While U.S. midterm elections provided a distraction, Russia President Vladimir Putin solidified control of eastern Ukraine. Rebel forces opposed to the national government organized elections in Donetsk and Luhansk on Nov. 2. Not surprisingly, those favoring independence scored an estimated eighty percent of the votes.
'Be careful what you wish for' comes to mind when reflecting on the ongoing waves of public protest, revolt, violence and war in the Middle East and North Africa. Across the broad region, long-ruling dictatorships have collapsed.
Turkey has announced a major shift in policy, in a direction strongly desired -- and strongly pressed -- by the United States and our allies in the war against ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria). The government in Ankara has agreed to allow Kurd forces from Iraq to cross Turkey's borders to battle ISIS terrorists in Syria.
Leon Panetta, after twenty months as U.S. Secretary of Defense and before that two years as director of the CIA, has brought forth memoirs. The volume is blunt in criticizing others, including President Barack Obama. This imitates Robert Gates, Panetta's immediate predecessor at the Pentagon.1 Comment
'Small but meaningful step,' is how a senior official of South Korea's Unification Ministry described the surprise visit Oct. 4 of top North Korean officials. Hwang Pyong So, close adviser to North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, headed the delegation, which crossed the demilitarized zone (DMZ) which divides the two Koreas.
"No one should be ducking in this case." That statement was made by Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Denmark in discussing the coordinated allied operations against the major terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).
Mars has two new alien visitors. MAVEN, the latest United States space vehicle to reach the planet, entered planned orbit on Sept. 21.
"Identity politics" is how former U.S. President Bill Clinton sums up the continuing powerful drive for independence in Scotland. He describes the growing worldwide phenomenon of identification with an ethnic or other group as a major challenge to international cooperation.
The challenge to governments and people of the Middle East and North Africa by the Islamic State (IS) has to be met effectively. To succeed, United States leaders above all must be realistic as well as determined.
The overt invasion of Ukraine by Russia's army, after months of covert aid to rebel forces, has generated the most serious crisis in Europe since the Balkan wars of the 1990s -- and perhaps since World War II. NATO has an obligation to respond skillfully, while trying to avoid direct combat with Russian forces -- if possible.