Solo AND Symphony: How to Protect America

Music lovers don’t confine themselves to solo performances or to symphonic programs. They appreciate both. They attend both. Similarly the conduct of a nation’s foreign affairs depends on the ability of its leadership to explore all avenues, working alone or in concert, as appropriate, opening doors and minds to the prospect of a better safer world for all, thus making walls unnecessary. Unfortunately, as this election season has worn on, week after painful week, there has been little room for serious discussion. We can only hope that the upcoming face-to-face debates will be a little more substantive. Read more »

Super Model at Work: Give Melania Credit

Melania Trump is a professional model with years of experience at elegantly strutting her stuff in the fabled capitals of couture—and before that she was carefully groomed and coached to become a beauty contest winner. Her performance in Cleveland was equally programmed and polished , another Trump “reality” show, a wow in its way, which is to say, designed to be a source of entertainment, not enlightenment. Read more »

The Paradoxical Candidacy of Bernie Sanders

Paradoxically, it’s clear that the Sanders candidacy has succeeded in accomplishing much of Bernie’s original mission. It has pushed the democratic party to left, an orientation that many Clinton supporters celebrate. It’s not yet too late for Bernie Sanders to accept defeat and be hailed as an important leader in an ongoing crusade against an arrogant Wall Street. And even if his disappointed supporters won’t ever see a President Sanders, they might ponder this: Hilary Clinton may be more hawkish that Bernie Sanders, but you can trust her with the nuclear football. That alone should predispose them not to sit out the general election. And yes, now that the primaries are over, it’s an appropriate time to consider changes in party rules. More important, I suggest, would be a strong push for comprehensive voting rights legislation to ensure that every American has equal access to the polls, during the primaries and during the general election. Read more »

Coupling Today in America: Who’s Making It (with Whom)

So here’s the good news from Sunday May 15th: Women have a solid toehold on the professional world and they aren’t giving it up. Ethnicity is of indifferent importance when it comes to personal happiness. A wildly variegated freedom of religion thrives. But there’s bad news, too. It’s conveyed by omission. Blacks, Latinos and Muslims aren’t making it. Read more »

A Diplomacy Problem: World Leaders Who Won’t be Able to Visit the U.S. during a Trump Presidency

Official representatives of all Muslim majority countries would be taboo—and I suppose their embassies would have to be closed, too. That’s Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Maldives, for starters. I hardly need to mention Iran, but we’d also have to sever communications with the entire Middle East and North Africa, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia. That would seriously complicate the matter of trying to buffer Israel from its Muslim neighbors, including the Palestinians. It gets worse..... Read more »

The American Spring and the Arab Spring

In short, instead of aping the take-no-prisoners approach to leadership transition that makes such a mess of so many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, instead of tearing America apart by increasingly militant polarization, we should be out there, busily selling our own miracle potion for stable evolutionary change—and selling it by example, I suggest. A little more emphasis on we the people might be a good start. Read more »

The Military Is Only Part of the Story

I am not running down the military. What I am saying is that military men (and women) are specialists, highly trained for one important purpose: to wage war when all else has failed, to be prepared to do so should that happen and to do so only when in possession of orders from the civilian leaders whom U.S. citizens have elected. Naturally, they must be accorded warm public appreciation when the job is well done. Those who have died must be buried with full honors. Those who are wounded or otherwise harmed must receive first rate rehabilitation administered in a timely, ungrudging fashion. While in uniform, service men and women should be protected from loan sharks, and when they need help in transitioning back into civilian society they should not be shunted into for-profit diploma mills that prepare them for nothing at tax payers’ expense. Perhaps a truly thankful bipartisan Congress could do something about ending such entrepreneurial exploitation. Read more »

Sri Lanka and the Scars of War: A Review Article

Although the vainglorious war President Mahinda Rajapaksa has since failed to win reelection and his successor is, reputedly, a more moderate member of the same party, the process of rapprochement between the Singhalese Buddhist majority and the Tamil minority (to say nothing of the also victimized Christians and Muslims) remains far from complete. When the wounds of the savage American Civil War are not fully healed, how could anyone expect the mood of the island to be cheery and forgiving? Read more »

ISIS De-Demonized: A Review Article

Only honest responsible government (not externally imposed) in Arab countries will deprive ISIS of nourishment. Until then, the U.S. can win battles, with drones, with proxies, with whatever else comes to hand, but the Middle East will remain in turmoil. And terrorism in the U.S. will continue to be largely locally grown, a product of our own gun-happy culture. Read more »

The Refugee Crisis and the Drop in the Bucket Fallacy

By Patricia Lee Sharpe The Greek island of Kos can’t accommodate all the refugees who land on its shores. Nor can Greece alone deal with all those who turn up on its sea-washed territories. Though incessantly berated for hard-heartedness, Europe,... Read more »