Review: The Rule of the Clan

[by Mark Safranski / “zen“] Rule of the Clan by Mark Weiner I often review good books. Sometimes I review great ones. The Rule of the Clan: What an Ancient Form of Social Organization Reveals about the Future of Individual Freedom  by Mark S. Weiner gets the highest compliment of all: it is an academic book that […] Read more »

Lies, Damned lies and non-comparable statistics – reporting diversity at the State Department

Shortly before the Easter weekend, the State Department quietly published a partial breakdown of 2015 diversity statistics on its website. This endeavor was apparently only done at the prodding of a senior Senator. Except for data covering 2009, 2010 and 2011 Foreign Service promotions published in the State Department Magazine in June 2012, these are the only statistics broken down by ethnicity and gender that State has furnished publicly that we have seen in years. And here they are – as minimal an amount of information as could be put out there and still satisfy the Congressional request. But did they and should they be enough to mollify Congress? Read more »

UN Human Rights Commissioner Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein

[ by Charles Cameron — WINEP hosts Countering Violent Extremism and Ideology discussion ] . Addressing the Washington Institute for Near East Policy earlier this month, Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad al-Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and former Jordanian Ambassador to the United States said of the IS / Daesh “caliphate”: I think […] Read more »

The Foreign Service: Still Clueless About the Face of America

By Patricia H Kushlis It’s been nearly four months since we asked the State Department to grant open and public access to its statistics - broken down by gender and race - regarding promotions in the Foreign Service in “What's... Read more »

No Torture. Ever. Six Good Reasons for Doing the Right Thing

In 1995 the U.S. ratified the global Convention against Torture which the U.N. had adopted in 1984. Next month the U.S. has an opportunity to appear in Geneva and reaffirm before the entire world the executive order that Obama himself signed shortly after assuming office: the U.S. does not and will not engage in torture or cruel treatment of prisoners at home or anywhere else in the world. Read more »

President Obama Congratulates Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi on Winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their daughter Malia meet with Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban a year ago, in the Oval Office, Oct. 11, 2013. (Official White H... Read more »

Weekly Address: The First Lady Marks Mother’s Day and Speaks Out on the Tragic Kidnapping in Nigeria

In this week’s address, First Lady Michelle Obama honored all mothers on this upcoming Mother’s Day and offered her thoughts, prayers and support in the wake of the unconscionable terrorist kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls. Trans... Read more »

Adding to the Bookpile

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"]    Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq by John Dower  Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941 by William Shirer Moral Combat: Good and Evil in World War II by Michael Burleigh  Picked up a few more books for the antilibrary. Dower is best known for [...] Read more »

Addressing the Crisis in South Sudan’s Jonglei State

In response to the political crisis in South Sudan and the deeply troubling violence in Jonglei state, today the White House hosted NGOs and advocacy groups to discuss the situation and confer on how the United States – in concert with partners a... Read more »

On eating one’s enemy

[ by Charles Cameron -- not good branding, not Islamic, dumbstruck? -- not a whole lot else to say ] . Let’s take the bald facts first: Commander Abu Sakkar of the Farouq Brigades, Free Syrian Army, had himself videotaped this month cutting open and seeming to eat the flesh of a just-killed Syrian soldier [...] Read more »