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Why I won’t go to Netanyahu’s speech

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the midst of a heated reelection campaign. Yet, he is traveling 5,900 miles to give a speech before a joint meeting of Congress on Tuesday — just two weeks before Israelis go to the polls.

An ‘invite’ for Putin

When Ukraine’s president, pressed by the leaders of France and Germany, signed a peace agreement for eastern Ukraine on Feb. 12, he hoped it would purchase several months of calm during which the beleaguered government in Kiev could move ahead with economic reforms and bolster its military defenses. That didn’t happen: Russian forces launched a major attack immediately after the conclusion of the agreement and captured a key town, Debaltseve. That raised the question of whether Western leaders would take action to punish Russian President Vladimir Putin’s violation and impede further aggression.

Partners in repression

Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro paid a visit to Havana and met with Raúl and Fidel Castro, who have been his patrons and who helped to install him in power after the death of Hugo Chavez.

Reversing course in Illinois

CHICAGO — The most portentous election of 2014, which gave the worst-governed state its first Republican governor in 12 years, has initiated this century’s most intriguing political experiment. Illinois has favored Democratic presidential candidates by an average of 16 points in the last six elections. But by electing businessman Bruce Rauner, it initiated a process that might dismantle a form of governance that afflicts many states and municipalities.