Wednesday Headlines

Obama Administration Struggles With Syria Policy
Foreign Policy Magazine report David Rothkopf does not tread lightly in his assessment that the Obama administration’s intense focus on the goal of leaving Afghanistan and Iraq (and not to enter Syria) left open the door for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“He wanted out of the region. He did not want to put U.S. boots on the ground. He wanted someone or a group from the region to pick up the slack. And that’s exactly what he’s getting,” wrote Rothkopf, adding that Obama is effectively leaving Syria and Iraq to the Russians and the Iranians.

Whether or not that was Obama’s goal, most analysts and observers agree that the administration’s Syria policy has failed.

Paul Shinkman of U.S. News & World Report notes the biggest failing – to train a Syrian opposition force.

“The plan to train as many as 5,400 Syrian rebel fighters by the end of this year has so far completely failed, and that faction represents one of the weakest political forces in the country. The U.S. hasn’t, likely won’t and probably shouldn’t deploy its own troops to wage ground warfare in Syria, and they would have to contend with the established regimes of other extremist groups like Jabhat al-Nusrah and the remaining al-Qaida cells in the region. Turkey and Saudi Arabia have grown intensely dubious of U.S. interests in the area, particularly over its direct military support for some of the same Kurdish fighters that Turkey considers to be terrorists,” he writes.

The West Is Ignoring Ukraine
In a turbulent world it is sometimes difficult to walk and chew gum at the same time – or at least keep a focus on more than one crisis at a time. Presently, the world’s attention is on Syria and the wave of migrants traversing European borders.

Meanwhile, argues David Patrikarakos in Politico, the West seems to be ignoring the fact that Russia’s entry into Crimea marked the first time since World War II that a territory was annexed by another country.

“Since the February 2015 Minsk II agreement, which brought an uneasy — and oft-breached — ceasefire to eastern Ukraine, international attention has veered away from Russian-backed aggression in the region. Politicians and the media have infamously short attention spans, thinking largely in terms of votes and news cycles. Headlines now focus on Greece’s financial crisis and Europe’s migration crisis. Ukraine is almost forgotten,” he laments.

Lawsuit Alleges Largest Chocolate Companies Using Child Labor
Abby Haglage writes about a just-filed lawsuit which contends that many of the world’s largest chocolate company may be willingly exploiting children in Africa.

Purchasers of chocolate from Nestle, Hersheys and Mars Inc. have filed three class-action lawsuits against the food companies for allegedly using child labor in the production of their best-selling chocolate candy, including Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

In September, KitKat said they were making efforts to ensure their cocoa was being harvested in a sustainably sourced manner, reported Quartz.


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