Jueves, 24 de mayo de 2012

Another war is brewing in the Balkans. Recently, Serbia’s voters elected a new president. Ultranationalist Tomislav Nikolic narrowly defeated the liberal, pro-European Union incumbent, Boris Tadic. Mr. Nikolic’s victory means the Balkans may be plunged into ethnic violence again.

Mr. Nikolic won on his appeal as a crusading populist and hard-line Serbian nationalist. He campaigned against the rampant corruption and economic mismanagement that characterized Mr. Tadic’s government. Serbia faces an economic and social crisis. It is plagued by massive high unemployment, stagnating growth, soaring debt and rising poverty. Mr. Nikolic vowed to tackle the country’s problems and impose honest government. In particular, he has pledged to stand up to Serbia’s venal ruling class – a promise that struck a chord with many Serbs.…  Seguir leyendo »

Twenty years ago, there was the Earth Summit. Gathering in Rio de Janiero, world leaders agreed on an ambitious blueprint for a more secure future. They sought to balance the imperatives of robust economic growth and the needs of a growing population against the ecological necessity to conserve our planet’s most precious resources — land, air and water. And they agreed that the only way to do this was to break with the old economic model and invent a new one. They called it sustainable development.

Two decades later, we are back to the future. The challenges facing humanity today are much the same as then, only larger.…  Seguir leyendo »

I’m a Palestinian who was born in the Israeli town of Lod, and thus I am an Israeli citizen. My wife is not; she is a Palestinian from Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Despite our towns being just 30 miles apart, we met almost 6,000 miles away in Massachusetts, where we attended neighboring colleges.

A series of walls, checkpoints, settlements and soldiers fill the 30-mile gap between our hometowns, making it more likely for us to have met on the other side of the planet than in our own backyard.

Never is this reality more profound than on our trips home from our current residence outside Washington.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the year since President Obama approved a successful raid against Osama bin Laden, public opinion has been shifting. While many Westerners still celebrate the targeted killing — along with the killing several months later of Anwar Awlaki — some are expressing doubts.

European politicians, human rights lawyers and members of some East Coast think tanks have posited that these terrorists were actually more dangerous dead than alive. Death, the reasoning goes, martyred the leaders, thus immortalizing their ideas and appeal. Furthermore, the critics say, killing Al Qaeda leaders has had little strategic effect because the group can quickly replenish its ranks with able deputies.…  Seguir leyendo »

Never before has the survival of so much rainforest depended on one person. But that is where President Rousseff of Brazil finds herself. The Brazilian congress just passed a forest code that puts the Amazon and other forests in jeopardy.

Dilma Rousseff’s imminent decision on whether to pass or veto the bill will have huge ramifications. If approved, it would give loggers and farmers free rein to chop down 190m acres of forest. A territory the size of France and Britain combined will be at risk. It would open forests and rivers up for grabs, putting 70% of Brazil’s river basins at risk.…  Seguir leyendo »

It may be an effect of belated spring sunshine, but there are reasons to feel optimistic about Europe again. Whatever the short-term reactions of the markets, there is a fact about the European Union that some experts seem to forget each time there is a crisis: the EU is a political process, not a financial transaction or a business takeover.

In the course of the past 50 years, how many fatal predictions have been proved wrong? How many frog-leaps – forwards, backwards and sideways – have avoided collective dead ends? Frogs are not only and necessarily French. The informal dinner in Brussels on Wednesday showed that many European leaders are now convinced a political compromise has to be found to stimulate growth and save Greece, the eurozone and, indeed, the whole single market, so crucial to our economies.…  Seguir leyendo »