Economics, Environment

How to Rapidly Reduce Fossil Fuel Use

The burning of fossil fuels—oil, coal, natural gas—is responsible for nearly 90 percent of global carbon emissions. Despite almost-universal recognition of the need to reduce the use of those fossil fuels, the industrialized world is having the hardest time breaking its addiction. The economic rebound from the COVID-19 shutdowns generated the largest ever increase in… Continue reading How to Rapidly Reduce Fossil Fuel Use


The Trouble with Taiwan

Taiwan is a country, but not many other states recognize it as such. Only 13 countries maintain diplomatic relations with the island nation. These are small or poor or both, like Haiti, Paraguay, and Tuvalu. Honduras switched its diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing just one month ago. Taiwan doesn’t have a seat at the… Continue reading The Trouble with Taiwan

Russia and Eastern Europe, US Foreign Policy

U.S. and Ukraine: Sending Arms or Twisting Arms?

After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, the United States quickly moved to support the government in Kyiv. With Joe Biden in the White House, having replaced someone who made no effort to conceal his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin, this U.S. support was no surprise. Prior to the invasion, the Biden administration had… Continue reading U.S. and Ukraine: Sending Arms or Twisting Arms?

Economics, Environment

Free Trade or Just Green Trade

The global economy hit a new milestone in 2022 by surpassing $100 trillion. This expansion, which has experienced only the occasional setback such as the 2020 COVID shutdowns, has been accelerated by trade. The world trade volume experienced 4,300 percent growth from 1950 to 2021, an average 4 percent increase every year. This linked growth… Continue reading Free Trade or Just Green Trade

Eastern Europe, Russia and Eastern Europe

Ukraine’s Future: Like Korea or Yugoslavia?

On February 24, the first anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to commemorate the occasion with a speech. There wasn’t much for Putin to celebrate. The invasion had failed to dislodge the government of Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv or incorporate all of Ukrainian territory into greater Russia. Over the last… Continue reading Ukraine’s Future: Like Korea or Yugoslavia?

Latin America

Does Cuba Have a Future?

Right after delivering this year’s State of the Union address, President Joe Biden briefly encountered his former Senate colleague, Bob Menendez. The Democratic senator from New Jersey, well-known for his hawkish views on Cuba, was never a fan of the Obama administration’s vaunted opening to the island a decade ago. He continues to stand in… Continue reading Does Cuba Have a Future?

China, US Foreign Policy

Spying vs. Spying

This weekend, I went on a walk on a paved road that soon turned to dirt. The further into farmland it went, the muddier and more difficult to traverse the road became. The map function on my phone, connected by invisible strands to a satellite way above my head, continued to show me these roads,… Continue reading Spying vs. Spying

Russia and Eastern Europe, Security

Israel’s Strange Ambivalence on Ukraine

There are currently only two Jewish heads of state in the world. The first, not surprisingly, leads Israel. The second is Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. They don’t get along. Religious affiliation by itself does not determine political or military alliances. Plenty of wars have pitted Christians against Christians and Moslems against Moslems. But… Continue reading Israel’s Strange Ambivalence on Ukraine

Human Rights, Latin America

The Rise of Self-Hating Politicians

Some politicians just hate politics. They get into the game in order to disrupt it. They have such a visceral hatred of governance that, like suicide bombers, they’ve smuggled themselves into government in order to blow it up from within. Much of the coverage of the multiple attempts to elect Kevin McCarthy as House speaker… Continue reading The Rise of Self-Hating Politicians


The Future of Korean Democracy

The German government recently arrested 25 members of a conspiratorial right-wing group plotting to overthrow the government. One of those arrested was a member of a defunct German royal family that the group hoped to install as Germany’s new leader. In the United States, the Republican Party did well enough in the mid-term elections to… Continue reading The Future of Korean Democracy

Russia and Eastern Europe

Changing My Mind on Ukraine

In the early 1990s, as the war in Yugoslavia spread to Bosnia, I took what I considered to be a principled position. I backed the UN-imposed arms embargo to the region. I urged friends and colleagues not to support actions to escalate the war. I believed that I was in the pro-peace camp. I hoped… Continue reading Changing My Mind on Ukraine

Russia and Eastern Europe

No Time for a Ceasefire in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin is playing the long game. The Russian leader believes that he can outwait all of his adversaries. Since he has ruled over Russia for more than two decades, he obviously has sound political instincts (as well as a well-deserved reputation for ruthlessness). He is gambling that the Ukrainians, the Europeans, and the Americans… Continue reading No Time for a Ceasefire in Ukraine

Russia and Eastern Europe, Security

Is Ukraine Going Too Far?

In the last couple months, Ukraine has successfully pushed back against Russia’s invading forces. It retook a large chunk of territory around the northeastern city of Kharkiv. It is on the verge of recapturing the only major city—Kherson in the south—that Russia has occupied since February. Ukrainian forces have also targeted airfields in Crimea and… Continue reading Is Ukraine Going Too Far?

Human Rights

Iran: A Winter-Spring Anti-Romance

The young people who took to the streets in 1979 as part of the Iranian revolution are now in their sixties. They haven’t quite aged out of politics, but they’re getting close. It’s a dangerous time for any revolution when the generation that transformed society prepares to exit the stage. The rising generation often has… Continue reading Iran: A Winter-Spring Anti-Romance


So, What About Those Other Wars?

The war in Ukraine has dominated the headlines in U.S. and European newspapers, not to mention outlets in other parts of the world. The explosion this weekend that destroyed part of the bridge connecting Crimea to the Russian mainland, along with Russia’s retaliatory missile attacks on Ukrainian cities and infrastructure, are only the latest and… Continue reading So, What About Those Other Wars?

Europe, Latin America

Fascism: Hello, Goodbye

The telegenic star of Europe’s far right, Giorgia Meloni, released a video last August that was designed to dispel all the fears that Europeans were voicing about the potential “return of fascism” to Italy. Meloni’s short speech was a triumph of misdirection. Meloni’s party, the Brothers of Italy, had previously not been much of a… Continue reading Fascism: Hello, Goodbye


United in Climate Suffering, Divided in Climate Solutions

There’s nothing like a climate crisis to make everyone realize that they are living on the same planet. Wars, even international conflicts, are generally confined to one region. Economic downturns are sometimes so confined within national borders that they don’t even affect neighbors: consider North Korea’s “arduous march” of the 1990s and its lack of… Continue reading United in Climate Suffering, Divided in Climate Solutions