With the headlines speaking of a Russian invasion of the Crimea, I fear for the ancient Tatars who warmly welcomed me to their communities and hope they don't find themselves again facing repression at the hands of their historic oppressors, the Russians.
For the past decade, I've been wandering like a dervish around the globe -- trying to see things from a different perspective -- specifically, upside down. While some people fly or sail around the world, I'm trying to cartwheel across this great Earth.
If the United States starts treating these issues more consistently, leaders of oppressive regimes in the region will know that they will face increased pressure on the international stage if they do not choose to fully respect the rights and freedoms of their citizens.
A celebrity endorsement, whether explicit or implicit, emboldens dictators in their denial of fundamental freedoms to their people. They must pay a price. And those who endorse them with their presence, like Iglesias, should be called out for their disgraceful conduct.
The Central Asian exit plan will cost the American taxpayer more than twice as much as the Pakistani alternative.. Worse, the plan's success depends completely on the goodwill of Russia and its mercurial Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, in a move initiated by the Obama administration, has voted to waive Bush-era human rights restrictions on military aid to the Islam Karimov dictatorship in Uzbekistan, one of the most brutal and repressive regimes on the planet.
A high-level Uzbek official is in Washington this week for talks about ramping up cooperation on supply routes through Central Asia for US troops in Afghanistan. Has the US learned that there is a cost for playing footsie with repressive regimes?
What of the sway of Persian, or for that matter, any other language in today's world? It is language capable of 'selling' to an increasingly aware world-population that will be triumphant in the 21st century.