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On Feb. 11, history was made as representatives of China and Taiwan agreed to exchange representative offices. Face-to-face negotiations are led by Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun of China, who heads that government’s Taiwan Affairs Office, and Taiwan Mainland Affairs Minister Wang Yu-chi…
Defense Secretary Robert Gates was professional and effective in office, but has abruptly reversed course with his new volume of memoirs which bluntly criticize former colleagues, including President Barack Obama.
Ambitious U.S. senators have suddenly emerged to try to derail the fragile interim nuclear agreement with Iran.
"Nattering nabobs of negativism" is probably the most enduring of the many alliterative pronouncements of Spiro Agnew, vice president in the Nixon administration until forced to resign because of corruption.
North Korea’s official source of information and incendiary insults, the Korean Central News Agency, announced Friday the regime has executed the uncle of leader Kim Jong Un.
The international agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program has generated anxiety in Israel, and elsewhere. Middle East uncertainty underscores the growing importance of Turkey, a democracy with strong ties to both Iran and the West.
Shortly after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, CBS commentator Eric Sevareid noted the principal legacy of the murdered leader might well be an "attitude," a contagious spirit that all things are possible if only we have the vision and will.
James Clapper, director of national intelligence, took a hard line on Oct. 29 in testimony before the Intelligence Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives. He argued that alarm over electronic monitoring of foreign leaders and vast numbers of citizens is misplaced.
The United States may have averted a debt default, and ended the federal government shutdown, but costly political reverberations continue. The experience of Democratic and Republican leaders frozen in unmoving partisan positions has been unnerving, abroad and at home.
The maneuvering by Chancellor Angela Merkel and other senior politicians in Germany to form a viable new government is important for Europe, and beyond. Unfortunately, the alarming partisan budget standoff in Washington, D.C., preoccupied most related media attention.
Considerable news has been generated by U. S. military strikes in two African countries, while less commentary is resulting from the passing of a major military leader in Asia, but the two stories are related. Regarding war and revolution, fundamental lessons are enduring.
A new comprehensive report on the environment dramatically declares global warming is bringing profound changes, and must be addressed urgently regarding causes and consequences.
On Wednesday, Kenya began three days of official mourning following four days of heavy fighting to control a Nairobi shopping mall. The well planned and executed terrorist attack left more than 60 people dead in the rubble. Details are still unclear, but according to reports nearly a dozen a…
"The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression," has become standard shorthand for the global financial crash and resulting severe recession. September marks the beginning of fall, and also the anniversary of the 2008 benchmark bankruptcy of investment house Lehman Brothers.
The phones are busy, and so are the companies that design, make and market information devices. As with earlier communications technologies, smartphones are helping to disseminate political power and foster the growth of equality. Overall, however, the interplay between technology and societ…
The fresh air of freedom is pervasive in South Korea. A visit to Seoul provides direct dramatic impressions of the strength and confidence of this remarkable people. The capital city of the nation is only fifty miles from the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone), within range of North Korean artillery a…
‘I have a dream’ is how the Rev. Martin Luther King highlighted his momentous speech in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 28, 1963, and that phrase resonates strongly. His address was the centerpiece of the historic March on Washington, which involved over 200,000 people.
"Fundamental freedoms apply online just as they do offline," declared the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam on Aug. 6, in response to an announcement from Hanoi that Internet communications must focus on sharing personal information and not expression of views on politics or policies. The new policy f…
"I speak … in a spirit of hope," said President John F. Kennedy, beginning a policy address to the nation on July 26, 1963. He went on to describe a major breakthrough in the Cold War. The new Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty with the Soviet Union would prohibit nuclear explosions in the atmosphere.
This year, American Independence Day on the Fourth of July immediately followed the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. That enormous death struggle at a small Pennsylvania town occurred July 1 through July 3, 1863. Afterward, the Confederacy was never again to mount major offensi…
On June 25, Afghanistan insurgents detonated a car bomb and fought security forces in front of the presidential palace. The area is the most heavily guarded in the country. Penetrating the enormous security apparatus is a major success, but spectacular attacks of various types are nothing ne…
Current maritime conflicts echo earlier wars, launched over history to control global commerce and territory, while underscoring the durable importance of traditional trade routes.
The brutal continuing civil war in Syria now includes allegations that there has been use of poison gas by the Assad regime. Gas employed in war presents an especially horrifying specter, which in turn risks raising the stakes for both sides.
Pakistan’s National Assembly elections on May 11 provided a significant victory to Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-N. Despite violence, turnout was approximately 60 percent. A peaceful power transition to this opposition party means progress from the nation’s history of military coups.
