The uncertain Syria cease-fire announced on Feb. 12 may fail, but the cooperation among the nations involved will almost certainly continue. Russia and the United States, with conflicting interests, values and world outlooks, nevertheless are collaborating in efforts to bring some stability and restraint to the brutal killing ground.
The New Hampshire primary election, coming right after the Iowa caucuses, has provided some clarification to the 2016 presidential context. On the Republican side, Donald Trump has fresh momentum, after coming in second in Iowa. For Democrats, Senator Bernie Sanders is confirmed as a strong challenger to Hillary Clinton.
"Hitting a bullet with a bullet" aptly describes the challenge of destroying incoming missiles, but effective defenses do exist. North Korea threats have led the Obama administration to discuss deployment in South Korea of the Lockheed Martin THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Air Defense) anti-missile system.
"We have met the enemy and he is us." That is an appropriate statement to sum up the wild U.S. Republican presidential race to date, including former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's extremely bizarre rhetoric in endorsing Donald Trump on Jan. 19.
A bloody murderous attack in Jakarta, Indonesia has provided the Islamic State with another opportunity to claim victory. They have promptly done so, with a gleeful statement. The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist actions and statements, reported the credit-taking by IS on social media.
"Egregious" is how United States Secretary of State John Kerry has described North Korea's reckless international provocations, including brutal executions of people who incur the wrath of leader Kim Jong Un.
In South Asia, the new year has begun with brutal fighting which threatens to derail uncertain rapprochement between India and Pakistan. In a daring raid, an armed group invaded an air force base in northern India. The United Jihad Council, a militant group seeking an end to Indian rule in Kashmir, has claimed credit. At the same time, there has been an attack on an Indian consulate in Afghanistan.
"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. This particular phrase, penned by Nixon speechwriter William Safire, derogatively denigrated diligent reporters for placing bad news above good.
An important meeting has been held to pave the way for re-establishing diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey. On Dec. 16, senior leaders from both nations met in Zurich to lay the groundwork for this important step forward. Ties between these two important allies of the United States were ruptured more than five years ago.
This Christmas season is also the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the largest land battle in the history of the United States. On Dec. 16, 1944, Nazi Germany launched an enormous offensive through the quiet, thinly defended Ardennes Forest in Belgium. Adolf Hitler and planners in Berlin achieved total surprise; initially German forces rapidly gained ground.