FROM Robert D. Kaplan
China's Island Factory The US is increasing naval forces in the western Pacific, where tensions are on the increase between China and neighboring countries. Now China is building five artificial islands in the South China Sea, turning shoals and reefs into islands in waters contested by Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines, a treaty ally of the United States. One observer says they're not really islands, but military runways surrounded by water. He's Robert Kaplan at the Center for a New American Security. He's author of Asia's Cauldron : The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific.
A Moment of Opportunity in US-Iranian Relations? America's rapprochement with Cuba has changed international diplomacy and domestic politics. Could Iran be next? President Obama recently told NPR that Iran has "incredible talent and resources and sophistication" — if it could "break through its isolation." President Hassan Rouhani recently took on his country's hardliners in a speech of "jaw-dropping boldness." That has some diplomats and reporters talking about a nuclear deal that could be a game-changer. Is that wishful thinking? Would Congress and America's allies, including Israel, find it unacceptable?
Truth and Lies in Trumpland Donald Trump is using mis-information like no President has before him. It's an unprecedented challenge to the news media, and a potential threat to democracy. We hear how the "leader of all the people" is dividing Americans and confusing the rest of the world.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?