What a way to run a planet. Not since Nikita Khrushchev pounded his shoe on his delegate’s desk in 1960 has there been such open animosity at the United Nations. At the emergency session of the security council last weekend, the US accused Russia of barbarism in bombing Aleppo, the British told Russia it was involved in war crimes by helping the Assad regime’s “sick blood-lust”. When the Syrian ambassador started to speak, the US, British and French representatives stomped out of the chamber.
The Syrian war, the crisis of an ancient city under siege, is highlighting how dysfunctional the UN, and in particular its security council, has become.… Seguir leyendo »
Europe has been battered by Brexit, terrorist attacks, Russian aggression, the migrant crisis, and uneven economic performance. The two most important institutions undergirding European stability — NATO and the European Union — confront grave threats.
The case for Euro-pessimism seems compelling. So why am I guardedly optimistic about the future of our transatlantic alliance? First, let’s consider the case for gloom. NATO faces both an old danger to the east and a new danger to the west.
To the east, Russia has invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, and tripled defense spending since 2000. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the creation of three new combat divisions — comprised of tens of thousands of troops — and plans to station them near the Baltics and Poland by the end of the year.… Seguir leyendo »
On September 22, Chinese lawyer Xia Lin was found guilty of almost 10 million yuan in fraud, deprived of his political rights, fined 120,000 yuan and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Xia Lin and I met in 2010.
I planned to sue the Public Security Bureau in Sichuan for exercising violence; Xia accepted my offer to hire him as a lawyer and went with me to Sichuan. Despite our efforts, we were unable to file a lawsuit in the Sichuanese courts. The Public Security Bureau, the Sichuan People’s Procuratorate, and the provincial courts all denied any physical abuse took place.… Seguir leyendo »
There are very few people in the world whose lives align so effortlessly with the birth and being of their homeland. Shimon Peres, who has died at age 93, left an indelible mark on Israel — fighting for its independence, its security, and then, for its peace. It is difficult to imagine Israel’s past without him; it will be even harder to imagine its future.
In my family home, when I was growing up, Mr. Peres represented the “other side.” A man of the left, he was my parents’ political rival, very deeply a part of the Labor Party-dominated establishment that excluded them.… Seguir leyendo »
When Pope Francis ascended to the chair of St. Peter in March 2013, the world looked on in wonder. Here at last was a pope in line with the times, a man who preferred spontaneous gestures to ritual forms. Francis paid his own hotel bill and eschewed the red shoes. Rather than move into the grand papal apartments, he settled in the cozy guesthouse for visitors to the Vatican. He also set a new nondogmatic tone with statements like “Who am I to judge?”
Observers predicted that the new pope’s warmth, humility and charisma would prompt a “Francis effect” — bringing disaffected Catholics back to a church that would no longer seem so forbidding and cold.… Seguir leyendo »