"This fight against testing Iran's intentions is dumb and dangerous. It's dumb because no one can possibly know just how much the new Tehran government is willing to compromise if we don't test them. Second, it's dangerous because without trying serious give-and-take diplomacy, the United States and Israel will be back on the track to war with Iran, and soon," CFR President Emeritus Leslie H. Gelb writes in the Daily Beast.
"Khamenei seems to be calculating that the U.S. is so weak now (see recent events in Syria) that it will drop sanctions and accept Iran's ambitions to dominate the Middle East in return for a cosmetic slowdown in its nuclear development. It is critical that President Obama stick to a high standard for any possible deal," CFR Senior Fellow Max Boot writes for Commentary.
"To be sure, the president's ultimate vision for world order remains liberal and internationalist … But by his fifth year on the job, Obama is no starry-eyed idealist. Indeed, his comments betrayed the weariness of a statesman acutely aware that although forces and events may be nudged incrementally in a positive direction, there is no making the world anew," writes CFR Senior Fellow Stewart M. Patrick.
InfoGuide: China's Maritime Disputes
We are delighted to announce the launch of a new interactive series called "InfoGuides." The first guide examines the escalating maritime disputes in the South China and East China Seas, pairing expert analysis with maps, timelines, infographics, and videos. Take a look.
Chinese Activist Cao Shunli Missing
Cao Shunli, a legal rights activist in China, has disappeared after she was questioned by Beijing airport police (BBC), according to Human Rights Watch. Cao was on her way to attend a UN human rights training course in Geneva and was last seen on September 14.
As world leaders focus on dismantling Syria's chemical weapons, people trapped in the suburbs east and west of Damascus and were subject to the sarin gas attack last month are at the risk of mass starvation (AP). Six people have died for lack of food, including an eighteen-month-old girl.
CFR's John Campbell writes about the kidnapping of prominent people in Nigeria in this blog post.
Former Pope Denies Abuse Cover-Up
In his first remarks since retirement, former Pope Benedict XVI rejected personal responsibility in covering up the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy (BBC). The former pope delivered his statement in a letter to a prominent Italian atheist.
UNITED KINGDOM: A European Banking Authority report revealed that Europe's large banks are on track to meet the capital requirements of Basel III by February 2014, five years ahead of schedule (FT).
U.S. Housing Recovery Still on Track
The U.S. housing market, an important driver of economic growth, has maintained strength despite rising mortgage rates, but the pace of price increases has slowed (NYT). Economists are concerned that some real estate markets are overpriced, but are still below their 2007 peak.