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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Obama and the Politics of Concession

Iran and Russia put Obama to the test last week, and he blinked twice.

by Mark Helprin

During last year's campaign, Sen. Joe Biden famously remarked that, if his ticket won, it wouldn't be long before "the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy" on foreign affairs. Last week, President Obama, brilliantly wielding the powers of his office, managed to fail that test not just once but twice, buckling in the face of Russian pressure and taking a giant wooden nickel from Iran.

With both a collapsing economy and natural gas reserves sufficient to produce 270 years of electricity, the surplus of which it exports, Iran does not need nuclear electrical generation at a cost many times that of its gas-fired plants. It does, however, have every reason, according to its own lights, to seek nuclear weapons—to deter American intervention; to insure against a resurgent Iraq; to provide some offset to nearby nuclear powers Pakistan, Russia and Israel; to move toward hegemony in the Persian Gulf and address the embarrassment of a more militarily capable Saudi Arabia; to rid the Islamic world of Western domination; to neutralize Israel's nuclear capacity while simultaneously creating the opportunity to destroy it with one shot; and, pertinent to last week's events, by nuclear intimidation to turn Europe entirely against American interests in the Middle East...

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.