Talks to form a coalition government in Greece collapsed again this week as a result of the country’s belt-tightening backlash. The country now faces an unpleasant dilemma: agreed-upon austerity measures in exchange for bailout funds, or a messy default and exit from the Eurozone. Greece’s deteriorating situation raises many questions about whether austerity is the right path for other struggling European nations trying to avoid this same fate.
For several years now, European governments have tried versions of austerity — usually understood as an attempt to reduce the ratio of government debt to gross domestic product — in hopes of reviving the continent’s flailing economies.… Seguir leyendo »
On Iran, President Obama has dangled plenty of carrots. It’s time to pull out some sticks.
With a new round of talks coming this week in Baghdad between Iran and the group of nations known as the “P5+1” — the United States, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia — over Tehran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration has gone to great lengths to stress the possibility and desirability of a diplomatic solution, and to make clear that the military option is a last resort. As White House deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough said this month in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “We believe the policy we are pursuing is working.… Seguir leyendo »
Citizenship laws are in the news again. Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota acquired, and then quickly renounced, Swiss citizenship. Eduardo Saverin, a founder of Facebook who was born in Brazil and lives in Singapore, gave up his United States citizenship, perhaps to avoid American taxes. Anti-immigrant activists are claiming that the 14th Amendment does not bestow citizenship on children born in the United States to noncitizen parents — even though a century of jurisprudence says it does.
The real problem with citizenship laws is not their manipulation by lawmakers or entrepreneurs, much less by mythical “anchor babies.” The problem is more fundamental: the age-old, irrational linkage between citizenship and birthplace.… Seguir leyendo »
As the United States convenes the NATO summit in Chicago this weekend, the fate of Afghanistan’s women is on my mind. This spring marks the 10th anniversary of the return of Afghanistan’s girls to the classroom. During the Taliban era, women were denied education. Women could not work, even when they were the sole providers for their families. Under the Taliban dictatorship, it was decreed that women should be neither seen nor heard.
By 2002, the consequences of such deliberate human cruelty were abundantly clear. Afghanistan faced a humanitarian crisis. Seventy percent of its people were malnourished, and 25 percent of children died before age 5.… Seguir leyendo »
All mountain climbs contain an element of risk. How a mountaineer chooses to approach that risk, using the sum of the physical, mental and emotional powers at his or her disposal, is the basic challenge of the endeavor. At its best, mountaineering rewards shrewd and independent decision making.
Sadly, events on the south (Nepalese) side of Mount Everest this season suggest that while the risks inherent in climbing the mountain have never been greater, a majority of Everest climbers are increasingly estranged from the decision-making process. Two intersecting trends are to blame: the rising number of people attempting the mountain, and the cumulative effects of global warming, which is slowly yet steadily drying out the Himalayas, resulting in rockfalls, avalanches and sérac collapses.… Seguir leyendo »
Un acuerdo de última hora entre los Estados Unidos y China puede brindar al abogado y activista en pro de los derechos humanos Chen Guangcheng la oportunidad de matricularse en una facultad de Derecho en Nueva York, pero, aun cuando esté a punto de conseguirse una solución para el fracaso diplomático, ese caso sigue siendo en gran medida inquietante. En particular, pese a los más de tres decenios de reforma jurídica en China, Chen dispuso de poquísimos recursos para defenderse contra el acoso y la detención domiciliaría a manos de las autoridades chinas.
De hecho, veintitrés años después de que el disidente Fang Lizhi se refugiara en la embajada de los Estados Unidos, a raíz de la violenta represión aplicada en la plaza de Tiananmen, la única opción de Cheng fue la de saltar a la desesperada a los brazos de diplomáticos americanos.… Seguir leyendo »
Cada año mueren millones de personas debido a enfermedades que se pueden prevenir y tratar, sobre todo en los países pobres. En muchos casos se pueden producir a gran escala medicamentos baratos para salvar vidas pero sus precios de venta impiden que los compren las personas que los necesitan. Además, hay muchos que mueren sencillamente porque no hay curas o vacunas debido a que se dedican muy pocos recursos y talento de investigación del mundo para tratar las enfermedades de los sectores pobres.
Esta situación representa un fracaso de la economía y la legislación que se tiene que corregir urgentemente. La buena noticia es que ahora hay nuevas oportunidades de cambio, sobre todo mediante esfuerzos internacionales encabezados por la Organización Mundial de la Salud que empezarían a modificar el régimen ineficaz de propiedad intelectual que obstaculiza el desarrollo y disponibilidad de medicamentos asequibles.… Seguir leyendo »
The events of the past few weeks have made increasingly probable what was once considered impossible: Greece may exit the euro.
