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Trump To Move Embassy to Jerusalem, Needlessly Inflaming Region

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This will get people killed. Quite likely, including American citizens.

British Prime Minister Theresa May Aiming For A ‘Hard Brexit’

Brexit Puzzle Pieces

British Prime Minister Theresa May made it clear that she intends to move forward with Brexit.

A Real Life “The Terminal” (of Sorts)

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Via WaPo:  Colombia deports U.S. tourist who was stranded at a Bogota airport for three months.

John Kerry Is Right About Middle East Peace, But It Hardly Matters At This Point

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Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech on Middle East peace was largely correct, but his words are pointless given the fact that neither Israel nor the Palestinians seem serious about peacefully resolving their differences.

United Nations Resolution Vote Leads To More Tension Between U.S. And Israel

Obama Netanyahu

While you were celebrating Christmas, Israel was blasting the Obama Administration and cozying up to the incoming Trump Administration.

Another Example of Growing Nationalism (and the Putin Connection)

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Via the NYT:  Austria’s Far Right Signs a Cooperation Pact With Putin’s Party The leader of the Austrian far-right Freedom Party has signed what he called a cooperation agreement with Russia’s ruling party and recently met with Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, the designated national security adviser to President-elect Donald J. Trump of the United States. […]

Economist’s Country of the Year

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Colombia. A worthy choice for good reasons.  

Apparent Berlin Terror Attack Kills 12, Injures Dozens

Berlin Market Attack

Another attack in what has been a bloody 2016 for Europe.

Russian Ambassador To Turkey Assassinated In Ankara

Russian Ambassador Turkey Assassination

The situation in the Middle East just potentially became much more complicated.

The Problems with Safe Zones

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The president-elect has suggested that we will be able to create “safe zones” in Syria: “We’re going to build safe zones,” he told supporters at a rally in Florida. “We’re going to get the Gulf States to pay for the safe zones.” First, as a side note, what is it with Trump and the assumption […]

South Korean Parliament Impeaches President

South Korean Flag

Political upheaval for an important Asian ally.

Duterte’s Philippines

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A chilling photo essay in the NYT: ‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals’ I had come to document the bloody and chaotic campaign against drugs that President Rodrigo Duterte began when he took office on June 30: since then, about 2,000 people had been slain at the hands of the police alone. […] I HAVE WORKED […]

French President Francois Hollande Won’t Run For Re-Election

French Flag And Ballot Box

French President Francois Fillon announced today that he would not run for a second term as President of France: PARIS — President François Hollande stunned France on Thursday when he announced that he would not run for a second term in next year’s presidential election. In a televised address from the Élysée Palace, Mr. Hollande […]

French Center-Right Party Picks Presidential Candidate

French Flag And Ballot Box

The players are almost completely set for France’s 2017 Presidential elections, and the choice seems likely to come down to center-right candidate Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen, France’s Donald Trump.

Obama And Biden Will Skip Castro’s Funeral

Diana Nyad

Neither President Obama nor Vice-President Biden will attend Fidel Castro’s funeral.

India And Pakistan Exchange Fire In Kashmir

India Pakistan Flags

As America prepares for a Presidential transition, an old conflict with a history of turning dangerous rears its head.

Angela Merkel To Seek Fourth Term As German Chancellor

Angela Merkel

Political change coming to Germany? Or more of the same.

Oops: Dell Offers $33 Laptops in Mexico

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Via the BBC:  Dell error hands Mexicans $33 laptop bargain Mexican officials have ordered Dell Computers to honour the sale of laptops that had been mistakenly advertised online for just 679 pesos (£27; $33). The computers normally sell for up to 50,000 pesos (£1,990; $2,500). But because of an apparent software malfunction, only the shipping […]

A Photo for Friday

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Since Colombia has been in the news this week, here is a photo I took of the opening ceremonies of the first round of the 2014 presidential elections, where I was acting as an electoral observer.  This process eventually led to Juan Manuel Santos’ second term in office.  This issue of the peace plan was central to that […]

Santos Wins Peace Prize

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Via the BBC:  Nobel Peace Prize for Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the 52-year conflict with left-wing rebels. The Nobel committee in Norway praised him for his peace agreement with Farc rebels, signed last month after four years of […]

On Referenda

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The NYT has a really good piece on why referenda are problematic instruments:  Why Referendums Aren’t as Democratic as They Seem Though such votes are portrayed as popular governance in its purest form, studies have found that they often subvert democracy rather than serve it. They tend to be volatile, turning not just on the merits of […]

Colombia’s Vote for Peace

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Today Colombians got to the polls to vote in a plebiscite on the FARC peace accord.

On the Potential Global Consequences of a Trump Presidency

Donald Trump Victory

The reputation of the US matters in global affairs.

President Trump and Latin America

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Andres Oppenheimer:  A Trump victory could push Latin America to the left and away from U.S. Judging from what I heard in recent interviews with several Latin American presidents, a victory by Donald Trump in the Nov. 8 election would chill U.S.-Latin American ties, moving even the most pro-American presidents in the region to distance themselves […]

Investigators Conclude Flight MH-17 Shot Down By Missile Brought Into Ukraine From Russia

Malaysia Air Flight 17 Crash Scene

A new report concludes that Malaysia Air Flight 17 was brought down by a missile brought into Ukraine from Russia.

Looking to Peace with the FARC

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By me at ORIGINS: Current Events in Historical Perspective Colombia: On the Brink of Peace with the FARC?

