The sea is vast, but the horizon is near. If you are in the water, you see hardly any distance. With every foot of elevation, the horizon recedes: Five feet above sea level — standing on a raft — it’s three miles away. So, from the deck of your foundering vessel, you might still see Libya, as your rescuers arrive.
Earlier this month, aid groups and the Italian Coast Guard rescued hundreds of African migrants off the Libyan coast. The scene was captured in sickening photos: overcrowded boats compared to slave ships, the rescued clambering over the bodies of the dead.… Seguir leyendo »
In 1320, in the Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland’s nobles firmly rejected rule by their southern neighbors: “For as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule.” That “hundred” was rhetorical, since the declaration has only about half that many signatures, but it worked: Scotland remained independent, for a while.
Last Thursday, considerably more than 100 Scots — millions, actually — expressed themselves on an equally momentous question, if in a more mundane fashion: “Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No.” That was the tamer wording of the referendum in which the people of Scotland decided whether to break their bond with the United Kingdom, or not.… Seguir leyendo »
“This moment requires statesmanship.” That was Secretary of State John F. Kerry — a man not known for irony — in a meeting in late June with Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region. Appealing to Barzani’s nonexistent Iraqi patriotism, Kerry asked for the Kurdistan leadership’s help in fighting Islamic militants overrunning northern Iraq, and pleaded for Kurds to help form a new government in Baghdad rather than seek independence.
But what Kerry seems to have meant is, “This moment requires provincialism,” because that is what the United States is asking the Kurds to remain: a province of Iraq. The Kurds aren’t likely to listen — Barzani announced a referendum on independence — and the question now is: How should the U.S.… Seguir leyendo »