The country, which is in its fifth year of recession, has recently proved ungovernable and has a debt it can probably never repay despite bailouts, may find itself forced to default and reissue its own currency. The question now tormenting markets is — will Spain follow the same path?
No one would argue that Spain is in good shape. Entering its second year of recession with unemployment soon to pass 25% and youth unemployment above 50%, Spain is making a valiant effort to meet the eurozone´s demands for fiscal austerity.… Seguir leyendo »
Afghanistan’s recent signings of strategic partnerships with the United States and other countries have provided a measure of reassurance to Afghans about the international community’s sustained engagement in the country beyond 2014, when the drawdown of NATO combat forces will be complete. But these documents are short on specifics and do not fully tackle the political, economic and regional challenges that need to be addressed so the Afghan army and police can take responsibility for the security of the country.
To give this transition a real chance of succeeding, Afghanistan and its partners need to concentrate on the risks and challenges in the critical next two years.… Seguir leyendo »
Antes, cuando los estadounidenses pensaban en México, se imaginaban una fiesta en donde volaban las margaritas, los mariachis tocaban y todos los días era 5 de Mayo .
Ya no más. Espantosas historias de balaceras al azar, decapitaciones masivas y daños masivos se han convertido en algo común. A los gatilleros les da lo mismo dispararle a docenas de adolescentes en una disco con metralletas y lanzarlegranadas de mano indiscriminadamente a la gente en un festejo. Parece que los mexicanos se han hecho casi inmunes a la carnicería.
Como resultado de esos actos crueles de terrorismo, y los esfuerzos del gobierno por combatirlos, más de 47,000 han muerto en 5 años y medio.… Seguir leyendo »
NATO leaders will gather in Chicago on May 20 to set new directions for the alliance. Russia was invited to attend, in part to mark the 10th anniversary of the Russia-NATO Council, a consultative group designed to engage the former adversaries in defense planning. But President Vladimir Putin is staying home because of an impasse on what has become the single greatest source of friction between NATO and Russia: U.S. missile defense deployments in Europe, the nucleus of a wider future NATO system.
Missile defenses will ostensibly protect allies against limited regional threats from the Middle East, but Moscow fears the system will eventually undercut its nuclear deterrent and has threatened dangerous military countermeasures.… Seguir leyendo »
NATO leaders meet this Sunday and Monday in Chicago for a summit that is likely to be dominated by Afghanistan. This is a vital issue, and we hope all alliance members will honor the outstanding service of our military and civilian personnel by agreeing to both a common exit strategy and the necessary resources to implement it.
The summit itself, however, needs to be about far more than that.
Summit participants will receive the results of a Deterrence and Defense Posture Review, set up at the Lisbon summit in 2010. This has been conducted against the backdrop of substantial cuts in defense expenditure across the alliance, during a period of more troubled relations with Russia, and in the context of lessons that must be learned from operations in Libya.… Seguir leyendo »
The NATO summit in Chicago starting on Sunday is expected to declare an “interim capability” of a NATO missile defense shield. Although Russia had been invited by NATO at its summit in Lisbon in 2010 to cooperate in setting up a joint ballistic missile defense system, or B.M.D., the alliance is now poised to proceed unilaterally, leaving Russia out in the cold.
It would make more sense to call a brief pause. The decision to set up a missile defense system was a compromise from the start, containing two equally important strategic elements: One, a system to better protect NATO territory against future ballistic threats; two, to cooperate with Russia on planning and implementation of the B.M.D.… Seguir leyendo »
In his valedictory speech last year, then-U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates argued that the partnership between the North American and European sides of the NATO alliance needed a new impulse.
At the Chicago summit meeting on Sunday and Monday, leaders of the 28 NATO members will tackle that precise challenge and set the alliance on a new course to acquire the capabilities it will need to deal with an increasingly complex security environment.
It will do so by endorsing a defense package that sets forth a vision for the future NATO forces and identifies the means to achieve this objective in a time of austerity: the Smart Defense and the Connected Forces initiatives.… Seguir leyendo »
NATO was 63 in April and will celebrate its birthday at next week’s summit meeting in Chicago, no doubt accompanied by much debate about what purpose the alliance now serves and whether it has a future.
The backdrop is somber. The NATO heads of government will focus on the withdrawal of the alliance’s forces from Afghanistan by the 2014 date set by President Obama. NATO’s legacy is uncertain but there is little optimism that, despite the blood and treasure expended over the past decade, Afghanistan’s fragile progress will weather a renewed Taliban onslaught.
NATO’s leaders will be keenly aware, too, that their discussions will be taking place against the backdrop of over-stretched defense budgets and a continuing economic and financial crisis on both sides of the Atlantic.… Seguir leyendo »