Purging Sports and Humbling Men: The Lance Armstrong Affair

August 28, 2012 by

He was the superman of the sport, the untouchable product of well honed athleticism. Precisely because he seemed to hum into cycling history, to purr onto the podium with feline ease, the critics grew in number, as did the questions. Was Lance Armstrong taking something? “There comes a point in every man’s life when he has to say, ‘Enough is enough.’ For me that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1997.”

Left Behind: Re-Evaluating American Hegemony

August 27, 2012 by

Over the past decade, amidst appalling civilian casualties in one war of questionable legality and another of dubious wisdom, American foreign policy became the great bogeyman of the political left the world over. For liberal Americans, the bullish behavior of the Bush Administration induced the pretension of Canadian citizenship abroad and a previously unimaginable mainstream audience for leftist favorites Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky at home.

Remembering the Man on the Moon: The Passing of Neil Armstrong

August 27, 2012 by

It should surprise no one, and yet, the passing of the first man on the moon enabled space – and the American way of life – to be yanked into the public fold with a degree of hubris that should turn any human off extra-terrestrial missions. Tributes are flooding various forums, extolling Armstrong as human, humane and gifted. These invariably leave out as much as they tell. Personal reminiscences of the man have been effusive, which demonstrates that cardinal rule that he who says little in public life shall have much spouted about him.

The Crisis in Mali

August 26, 2012 by

The reports filtering out of Northern Mali are appalling: a young couple stoned to death, iconic ancient shrines dismantled, and some 365,000 refugees fleeing beatings and whippings for the slightest violations of Sharia law. But the bad dream unfolding in this West African country is less the product of a radical version of Islam than a consequence of the West’s scramble for resources on this vast continent, and the wages of sin from the recent Libyan war.

Britain, Ecuador and the Case of Julian Assange

August 26, 2012 by

A decade ago, the British government of Labour prime minister Tony Blair decided to back President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq even though foreign office lawyers in London had warned that such an attack had no “legal basis in international law.” In the midst of sharp divisions in government and British society, the invasion went ahead in March 2003. The consequences were far-reaching and they undermined the Blair government’s authority at home.

Mali: Not on Clinton’s Farewell Agenda

August 24, 2012 by

On August 10, 2012 Secretary Hillary Clinton ended her ten day trip to nine sub-Saharan African countries: Senegal, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Benin. The trip was publicized as her last to the continent, as Secretary of State in the Obama Administration. The common thread throughout her structured remarks was on the building blocks for democratic institutions, good governance, rule of law, corruption, security, and trade.

Mohamed Morsi’s Evolving Relationship with Egypt’s Military

August 24, 2012 by

Ever since early April when he became an official candidate in the first post-revolution presidential election, Dr. Mohamed Morsi has been generally dismissed by most political observers as a weak and unimpressive politician. In fact, he was an accidental contender since he was the stand-in candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) first choice, senior leader Khairat Al-Shater.

The Politics of ‘Legitimate Rape’

August 24, 2012 by

If a campaign can self-destruct in an inferno of imbecility, then this must surely provide a good recipe for it. Aiken’s grasp of reality, at least when it comes to those of the opposite gender, is slim, caricatured and severe. Enter then, the disastrous move that requires a contrition tour to rival that of Bill Clinton, the antics of Congressman Todd Akin and his remark about “legitimate” rape.

Peace Corps Diary: Ethiopia 1962-1964 Part 15

August 23, 2012 by

When I was assigned to teach agriculture at Haile Selassie 1 Secondary School in Gondar I had a lot to learn about agriculture in Ethiopia. Unknown to me at the time of my arrival in Gondar was the fact that there were two agricultural extension agents in the area, Ato Arega Effende and Ato Yilma Degafa. Ato Arega was assigned to Gondar and points south and Ato Yilma to the north around the Debat area. They were both a big help to me.

Exploring Sino-Russian Relations: The Dynamic Partnership

August 23, 2012 by

Exploring the dimensions of Sino-Russian relations reveals a perplexing question, “who is the junior partner?” No definite answer presents itself because Sino-Russian relations change depending on different issues and situations. In the post Cold War era, China has proved to be very adaptable to change while Russia has struggled to restructure to the new order.

U.S. Must Tread Carefully in Zimbabwe

August 23, 2012 by

Council of Foreign Relations senior fellow Ambassador John Campbell recently released a policy innovation memorandum entitled, “Zimbabwe: An Opportunity for Closer U.S.-South Africa Relations.” It is heartening to see analysts writing on topics they perceive as beneficial to closer relations between the United States and South Africa. Campbell, a former U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, makes a number of valid points, and in principle, the tone of his brief is correct. Both sides want an end to the political crisis.

Remembering the Legacy of Ambassador Rodger Davies: The Continued Search for a Solution in Cyprus

August 21, 2012 by

On July 10, 1974, Ambassador Rodger Davies, the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, presented his credentials in Nicosia. He arrived on the small island at a tumultuous time with the ambitious goal of fostering a fair, long-term peace agreement between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. Six weeks later, on August 19, 1974, Amb. Davies was assassinated. A sniper from 100 yards away shot him in the chest as he tried to keep his staff safe during a violent rally outside the embassy.

Post-Assad Syria: A Region in Turmoil

August 21, 2012 by

Syria is in dire straits. The once regal and prosperous cities of Damascus and Aleppo have now become the primary battlefields of the Syrian Army against opposition forces. Since the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, the calm and serenity of both Damascus and Aleppo were often touted by the Syrian regime to the world as indicators of Syrian stability. The swift change from peace to turmoil however, has happened almost overnight, with President Assad describing the current battle in Aleppo as decisive of Syria’s fate.

The Question of the Salute: Rehabilitating Peter Norman

August 20, 2012 by

Rehabilitation was the term used to restore the reputations – often posthumously – of those who were wrongly accused, condemned and executed by various regimes during the Cold War. Ideology has a habit of filling the morgues with its followers. In notional democracies, persecution has tended to be of a milder sort, though victims still abound. In 2006, the Australian runner and athlete Peter Norman died, having been, it has been argued, a victim of ideological mania – at least at the hands of the sporting establishment.

When the 2012 London Olympics made Iran Proud

August 20, 2012 by

For the Iranian people, the 2012 Olympic Games in London which wrapped up earlier on August 12 was thoroughly different from the previous editions of the summer Olympics. This year’s games came on the heels of a set of biting sanctions by the United States and European Union against Iran’s banking, insurance, transportation and oil sector which have dramatically crippled Iran’s economy and severely affected innocent civilians.

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