The U.S., Cuba, and Strategic Foreign Policy

by Daniel Wagner Added 18.12.2014
Many of President Obama's critics are characterizing him as a bumbling idiot and a traitor for having broken the 55-year old ice between the U.S. and Cuba. If they had their way, Cuba's people would remain imprisoned by U.S. sanctions for...

The Forgotten Futility of Torture - An Analysis

by Lawrence Davidson Added 18.12.2014
Part I - Futilit It has long been known that torture does not work. One can go back to the Enlightenment. In 1764 Cesare Beccaria published his groundbreaking work, On Crimes and Punishments. Beccaria had examined all the evidence available at...

After tense 50 years, Obama and Castro announce US-Cuba thaw

by Mervyn Bain Added 17.12.2014
In the United States and Cuba’s strained relationship over the last 50-odd years, certain key flashpoints stand out: the Bay of Pigs incident, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and many more. December 17 2014 can now be added to the list. On that day,...

Running From the Ruble

by Sergei Guriev Added 17.12.2014
PARIS – In recent weeks, the fall in the Russian ruble and Russian stock markets closely tracked the declines in global oil prices. But everything changed on December 15. The oil price remained stable, but the ruble and the stock-price indices...

The Arab World’s Vanishing Christians

by Christian C. Sahner Added 17.12.2014
PRINCETON – This Christmas, like every Christmas, thousands of pilgrims and tourists will travel to the Middle East to celebrate the holiday in the land of the Bible. In Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem will...

Shattering Israel’s Image

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 17.12.2014
No Israeli government has shattered Israel’s international image more than the Netanyahu government has over the past six years. Not only have Netanyahu and his cohorts systematically been engaged in rancorous public narratives against the...

Standing Up to Illiberalism

by Chris Patten Added 15.12.2014
LONDON – It is a rare political speech that stops me in my tracks. But that is exactly what happened this summer when I read a remarkable address by Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s increasingly authoritarian prime minister. Orbán rarely commands...

Short Memories, Broken Politics, and the Coming Recession

by Daniel Wagner Added 15.12.2014
The stock markets are frothy -- once again -- and it feels a lot like 2008. Just six years ago the markets were partying like there was no tomorrow -- ignoring the bubbles that had developed, having failed to learn lessons from the plethora of...

Six Reasons Lower Oil Prices won’t Stop Solar, Wind and Electric Cars

by Juan Cole Added 14.12.2014
Some observers have alleged that lower oil prices will slow down the green energy revolution. This allegation is unlikely to be true even in the short term, and it is laughable in the medium to long term. 1. Solar and wind power are for...

Inequality and the American Child

by Joseph E. Stiglitz Added 12.12.2014
NEW YORK – Children, it has long been recognized, are a special group. They do not choose their parents, let alone the broader conditions into which they are born. They do not have the same abilities as adults to protect or care for themselves....

Trapped In Their Public Narrative

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 11.12.2014
The Palestinians’ constant acrimonious public narrative against Israel has and continues to damage their credibility in the eyes of many Israelis. The Palestinian Authority, not to speak of Hamas, seems to want to win the public relations...

Putting Deflation First

by Barry Eichengreen Added 11.12.2014
CAMBRIDGE – The European Central Bank is moving, hesitantly but ineluctably, toward quantitative easing. The threat of deflation – and the ineffectiveness of its previous measures – leaves it no choice. The question is whether the ECB will be...

Immigration and the New Class Divide

by Ian Buruma Added 11.12.2014
SINGAPORE – The British shadow minister for Europe, Pat McFadden, recently warned members of his Labour Party that they should try to make the most of the global economy and not treat immigration like a disease. As he put it, “You can feed on...

Burning Down the House in Chechnya

by Tanya Lokshina Added 11.12.2014
“If a rebel kills a policeman or another person, his family will be immediately expelled from Chechnya with no right to return, and their house will be razed to the ground.”  These were the words that Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, used on...

The Tortured Logic of Bush and Cheney

by Jeff Schweitzer Added 10.12.2014
After much anticipation, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a long-awaited report on the CIA's torture program following the terrorist attacks of September 11. Now we know unambiguously that by our own definitions and historic actions,...

Senate CIA torture report: It’s a good day to be an American

by James J. Walsh Added 10.12.2014
Well, it’s not all good. Today’s report released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence documents the ugly and unlawful use of torture by the US government. Arguably as disturbing are revelations that the CIA misled the public, the...

China's Challenge in the South China Sea

by Daniel Wagner and Edsel Tupaz Added 10.12.2014
As a rising global power, and being the largest and most important economy and military power in Asia, China has had the luxury of being able to do more or less whatever it wants in challenging its neighbors over disputed land and sea claims --...

