The municipal authorities in Moscow this week denied the right to free assembly to a group of Russian ultranationalists who organize the annual (deep) soul-searching extravaganza known as "The Russian March."
From time to time we have pre-conceived notions about people. As much as we try not to, we do. Last week while I was on my way to hear Madeleine Albright speak, I feared that her presentation might be dull and boring. After all, talking about sanctions against Iraq or the American policy in Bosnia is certainly educational, but it can also be very dry. I couldn't have been more wrong.
When the Soviet Union collapsed more than two decades ago, and Ukraine opted for independence, many expected the country to do better than Russia in the years to come. But events turned out differently.
The truth is that I have no idea whether the allegations against this man are true. But, in his eyes, he has a bit of that sad placidity that Fitzgerald attributed to his last tycoon, which makes him likeable.
Red Army is a documentary about so much more than just hockey. It's a window not just into the world of elite athletes, but also into the Cold War -- its oppression, its defections, its KGB trickery, its era of indefatigable distrust and ever-simmering antipathy between them and us.
Shock and Awe was the name for the onslaught of missiles and bombing that was to initiate the U.S. invasion and would intimidate Saddam, quickly bringing his regime into submission. Little did we know that the opening days of the second Iraq war marked the end of the era of America as the world's dominant military power.
This week, as Baghdad is under siege from within and Kobani is poised to fall to ISIS fighters, the question of "Who Lost Iraq?" is taking center stage. Many, including some former insiders, are quick to blame President Obama for pulling American troops out "too soon" -- despite the fact that the Iraq war wearily tested the sacrifice and patience of Americans longer than World War I and II combined. Obama was elected in the first place to end it all. The primary fault, more likely, lies with the blunt trauma to the region caused by the U.S. invasion and occupation in 2003, the unwise dismantling of the Iraqi army and the exclusion of Sunnis from post-Saddam power arrangements. A decade later, the counter-revolution is underway. In this contest, the reticent use of 21st century air power appears to be no match for the 17th century fervor of the Islamic State's boots on the ground. The French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy calls for the expulsion of modern day Turkey from NATO because of Turkey's willful abandonment of the Kurds in Kobani. Writing from Beirut, legendary former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke traces the appeal of ISIS today to the yearning for Islamic authority after the early 20th century demise of the Ottoman Caliphate. (continued)
Saying that "Ukraine is empowered to join Europe" is an empty phrase. However, when you point out the mutual interests that ensure that, as in Mandeville's fable of the bees, where private vices commingle to produce public good, Ukraine will in fact be part of Europe, it becomes a phrase with real impact.
Just two words, "Ukraine" and "Putin," bring out the old fighter in him, which seems slightly unusual for a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. These words explain the deep concern of the Poles, and indeed all Eastern European countries, to what is happening nearby: "We need missiles to aim at Russia."
This week the world anxiously winced as Ebola spread out of Africa to the U.S. and Spain. The traveling virus exposed some harsh new global realities: the hot zone incubator of Africa's impoverished urbanization, persistent social inequality and decrepit public health infrastructure all linked to the rest of the planet by air travel. Nothing is any longer a world away. In The WorldPost this week, the co-discoverer of Ebola, Peter Piot, calls for urgent logistical aid to the infected areas of Africa. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim writes that the fight against the pandemic must entail a fight against poverty and chaos in countries just emerging from civil war and strife. Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization pins her hopes on cutting edge science. Michael Elliott of the Bill Gates-backed One Foundation calls for outside assistance from NGOs and governments for investment in public health systems. (continued)
Vote your interests in November. Continue to be partisan to your heart's delight. Just don't call yourself a patriot if you search to find reasons to disregard objective facts, data and documented history in an attempt to justify rooting against a sitting president.
People in Poland are eating apples these days. Lots of apples. Here in Warsaw, they're pressed into your hands at a street festival, or baked into piles of pies and cakes. You see them everywhere. It's an act of defiance.
In the streets of Hong Kong today, China's future is meeting its past. It's 17 year-old rebellious student Joshua Wong, who is leading the Umbrella Revolution protests, versus Confucius, the sage of order and "social harmony," whose 2565th birthday was just emphatically celebrated by Xi Jinping in Beijing last week. To put this historic crossroads into perspective, The WorldPost publishes excerpts of Xi Jinping's remarkable speech on the anniversary of Confucius' birthday, which amounts to an official rehabilitation of ancient Confucian thought as the guiding light of modern China. From Hong Kong, WorldPost China correspondent Matt Sheehan reports from the ground on the orderly rebellion of the Umbrella Revolution. Beijing artist, Jia, looks at the Hong Kong protests through the prism of her memories of the excitement and dashed hopes of the Tiananmen Square events in 1989. Lawrence Lau, a former member of Hong Kong's Executive Council, argues that the election plan presented by Beijing, which stirred the protests, will actually allow for genuinely competitive elections over time.
There is no practical solution to the Russo-Ukrainian war. The most one can hope for is to "freeze" it and thereby transform hot war into cold war between Russia and Ukraine and between Russia and the West. Cold war may not be the West's optimal solution, but, while inconvenient for everyone, it will be infinitely preferable to a hot war.
Western sanctions are harming the Russian economy, but that doesn't mean they will achieve anything the West wants in Ukraine.
This week, the U.N. Security Council stood united in a unanimous resolution to fight what President Obama called the ISIS "network of death." Yet, despite pleas for the world to act together on global warming, the leaders of India and China failed to even show up at the U.N. Climate Summit. India's environment minister actually announced that his country would not cut carbon emissions and that the burden should fall on the developed countries. As the U.S. struck ISIS targets in both Syria and Iraq, Pope Francis visited Albania, a Muslim-majority country that is one of the poorest in Europe. Writing from Tirana, Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama, reports on the pope's visit and his inspiring message of peace, hope and tolerance. (continued)