I have a Masters in International Relations, speak four languages and served as a politician in my country, the Republic of Georgia.
I am also an immigrant.
I came to the United States in 2004, met my future wife and married in 2005. My path to citizenship was arduous, frustrating and expensive.
We had three lawyers over the span of 10 years. We hauled suitcases full of documents (including pictures, and letters addressed to both of us to prove we lived together). We stood in long lines for fingerprints, interviews and a medical exam. Make a typo on your application? Kicked back and lose six months.… Seguir leyendo »
Killer drones guided by Islamic State terrorists have made their debut in Northern Iraq, prompting concern about a new terror weapon outside of Iraq.
“I can verify that the enemy has used drones to release grenade-sized munitions,” wrote U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, chief spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve, in an email from Baghdad. He went on to say that Iraqi forces closing in on Islamic State’s last-remaining high-population stronghold in Iraq are dealing with them.
Islamic State websites have reported more than 37 drone strikes in a wide area of Northern Iraq from Feb.… Seguir leyendo »
I walked into the Ankara airport on Dec. 20, after a long day of eye-opening meetings, to the news on CNN International — the Russian ambassador to Turkey had just been shot. Our U.S. ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, a career diplomat who expertly navigated our previous 24 hours of intensive meetings, was standing next to me. He calmly pulled out his cellphone and started making calls.
This attack was shocking, but it represents a sad, new normal for Turkey. Days before I arrived, a car bomb exploded near a bus in Kayseri, Turkey, killing 13 soldiers and wounding 55 people.… Seguir leyendo »
Egypt’s core asset and main engine of growth is its youth. Its total population of more than 92 million is characterized by a demographic youth bulge, with a young median age of 23.8 years, compared to 37.9 in United States and 46.8 in Germany.
Tapping on these underutilized resources is critical for unleashing Egypt’s vast potential. Attaining high economic growth and creating jobs through efficient utilization of Egypt’s young human capital requires the transition from an efficiency-driven economy towards a more innovation one. This ambitious aim is based on strong fundamentals that currently exist in Egypt, which necessitate the political will that advances the right economic reforms, and creates a conducive environment with more efficient labor and financial markets, and more conducive frameworks — key ingredients that Egypt currently is heading toward.… Seguir leyendo »
Winston Churchill once noted, “If you’re not a liberal at 20, you have no heart, and if you’re not a conservative at 40, you have no head.”
That might explain — at least in part — why the term “liberal” has often been shunned. As the American population grows older, it is becoming more conservative.
But other factors also help explain the negative connation awarded the term:
• The extension of individual rights to more groups perceived by the public to be outside the pale of acceptability (criminals, for example) has been equated with liberalism.
• The perception of liberals as spenders and taxers has been popularized, and by educating more and more Americans (not just the affluent), young Americans are less geared to the prospect of righting the nation’s and world’s wrongs and more toward making it big for themselves.… Seguir leyendo »
Historians will look back on 2016 as an inflection year in world history, perhaps not as momentous (or violent) as the years that follow but marking a major global turning point, when the old order of world politics could be seen as crumbling. This disintegration actually has been going on for some time, but it was not so readily discernible during the intervening years as it became in 2016.
As we peer into 2017, consider some of the old structures, both global and domestic, now under threat.
The European Union: This 70-year-old experiment in European integration is buffeted by a powerful wave of nationalism reflected in Britain’s Brexit vote and other rising political currents in France, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and elsewhere.… Seguir leyendo »
On Christmas Day 1991, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev picked up a pen to sign the document officially terminating the U.S.S.R. It had no ink. Mr. Gorbachev was obliged to borrow a pen from the CNN crew covering the event, a fitting end for the unelected president of a country headed for the ash heap of history.
Czech President Vaclav Havel called the fall of the Soviet Empire “an event on the same scale of historical importance as the fall of the Roman Empire.” We should not let this, its 25th anniversary, pass without remark or reflection.
