When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
The Endless War

Friends, Enemies And Public Opinion: Inside Biden's Middle East Balancing Act

The United States has found itself at the forefront of a conflict that the whole world is following. President Joe Biden faces the pull of public opinion, the threat of Iranian action, and the escalation of the Israeli state.

photo from air of navy ships in formation

For the first time in decades, two U.S. aircraft carriers sailed together in formation the Eastern Mediterranean Sea

U.S. Navy handout/ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — This past Sunday, for the third time, the U.S. military attacked two sites belonging to pro-Iranian groups on Syrian territory. It was in response to missile attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq and northeastern Syria.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Since Oct. 7, the U.S. military has also intercepted missile launches toward Israel from Yemen by the Houthi rebels. This military activism deserves attention because never before, during previous conflicts in Gaza, have the United States played such an active role. What is different this time, and what is Washington's objective?

First of all, it should be noted that the Biden administration was very quick to deploy substantial forces in the region after Oct. 7, having recognized it as an unusual event. This deployment included two aircraft carriers and their naval air groups, a nuclear missile-launching submarine, and special forces ready for intervention.

A message to Tehran

According to Joseph Maïla, a professor of international relations cited in Beirut's L'Orient-Le-Jour, this U.S. deployment is unprecedented in the Middle East since World War II. "This presence serves as protection and deterrence", explains the Franco-Lebanese academic.

Americans find themselves at the forefront of a conflict they thought they had left behind.

Protection for the ally Israel, clearly. But also deterrence against Iran, the main U.S. rival in the Middle East for decades, close to the nuclear threshold, and the sponsor of Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah.

After Oct. 7, the U.S. concern was that Iran might escalate the conflict to involve its other allies, especially by opening a front to the north with Hezbollah, which possesses a much larger striking force than Hamas. The U.S. message to Iran has been clear from the beginning: if there is an escalation, Iranian territory will not be spared.

photo of Antony blinken talking to Jake Sullvan

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Monday at the White House.

Al Drago - Pool via CNP/CNP via ZUMA

Biden's leverage 

The U.S. commitment is such that the public opinion associates the United States with Israel's war in the Gaza Strip — regardless of whether this is Washington's intention. The association includes the type of warfare chosen by the Israeli state, as seen daily through images of civilian distress in Gaza.

Joe Biden, therefore, has to manage three simultaneous fronts: the military field with the risk to U.S. troops, evident in the attacks they face in Iraq and Syria; public opinion in the United States, which is divided less than a year before the presidential election, especially among young Democrats sympathetic to the Palestinian cause; and the growing resentment in the rest of the world as the U.S. vetoes a ceasefire request at the United Nations.

The U.S. president is the only one who can exert pressure on Israel to stop, and he will have to decide when to do so. He is also expected to address the "after," having promised a political solution. Currently, even more than in Ukraine, Americans find themselves at the forefront of a conflict they thought they had left behind.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A photo of hands holding onto a smartphone

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest