All the hullaballoo over the United States government's' use of torture as an officially-sanctioned intelligence gathering process was bad enough. It brought back memories of a shameful period in American history. But when Dick Cheney reappeared to defend the practice of torture, it was the worst specter of Christmas past.
In today's topsy-turvy environment, all bets are off. Rather than focus on critical upcoming legislative elections and a major conference to help attract investments to Egypt's struggling economy, TV channels seem sidelined by matters that raise eyebrows and questions given their timing.
It took an insolent Hollywood comedy mocking the surreal character of North Korea's Kim Jong Un to awaken us to the dangers of a new code war, a war in which geopolitical and geo-cultural battles will be duked out in cyberspace. As Alec Ross, America's top digital diplomat when Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, writes this week in The WorldPost, "the weaponization of code is the most significant development in warfare since the weaponization of fissile material." Other battles are also shaping up to determine the contours of our digital future. Lu Wei, China's Internet czar, makes his case for sovereign rule over cyberspace. Amy Chang examines how the Chinese campaign for "Internet sovereignty" will rupture the World Wide Web. (continued)
More than than three years into Syria's brutal civil war, Syrian Kurds have carved out an entity of their own close to the border with Turkey.
If you ask me, Obama's action on Cuba was a master stroke, and full of foresight. He has undercut Putin's ability to use Cuba as a pressure point against the U.S. going forward and has, in a single action, transformed a net negative for the U.S. and Cuba into a net positive for its government, people, and businesses.
Ben Franklin once wrote that "it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer." Dick Cheney, on the other hand, said: "I'm more concerned with bad guys who got out . . . than I am with a few that in fact were innocent."
Soldiers, officers and police that fought against each other two decades earlier are now working together in UN and NATO operations to keep or deliver peace.
The abolition of the CIA could be a conscious step in tearing our government out of the grip of the war consensus -- this unelected force that feeds on perpetual global mistrust and hatred, the exact opposite of what true security requires.
Here in their refugee camp, the Christians with no Christmas like us in the West have placed a refugee tent for Jesus, and there in the camp is a tent for another person who was also a poor refugee who had nothing.
One minute, one camera, and one boy... is all it took to convey the tragedy of millions of childhoods lost to conflict in the Middle East.
There's something unique about American Sniper. If this were just another modern war movie, Chris Kyle might be portrayed as a replica of the hollowed out versions of the soldiers we often see splashed across the big screen.
As to who played the scorpion and who played the crocodile, I'd give the first title "Scorpion" to Dick Cheney and share the second, "Crocodile" between Bush Jr. and Obama. Cheney injected the venom and Bush and Obama have been drowning in it ever since.
The soft power of America's open society has once again come to the rescue of its hard power misadventures, this time by coming clean on the post-9/11 practice of torture. As China and several other countries intensify their crackdown on the Internet and open expression in general, the U.S. offers a lesson: honest criticism fortifies the legitimacy of government, not weakens it, because it assures an avenue for self-correction. In The WorldPost this week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who led the charge as head of the Senate Intelligence Committee that released the controversial torture report, writes that "torture goes against the very soul of our country." Howard Fineman reports why Sen. John McCain, a leading Republican and POW during the Vietnam War, also believes torture is a "stain" on America's national honor -- and ineffective to boot. (continued)
How can it be that the US, which so prides itself on its traditions of respect for the rule of law and human rights, simply turn a blind eye on this deep stain on its record without the resonance of hypocrisy? How can it revive its moral credibility?
We have seen over time, that humans are capable of the best and the worst. Nobody heals unless there is truth about what happened. We have a chance to open this book, and I hope we take it.
Even if outgoing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid does not schedule a floor debate on an AUMF this week, as is likely, at least the Foreign Relations Committee will have gotten the ball rolling by voting and passing a resolution. That's the most Americans can hope for from the 113th Congress.