FROM Jeremy Shapiro
The US and Europe Put Pressure on Russia Today, Barack Obama made his first visit as President to Brussels, headquarters of both the European Union and the NATO alliance. In a speech to 2000 young people, he delivered his harshest words yet for Russia’s Vladimir Putin, calling him a "menace" to the international system built by the United States and Europe since World War II. He said, if Putin thought he could drive a wedge between the US and Europe, he "clearly miscalculated," and warned that Russia’s "isolation will deepen." We hear about his first visit as President to the headquarters of the European Alliance and NATO. Is he right that Russia is only a "regional power?" Who's showing the most strength — or weakness, the President or Vladimir Putin?
A War of Words about Peace in Syria In Montreaux Switzerland today, Syrian peace talks got under way, preliminary to the so-called Geneva II process scheduled for Friday. Nobody thinks the conference will lead to peace. Even optimists call it a "possible first step" to ending three years of appalling civil war. President al Assad has gained strength by giving up chemical weapons and fighting extremists, despite charges that he's a war criminal. Will the US have no choice but to deal with him, rather than ending his rule-if only to gain a temporary ceasefire for humanitarian reasons? We look at today's angry start of a process that might — or might not — lead to changing unacceptable conditions on the ground.
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."
The President and America's infrastructure: Bait and switch? President Trump's $1 trillion infrastructure proposal may not be what it seems. We look at the prospects for much-needed improvements in roads, bridges and airports.