When Barack Obama's administration sanctioned a prominent Russian bank after Moscow's annexation of Crimea, Russian President Vladimir Putin pointedly opened a new account at the bank punished by the sanctions. When the United States issued travel bans against prominent Russians in Putin's inner circle because of Moscow's continued meddling in Ukraine, Putin placed a travel ban on longtime critic Sen. John McCain. When Western allies levied penalties against Russia's energy sector after Putin-backed anti-government rebels inside Ukraine shot down a Malaysia Airlines flight, killing 298, the Russian strongman responded by banning American and European agricultural imports. He then shut down the biggest symbol of American cultural might in Russia: McDonald's.
Iraqi officials have given their American counterparts clear signals that Baghdad is willing to let U.S. fighter jets operate out of Iraqi air bases, a move that would allow planes to stay airborne longer and deliver more strikes. But the Obama administration, at least for now, doesn't seem all that interested.
The death toll in the worst Ebola outbreak in history topped more than 1,200 as of Tuesday, according to the World Health Organization. The good news is that, for now, new cases appear to be limited to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. The bad news is that even if the outbreak doesn't spread beyond West Africa, the economic and political fallout in this fragile part of the world will likely last years, experts said.
From Electricity to Sewage, U.S. Intelligence Says the Islamic State Is Fast Learning How to Run a Country
The Obama administration's escalating air war against the Islamic State is running up against a dispiriting new reality: The militants are becoming as good at governing territory as they are at conquering it, making it considerably harder to dislodge them from the broad swaths of Syria and Iraq that they now control.
The revelation that Germany spies on Turkey, a NATO member, should dispel any notion that spying on allies violates the unwritten rules of international espionage, despite Berlin's numerous suggestions otherwise.