Many performers can impress or delight, but only a few can astonish. Michael Jackson did it twice. The first time was October 1969, when the hit single “I Want You Back” introduced a cherubic 11-year-old boy who sang with unbelievable maturity, soulfulness and swing. The second was March 1983, when the prodigy — now grown tall, thin and angular — moonwalked through an electrifying “Billie Jean,” leaving a national television audience slack-jawed at how effortlessly he defied the laws of physics.
Jackson’s personal trajectory, though, was excruciating to watch. I’ve never put much stock in the idea that genius always devours those whom it favors.… Seguir leyendo »
I used to fear that President Obama was overestimating the power of his personal history as an instrument of foreign policy. Now I wonder if he might have been underestimating.
In several interviews during the long presidential campaign, Obama mentioned the potential impact in other countries of seeing an American president with an appearance and a life story like none of his predecessors. He spoke of how the Muslim world especially, addressed by a president who had a Muslim father and who spent years of his childhood in a Muslim country, might be more inclined to believe that the United States is not an enemy of Islam.… Seguir leyendo »
Mexico City is one of the greatest urban agglomerations in the world, a dense and teeming mountain valley with a population of more than 20 million. Wealthy enclaves have the sleekness of Manhattan or Beverly Hills, but much of the metropolitan area is gritty and anonymous. It must be an easy place in which to disappear.
Yet somehow, amid all the chaos and bustle, Mexican health authorities noticed an unusual cluster of deaths — first just a handful, then a few dozen. That observation led to the identification of a new, potentially dangerous strain of influenza, and now governments worldwide are issuing travel advisories, readying stockpiles of medicine, canvassing hospitals for possible cases of “swine flu” and, of course, telling citizens not to panic.… Seguir leyendo »
Las muchas vías de investigación de las abusivas «técnicas de interrogatorio» practicadas por la administración Bush conducen a un hecho inconveniente y terco: la tortura no es sólo inmoral, sino también ilegal. Esto significa que una vez que sepamos toda la verdad, estaremos obligados por ley a actuar al respecto.Comprensiblemente, la Administración Obama quiere evitar entramparse en un largo y agotador drama legal que casi seguro será partidista y divisorio. Pero no estoy seguro de que sea posible esquivar las implicaciones delictivas de lo que ya sabemos, por no hablar de lo que podríamos descubrir en el curso de una investigación integral de estilo «comisión de la verdad» con acceso a todos los testigos y documentos relevantes.… Seguir leyendo »
The many roads of inquiry into the Bush administration’s abusive “interrogation techniques” all lead to one stubborn, inconvenient fact: Torture is not just immoral but also illegal. This means that once we learn the whole truth, the law will oblige us to act on it.
Understandably, the Obama administration wants to avoid getting bogged down in a long, wrenching legal drama that almost certainly would be partisan and divisive. But I’m not sure it’s possible to skirt the criminal implications of what we already know, let alone what we might find out in a full-scale “truth commission” investigation with access to all relevant witnesses and documents.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s hard to argue with the results thus far from President Obama’s “no drama” approach to campaigning and governing, but I think he should learn to chew a little scenery when the occasion demands. Theatricality is one of the weapons in any leader’s arsenal, and a well-timed glower or growl can have more impact than a sheaf of position papers.
Obama’s critics are upset that at the recent Summit of the Americas, held in Trinidad and Tobago, he treated his fellow leaders from around the hemisphere as peers. Obama’s collegial attitude was, indeed, a break from tradition — and was long overdue.… Seguir leyendo »
The Congressional Black Caucus delegation that visited Havana last week was naive not to notice — or disingenuous not to acknowledge — that Cuba is hardly the paradise of racial harmony and equality it pretends to be. Still, that’s no reason for the United States to continue the illogical, ineffective, hard-line policies that have produced an unbroken 47-year record of failure.
President Obama’s action yesterday — he eased some restrictions on travel, gifts and remittances, but only for Cuban Americans — is barely a start. He should go so far as to actually base our Cuba policy on reality. After all, we’ve tried everything else.… Seguir leyendo »
By Eugene Robinson (THE WASHINGTON POST, 02/12/08):
A concept that excludes nothing defines nothing. That’s why one of the most urgent tasks for President-elect Barack Obama’s “Team of Rivals” foreign policy brain trust is coming up with a coherent intellectual framework — and a winning battle plan — for the globe-spanning asymmetrical conflict that George W. Bush calls the “war on terror.”
Terrorism (for the umpteenth time) is a tactic, not an enemy; Bush might as well declare war against flanking maneuvers or amphibious landings. Everyone knows what Bush is trying to say, and no one can deny the potential of terrorist attacks to destroy lives and change the world.… Seguir leyendo »