The violent situation in Syria is at risk of descending into a "full-fledged conflict" that could put the wider region in "grave danger" (al-Jazeera), UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay warned in Geneva today. The UN Human Rights Committee is meeting to discuss last week's alleged massacre by the Syrian government in Houla that killed more than a hundred people. Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Russia's continued support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad risked igniting a civil war in Syria (NYT).
"What is still missing is a plan. It is time to stand neither for the Syrian opposition nor against the Syrian government but against killing by either side. To tell any Syrian local officials willing to stand against killing--whether a Local Coordinating Committee or simply a municipal government--that they will receive weapons and air support against tanks, support that will be withdrawn if killing begins or continues, by anyone," writes Anne-Marie Slaughter for ForeignPolicy.com.
"But Russia's backing of Assad is about more than commerce and old alliances. For Moscow, a vital principle is at stake: to oppose the doctrine of international intervention in internal conflicts--whether in the Middle East or in Russia's own backyard," writes Newsweek's Owen Matthews.
"There are two possible outcomes in Syria's civil war: Assad wins, by killing enough people to crush the rebellion, in which case Iran and Syria (and the regime's armorers in Russia) have a great victory. From this, dictators everywhere would learn that Ben Ali and Mubarak had it all wrong and simply failed to kill enough protesters. Or, Assad loses, and with him Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia lose," writes CFR's Elliott Abrams for the National Review.
The World Next Week Podcast
Listen to CFR's James Lindsay and Robert McMahon discuss Syria's crisis, the IAEA meeting on Iran, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit.
Suu Kyi Warns of 'Reckless Optimism' Over Myanmar
Myanmar's pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, warned today against "reckless optimism" over recent political reforms (BBC) in her country, during a speech to the World Economic Forum in Bangkok. Suu Kyi called on international investors to help create sorely needed jobs in Myanmar.
CHINA: Dissident Chen Guangcheng--who arrived in New York two weeks ago after escaping house arrest and fleeing to the U.S. embassy in Beijing--expressed optimism over the Chinese central government's ability to reform while calling for a greater respect for the rule of law in China, during an address at CFR yesterday.
In projecting a forward-looking vision for China, activist Chen Guangcheng is both an effective spokesman for China and a catalyst for reform, says CFR's Elizabeth Economy.
U.S. President Barack Obama has accelerated cyberattacks targeting the computer systems that run Iran's main nuclear enrichment facilities, despite a software glitch that exposed the program in 2010, according to a report by the New York Times.
World Banks Says African Growth Not Sufficient to Reduce Poverty
African growth rates are not high enough to reduce poverty across the continent (Reuters), according to Marcelo Giugale, the World Bank's director for economic policy and poverty reduction in Africa. Giugale's comments came on the heels of a recent IMF report that revised down its growth forecast for Africa to 5.4 percent for 2012.
ECB President Mario Draghi, during a testimony to the European Parliament yesterday, called on EU political leaders to develop a "banking union" to protest depositors and prevent unhealthy banks from undermining Europe's financial system (WSJ), amid mounting concerns that Spain's banking sector will be the next casualty of the eurozone debt crisis.
RUSSIA: President Vladimir Putin is visiting Berlin and Paris today (DerSpiegel), where he is expected to face pressure from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande to act more forcefully in response to the escalating violence in Syria.
Mexico's Leftist Presidential Candidate Gains in Polls
Mexican leftist presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador jumped into second place in a new opinion poll (WSJ), behind frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto, making the outcome of Mexico's July 1 general election more uncertain.
Voter worries about the economy are likely to increase after Friday's Labor Department report shows only 69,000 U.S. jobs were added in May and unemployment rose slightly to 8.2 percent.
In dueling campaign events Thursday, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney visited the shuttered Obama administration-backed solar company Solyndra while President Barack Obama's top political strategist, David Axelrod, gave a speech from the steps of the Massachusetts state house (NYT).
The worldview of Mitt Romney's religion should not go without examination this campaign season, says Guardian columnist Martin Kettle.
Editor's Note: For more information on the presidential election and foreign policy, check out CFR's campaign blog, The Candidates and the World.