While the world's attention is preoccupied with entertaining the possibility of Putin's invasion rampage, this misplaced focus distracts greatly from the internal crisis brewing in Ukraine.
A quarter century after the end of the Cold War and decades after the signing of landmark nuclear arms control and disarmament agreements, are the U.S. and Russian governments once more engaged in a potentially disastrous nuclear arms race with one another?
While "a New Cold War" has not yet been adopted as an official framework for US foreign and military policy, there are among foreign and military policy-makers many who will be tempted by its appeal. We should be circumspect about following them down this path.
Several weeks ago, Miss Universe pageant officials, naively or not, asked me if I wanted to come down for a few days for a Miss Congeniality-esque experience while the 88 women who had qualified from their respective countries got ready for the big night. Of course I did.
The WorldPost was launched one year ago in Davos. It was born out of a contradiction and a paradox. The contradiction is that while the world is growing more interdependent, the media is fragmenting -- re-nationalizing, re-localizing and even tribalizing. The resulting paradox is that the information age is becoming the age of non-communication across boundaries -- political, cultural and ideological. The aim of The WorldPost is to help bridge this growing chasm by becoming a platform where the whole world meets; a common zone where cross-pollination of ideas and perspectives from all corners of the planet can take place. To achieve this aim, The WorldPost strives for a global viewpoint looking around, not a national perspective looking out. Along with intelligent curation of the global news and original reportage, what distinguishes us, above all, are the first person global voices of our contributors. Every week, they weigh in as events break from Havana to Beijing, from Moscow to Mexico City, Paris, New Delhi and Abuja among so many other places. The WorldPost seems to have met an outstanding need. Thanks to you, one year later we have reached 28 million monthly views. We've shown that the message can catch up to the medium if we put our minds to it. (continued)
Listen too much to Kremlin pronouncements, and one might get the impression that the Ukrainian government in Kiev is comprised of nothing less than a malevolent and sinister fascist junta.
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.
NATO was critical to the shaping of the "new Europe" two decades earlier after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Similar and new challenges have emerged where once again NATO may be a defining factor in the future of Europe as well as the Euro-Atlantic family.
The first principle of an open society is not to let the intolerant define "the territory of insult" -- those areas off limits to criticism or ridicule. But how does one define "territory" when media now crosses the boundaries of nations, cultures and civilizations? In the end, free societies must defend the right of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists against murder by fanatics, the Sony filmmakers against the North Korean regime and novelists like Salman Rushdie against a fatwa from the ayatollahs. But isn't Pope Francis also right that, in today's diverse and connected world, we must exercise the civil restraint of "respect" for the non-fanatic faithful (see the other depiction of the Prophet acceptable among some Muslims on left above), even if we insist on irreverence toward political authority? Finding an equilibrium amid the frictions and fusions that abound in this global public space will determine whether or not we can forge a new cosmopolitan commons of the 21st century. This week, The WorldPost engages this conundrum. Writing from Denmark, Flemming Rose, the Jyllands-Posten editor who commissioned cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad a decade ago that set off riots across the Muslim world, argues against "the tyranny of silence" fanatics would impose. Mehdi Hasan says he is "fed up with free speech fundamentalists" who feel they have a "duty to offend." (continued)
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.
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.
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.
Europe is facing divisive challenges on all fronts. It is being torn within by hardening attitudes toward the growing presence not only of Muslim immigrants, but also of citizens. On Monday, demonstrators thronged the streets of Dresden in support of "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident." On Wednesday in Paris, 12 people were killed, including cartoonists who lampooned the Prophet Muhammad, in the horrific Charlie Hebdo attack. While the euro tumbles, northern and southern Europe are bitterly at odds over austerity policies and continuing high unemployment. And a newly aggressive Russia is challenging European values on its eastern frontier. (continued) Writing from Berlin, Alexander Gorlach analyzes what is behind rising Islamphobia in Europe. From Paris, Le Huffington Post editorial director Anne Sinclair pays homage to the slain journalists. "Infidel" author Ayaan Hirsi Ali warns that we can't let political Islamists define the territory of insult. Akbar Ahmed looks at the long history, and present social conditions, of Muslims in Europe.
While many hawkish observers in Washington demanded a more overt and energetic response from the Obama administration, the past six months can only be seen as vindication of President Obama's diplomacy toward Russia and proof of the abject failure of the shortsighted and domestically driven foreign policy of Vladimir Putin.
In 2014, Vladimir Putin discovered his inner Trotsky. For what Russia's president is now offering Ukraine is a perverse twist on the formula Trotsky proclaimed during the peace negotiations at Brest-Litovsk in 1918: "No war, no peace."
Give yourself three points for each right answer until the last, which, if you guess correctly, is worth four points. The Dean's guesses are shown at the end. We'll compare our guesses with reality at the end of 2015.