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January, 25, 2017

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Commentary
In the 1942 Hollywood classic Casablanca, Maj. Strasser of the Third Reich tells the French police prefect that his impression of saloon keeper Rick Blaine, the principal protagonist, is that he is just another blundering American.
 
As another grim year of warfare and immense human suffering concluded in the Middle East, three key powers recently got together to coordinate their regional moves in the coming year.
 
We'll start at the top of the picture. I will cast several of the verbs in the present, not the past (time) tense. One reason for doing so is that readers should sense these scenes as actually occurring in the present, not in the past.
 
Europe's leaders are not expecting a smooth ride in 2017 following a year marked by political upheaval, extremist attacks, unchecked immigration, and a rising military threat from Russia.
 
Just before Christmas, a summit in Moscow brought together the leaders of Iran, Russia and Turkey. President Vladimir Putin of Russia orchestrated this major meeting.
 
Fed up with Europe's union across borders? Reject it. Disgusted with the U.S. political establishment? Can it.
 
A school event in Taiwan came to the forefront of international media attention last week. A group of students from a private high school wore self-fashioned Nazi uniforms and wielded swastika banners at their school's "Christmas and Thanksgiving Costume Parade" on Dec. 23.
 
The U.S. leader, accompanied by his Japanese counterpart, did not apologize for the nuclear attack that had decimated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, bringing World War II to a devastating but swift end.
 
Donald Trump gave himself kudos for the creation of 8,000 new U.S. jobs by a Japanese tech mogul, saying it was proof of "the spirit and the hope" stirred by his presidential win.
 
The executive order was in retaliation to alleged Russian hacking to disrupt the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8.
 
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