In the bad old days of the Cold War, the left and the right used to play a nasty game called "Who's Your Favorite Dictator?" But the terms of the game have changed.
David Satter is a journalist who was a Financial Times correspondent in Moscow from 1976 to 1982; and subsequently was a Soviet affairs specialist for the Wall Street Journal.
Imagine an alternative universe in which the two major Cold War superpowers evolved into the United Soviet Socialist States. The conjoined entity, linked perhaps by a new Bering Straits land bridge, combines the optimal features of capitalism and collectivism.
The seizure of Palmyra this week by ISIS could not be more emblematic of the new dark age descending on the Mideast. In the name of decontaminating Islam, the Wahhabi offshoot has pledged to demolish even the ruins of this ancient crossroads of the Roman Empire, India, China and Persia that represents the historical diversity of intermingling cultures. It is yet another sobering lesson in how the accomplishments of civilization can be rolled back by the mad pursuit of pure states of being - whether of ideal pasts, utopian futures, races or religions. As WorldPost correspondent Sophia Jones reports, Palmyra is also darkly remembered by many Syrians for its more recent history as a "death camp" of "torture and fear" in the 1980s and 1990s under Hafez al- Assad.
As we remember those who gave their all to ensure our freedoms and liberties, let us also guard against clever appropriations of the memory of blood and sacrifice for political ends.
Whatever the situation, there is only one right way to handle it: Be yourself! This principle applies everywhere and in all circumstances. It does not matter what sort of person you are -- strong and true or despicable and cowardly -- show your real nature and people will begin to speak to you in your own language.
Facebook has become the world's publishing Leviathan with 1.4 billion users - a cyberpopulation the size of China. Never before have so many of like mind and sympathetic bent been able to connect with each other. Yet, by slotting what is shared through algorithm and personalization into silos of the similar, few boundaries beyond the familiar are being crossed. As identities fortify into tribes through this increasingly dominant medium, one wonders if the information age is becoming the age of non-communication. On this point, "technosociologist" Zeynep Tufekci contests a study recently released by Facebook that claims it is not creating echo chambers. Timothy Karr also worries that Mark Zuckerberg's plan to provide cyber access to the world's poor through Internet.org will "represent the entirety of the Internet for a significant proportion of the world's population."
America has tried, and continues to try, to push President Putin and Russia out of a competitive role in world politics. But Russian counter moves can move America out of its position of world leader.
When the instruments of death fly above us, we still look up in admiration, not horror. As long as we celebrate destruction in this way, we will be doomed to repeat it.
What is hunger? What is captivity? What is prison? What is hunger in prison? How should one behave in captivity? In a court investigation? In prison? Because these are very different things.
During the 37 days of the strike I ate twice. The first time it was a pear-flavored candy. The second time I ate was today.
There is no defense of Russia's ongoing actions vis-à-vis Ukraine, or its annexation of the Crimea. But nothing happens in a vacuum, and when it comes to international relations, Newton's third law of physics applies in full force: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. George Santayana has famously noted that those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But what of those who simply are ignorant of history, especially when it is not their own? America, in particular, seems to be populated by people who, wittingly or not, have taken Francis Fukuyama's theory of "the end of history" to heart. But what sounded plausible at the nexus of American ascendancy over the Soviet Union in the early 1990's seems laughable today.
Right now everything is being destroyed, but later it will have to be rebuilt. I firmly believe that you'll have bridges to build soon enough: in Luhansk, "Ukrainian Nationalists Bridge"; in Donetsk, "Right Sector Bridge"!
MOSCOW -- Putin's goal was to convince average Russians to equate the nearly holy war against fascism with the regime's current escapade in Ukraine. Kremlin spin doctors have been reinforcing that association for months with a constant torrent of claims that Ukraine is besieged with "fascist sentiment," which is attempting to justify Hitler's atrocities.
Leaders from around the world, headed by Angela Merkel and François Hollande, have come together to try to make Putin listen to reason. Nothing has worked. Nadiya Savchenko remains a political hostage, or rather, a geopolitical hostage, in the hands of the master of the Kremlin.
Is a new Cold War brewing in the Pacific between China and the U.S. with Japan playing a front line role? Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to Washington last week alarmingly pushed developments in that direction. In a blog he adapted from his well-received speech to the U.S. Congress, Abe proposes that the two democratic post-WWII allies join in a "seamless" strategic effort to "to spread and nurture our shared values" and "stick to the path" that "won the Cold War" -- and, in so many words not spoken, to contain China. By excluding China, the world's second largest economy, from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership on trade while embracing the revision of Japan's pacifist constitution to allow military action beyond self-defense without an apology for colonialism and aggression acceptable to its Asian neighbors, the U.S. and Japan are laying the cornerstone of a new bloc system in the Pacific. As Minxin Pei writes, China's leaders will certainly see it that way and respond in kind. (continued)