As a visibly bewildered Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
At the end of World War II, the United States established a liberal international order that included an institutional commitment to free trade and freedom of the seas. It also included unprecedented assistance to weak nations incapable of fending for themselves, through the Marshall Plan, NATO and other alliances. However one describes the U.S. rule, it did provide a period of equilibrium, notwithstanding challenges from the Soviet Union.
While the U.S. is not likely to be completely displaced from its dominant position in the 21st century, this order will undoubtedly be threatened by a diffusion of power and the complexity of world politics.… Seguir leyendo »
Palestinian Islamic Jihad is, as its name suggests, an organization committed to jihad — against Israel most urgently, though not exclusively. So when the U.N. Security Council on Friday passed a resolution condemning Israel, PIJ spokesman Dawood Shihab was pleased. He called it a “victory.” He wasn’t wrong.
Nor was Fawzy Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas, another organization openly committed to Israel’s extermination, as well as to “a jihadi revolution” that will be a “prelude to the establishment of the future Islamic caliphate.” He called the resolution an “important evolution in international positions.” He expressed Hamas‘ “appreciation.”
Most deserving of their gratitude is Barack Obama who decided to spend his last days in office playing golf in Hawaii and throwing America’s most reliable ally to the wolves at the U.N., an organization that exhibits passivity when it comes to the ongoing carnage in Syria, the genocide of Christians, Yazidis and other minorities in the broader Middle East, the conflict in Yemen, failing states — the list goes on and on.… Seguir leyendo »
Recent terrorist attacks in Ankara, Turkey, and Berlin, Germany, add to a growing list of incidents that are becoming increasingly difficult to remember. Does one begin the list with the plane hijackings in the ‘60s and ‘70s, or the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, or the USS Cole attack in 2000, or the second World Trade Center attack in 2001, or Ft. Hood, San Bernardino, Orlando, Paris or Nice? And that’s not all of them, nor will it be the end of them, if we don’t have a better response.
During the great wave of immigration in the early-20th century, the United States barred those afflicted with tuberculosis, venereal disease, trachoma and other serious diseases from entering the country.… Seguir leyendo »
It seems that every day brings a new revelation of Russian aggression. From the invasions of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, to the situation in Syria today, the Putin regime’s actions have reached a level that not even the most paranoid Kremlinologists would have predicted just a few years ago.
Russia’s exercises in blunt, hard power are complemented by a covert soft-power campaign, designed to insulate the state from challenges at home and abroad. And with the hacking of the Democratic National Committee by operatives tied to the Russian government, many Americans are only now becoming aware of what once might have seemed like a foreign concern.… Seguir leyendo »
Two months after Saudi Arabian airstrikes killed more than 140 people at a funeral in Yemen — the latest in a long string of attacks on civilian targets that have led to accusations of war crimes in the tiny Gulf nation — the Obama administration has decided to curtail American support for Riyadh’s bloody intervention in the Yemeni civil war.
“We continue to have concerns about the conflict in Yemen and how it has been waged, most especially the air campaign,” an unnamed administration official told ABC News. “Consequently, we have decided to not move forward with final approval on some sales of munitions.… Seguir leyendo »
For far too long, the United States has stood idly by and allowed the People’s Republic of China to conduct what is charitably described as a massive power grab throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
Looking back just a few years ago, such a statement seemed unimaginable. Under the leadership of President Obama, while America has talked about pivoting to Asia with robust rhetoric, we have offered the world’s most economically dynamic and strategically important part of the globe some impressive photo-ops, but little substance to ensure the status-quo — which has allowed Asia to enjoy decades of peace, stability and unparalleled economic opportunity — would be preserved.… Seguir leyendo »
”Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner). Four simple words uttered by President John F. Kennedy on June 26, 1963 against the geopolitical backdrop of the Berlin Wall. Four words as appropriate today as they were 53 years ago.
