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Ronald Tiersky
Ronald Tiersky is the Eastman Professor of Political Science at
Amherst College. He has written several books on French politics and
on European affairs and is the general editor of the Europe Today
series with Rowman & Littlefield Pubs. He has contributed op-eds to
the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, Liberation, Reuters
and many other media outlets.

Entries by Ronald Tiersky

Dealing with ISIS/Islamic State: three scenarios

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 6:12 PM

Media accounts of gruesome executions and beheadings carried out by ISIS fighters over the past week have put in the background another aspect of their strategy besides barbarism: the process of constructing a state.

Islamic State's leadership announced that it intends to issue its own currency, coins denominated in...

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How Important Is the Caliphate and Abu Bakr to ISIS?

(11) Comments | Posted October 20, 2014 | 2:28 PM

Co-authored by Michael Chioke*

The outside world's war with ISIS seems to be evolving in a more positive direction. In the battle for Kobani on the Syrian-Turkish border, ISIS fighters are retreating even although elsewhere in Syria and Iraq they are holding or advancing, for example in Iraq's Anbar province.

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Milan in August and Other Good Travel Ideas

(1) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 3:37 PM

Milan is not one of Italy's most-visited travel destinations. Guide-books often say it's a two-star city. Rick Steve's excellent Italy 2014 says, "OK, it's a big, intense city, so you probably won't linger." But he's speaking here to the average tourist. He also says, "Many tourists come to Italy for...

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Francois Hollande in Purgatory

(0) Comments | Posted August 29, 2014 | 11:59 AM

French president François Hollande is evermore himself and this is bad news for France.

In his first year it was the old Socialist pattern of campaigning in left-wing poetry (for example the 75 percent tax on incomes over 1 million euros), then backpedaling to mixed-up prose once...

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Machiavelli's Advice to Hamas: Fight for Your People Not for Your Own Glory

(0) Comments | Posted August 15, 2014 | 3:56 PM

If Machiavelli were counseling the Hamas leadership today he would give them hard advice. Be smarter about war, he would say. Know that both victory and defeat are not easy to get right. It's possible, for example, to win a war but lose the peace and it's also possible to...

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Whose God Is the One True God?

(2) Comments | Posted July 24, 2014 | 2:47 PM

As ISIS/Islamic State takes over Mosul and other parts of Syria and Iraq it is imposing an ancient religious persecution of minorities: Christians (or any minority) face a brutal choice of conversion to Islam, paying tribute, or death. Almost all have fled the city or the country. Jews throughout history...

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ISIS: What Does It Mean for Israel?

(14) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 11:36 AM

It's a foreign policy witticism to say that whenever a crisis occurs in the world the question for some people is always, what does it mean for Israel? With Syria and now Iraq in flames, Israel's security is not at the top of any country's agenda other than Israel itself....

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François Hollande and the French Socialists: Failure Goes Deeper Than the European Elections

(0) Comments | Posted June 1, 2014 | 1:05 AM

In last Sunday's European parliament elections there were two earthquake results in France. The first is the breakthrough of the far-right nationalist, anti-EU, anti-immigrant National Front party (FN). The second is the overwhelming defeat of the governing Socialist party (PS) of President François Hollande. The French Socialists' failure, however, goes...

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Israeli Unilateralism and the Palestinian Dilemma

(49) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 3:33 PM

The most important fact in the perpetual Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" is that Israel holds almost all the high cards. Fundamentally, the Palestinians want something life-changing that only Israel can give them -- a state -- whereas Israel can live well-enough with the status quo.

Palestinian negotiators can demand, protest,...

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Memo to Vladimir

(1) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 11:56 AM

An imaginary memo to President Putin from an Old Friend:

From: Pavel
To: Vladimir
Subject: Don't overplay your hand

Your magnificent speech of March 18 announcing Crimea's annexation hit the right notes: legitimate grievance, the greatness of Russia, personal glory. For the moment, everyone is looking at Moscow,...

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China, Russia and the Crimea: A Moment of Truth for Beijing

(1) Comments | Posted March 17, 2014 | 6:05 PM

China is not a central actor in the Ukraine/Crimea crisis. But Russia's invasion and likely annexation of Crimea highlights Beijing's dilemma trying to balance between East and West, authoritarianism and democracy, Great Power politics and liberal internationalism.

How to understand today's China? Is it still a political dictatorship despite...

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Alert: The Nuclear Agreement Is Risky for Iran Too

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 9:39 PM

Is the "Joint Plan of Action" accord to curb Iran's nuclear program a good agreement for the West and Middle East peace, or is the agreement, signed November 24 in Geneva, just the same treacherous Iranian wine in a fancy new bottle?

In other words, have the P5 +...

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Pope Francis and the Future of Europe

(1) Comments | Posted September 26, 2013 | 3:27 PM

European political leadership is desperately in need of new energy and vision. Within Europe's ongoing deep malaise an unexpected element has appeared: the new pontiff, Pope Francis.

The thoughts that follow are inspired by the surprising popular enthusiasm his initial public appearances seem to generate as well as the...

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Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations: The Least Bad Deal Is a Good Deal

(231) Comments | Posted August 7, 2013 | 9:47 PM

The troubles have begun. Israeli/Palestinian negotiations as expected won't march along nicely.

First was the good news. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet announced Israel would release 104 long-serving Palestinian prisoners. Yesterday chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said four groups of prisoners would be released, beginning with

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Why Germany Needs France: Europe Needs More Than One Big

(4) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 12:09 PM

No country, especially in the 27-country European Union, should want to be the only international success story.

Not to be forgotten is that the Eurozone, scene of the current chaos, is enveloped by the EU. It is not the whole story of European integration. But, likewise, Europe as the world...

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Deficit Reduction: What's Really Going on

(0) Comments | Posted March 15, 2013 | 6:47 PM

Negotiations between President Obama and Republicans on deficit reduction confuse a lot of people because media reports give only partial accounts. Just as current stock market record highs are stated without noting the effects of inflation (nominal vs. inflation-adjusted statistics), reports of gridlock failure to make progress on deficit reduction...

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The Key to Educational Success: One Teacher Is Sufficient

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 10:47 AM

How many great teachers does it take for students to succeed?

The answer is one.

Here's a story that convinces me of this fact yet again:

My department, the political science department at Amherst College, is hiring an assistant professor for a new position teaching Chinese politics.

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