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Russia

Islamic Terrorism Forces Russia And West Together

This week's UN General Assembly highlighted the need for cooperation in the fight against ISIS and other Islamic terror networks. And that could extend to sworn enemies.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
Sergei Strokan and Elena Chernenko

MOSCOW — The central issue at this week's United Nations General Assembly was how to combat international terrorism, with the United States eager to take the lead and set the tone.

Many U.S. government officials have a complicated relationship with the United Nations, seeing it primarily as an organization that is apt to challenge and undermine American leadership. But it was clear on Wednesday that the United States is taking the international organization seriously: President Barack Obama chaired the meeting of the Security Council on Wednesday that voted unanimously to take measures against global terrorism. It was only the second time Obama has personally attended a Security Council meeting.

Still, the various announcements from Obama and his closest advisors intending to explain their strategy on the fight against terrorism in Iraq and Syria have sometimes been contradictory. After Obama's Sept. 10 speech outlining his strategy in the fight against the Islamic radical group ISIS, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry both categorically refused to admit that the U.S. considered ISIS a bonafide military force. Rear Admiral John Kirby then said, "Yes, we know we are at war" with the terrorist group.

Diplomats say this is a sign of confusion and lack of a clear understanding about what is needed to ward off this threat, which could turn out to be even more serious than al-Qaeda.

Behind this confusion there's another, more complex problem. As the United States tried to assemble a "coalition of the willing," there weren't many takers among its Western and regional allies. The recent conference of world leaders in Paris, organized to address the growing threat of ISIS, illustrated that many of Washington's friends don't want to join the fight against the terrorist group.

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Geopolitics

AMLO Power Grab: Mexico's Electoral Reform Would Make Machiavelli Proud

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, says his plans to reform the electoral system are a way to save taxpayer money. A closer look tells a different story.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico votes

Luis Rubio

OpEd-

MEXICO CITY — For supporters of Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) the goal is clear: to keep power beyond the 2024 general election, at any price. Finally, the engineers of the much-touted Fourth Transformation, ALMO's 2018 campaign promise to do away with the privileged abuses that have plagued Mexican politics for decades, are showing their colors.

Current electoral laws date back to the 1990s, when unending electoral disputes were a constant of every voting round and impeded effective governance in numerous states and districts. The National Electoral Institute (INE) and its predecessor, the IFE, were created to solve once and for all those endemic disputes.

Their promoters hoped Mexico could expect a more honest future, with the electoral question resolved. The 2006 presidential elections, which included AMLO as a recalcitrant loser, showed this was hoping for too much. That election is also, remotely, at the source of the president's new electoral initiative.

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