A firestorm of criticism has erupted in the wake of the Obama Administration's politically ham-handed prisoner swap with the Afghan Taliban. The initial good news about the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, in Taliban captivity for five years, soon soured after the terms of the deal were announced. We were taken!
Given his drifting and buffeted foreign policy, U.S. President Barack Obama had to hit a political home run in his long awaited policy address at the West Point commencement ceremonies. Instead, amid the majestic setting of the Military Academy graduation, the President presented a measured and lawyerly foreign policy lecture with a few good sound bites, few surprises, and fewer specific initiatives.
An expected, if still extraordinary, political tsunami has swept across India as voters elected a nationalist and pro-business political party to lead this country of over a billion people.
The Security Council has reaffirmed its tough stance against nuclear weapons proliferation and especially the transfer of the technical components among “non-state actors,” namely terrorist groups.
John Paul II, the Pope from Poland, has been declared a Catholic Saint. According to Catholic canon law, the Pope performed the requisite miracles and was thus then canonized by the Vatican. Yet, one unspoken miracle of John Paul was playing a pivotal role in the ending of the Cold War.
There's an old Washington adage that, if there's bad news or no news, announce it late on a Friday afternoon. And if that afternoon happens to be Good Friday, you are assured virtually no one will notice. This was the game plan for the Obama Administration's yet again stalling a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada. But many noticed.
The fate of Ukraine, one of Eastern Europe's largest countries, hangs in the balance. On the one hand, “spontaneous” political demonstrations and government building seizures by pro-Russian separatists, are bringing an air of deliberately planned disorder to the country's eastern regions bordering Russia.
Syria's harrowing civil war has taken a new turn as the beleaguered Mid East country now faces a widening drought and food crisis in the midst of a widening conflict. U.N. relief agencies warn that the deepening drought may cut food production thus adding to the country's woes.
In a resounding rebuff to Russia, the U.N. General Assembly has reaffirmed Ukraine's territorial integrity and has called the recent referendum which incorporated the Crimean peninsula into Russia as “invalid.” While President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty joining Crimea with Russia, the Kiev government has committed itself never to accept Crimea's independence nor annexation.
The clock is ticking and the calendar counting down for Afghanistan as the embattled South Asian country heads for Presidential elections in April and the pullout of foreign security forces by the end of the year. A credible electoral process would go a long way in paving a peaceful transition for the war-torn country that must soon bear the brunt of its security challenges without the help of American and NATO troops after 2014.