In the words of a veteran Washington hand, the problem of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main U.N. agency dealing with Palestinians, is always important but never urgent.
Well, it just became urgent.
That’s because President Trump tweeted “with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?” Then, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley added that the U.S. government is prepared to cut off funds to UNRWA. And, Axios reported, a U.S. payment of $125 million was not delivered (though that was later denied).… Seguir leyendo »
It’s tempting to say that Europe’s leaders lack the courage of their convictions. But that would imply that they have convictions. The evidence suggests those days are gone.
In particular, Europe’s leaders have been conspicuously unmoved by the spectacle of Iranians, day after day, taking to the streets in dozens of cities and towns, risking arrest, torture and death to protest their oppression and impoverishment by a religious class that has been Iran’s ruling class for almost two generations.
The theocrats have used the nation’s oil wealth, in addition to the billions of dollars that have filled Iranian coffers thanks to sanctions relief, to support fighters in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza.… Seguir leyendo »
The Iranian election of 2009, re-electing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was so obviously fixed that the results ignited a near-revolt that threatened the terror-sponsoring regime of the ayatollahs.
The Green Movement, led by prominent Iranians including former premier Hossein Mousavi, seriously threatened the regime that has been an implacable enemy of the United States since it came to power in 1979. The rebellion’s failure was assured by President Obama.
Instead of helping the protesters, Mr. Obama criticized them, saying that they didn’t represent “fundamental change.” He spoke meekly, saying that, “The world is watching and inspired by their participation, regardless of what the ultimate outcome of the election was.”
Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
The revolution that transformed Iran in 1979 was a grand experiment. From that moment on, Iran would be ruled by an ayatollah, a man with deep knowledge of Shariah, Islamic law. He would be the “supreme leader,” a euphemism for dictator. He would merit that authority because he would be regarded, literally, as God’s “representative on Earth.”
The first supreme leader was Ruhollah Khomeini, a charismatic, fire-and-brimstone cleric, an unwavering proponent of jihad against America and the West. When he died in 1989 the title went to Ali Khamenei who in no way moderated the regime’s ideology. On the contrary, he has called the Islamic Revolution the “turning point in modern world history.”
Today, the regime in Tehran influences Iraq, props up the Assad dynasty in Syria, controls Lebanon through Hezbollah, and backs the Houthi rebels in Yemen.… Seguir leyendo »
Free speech, the driving principle of the American experiment in how free men govern themselves, is a principle that does not always travel well. Free speech requires constant defense and the careful attention of loving hands. Mere lip service won’t do it.
Americans are armed with the First Amendment, the most important amendment of all, and it does not guarantee polite or even responsible speech, but free speech. The humblest citizen is entitled to say whatever he pleases. He can expect to pay the consequences of irresponsible speech, but the government can’t stop him from saying it.
Certain politicians even here from time to time seem frustrated enough to want to create exceptions.… Seguir leyendo »
If you ask most Indians in what kind of society they want to live, they’ll tell you they want to live in a free and tolerant India.
Indians want to live in harmony as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and as members of any religion of their choosing. They don’t want to be accused of being anti-nationalist because of their diverse identities and beliefs, or of participating in fraudulent conversions when they practice and share their faith as enjoined in the constitution.
Christians want to celebrate Easter and Christmas in peace, in the same way Muslims want to celebrate Ramadan and Eid and Hindus their holy days.… Seguir leyendo »
Lost in all the talk of the much-ballyhooed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was any mention of policy regarding improving conditions in the struggling territory of Puerto Rico.
With a crumbling infrastructure that had a 300,000-customer power outage before landfall of any major hurricane this past September, Puerto Rico was losing the economic war to import industry and manufacturing into the picturesque island. It wasn’t a policy failure, as Act No. 20 of 2012, known as the “Export Services Act” provided Puerto Rico an incredibly favorable tax haven for would-be expatriates.
This act had the potential to attract global businesses as it offered a 4 percent corporate tax and 100 percent tax exemption on distributions from earnings and profits, a 90 percent tax exemption from personal property and taxes and a 90 percent tax exemption from property taxes for certain types of businesses.… Seguir leyendo »
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 »