What was absent in President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address was more intriguing than what he mentioned, in relation to international conditions, and the positions of the United States on them.
It's worth remembering, with the centenniary of World War I just past, that economic collapse and social disruption are more likely to sow the seeds of extremism and conflict than to make the world safe for democracy.
While avowed critics of social engineering at home, most conservatives believe the U.S. government can remake foreign societies abroad. It's a dangerous delusion. In pursuit of their interventionist fantasies, they are prepared to waste scarce financial resources, entangle the U.S. in foreign quarrels, and risk war with nuclear-armed powers.
The dawn of 2015 finds Americans continuing to marvel and benefit at the pump from low oil prices. Yet many ask: Why all of a sudden are prices falling so drastically? Do market forces have anything to do with it? Or is this a political strategy?
On weekends, impromptu rallies may elicit the occasional interest of passers-by. At one point, I came upon a group of nationalists in Maidan square flanked by Ukrainian blue and yellow banners and a rather sinister-looking bunch of men in sunglasses.
Saint Petersburg is a city of legends. Walk down the Nevsky Prospekt, from the Fontanka River to the Neva, and every building you pass will be full of ghosts: here is the café where Dostoyevsky took his coffee and blinis; a few paces down, the shop that served Pushkin his last meal.
As many around the world said to Americans in September 2001, we say to the men and women throughout Paris, France and Europe today: You are not alone. Our unity will ultimately triumph, and our cause will ultimately prevail.
When you become a Northern Californian -- a true Northern Californian -- you can develop a penchant for -- how do I put this? -- spiritual things.
Articles about the war in Ukraine invariably cite the over 4,800 casualties and one million displaced persons reported by the UN. That number, as horrible as it is, is just a small percentage of the humanitarian suffering that continues to unfold on the ground.
As of Tuesday, January 6, it is now illegal for transgender and transsexual people to drive vehicles in Russia. The bill, originally signed by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on December 29, bans any person demonstrating "mental disorders" such as fetishism, exhibitionism , voyeurism, and pathological gambling from driving.
The overwhelming majority of eastern Ukrainians currently trapped in brutal winter conditions between separatist thugs and the Ukrainian army aren't Ku Klux Klan members, or fat cat bigots who delight in oppressing their ethnic Ukrainian neighbors. They are coal miners and steelworkers and children and pensioners. They are people who've watched their lives be shelled into oblivion by both Kiev's army and paramilitary brigades and Putin's warlords, and who are now isolated in what Amnesty and the UN describe as an unfolding humanitarian crisis. Painting them as a bunch of backward anti-Western hicks is neither progressive, nor tolerant, nor liberal, nor accurate.
Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, Russia's is using complaints of humiliation by the West to support its seizure of the Crimea, its military presence in Eastern Ukraine, and its provocations in the Baltics.
There are signs that China is beginning to see Eastern Russia as an important "strategic rear area," a proximate overland supplier of a range of vital primary commodities. This is directly related to China's intensifying contest with the U.S. for primacy in the Asia-Pacific. Beijing is increasingly worried that, if this rivalry comes to a head, Washington may use its trump card -- launching a naval blockade of the sea lanes through which China receives most of its imported primary products.
Today, the Earth got a little hotter, and a little more crowded. Japan Meteorological Age...
The impact of the Facebook-assisted mobilization should not be underestimated. Had the government not feared further popular unrest, Nalvany might be going to prison for the next decade, with his brother spending up to eight years there with him.
For several years now, I've tried to temper satirical criticism of the occasional excess in Russia's political culture with the concern that I'm reducing a complex system of government to the latest installment of News of the Weird.