Animals caught in a trap will often chew off a limb to escape. Even the occasional human being has resorted to this nightmare option, as the hiker Aron Ralston did when a boulder pinned his arm in a remote area of Utah wilderness. He’d run out of food, water, and time. What he did have… Continue reading Can Ukraine Gnaw Its Way out of Trouble
The world of today appears to be a great deal more dangerous than the one that President Obama inherited on taking office in 2009. The Islamic State (ISIS or IS) has remade the map of a large chunk of the Middle East. Neither Iraq nor Afghanistan is any more stable or peaceful despite the formal… Continue reading Obama’s Last National Security Strategy
By law, Poland must spend at least 1.95 percent of its GDP on its military. That’s just a shade under the 2 percent that NATO asks its members to devote. Aside from Estonia, however, Poland is way ahead of the rest of the region in military spending. And when President Barack Obama visited Poland in… Continue reading Modernizing the Polish Military
Poland was both the most likely and the most unlikely place to expect the rebirth of the Left. The country has a rich Left tradition that predates the Communist period, and many figures of the anti-Communist opposition, like Jacek Kuron, considered themselves on the Left. At the same time, however, the Polish Left has already… Continue reading Reinventing the Left in Poland
Revolutions elevate a new and unexpected group of people to power. In East-Central Europe in 1990, an electrician became the president of Poland, a playwright the president of Czechoslovakia, and a philosopher the president of Bulgaria. After this brief period of the world turned upside down, the professional politicians took over again (or in the… Continue reading Fighting for Equal Opportunity
In ’89, it looked as though the war had finally ended. For five decades the conflict had ground on, and both sides had grown weary of it all. There had been previous pauses in the hostilities, even a détente or two, but this truce looked permanent. Sure, there were still tensions after ’89, and a… Continue reading The Cold War Never Died
The NATO summit that took place at the end of last week in Wales was supposed to celebrate the end of a long, draining war in Afghanistan. But with the presidential election still up in the air in Kabul, NATO couldn’t enjoy its “mission accomplished” moment. Instead, the assembled ministers took steps to accelerate two… Continue reading NATO Poised to Escalate Tensions over Ukraine
“All happy families are alike,” Leo Tolstoy wrote at the beginning of Anna Karenina. “Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Imagine, as Lenin liked to do, that a country is a marriage of different nationalities. Lenin believed, and he enshrined this principle in the Soviet constitution, that if the federal family was unhappy… Continue reading Divorce, European Style
For all the hands shaken and hamburgers eaten, President Obama has never quite shaken his reputation for detachment. He is the “cool” president who doesn’t lose his temper even when he should. He is the former constitutional law professor who is too “academic” for the Oval Office. He uses his brain when he should be… Continue reading Is Obama Adrift in the World?
The most bizarre conspiracy theory surrounding the recent downing of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine comes from a leading pro-Russian separatist, Igor Girkin. Relying on second-hand information, Girkin asserted that many of the passengers from the crash had already been dead before the plane had even taken off. His underlings had reported to him that the bodies… Continue reading MH17: Cold War Replay?