Let Russia Be Russia

by Shlomo Ben-Ami Added 10.12.2014
TEL AVIV – In his famous “X” article, published in 1947, George F. Kennan argued that the Soviet Union’s hostility toward the United States was virtually inexorable, given that it was rooted not in a classic conflict of interest between great...

“Protect and Serve” or “In Your Face”

by James J. Zogby Added 08.12.2014
In 1971, I was working at a Boy's Club in the Germantown section of Philadelphia running an after-school program. One day, the Police Athletic League representative dropped off a pile of coloring books for the younger kids. On the cover was a...

Grannies get physical: how bodybuilding may hold the key to a major ageing problem

by Lee Hamilton Added 08.12.2014
"You don’t see many old people in the gym lifting weights, but that is exactly what they should be doing...." People have used bodybuilding to improve their physical performance for at least 1,500 years. The first recorded example was the...

Israel’s Terrorist Aid

by Aryeh Neier Added 07.12.2014
NEW YORK – The decision by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government to demolish the family home of Abdelrahman al-Shaludi, a Palestinian who rammed his car into a group of pedestrians, killing two (including a three-month-old...

How Netanyahu Committed Political Suicide

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 04.12.2014
Prime Minster Netanyahu’s insistence on passing a bill that will define Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people is as disgraceful as his denial that Israel is not an occupying power. If the bill were to pass now or in the future, it...

Flights From Freedom

by Eva Hoffman Added 02.12.2014
LONDON – Among the most chilling developments in the rise of the Islamic State is that so many citizens of Western countries have joined the group’s ranks, becoming suicide bombers and beheading hostages. Why do hundreds of Muslims, many of them...

Why Did Putin Turn?

by Harold James Added 02.12.2014
PRINCETON – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy toward his country’s “near abroad” and the West has been badly misunderstood. Instead of focusing on broader geopolitical patterns – in particular, the effect of the 2007-2008 financial...

Russia's Expanding Global Influence

by Daniel Wagner Added 02.12.2014
Russia's new agreement to sell Nigeria arms to combat Boko Haram (BH) is evidence of its desire to expand its global geopolitical influence as well as enhance its reputation for being willing to step in where the West will not. At issue is not...

There's no escaping the data: African Americans face injustice at every turn

by Todd Landman Added 30.11.2014
Following the decision by a grand jury not to indict St Louis police officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting teenager Michael Brown, it has been suggested that the incident is far from a special case. I agree entirely. Ferguson is completely...

Global Solutions for Globalization’s Problems

by Ian Goldin Added 29.11.2014
OXFORD – The last few decades of globalization and innovation have resulted in the most rapid progress that the world has ever known. Poverty has been reduced. Life expectancy has increased. Wealth has been created at a scale that our ancestors...

Putin's patriotism and paranoia will be Russia's undoing

by Graeme P. Herd Added 28.11.2014
Whether through improvisation, opportunism, fear or calculation, 2014 has seen a massive shift in the way political authority works in Russia. Moscow has moved dramatically away from a legal-rational way of doing politics to a charismatic,...

Time Is Running Out for Iran

by Daniel Wagner Added 27.11.2014
Just as has been the case every time nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West break down without agreement on fundamental issues, Supreme Iranian leader Khameini resumes lambasting the U.S. and Israel, and conservatives in the Iranian...

Getting to Yes with Putin

by Dominique Moisi Added 26.11.2014
PARIS – In the showdown with Russia over Ukraine, the weaknesses and divisions in European policy have been as encouraging for Russian President Vladimir Putin as America’s hesitant approach to Syria was. If Europe is to act responsibly, three...

Something to Smile About

by Chris Patten Added 26.11.2014
LONDON – As I put pen to paper, my wife threw out a seasonal challenge: “Christmas is approaching – the time for peace and joy and all that. Can’t you write about something that will make people happy?” What sounds like a light-hearted request...

Inequality and the Internet

by J. Bradford DeLong Added 26.11.2014
BERKELEY – The conclusion that America has become vastly more unequal over the past 35 years is beyond doubt. Since 1979, the pattern has been clear: The richer you were, the far richer you have become. And if you were poor, you probably stayed...

The Drag on E-Cigarettes

by Jacques Le Houezec Added 25.11.2014
RENNES – Michael Russell and Murray Jarvik, two pioneers of smoking-cessation research in the 1970s, would probably have welcomed the development of the electronic cigarette or “personal nicotine vaporizer” (PNV). Beyond serving as a temporary...

Robot submarine looks under Antarctic to find out why sea ice is getting thicker

by Edward Hanna Added 25.11.2014
For several years now climatologists have puzzled over an apparent conundrum: why is Antarctic sea ice continuing to expand, albeit at the relatively slow rate of about one to two percent per decade, while Arctic sea ice has been declining...

