There is something desperate about the current quality of politics in Washington DC. It is not that our elected representatives steadily avoid any discussion of key issues. It is rather that the way in which they choose to discuss those key issues trivializes them to the point of folly.
While it may be true that soft-pedaling objections to repression and human rights violations can make for a more cordial diplomatic relationship with authoritarian rulers, it is a fantasy to suppose that condoning violations of human rights and denial of basic freedoms will lead to stability.
By pretending that it is the countries where emissions occur which are the problem, rather than the consumers whose products require the pollution, both the EU and the United States have concealed their real failure to shift their economies to lower carbon consumption.
The New York Times ran a front page article reporting that Russia may have violated the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty by testing a new cruise missile. The story received little further coverage and seemed to disappear with the kickoff of the Sochi Olympics.
Iran is in the news. So is Syria and Israel and Iraq. Even though it is the most populous and economically vibrant area of the world, Asia will continue to be an afterthought for the Obama administration, pivot or no pivot.
Of course, religious freedom is very desirable, but the United States should promote it by setting an example, not by preaching it to the world or worse -- by coercion using economic sanctions or a military "crusade."
This conversation raises a serious question about the judgment of the Assistant Secretary of State in dealing with the complexities of Europe and the difficult Ukrainian issue
The debate over the NSA's data collection should lead to a better balance between rights of privacy and requirements of foreign intelligence. But whatever the outcome of that debate, it has failed to acknowledge inherent deficiencies and risks in "foreign intelligence" and the transcendent role of foreign policy in the defense of our national interests. Our foreign policy failures and dilemmas reflect failures of a cerebral sort of intelligence, including a lack of experience in the real world away from Washington, its arm chair polemicists, its ideological think thanks, and too little experience in military ground forces where you learn to expect the unexpected. Policy has been driven by ideologues, militarists, and amateurs, including Members of Congress who are little noted nowadays for real world experience.
While Mr. Putin may rightly bask in the light of his many accomplishments in foreign policy, and having presided over the energy boom that thrived during much of his first term in office, he is now faced with some serious issues that cast a pall over Sochi.
People wonder how my husband and I can handle not knowing the gender of our baby. It is a small thing. What I cannot handle is knowing that for so many women around the world (and in this country too), the not-knowings are so much more immense and terrible.
The tendency in the United States to blame "sectarian conflict" and "long-simmering hatreds" for the violence in Iraq is effectively blaming the victims and avoids acknowledging the U.S. role in the ongoing tragedy.
We are an America that, right now, is reluctant to fully embrace a world leadership role, but not quite ready to abandon it. We're far from isolationist, but we're not that interested in policing the world either.
Madagascar's recent election, on Dec. 20, 2013, offers important lessons for western policymakers seeking to repair broken democracies. The Indian Ocean island may seem politically irrelevant, but the lessons it can teach us should not be ignored.
Confusion over what America's reduced commitment means for the rest of the world will undermine the confidence of allies in US staying power.
This degree of U.S. involvement may not be welcomed by many Americans and it will likely be rejected in many parts of the Arab World. But enough is enough. Something must be done to help end this Syrian nightmare.
It is impossible to prove an alternative history, what would have happened had Biden's Boots Off the Ground strategy been followed. But I found that as far as can be determined, the U.S. -- and many millions of people in the Middle East -- would be much safer and better off if Biden's counsel was heeded.