Misreadings of what's taking place on the eastern stretches of Europe contribute to an almost 1946-like sense of foreboding and inevitability.
Europe's fate hangs in the balance in Ukraine. When Ukrainians fight for Ukraine, they're fighting for all of Europe. And that's worth fighting for.
First, most of our problems are our own doing. Second, we know a lot about the causes and the solutions. This combination is new. Old civilizations have died because their lifestyle was not sustainable but, unlike us, they didn't understand the mechanisms.
As Ukrainians face another long winter, with fighting continuing in the east, and Putin as bombastic and determined as ever, a network of activists around the world have organized an event to inspire new ideas for the years ahead.
New Yorkers are in the enviable position that, sooner or later, everyone will come and visit the city. We do not have to travel the world - even though many of us love to do so - to learn about different cultures because the world comes to us.
Elizabeth Pond, the respected American author who has reported on Eastern Europe for three decades, recently wrote a eulogy for Ukraine. The seizure of Crimea and the humiliating ceasefire imposed on President Petro Poroshenko, she wrote, meant that Ukraine was again "a borderland playground" for its mighty neighbor.
This week, Pope Francis sought to push ajar the heavy door of doctrine to accommodate the reality of modern families. In China, leaders of the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement sat down for talks with authorities while the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Beijing pondered how to move forward on "the rule of law." Elsewhere, in some good news, Nigeria cleared itself of Ebola. The fierce fight for Kobani continued as the western suburbs of Baghdad came under intense attack. Ukrainians head to the polls in the midst of a "frozen conflict" with Russia. In our monthly series from the Vatican, "Following Francis," Sebastien Maillard recounts the ups and downs of the synod on family and the Pope's efforts to outmaneuver conservatives among the assembled cardinals. (continued)
Here are some random but real hints: Well, he should know; they're arming the Capitol with angry cats; they probably won't keep it if they find it; and so Hermione is also out. Answers are below the quiz.
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.