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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.
The sudden death of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, adds even more uncertainty to the tense and unpredictable surviving totalitarian state. His designated successor, youthful third son Kim Jong Un, has no experience at managing or leading anything. Dangers include seizure of power by Nort…
"The country that invented drama and democracy is not disappointing," is how the often insightful editors of Bloomberg describe rapidly unfolding political and economic developments in Greece.
The 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in the skies over Pennsylvania demands considered reflection.
Both Ben Bernanke and Steve Jobs have been featured in the news in recent days, reflecting respective individual influence over a decade.
Insights of earlier leaders will help us understand why the debt and deficit reduction merry-go-round in Washington has been especially unnerving recently.
Classic, classy conservative columnist William Safire observed early in our new century that government deficits were developing "as far as the eye can see," as spending escalated and taxes were cut by the new administration of President George W. Bush.
The U.S. Supreme Court made news, though not history, on March 2. In an 8-1 decision, the court determined a renegade Baptist "church" can picket military funerals, despite the added suffering imposed on bereaved parents and other mourners.
President Hu Jintao, of China, has been rightly feted in the United States as the leader of a nation of rapidly expanding power and influence. Beijing and Washington now have great global reach. Washington and Chicago have rolled out particularly wide and rich red carpets for our guests.
This Christmas season, devoted to charity and peace, also is the 66th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the largest land battle ever for the United States.
The Seoul summit of the Group of 20 nations — G20 — signifies the seriousness of global economic challenges. Reports are focused on differences between American emphasis on stimulating growth and British and German emphasis on reducing government debt.
The young founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, boasts that his mission is crushing arrogant people and that he enjoys the work. This is part of his explanation and justification for the unauthorized publication of tens of thousands of stolen classified U.S. military intelligence documents r…
Instant American analysts often misread British politics, primarily because we use our own different political culture to explain theirs.
Today is the anniversary of the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tenn. We rightly celebrate his birthday, now a national holiday, rather than his death day. But his assassination should be remembered. The moral struggle which cost his life puts our contemporary p…
Warren Buffett has just closed the largest deal of his spectacular career with an agreement to purchase the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad for $26.3 billion. Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway already owned 23 percent of the railroad, and paid a 31 percent premium over the stock price to se…
U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy left in his wake an exceptional record of public service. First elected to the Senate in 1962 at age 30, he is the third longest-serving member, surpassed only by Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and the late Strom Thurmond, R-S.C..
The current very severe recession has taken a major toll across the economic landscape, including manufacturing as well as very visible banking and other financial services firms. Data continue to be mixed regarding just when unemployment growth and general contraction in production will end…
On July 16, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates provided a tour de force on U.S. national security policy. Speaking at the Economic Club of Chicago before a notably attentive audience, he bluntly addressed life and death in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and beyond.
Transportation is a high priority in the economic recovery program of the Obama administration, with very significant implications for our region.
Bill Clinton as candidate and president often compared himself to John F. Kennedy.
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