01 Jan 2014

New Guidelines for 2014

Recently, it has seemed that every national New Year’s celebration tries to outdo the last, even as each year that passes is more dire than the last. I’ll bet there are precedents in history…. As half the world descends into chaos while the other half stares at its navel, a

17 Dec 2013

Reading Putin’s Tea Leaves

Recently a friend emailed me the link to an article by a distinguished American historian, Emanuel Wallerstein, about an interview given by Hamid Karzai to the French paper Le Monde that laid out very clearly Karzai’s position on relations with the U.S. going forward, but which the New York Times only

09 Dec 2013

Honoring Mandela and Other Inconvenient Truths

Two very different stories grabbed my attention over the weekend: RT’s report on Romanian farmers’ opposition to fracking, and talking heads on MSNBC arguing about who was for or against Mandela’s release from prison, given that his party, the ANC (which has ruled Africa since his presidency) was considered a

06 Dec 2013

Ukraine’s Hissy Fit

  The country that used to be the breadbasket of Europe is a new bone of contention between the European Union and Russia. Ukraine, the land of the southern Russians (as Yugoslavia was the land of the southern Slavs), sits on Russia’s Western frontier. According to one RT commentator, the

27 Nov 2013

What Do 1914, 1917 and 1517 Have to Do With 2014?

Two weeks ago, an office I was calling was already having their Christmas party, so I figure it’s not too soon to be talking about 2014. Next year’s date probably doesn’t remind most on-line readers of anything in particular, whether we’re talking about the millennial generation or the baby-boomers. But

23 Nov 2013

What Fidel Castro Told Me After JFK’s Assassination

Taking advantage of my dual U.S./French citizenship, in the summer of 1963 I flew to Cuba on a dare from the French photo-weekly Paris-Match to do a ‘portrait’ of Fidel Castro.  After the story was published, lavishly illustrated with photos of Fidel scuba-diving by the French photographer Roger Pic, I

22 Nov 2013

The Privatization of the World

Each day brings fresh revelations of aberrant human behavior on the part of the 1%, followed by on-line petitions, demonstrations and appeals to intelligence or good conscience. At some point, activists must come to the realization that their actions cannot bring meaningful results because the behaviors they wish to correct

14 Nov 2013

Why is US Relief Taking So Long?

Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines a week ago and it is only now that the US military announces it is sending help. Notwithstanding the Asian Pivot, that must include dozens of ships in the region, the response has been shockingly slow.  (The typhoon had been forming since November 3rd…) Yesterday

11 Nov 2013

Why Do I Write About The Big Picture?

I recently read that only 5% of Americans are interested in foreign affairs, and I believe that astonishing figure goes far toward explaining why we have been traipsing across the world in big boots for so long.  The ‘international community’ our Presidents invoke to justify intervention appears to be coalescing

10 Nov 2013

Sea Changes V, VI, VII and VIII

When Larry King signed on to RT, Vladimir Putin’s international television channel that broadcasts in English, Spanish and Arabic, one could rationalize that the aging TV personality may not have found another opportunity in the US after leaving CNN. But now Donald Trump goes to Moscow for the Miss Universe