Global issues, international finance, the Middle East and American politics

Anil Hira (Simon Fraser): The World Is Round: A Real Plan to Solve Global Problems in this Generation. From TAP, the costs of UN peacekeeping missions across the globe have ballooned — and, along with them, so have America's arrears. A vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain. Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility and worse. While the developed world deals with a "birth dearth," populations are exploding in developing nations. What the first world should do to help.

Cracks in the Financial Foundation: The World Bank, the IMF and the WTO are now facing questions about their relevance in a global economy. How should the new and growing phenomenon of outward FDI from the South be assessed? Should South-South investment be promoted as an alternative to North-South investment flows? The Asian Development Bank has told itself it needs to change but can its slow-moving bureaucracy respond? A review of Aid Effectiveness in Africa: Developing Trust between Donors and Governments.

From American Diplomacy, more on Dangerous Nation, by Robert Kagan. The most troublesome Mideast state has signaled its desire to deal with us. How should America respond to Iran. Whenever the administration shifts toward engagement, one figure is there to stop it. How Dick Cheney ensures diplomatic failure with Tehran. Resistance, not terror: An interview with the Grand Ayatollah Ahmed Alhasani al-Baghdadi of Iraq. Exit Stage Right: Phillip Carter on a step-by-step plan for withdrawing from Iraq. We have to stay in Iraq for a decade: Here's how to do it. The Politics of Intelligence: Bush made a dramatic announcement about bin Laden plans to attack the US. But some counterterrorism experts say it was just another selective leak, designed to bolster support for the war in Iraq.

From TNR, Bob Shrum v. John Edwards: No one comes in for rougher treatment in the famed political consultant's forthcoming memoir, No Excuses, than his former client. No Democratic nominee will be immune to all of the GOP’s attacks. But it’s worth asking whether John Edwards is vulnerable to too many of them. If not money or looks, what else pre-determine the likelihood of success for a candidate attempting to woo today’s voters? Power to the people, 2.0: Barack Obama and John Edwards are boldly abandoning me-first campaigns for online "political movements". Howard Dean, anyone? John Zogby on Gore, Gingrich, Bloomberg scenarios in '08. And from The Politico, a look at why a Bloomberg run could matter, and why the Bloomberg fantasy won't come true