"The first challenge is corruption," Ambassador Bernard Bajolet, representative of France to Afghanistan, stated as he completes this assignment and prepares to return to Paris for another post. Diplomats are generally paid to be discreet, polished and smooth – in short, diplomatic.
In pursuing current events as in playing cards, evaluating the wider atmosphere is as important as studying the specific hand one has been dealt.
North Korea’s propaganda reference to the "venomous swish" of the skirt of South Korea President Park Geun-hye is loaded with symbolism, mostly unintended.
"A real and clear danger," is how U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel described North Korea on Wednesday. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and South Korea Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se have held a joint press conference in Washington to emphasize military and security partnership.
On March 22, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel reached out the hand of peace by telephoning Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to apologize. Often belligerent "Bibi" Netanyahu was making amends for the notorious incident in 2010, when Israeli armed forces boarded a Turkish shi…
"What about the rest of the North?" asked McGeorge Bundy, president of the Ford Foundation, back in the 1970s while considering yet one more grant to help the troubled Native Americans of Alaska.
Cuba’s President Raul Castro has made notable news by announcing on Feb. 24 that he will retire from that office in 2018. His older brother Fidel stepped down from the same post in 2008, after turning 85 years of age.
"I am shocked, shocked to find … gambling …" This famous line of the cynical Captain Renault to night club manager Rick in the film classic "Casablanca" comes to mind in reflecting on the practices of American credit rating agencies.
The start of the New Year, and also of President Barack Obama’s second term, is a good time to pause for perspective on the sources of the current political constellation in our country. To help understand the recent national electoral success of Obama and the Democratic Party, study Al Smith.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday provides occasion for reflection as well as recognition. We honor his personal courage as well as political impact as catalyst for the civil rights revolution.
"Nattering nabobs of negativism," is probably the most enduring of the many alliterative announcements of Spiro Agnew, vice president in the Nixon administration until forced to resign because of corruption.
Wednesday's successful launch of a space satellite by North Korea is cause for concern, but no sign of a basic strategic shift -- yet. Nonetheless, a tough response with teeth is required by the world community.
Cambodia, scene of the killing fields of genocide less than four decades ago, has just hosted the seventh East Asia Summit, which brought together leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, plus Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and the U.S. The summit concluded Tuesday, on a…
Just-resigned CIA head David Petraeus occupies a crucial crossroads. This does not refer to the global media glare now seeking to dissect every aspect of his private life, in excruciating detail.
Cyclone Sandy was technically downgraded from hurricane status just before striking the U.S., but remains highly disruptive. Both the Obama and Romney presidential campaigns temporarily suspended their frenetic activity. In part, this reflected the practical impossibility of moving through t…
October is the scary month, and not just because of Halloween. Exactly one-half century ago, the Cuban Missile Crisis during Oct. 22-28 dominated global news as Washington and Moscow sparred right on the edge of thermonuclear war.
"Are you better off?" Ronald Reagan rhetorically asked the audience during his 1980 debate with President Jimmy Carter. President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney should each take a lesson from Reagan’s performance.
‘We want to make sure that we preserve and protect Medicare,’ Mitt Romney declared Aug. 13 in Florida, a crucial state where senior citizens are numerous.
“Greed … is good,” declared corrupt out of control investment banker Gordon Gekko in the hit film “Wall Street.” However, The Bible, Shakespeare and other influential sources argue to the contrary.
The U.S. Supreme Court, surprising many media pundits as well as more expert observers, has upheld the controversial mandate in the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act. The decision was 5-4 division, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining liberals Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg,…
The election defeat of the effort to oust Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin is significant for national politics, in particular the Midwest. Democratic nominee Tom Barrett, Milwaukee's mayor, faced Walker in a replay of their 2010 election contest.
Memorial Day provides a special opportunity to reflect on as well as honor the sacrifices of people who serve in our in military, especially those who gave their lives. National security is the most important responsibility of our government.
“The military-industrial complex,” was the theme of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address as he completed two terms in the White House, sustaining remarkably strong public support throughout that tenure. At the time, the speech was largely ignored by reporters and professors, who generally…
"Big brother is watching you" was the pervasive punch-line in British writer George Orwell's novel "1984." Recent developments regarding business and government in Britain give fresh currency to the classic.
The killing of 16 unarmed civilians in Afghanistan is a brutal reminder of the true nature of war. The U.S Army soldier alleged to have committed the crime is under intense media scrutiny. Our court systems, military and civilian, reinforce this individual focus.
"Manufacturing is coming back," declared President Barack Obama at a Master Lock plant in Milwaukee, Wis. Actually, the U.S. remains one of the principal manufacturing powers on the planet, but this trip was designed to help win November elections, not provide an economics lecture.
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