Seven Reasons Why Obama’s Executive Action on Immigration Is Great Policy and Great Politics

by Robert Creamer Added 25.11.2014
Ten years ago, following President George Bush’s 2004 re-election victory, Progressives were back on their heels.  Bush decided to press his advantage by launching a campaign to privatize Social Security, seeking to eliminate the crown jewel of...

Are we facing another financial crisis?

by Steve Keen Added 23.11.2014
Taken at face value, David Cameron’s warning this week about risks in the global economy sounds like it might be wonderfully prescient. Here’s the country’s economic chauffeur, carefully checking his instrument gauges, and sure enough, sees the...

China now world’s largest economy

by Jeffrey D. Sachs Added 22.11.2014
NEW YORK – The biggest economic news of the year came almost without notice: China has overtaken the United States as the world’s largest economy, according to the scorekeepers at the International Monetary Fund. And, while China’s geopolitical...

The Fall Of The Would-Be Emperor

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 20.11.2014
President Erdogan has recently come under intense criticism for his unwillingness to come to the aid of the beleaguered Syrian Kurds in the city of Kobani just across the Turkish border. Sadly, Erdogan’s behavior is not surprising as he has...

Five Reasons Why Nancy Pelosi Should Continue as House Democratic Leader

by Robert Creamer Added 20.11.2014
This week House Democrats will renew their fight to put the middle class first and strengthen America's working families. Here are five reasons why Nancy Pelosi  has earned their votes to continue as Democratic Leader.    Reason #1. She has a...

Philosopher Kings Versus Philosopher Presidents

by Robert Skidelsky Added 20.11.2014
LONDON – When I recently met Irish President Michael Higgins – sharing a platform for a speech in which he connected his newly launched “ethics initiative” to a book I co-wrote with my son, How Much is Enough? Money and the Good Life – I was...

Jerusalem attacks are no isolated incident: the third intifada is here

by Asaf Siniver Added 19.11.2014
The attack on a Jerusalem synagogue in which four Jewish worshippers were killed and eight were injured has sparked new fears that fighting between Israel and Palestinian could flare up once more. The attack, by two Palestinians carrying meat...

Creativity, Corporatism, and Crowds

by Robert J. Shiller Added 18.11.2014
NEW HAVEN – Economic growth, as we learned long ago from the works of economists like MIT’s Robert M. Solow, is largely driven by learning and innovation, not just saving and the accumulation of capital. Ultimately, economic progress depends on...

They believe in teachers and in education for all: why Finland's kids often top league tables

by Arja Virta and Kristiina Heikkilä Added 18.11.2014
When looking at large-scale international studies and comparisons of education systems worldwide, everyone’s always talking about Finland. Finland seems to set the benchmark for education worldwide. Foreign educational experts, delegations of...

Putin on Ice

by Stephen Holmes and Ivan Krastev Added 17.11.2014
VIENNA – Global temperatures are rising, but the former Soviet Union’s frozen conflicts show no sign of a thaw. On the contrary, the ice is expanding. Russia’s support for the election held by separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk – key cities in...

The Fallacy Of The Gaza Withdrawal

by Alon Ben-Meir Added 13.11.2014
The Netanyahu government has forcefully and consistently promulgated the notion that Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, its subsequent takeover by Hamas, and the violence emanating from it strongly suggest that the Palestinians aim for...

The Ethics of Fighting Ebola

by Peter Singer Added 13.11.2014
PRINCETON – It may, in the end, turn out to be fortunate that a handful of people in developed countries – four in the United States and one in Spain – have contracted Ebola . Tragic as this was for Thomas Duncan, the only one of these patients...

Ukraine’s Debt Dilemma

by Barry Eichengreen and Domenico Lombardi Added 12.11.2014
ine – and not just geopolitical insecurity, but economic insecurity as well. Output is in freefall. The country’s external deficit is exploding, and borrowing costs have spiked precisely as financing has become imperative. The International...

Russia and China: Two Movies

by Ian Buruma Added 11.11.2014
NEW YORK – The times we live in are often most clearly reflected in the mirror of art. Much has been written about post-communism in Russia and China. But two recent films, Jia Zhangke’s A Touch of Sin, made in China in 2013, and Andrey...

Why the China/Russia Rapprochement Won't Last

by Daniel Wagner Added 11.11.2014
Being a big believer in the lessons taught by history, I'm inclined to think that the current 'love fest' between China and Russia will probably have a limited shelf life. Natural resource acquisition and the gyrating geopolitical chess board...

