Posts tagged "United Nations"
Putin's Asia

Putin’s Asia

Last year, many commentators in the West were aghast at the Russian stance on the Syrian civil war. It was in early 2013 when Russia and China presented a united opposition at the UN Security Council to intervention in Syria. It was also flabbergasted at the Russian opposition, in the summer of 2013, to Obama’s proposed ‘punitive measures’ (read: indiscriminate bombing.) More»

Auschwitz to Activism

Auschwitz to Activism

I recently moved to Berlin for an exciting project: to help design and facilitate a conscientization program built around the 70th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. This has been particularly daunting for me, as the grandchild of four survivors. However, I believe that this project is more necessary than ever. The program for Trauma and Emancipation for 3rd Generation Nazi Holocaust Survivors will help us wade through the Holocaust’s legacy, and understand what comes next. More»

Learning From Syria

Learning From Syria

76 people had been killed during a Syrian assault on Aleppo. 28 of the casualties were said to be children. Despite the high death toll, I was pessimistic that the West would take notice. “It seems few care about Syrian lives, unless they’re killed by a chemical weapon,” I angrily tweeted. My despair reflected a decline in public interest in Syria’s civil war. Yes, the attack made the news, but it elicited no outcry. More»

Currency as Culture

Currency as Culture

Who could argue with such a simple request? “1 Euro for education”, the sign reads, advertising IKEA’s ongoing commitment to donate that amount to Save the Children with the purchase of each soft toy. But given the context, it’s hard not to read the message as a disturbing double entendre. More»

The Problem of Global Somalia

The Problem of Global Somalia

Somalia’s PR strategy is violence. Or so one might be inclined to think, based on press coverage of Nairobi’s spectacular Westfield mall attack by al-Shabaab gunmen (and apparently women.) The last time that Somalia fanned comparable ripples in US media culture was during the Battle of Mogadishu, a highfalutin moniker for the botched commando raid in 1993, in which 18 American soldiers and an estimated 1000 Somalis were killed. More»

Nuclear Islam

Nuclear Islam

With repetition, truth accretes. For example, repeat that Iran must be stopped from acquiring nuclear weapons, and everyone believes that Iran is trying to acquire nuclear weapons. The problem is, the facts don’t support so certain a conclusion, any more than they prove Iran’s innocence. More»

Lost in the Desert

Lost in the Desert

Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in!” Those were the words of Michael Corleone, an old man who had spent his life reluctantly running a Mafia family, in the third installment of The Godfather trilogy. This was a movie, of course, but the line probably has some resonance right now for US President Barack Obama. More»

The President of Conflict

The President of Conflict

Barack Obama has delivered an address at the UN General Assembly that he can’t possibly believe. Obama’s argument is that US isolationism could leave a leadership vacuum that would be damaging to the peacefulness of global politics. Irrespective of his actual intentions, the President’s meditations are increasingly unhinged from reality. More»

Putin in the Times

Putin in the Times

Followers of events in Syria were treated with a taste of the absurd this week. Vladimir Putin wrote a bizarre op-ed for the New York Times in which he argued against U.S. intervention. Predictably, it inspired an untold number of commentaries, ranging from sarcasm and ridicule, to blunt outrage from American leaders.  I’d only recommend Max Fisher’s piece in the Washington Post, since it takes Putin’s opinions more seriously than others. More»

The Lobby's Syrian Setback

The Lobby’s Syrian Setback

The Syria debate in the United States brought a lot of surprises, not the least of which was the behavior of various sectors of the “pro-Israel” Lobby. Despite the Russians coming along and at least temporarily bailing Obama out of the hole he dug for himself, AIPAC in particular took hit. The damage that caused should not be overstated, but it was real. I explore this at LobeLog. More»

Syria For Americans

Syria For Americans

Attacking Syria gets more surreal every day. The abstract nature of that debate, in the United States, as if somehow real lives, Syrian lives, were not hanging in the balance is appalling. And what is most starkly absent from the discussion is any apparent concern over a civil war that has already caused over 100,000 deaths, created some six million refugees and internally displaced persons and promises that the worst is yet to come. More»

The Price of Freedom

The Price of Freedom

Although almost everyone around the world has a superficial knowledge of the American way of life, forced down their throats by the United States’ two most successful export industries, weaponry and media, deeper understanding can prove elusive. How, for example, can the people of a nation that has been a global superpower for the better part of a century still conceive of themselves as renegade underdogs, fighting for freedom? More»