Renzo Cianfanelli

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From Hillary to hellfire

Few imagined that international affairs would be held hostage by so many insults at the highest levels. The prospect of a staid and lackluster Clinton presidency seems a distant dream.

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America's super sized health issues

The US healthcare system is a mess. Everyone agrees. Obamacare needs fixing, but no one can agree on how to 
do it. In the meantime, the traditionally unacceptable single-payer system is beginning to look more attractive.

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The special relationship on the rocks

The United States has always had deep ties with the United Kingdom. But recent events, particularly Donald Trump’s unpredictability, make it clear that nothing should be taken for granted, leaving Theresa May at the helm of an increasingly isolated Britain.

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Chaos in Trumpland

After four months in office, the White House has managed to become embroiled in a tangle of errors and scandals, poor organization and infighting. Much of the blame must go to the President’s personality.

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Armageddon is not a foreign policy

The new Trump administration has delegated much of its foreign policy decision-making, especially with military issues, to a host of generals. Given the President’s see-sawing policy, this has many people worried. 

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Twitterer-in-chief

The Trump administration has vowed to focus on America at the expense of the ungrateful rest of the world. But thus far, the focus has been harassed by resistance from the opposition and amateurish missteps from within.

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Managing the managed chaos

Trump’s White House is disrupting all our political preconceptions as it moves in a context of “post-truth.” Oddly enough, the inspiration for many of its tactics came from Russia.

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Unwanted eyes and ears at the White House

The mere threat of evicting the press corps from the White House reflects Trump’s adversarial relationship with the traditional media. The President’s showman inclinations would prefer a more staged spontaneity.

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Pax Americana, gone with the wind

The whole international edifice built after World War II is in jeopardy. With Donald Trump now in full-on demolition mode, the world waits to see what kind of castle he has in mind.

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Getting back to the base

The Democratic Party’s electoral defeat has left it in shambles, severed from its traditional working-class base. To regain lost ground it needs to rebuild its strategy, held ransom by its obsession with minority identity politics.

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Forget Fukuyama

The days when the United States dictated the course of world affairs on its own are finished. Now many rivals moving in various directions are creating potentially disastrous friction in every part of the world.

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The American Dream getting weirder and weirder

More than ever, America needs a philosopher to help it adjust to volatile times. In this presidential election we are faced with a showman and his foil. 

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Next up, Turxit

Turkey is clamping down so hard on anyone remotely suspected of being involved in the failed coup that its membership in NATO is being questioned. Will the United States allow the prospect?

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The end of the American dream?

The unusually boisterous campaign in the US is the outgrowth of a structural shift in the world economy. Americans increasingly resent their downward social mobility. 

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Testing the special relationship

Talk of Brexit has Britain’s American cousins worried. So much so that the US president is urging Britons to “do the right thing” and remain as America’s stalwart lever within the EU.

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Discovering Latin America

Obama’s recent trip to Cuba and Argentina signals a new pivot toward Latin America. With Brazil’s political system reeling under corruption scandals, the ramifications can be felt throughout the Western Hemisphere.

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The art of a dirty deal

As the Republican Party tries to dump Trump with a contested convention, efforts will be made to save the GOP with backroom deals. But voters will grow angrier with what they deem politics as usual.

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Scalia's death sparks a war

The death of the Supreme Court’s uber-conservative – in an election year, with a lame duck president – has roused both sides of the political divide to dig trenches. The new appointment for judge will be subject to a barrage of politicized judgment.

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How the UN got decapitated

No one expects very much from a UN secretary-general. So the choice of a new one is always fraught with compromise. But that wasn’t the case at the outset. 

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Can Moscow and Washington team up?

A sincere effort to destroy IS would best be done with the United States and Russia teaming up. Unfortunately, mutual mistrust, a lack of resolve, and a slew of other actors at cross-purposes undermine that possibility.

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America increases its distance from the Middle East

For years the major mover in the complex politics of the Middle East, Washington has begun to retreat, watching and waiting where in the past they would have acted decisively.

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Win a birthday dance with Hillary

As the influence of television loses its grip over the presidential elections, many alternative marketing techniques that have worked in the world of commerce are becoming part of the campaign strategy.

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Dynamite in the pond

The primary run-up in America’s presidential campaign was expected to be a dull one. With the entry of two disruptive candidates, the race now promises many surprises along the way.

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The Republican’s Pirandellian drama

The new crop of GOP candidates are numerous and generally uninspiring – that is, with the exception of one figure whose brashness might sabotage the party altogether.

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Sí, se puede

US politicians are already courting the crucial Hispanic vote for the 2016 elections.
But one of the most important issues for Latinos is the perennially intractable policy of immigration reform.

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Dynasties as American as apple pie

A possible Clinton-Bush race for the presidency has shed light on what is actually a tradition in US politics: the family dynasty, which is merely a confirmation of America’s homegrown elitism.

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Currency wars? No, thank you

In a system of freely floating fiat currencies, with the US dollar acting as the world’s main reserve currency, sudden fluctuations are often interpreted as either a tactical move by Washington or
against it.

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Obama’s uncomfortable ally

Netanyahu did everything he could to secure a victory in the Israeli election. He even went so far as to jeopardize the long unassailable support of the United States by antagonizing Obama and trying to sabotage his negotiations with Iran. 

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Courting the Titanic

Calls from all quarters in Washington to aid Ukraine with arms were followed by warnings that such a move would be a mistake. Surprisingly, such warnings are coming not only from Kissingerian realists, but also from some neocons.

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Playing several moves ahead

The outcome of the Cuban opening will be determined by a number of factors: from the reluctance of a Republican US Congress to the Cuban leadership’s resistance to anything even remotely similar to regime change.

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Last chance at Defense

If Obama’s new pick for Pentagon chief gets past Congress, as expected, he will be this president’s fourth secretary of defense. Will he be able to penetrate the walls of the White Houses security fortress? 

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Obama’s dysfunctional insiders

The US president needs a foreign policy coup to cement his legacy. But his insular White House and aversion to hard-nosed strategic decision-making might make him a lame duck in world affairs as well as at home.

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Sex, lies and the 24-hour news cycle

How much of a politician’s private life do we really need to know? And how has social media and round-the-clock news shaped our current appetite for scandal?

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Down in the dumps

Obama’s popularity is low and he’s stuck in a situation that perhaps no single man could manage to the satisfaction of his many critics.

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The wealth of nations

Getting the economy back on track is not enough if the only ones who really benefit are the super rich. As the wealth gap widens, the government will need to lay off the laissez-faire.

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On a wing and a prayer

Europe is slowly sliding into quantitative easing at the same time that the US is leaving it. This could lead to a more equitable relationship between the two main players in the Western economy.

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The road to Insularia­­­

Tired of wars and other expensive international engagements, Americans have retreated back into a shell. Their president reflects this in a cautious approach that seems to spurn his often critical allies.

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The Great Game revived

In theory, with American soldiers pulling out and elections under way, Afghanistan should be poised to become a self-sufficient democracy. But the reality is much grimmer, and continued conflict seems inevitable.

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Yes we can (talk)

It may be premature to give Obama a report card on his legacy, but time is running out and the number of glaring foreign policy failures are becoming hard to overlook.

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Lost in translation

Diplomacy between Washington and Moscow was already strained before the Ukrainian crisis. Now there is no talk of reset – especially not in private phone conversations between diplomats.