A 2014 Postmortem

by James J. Zogby Added 10.11.2014
 A few observations about this week's elections: 1) Our politics continue to be distorted and corrupted. In October, 1994, I was in the lounge at Kennedy Airport in New York City waiting to board an Egypt Air flight to Cairo. My fellow...
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Letter from the Editor

The US-Cuba thaw

As I see it, the embargo has been precisely the reason that has kept the Castros in power. Normal relationships with the U.S., with trade and travel, would have been a catastrophe for the Castros. I believe they know it, but they are in the...

Over 50?  William Shatner Wants To Mind-Meld With You

by Michael Levin Added 18.12.2014
William Shatner is daring to go where no author has gone before.  The original Star Trek captain is using modern technology—Kickstarter—to fund a campaign to publish and market a new book. The topic: modern technology, and how those 50 and above...

Soul Search: Why Pope Francis Is Barking Up the Wrong Tree

by Jeff Schweitzer Added 18.12.2014
Pope Francis has opened the Pearly Gates to Blue Heelers. The  Pope said  that "all creatures...will be vested with the joy and love of God, without limits." He quoted Pope Paul VI saying that "Paradise is open to all creatures." However, little...

Pope Francis and the Catholic Crisis

by Charles J. Reid, Jr. Added 16.12.2014
There is a growing crisis haunting the Catholic Church. And it is a crisis larger than the events that have so greatly afflicted the American Catholic Church. The pedophilia scandals are a horrifying element of this crisis. So, too, are the...

Haunted by the Holidays: 'A Christmas Carol' and the Ghost of Christmas Past

by Greg Garrett Added 14.12.2014
We are haunted during the holidays by things done and left undone, but especially by the Ghost of Christmas Past. You can hear that melancholy and nostalgia in many of our best-known Christmas songs, from Sam Smith's old-fashioned new version...

The New Plutocracy

by Robert Brustein Added 11.12.2014
Many of us are deeply grieved by the recent events surrounding The  New Republic, where Chris Hughes, its current publisher, having rejected the magazine's time-honored intellectual purpose in favor of a profitable new web initiative,...

Am I The Only Parent Who Thinks Today’s Homework Load Is Insane?

by Michael Levin Added 04.12.2014
            A long time ago, I was a kid.             And when I was a kid, I played.             There was some homework.  I did it, or I put it off until the next morning and raced to get it done before school, but somehow there was plenty of...

Pope Francis Speaks to Europe -- and the World

by Charles J. Reid Added 04.12.2014
Popes are not merely the head of a Church. Because they are the spiritual leader of a billion people, popes also have a role to play in shaping and forming global order. And historically, there have been popes who have used this position to...
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Hamelin: Balancing performance and composing

by Michael Johnson Added 12.12.2014
Marc-André Hamelin, Canadian-born and now residing in the Boston suburbs, has just completed a highly successful two-concert series in Bordeaux, playing the Beethoven piano concerto No. 4 including his own cadenza. It was his first Bordeaux...

Hamelin shows Bordeaux how it’s done

by Michael Johnson Added 11.12.2014
Canadian-born pianist Marc-André Hamelin kept a Bordeaux audience riveted Wednesday evening (Dec. 10) by his super-sensitive rendering of a familiar warhorse, the Beethoven piano concerto No. 4. Familiar, yes, but Bordeaux had never heard it...

Hamelin the virtuoso pianist takes it easy in Bordeaux

by Michael Johnson Added 10.12.2014
Canadian-born virtuoso pianist Marc-André Hamelin, looking relaxed and happy about his debut in Bordeaux this week, took time out between rehearsals at the city’s new concert hall, l’Auditorium, to talk about his past and what is coming next. He...

Bloody knuckles can sometimes inspire music

by Michael Johnson Added 29.11.2014
As any honest critic will tell you (if you can find one), writing about contemporary piano  is a long and thorny process requiring multiple hearings or multiple arguments with the composer. By definition, everything is new, and for those of us...

The Irish reinvent Christmas music

by Michael Johnson Added 27.11.2014
You don’t have to be Irish to fall in love with music from the Emerald Isle. Yet the Christmas carols sung by Caitriona O’Leary took me by surprise and have provided the first fresh holiday feel around the house for many years. Here is a welcome...

Dumont sparkles at Bordeaux piano festival

by Michael Johnson Added 20.11.2014
The fifth annual Bordeaux piano festival, l’Esprit du Piano, concludes nine days of keyboard music on Friday Nov. 21 with Henri Barda playing works by Mozart, Brahms and Chopin. French pianophiles and a few visitors from abroad have been...

What is conducting?

by Sally Macarthur Added 18.11.2014
Conducting is essentially a phenomenon associated with Western classical music. As a rule, rock and jazz bands do not employ a conductor unless they are teaming up with a symphony orchestra. Conductors are also used in big jazz bands and in some...
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