, they see a country that has been their neighbor and rival forever. As the Russian empire advanced, it wrestled the North and South Caucasus from the Shah. Peter the Great annexed, briefly, Iran’s entire Caspian Sea coastline and put his forces just north of Tehran.
Two days after President Barack Obama canceled plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow next month, their foreign and defense ministers met in Washington today in an effort to bridge differences.
A suicide bomb killed at least nine people today in the Syrian capital, Damascus, state media reported, as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the continuing violence “totally unacceptable.”
The massacre of more than 100 men, women and children at Houla has buried the peace plan for Syria promoted by former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan. Soon, the regime and its opponents will get to fight out their civil war unobstructed.
John Maynard Keynes’s generation of economists assumed that as people became more efficient at satisfying their wants, they would, and should as rational agents, work less and enjoy life more. Yet power relationships and the insatiability of human wants are such that we have maintained an ethic of acquisitiveness.