One of the most important results was a setback for the Muslim Brotherhood, who lost an important political and propaganda outlet following the closure of Al-Jazeera Mubasher, which broadcasted out of Qatar. These two developments have multiple implications for the form of the regional map in the coming year.
Enmeshed in a deadly struggle with Russian separatists, many Ukrainians are seeking to fashion their own nationalist ethos. While that is somewhat understandable, Bandera is a poor model. Seventy years after the end of World War II, Ukrainians must eschew such symbols and look elsewhere in the search for a national identity.
Now that Crimea is firmly in the Russian column, it is to be hoped that the Kremlin will provide both peoples with as much local autonomy as possible in line with earlier pledges.
Even Obama's supporters sometimes express frustration because the president has refused to act for the sake of acting, shoot from the hip, or jump to conclusions. His approach, no matter the issue, has been measured, studied, thoughtful, cerebral and yes, lawyerly.
Oil prices have plunged recently, affecting everyone: producers, exporters, governments, and consumers. Overall, we see this as a shot in the arm for the global economy. There is, however, much more to this complex and evolving story.
An alliance between both countries is both unnecessary and unlikely, but the U.S. should take the lead and work towards compromise, rather than towards unilateral resolutions, if both countries are to peacefully coexist.
For the most part, ethnic minorities of Transcarpathia have gotten along with each other in recent years, though the area's delicate social balance could be upset by outsiders like Putin and his nationalist right wing allies in neighboring Hungary.
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Given that the price of oil is likely to remain low, Asian financiers -- even the Chinese -- do not seem eager to refinance Russian companies, and sanctions are unlikely to be lifted.
It's way past time for the rest of us to let Cuba as it is, imperfect though it may be, like the rest of us, find what future it can.
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.
Now is the time to start a new American initiative with regards to Syria, but even today, the advice should be to do it in cooperation with Russia. In the past, Putin was at the helm, and Obama seemed to be weak, and now it may be completely different.
The west owes it to the Russian people not to give up and keep pressing Vladimir Putin, until he changes course.
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.
In the life of any country a situation can arise that requires a clear choice between positive change or stagnation and decline. At such times, only the collective will of the people can generate sufficient will to begin the process of change. And yes, sometimes the awakening of national consciousness begins with struggling over a mountain of dirty and snowy slush on the side of the road.