How will the Brazilian presidential election unfold?Brazilians go to the polls on October 5 in the first round of voting for presidential, congressional, and state elections. If no presidential candidate secures 50 percent of the vote, a runoff election will be held on October 26. The upcoming elections are likely to bring major changes at the national levelâ€”though incumbent governors are largely poised to claim victory at the state levelâ€”that could significantly alter the course of Brazilâ€™s domestic and international policies.
After five presidential election cycles, the see-saw rivalry between the coalition led by the Workersâ€™ Party (PT) and the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) seems to have come to an end. Following the tragic death of Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) presidential candidate Eduardo Campos on August 13, his running mate, Marina Silva, now heads the ballot, with a stunning turnaround in votersâ€™ intentions. AĂ©cio Neves, the PSDB candidate, seems poised to take third place.
In just two weeks, the PSB ticket saw first-round support increase from 9 percent before Eduardo Camposâ€™ death to 34 percent. As of September 23, IBOPE polls indicate Marina and President Dilma Rousseff (PT) are neck and neck in the second round with 41 percent each. As former President Luiz InĂˇcio Lula da Silva (PT) summed up, the death of Eduardo Campos ended one election and the entrance of Marina Silva marked the start of a new one.
Obama's opportunity with India and its new leader
When the new Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, visits the White House this week, President Obama should seize the opportunity to revive and rebuild an important relationship with a key Asian partner that has fallen on hard times in recent years.
In strategic terms, there are few countries more important to Washington than India, the dominant power in the Indian Ocean region and, with Japan, the most important U.S. partner in Asia seeking to limit Chinese assertiveness in the region. But, from the start of the Obama administration, India has never been a top priority and the long-term U.S. project to cement a strategic future with India is currently adrift. To be fair, Obama has had a multitude of critical short-term crises â€” Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Russia â€” to contend with. But overlooking India has had a price. Seeming U.S. indifference and an Indian government under former prime minister Manmohan Singh in domestic gridlock combined to put the two countries at odds on global trade, climate change, Iran and Russia.
Still, the address he made Wednesday to the annual meeting of the U.N. Security Council was especially eloquent in its appeal to the Muslim world to cure itself of the diseases of extremism and intolerance that historically plagued many religions but not to the same extent as Islam in today's world.
The US strategy to contain ISIS and to prevent it from dismembering Iraq cannot succeed without weakening and ultimately destroying ISIS where it was created â€” in Syria. Obama understands that the extraordinary swift and sudden ISIS advance from Syria into Iraq in early summer effectively created one Iraq-Syria battle space. To contain and ultimately destroy ISIS â€” which is the administration's stated goal â€” it will have to operate militarily in both countries.
This is the best we can do, they seem to be saying: Accept our position or you will face even more hardline interlocutors in the future.
Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations Wednesday evening in New York, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reminded the elite audience what happened in 2005 when the George W. Bush administration rejected a prior Iranian nuclear offer: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president, Iran accelerated its nuclear program and Zarif, a pragmatic former UN ambassador, was forced into "early retirement."
In defiance of international law and established rules of behavior, President Vladimir Putinâ€™s Russia illegally annexed Crimea by force last spring and is vigorously destabilizing eastern Ukraine with a combination of military and nonmilitary means now called by specialists a "hybrid war."
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The group's perversion of Islam in the service of its barbaric goals needs to be confronted first and foremost by those for whom it purports to speak.
But to succeed, the coalition must encompass the entire Muslim world and cannot exclude the most important Shiite nation, Iran.
Obamaâ€™s foreign policy needs conviction of leadership
ITâ€™S NO secret that President Obama has had a troubled year in foreign policy. Critics from left, right, and center have lamented a global strategy lacking in toughness, strategic direction, and results. During the past few months, many of Americaâ€™s closest friends have openly worried about Americaâ€™s leadership deficit in responding to war and revolution in the Middle East as well as Russian President Vladimir Putinâ€™s aggressive push into Ukraine.|
But in the past few weeks, Obama has shown signs of a rethink and course correction that provide some hope of resurrecting Americaâ€™s lead global role and Obamaâ€™s own foreign policy legacy. Obama is focusing first on the Iraq-Syria crisis, where the Islamic Stateâ€™s swift and stunning advance this summer from its base in Northern Syria threatens the entire region. Obama unveiled this week a set of sensible steps to thwart the Islamic State over the long term.