National Minorities in Putin’s Russia: Diversity and Assimilation by Federica Prino – A Book Review Essay

Since National Minorities in Putin's Russia is based on Prino's doctoral dissertation perhaps she might wish to expand her research to explore the question of emigration versus assimilation (as opposed to diversity and assimilation) for members of ethnic minorities living in the former Soviet Union. Data for the Finno-Ugrics should be easy to access from Finnish, Estonian and Swedish statistical services which is lively where many of the Karelians and Ingrains now live. Read more »

Behind the Lens: Photographing the President in 50 Countries

Today, President Obama visits Kenya — the 50th country he has visited during his Administration. It’s also my 50th country traveling with the President.

To mark the occasion, as I did when the President visited his 50th state, I chose one photograph from each country that we’ve visited.

Traveling abroad with the President is very different.

Often times, I am at the mercy of the host country for access. Some countries are more accommodating to me than others. I am lucky to have counterpart official photographers in many countries who are extremely helpful to me in this regard. I of course try to return the help to them when they visit the White House with their head of state.

We’re also rarely in any one country for more than a couple of days, which gives us only a partial glimpse of each place. And because of security, the sites we are able to visit are often limited too.

All that said, we’ve had the incredible opportunity to visit the Pyramids in Egypt, Stonehenge in the United Kingdom, the Great Wall in China, Petra in Jordan, and the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar (Burma). (So I really shouldn’t complain too much.)

I hope you enjoy this gallery. And stay tuned — we’ll be adding a photograph from Kenya and additionally, Ethiopia, following his visit next week.

Afghanistan, 2012

Boarding Air Force One at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, May 1, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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"Tangerines" : It’s the Russians, Stupid

"Tangerines" is set in that tiny “nation” on the shores of the Black Sea, one of the ethnic enclaves that Vladimir Putin pried loose from Georgia just as he is now subverting as much of Ukraine as he can, en route to restoring, it it kills him, the imperial reach of the Soviet Union. It took a mini war to do detach Abkhazia from Georgia. Tangerines illustrates the divide-and-conquer tactics and the human cost of making ex-satellites pay for the temerity of refusing close association with Russia once they had a choice of allies. So "Tangerines" is a very political film, but it is more important than that. It is a very powerful anti-war film. Read more »

The Rise of Lithuanian LNG: A Long-term Opportunity for the U.S.

Lithuania officially made its debut in the global LNG market with the arrival of its floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) Independence on Monday, October 27, 2014. The welcome ceremony in Klaipeda was attended by the Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius as well as foreign dignitaries, including the Estonian Foreign Trade and Entreprenuership Minister Anne Sulling and […]

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Whiskey on the Rocks, Kursk II or a Just Another Chimera?

Whether the “Hunt for Black October” as the most recent Russian submarine fiasco has been dubbed by FP turns out to resemble the comedic “Whiskey on the Rocks” episode or the Kursk’s tragic outcome remains to be seen. The best thing the Russians could do - if this is more than ahem, a chimera - is fess up, ask for assistance, take the crew and baby submarine home and leave a neutral neighbor’s territorial rocks and waters alone. Read more »

Weekly Wrap Up: September 6-12

This week, President Obama spoke about the threat posed by ISIL and commemorated the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we marked the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and the First Lady hosted a "prep" rally in Atlanta.

Check out what else you may have missed this week in our weekly wrap up.

“If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

On Wednesday evening, from the State Floor of the White House, President Obama spoke to the American people about our comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

ISIL was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq and has since infiltrated territories on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. Although ISIL calls itself the “Islamic State,” the President highlighted that:

ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. ... It is recognized by no government, nor the people it subjugates.

In his remarks, the President outlined the four key components of the United States’ strategy to defeat ISIL:

  1. We will work with the Iraqi government to conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against ISIL.
  2. We will increase support of forces fighting ISIL on the ground.
  3. We will work with our partners to continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks and sustain an effective long-term campaign against ISIL.
  4. We will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the innocent and vulnerable civilians displaced by ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

The President reiterated and assured the American people that “If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Watch the President’s full remarks on ISIL here.

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President Obama Holds a Press Conference at the NATO Summit

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Earlier today -- the last day of his trip to Estonia and the U.K. -- President Obama held a press conference at the conclusion of the NATO Summit in Wales, and discussed a number of issues, including ISIL and the situation in Ukraine.

The President began his remarks by thanking Prime Minister David Cameron and his team for hosting the summit, and also thanked the people of Wales for their warm welcome. "It's a great honor to be the first sitting U.S. President to visit Wales," he said.

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West Wing Week 09/05/14 or, “Every Gray Hair Is Worth It”

Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, the President celebrated Labor Day and American economic patriotism at Milwaukee's Laborfest, then traveled east for a three-day, two-country trip to Estonia and then on to the NATO summit in Wales.

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What We Are Reading … September 5, 2014

International News Coverage   NATO, Russia, and Ukraine   NATO Approves New Force Aimed at Deterring Russia John-Thor Dahlburg and Julie Pace / Associated Press Seeking to counter Russian aggression, NATO leaders approved plans Friday to create a rapid response force with a headquarters in Eastern Europe that could quickly mobilize if an alliance country […]

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