Today in Berlin, Cairo and across the globe, Christians are crying out for us to stand against their oppressors with the same strength of character our late president showed the world.
But we live in an age of political correctness run amok, in which Christians are hesitant about showing their faith or wishing others a Merry Christmas. We are expert at ensuring we do not offend and we change our words to protect the sensitivities of others.… Seguir leyendo »
Twenty-five years ago this Christmas Day, the Soviet Union dissolved quietly and peacefully, effectively ending the Cold War. Mikhail Gorbachev resigned as the Soviet Union’s leader, and its 15 constituent republics went their separate ways. This development surprised even Mr. Gorbachev, who intended only to update his nation, not to destroy it.
“Reforming and refreshing the Soviet Union was necessary and possible,” he told Russia’s TASS news service earlier this month. “I was defending the USSR till the very end. No one thought the USSR could be eliminated. It fell into pieces by itself.”
Several of the former Soviet republics have, in fact, reformed and refreshed since then.… Seguir leyendo »
Over the last five years, Syria has been descending into a hell on Earth. Over the last four months, the lowest depths of the inferno have been on display in Aleppo, an ancient city, once among the most diverse and dynamic in the Middle East. On Friday, in the final press conference of his presidency, Barack Obama addressed this still-unfolding humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.
“So with respect to Syria,” he said, “what I have consistently done is taken the best course that I can to try to end the civil war while having also to take into account the long-term national security interests of the United States.”
An estimated 500,000 dead, 11 million displaced, millions more living in fear, sorrow and pitiful poverty, Iranian forces backed by Russian forces occupying the heart of the Arab world — yet no-drama Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
Sanctions against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are exactly the wrong answer at exactly the wrong time.
The European Union and the United States have recently issued sanctions against a number of officials in my country’s government. In their view, the EU and United States are punishing the government for outbreaks of domestic violence in the DRC’s capital of Kinshasa earlier this year. But if the EU and the U.S. really want to help the DRC as they claim to, and not hurt it as they appear to, they will offer my country a carrot, instead of continuing to bash it with sticks.… Seguir leyendo »
OPEC member’s decision last week to cut oil output won’t help Saudi Arabia in the long term. The kingdom problems run far deeper and even at $50 a barrel, it will face a large deficit requiring more borrowing and subsidies cuts that will bring more pain on a population accustomed to easy life.
Saudi Arabia has managed to escape the “Arab Spring” using its oil profit reserves and a strong and experienced leadership. Today the kingdom is in a different situation as it faces growing pressures that might eventually lead to political instability. Economic uncertainty grows as cuts to subsidies and salaries impact Saudis that are accustomed to the prosperity brought by oil while the government has been running massive deficits over the last two years.… Seguir leyendo »
“The novelty and magnitude of Europe’s predicament make it difficult to understand, tempting to overlook, and nearly impossible to predict. Europe marches us all into terra incognita.” That’s how I closed an article 10 years ago on the topic of Islam’s future in Europe. Now, thanks to elections in France and Austria, an answer is emerging: Europeans appear not ready to “go gentle into that good night” but will “rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
True, the elites, as symbolized by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, remain in deep denial about the issues of immigration, Islamism and identity. What I call the Six Ps (politicians, press, police, prosecutors, professors and priests) refuse to acknowledge the fundamental societal changes and enormous tensions their policies are creating.… Seguir leyendo »
One man, one vote, one time: In 2005, Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a four-year term as president of the Palestinian Authority. He hasn’t bothered to run for re-election since.
He also is president of Fatah, a political movement with past ties to terrorism and the dominant faction within the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO was founded in 1964 — three years before Israelis were in Gaza or the West Bank. Mr. Abbas is chairman of the PLO, too.
What all this means is that despite Mr. Abbas’ declining popularity — two-thirds of Palestinians would like him to resign, according to a recent poll — no one has been able to successfully challenge his power on the West Bank.… Seguir leyendo »