U.S., Russian Agreement On Syria Seems Doomed To Fail

US Syria Russia

The United States and Russia have reached an agreement to end fighting in Syria, but it seems unlikely to succeed given that it doesn’t involve the parties actually doing the fighting.

What To Do About North Korea?

North Korea Nukes

North Korea continues to advance its nuclear program but it’s unclear what anyone can do about it.

North Korea Conducts Another Nuclear Weapons Test As The World Runs Out Of Options

Kim Jong Un North Korean Flag

North Korea conducts yet another nuclear weapons test, and it’s unclear what anyone can do to stop them.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff Convicted, Removed From Office On Impeachment Charges

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was convicted and removed from office on impeachment charges by the nation’s Senate earlier today: BRASILIA — Brazil’s Senate ousted Dilma Rousseff as president Wednesday, voting overwhelmingly to impeach the leftist leader in the culmination of a protracted process that has divided the country. The vote to impeach Rousseff was 61 to […]

French Court Strikes Down Burkini Ban

Bikini Burkini

A high-level French Court has struck down the ban on the so-called ‘burkini’ adopted by many towns along the French Riviera.

French ‘Burkini’ Ban Provokes Backlash

Bikini Burkini

For largely irrational reasons, French police are arresting women on the beach for wearing swimsuits that are compatible with their faith.

The Deepening Disaster in Venezuela

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Via CNBC:  Venezuela calls for mandatory labor in farm sector The government of Venezuela has issued a decree that “effectively amounts to forced labor” in an attempt to fix a spiraling food crisis, according to a new report from Amnesty International. A Venezuelan ministry last week announced Resolution No. 9855, which calls for the establishment […]

Attempted Coup Rocks Turkey, But Fails To Overthrow Government

Turkey Coup Protesst

Turkey’s government appears to have rebuffed a coup attempt, but questions remains about the stability of the government going forward.

Dozens Dead, Dozens More Injured, As Truck Rams Bastille Day Crowd In Nice

Nice, France Truck Attack

A night of terror mars Bastille Day celebrations in France.

Boris Johnson UK’s New Foreign Secretary?!

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In her first official act as prime minister, Teresa May has appointed known nutjob Boris Johnson to run the UK’s foreign policy.   Let’s just say I was not expecting that.

Theresa May Set To Become Next British Prime Minister On Wednesday

Theresa May

A quick succession of events this morning means that Theresa May will become Britain’s Prime Minister far sooner than anticipated.

Leadsom Withdraws from UK PM Race

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Or, more accurately, she withdrew from the race to be leader of the Conservative Party, which would have lead to her being PM had she won. The BBC reports:  Theresa May set to be UK PM after Andrea Leadsom quits In a speech earlier on Monday setting out her leadership campaign platform, Mrs May – […]

Tories Set To Pick Between Two Women To Replace David Cameron

British Houses Of Parliament

Regardless of the outcome of the Conservative Party’s leadership race, the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will be a woman.

EU Leaders Must Keep Calm and Carry On

Brexit Puzzle Pieces

Early panic over the Brexit referendum was an overreaction. It’s time for statesmanship.

ISIS Suicide Bombers Hit Inside Saudi Arabia

Saudi Bombing

The wave of Ramadan attacks continues, including a strike near the second holiest site in Islam.

The Philippines’ Disturbing new President

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Via Guardian:  Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte urges people to kill drug addicts Following a measured speech after taking his oath before a small audience inside the presidential palace, the outspoken leader paid an evening visit to a Manila slum and unleashed profanity-laden threats against drug traffickers in front of a crowd of about 500 people “These […]

Farange Makes his own Exit

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Another Brexit leader is making their own exit (via the BBC):  UKIP leader Nigel Farage stands down. So, Boris Johnson will not stand for the Prime Ministership and now Farange is quitting as leader of UKIP.  On the one hand, I can’t say that the UK is worse for either move, but it is striking […]

ISIS Attack Kills More Than 140 In Baghdad

Baghdad Bombing

A third major terrorist attack inside of a week.

A FARC Primer

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For anyone interested in more on the FARC as the peace process progresses, here are two useful BBC pieces from about a week ago: Who are the Farc? and Colombia’s Farc rebels – 50 years of conflict.

20 Dead In Bangladesh Attack Claimed By ISIS

Bangladesh Attack

A third major ISIS-inspired or planned attack in three weeks.

On the Usage of “Radical Islam”

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Via Vox:  I worked in the CIA under Bush. Obama is right to not say “radical Islam.” When I directed the Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program at the CIA in the early 2000s, I frequently interacted with senior Bush administration policymakers about how to engage Muslim communities and, when doing so, which words and phrases […]

Post-Brexit, Both Of Great Britain’s Major Parties Are In Crisis Mode

Brexit Puzzle Pieces

One week after the Brexit vote, both the Conservative and Labour parties find themselves in chaos.

At Least 41 Dead In Terror Attack On Istanbul Airport

Istanbul Airport Attack

A massive attack hits Istanbul’s airport.

British Labour Party Leader Loses No Confidence Vote

Brexit Puzzle Pieces

In the latest example of the political backlash growing out of last week’s Brexit vote, Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, lost a no-confidence vote among Labour’s Members of Parliament, but he says he will not leave office even as his position seems to become more and more precarious: LONDON — Britain’s […]

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