March 24, 2012 |
President Obama's decision to nominate a South Korean-born educator and health expert to lead the World Bank — and not someone with experience in global finance or diplomacy — reflects the increasingly fractious politics of international agencies and the need to address growing demands for representation outside the U.S. and Europe, analysts say. Obama's nomination of Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim to succeed Robert Zoellick comes...
March 7, 2012
It's not clear that Israel is convinced, but President Obama deserves credit for his forceful argument that the Jewish state shouldn't precipitously attack Iran's nuclear program. He has also effectively rebuked American politicians, including his Republican rivals, for "beating the drums of war. " At the same time, Obama has committed the United States to a "military effort" to block a nuclear weapon - a newly muscular formulation of his long-standing commitment to take no option off the table.
March 5, 2012 |
President Obama told the Israeli prime minister Monday morning he thinks there is "still a window" in which diplomatic pressure will deter the Iranian nuclear program and that he is thinking about the "costs of any military action" as he contemplates that possibility. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Obama for recently acknowledging that "Israel has the sovereign right to make its own decisions," but he emphasized that "Israel must be able to defend itself. " With those brief remarks before television cameras, the two leaders began a closed-door session in the Oval Office in which each will try to persuade the other of a future course of action.
February 6, 2012 |
David Solie thought he was being a good son and a competent manager. But his strong-willed mother was having none of it. Carol Solie, 72, had been caring for herself, her 28-year-old son, Roger, who has Down syndrome, and the family home in Portland, Ore., since her husband died in 1989. From David Solie's vantage point in Calabasas, it was too much. So once a month, he would travel nearly 1,000 miles north to set things right. This son decreed that his mother should move someplace easier to navigate -- an assisted living complex, perhaps.
December 14, 2011 |
Are we witnessing the birth of the United States of Europe? There are uncanny similarities between the current round of wheeling and dealing and the founding of the United States of America. The Philadelphia Convention of 1787 represented America's second try at continental union. In 1781, the 13 states had come together behind a treaty-constitution that broadly resembles present European arrangements. America's first effort was the Articles of Confederation. Like the European Union treaties, it guaranteed each citizen's right to move throughout the confederation and exercise all the economic privileges of home-staters.
October 20, 2011 |
In the modern pantheon of the world's dictators, Moammar Kadafi stood apart. Far apart. Erratic and mercurial, he fancied himself a political philosopher, practiced an unorthodox and deadly diplomacy, and cut a sometimes cartoonish figure in flowing robes and dark sunglasses, surrounded by heavily armed female bodyguards. He ruled Libya with an iron fist for 42 years, bestowing on himself an array of titles, including "king of culture," "king of kings of Africa" and, simply, "leader of the revolution.
September 18, 2011 |
Two recent and seemingly unrelated events, the release of 250,000 unredacted State Department cables written between 1966 and 2011 via WikiLeaks and the pro-Palestinian protests at the Israel Philharmonic concert in London, got us thinking: How closely entwined are politics and classical music in diplomatic circles? A few weeks ago WikiLeaks published cables sent by American diplomats who were reporting back to the government on events and people of interest to the United States.
July 8, 2011 |
Tim Boggan is growing tired of the diplomacy involved in celebrating pingpong diplomacy. In 1971, the table tennis historian was one of the first Americans to enter China since 1949. But he says the speeches commemorating the 40-year anniversary are full of "niceties" and "politeness" to the point that nobody listens. So when Boggan rises to talk about his unlikely trip to China — he has done so six times this week — he delivers an original oration every time. At the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda on Thursday night, Boggan offered a candid and occasionally uncomfortable talk about his chance encounter with a "Chinese mystery man" who sought Boggan out simply to return his pen. Their 10-second conversation left a lasting impression.
June 26, 2011 |
Few countries are as active in courting international opinion as Israel. An entire ministry is devoted to a kind of global PR called hasbara , the Hebrew word for "explaining. " Israelis studiously track public opinion in the United States and Europe, and Israel's military has taken to using YouTube, Twitter and an army of bloggers to disseminate real-time updates around the world, sometimes in the middle of battle. But the public diplomacy campaign, which has largely focused on the West, has ignored the Arab world, which many in Israel have viewed as a lost cause.
June 9, 2011
The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times Mohamed ElBaradei Metropolitan Books: 340 pps., $27