Dayton Accords at 20

Presidents Milosevic, Tudjman, and Izetbegovic formalize in Paris the Dayton Accords initialed November 21, 1995. Wikimedia,

The 20th anniversary of the Dayton Accords (November 21, 1995) is much in the news.  Continuing trouble in divided societies like Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere illustrates how significant was the Dayton agreement that ended the war in Yugoslavia. But many questions remain.

The task for the EU, for Bosnia’s benefit and for its own, is to help Bosnia find a new path forward.

Read more:

Martin O’Malley on Wall Street reforms

“Should not be underestimated”

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley spoke yesterday in Washington about his proposed reforms for Wall Street.

The former Maryland governor had three talking points: advocating a 21st century Glass Steagall Act, additional regulatory reforms, and an increase in prosecution of leaders at “mega big banks” he called “too big to fail, too big to jail.”

Continue reading Martin O’Malley on Wall Street reforms

Angell and Mahan: Lessons for Today

med qtly cover 26-2Norman Angell and Alfred Thayer Mahan argued more than a century ago that globalization and new technologies were challenging economic and security interests.  Mahan’s warnings seemed to be born out by WWI, WWII, and the Cold War. Angell’s optimism was reflected by the emergence of the ECSC/EC/EU, and the surge of democracies and trade by the 1990s.  In this century, though, Mahan seems resurgent, in Russia and China’s naval expansions and in cyberspace.


26.2.quirk - med qtly page 80

Muhammad Depictions on D.C. Metro?

FPB logonewsweek logoThe current debate over political advertising in the Washington, D.C.-area transit system moves the issue from “free speech” to “public safety,” and probably toward the Supreme Court.

In Schenck v. United States (1919). Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. wrote in the unanimous opinion, “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre….”   Does posting insulting (or any) depictions of the Prophet Muhammad on city buses and trains create a “clear and present danger”?

Read more…


Could another ISIS surge hasten a Kurdish exit from Iraq?

FPB logonewsweek logo


After a perilous roller coaster ride in 2014, the question of independence for the Kurdistan Region moves back to the front burner.

With the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) latest victory in Ramadi, contentions its rapid advances had stalled must be revisited. In the wake of the visit to Washington by Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) president, Masoud Barzani, the question of KRG priorities and strategies might once again be changing.

From left front: Falah Mustafa Bakir, Qubad Talabani, and President Masoud Barzani meet with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (third and fourth from right front) in the White House, May 5, 2015.  Photo:,

“Right now,” said Barzani, “the priority for all of us is fighting ISIS, to continue to push them out and away from our areas. But the process for the referendum to take place for the people of Kurdistan to determine their future and for the people of Kurdistan to exercise the right to self-determination is a process that has happened.  It will not stop and we will not step back on that process.”

A resurgence of the Islamic State, though, might force the KRG to reprioritize its “defeat Daesh, then vote on independence” strategy. Erbil may rely on good relations with the current Iraqi prime minister, but can it rely on the next one? Will Baghdad be able to coordinate support from Shiite militias, Sunni tribes, the Iraqi Army, and Western air strikes? Will Baghdad devote more resources to protecting Karbala and Najaf, at the expense of Sunni or Kurdish areas?  If Baghdad cannot protect major cities like Mosul and Ramadi from ISIS – will the Kurds decide they are better off alone?

Read more at the Foreign Policy Association’s

Morning in Belgrade

FPB logoThanks to the U.S. Embassy in Serbia, I had the privilege of meeting a number of groups in Novi Sad, Belgrade, and Niš last week, to discuss American politics and, separately, online learning.  The first in a series of observations appears at Foreign Policy Association’s ForeignPolicyBlogs.

An excerpt:

“The former ministry of defense buildings still show the considerable damage from U.S.-led NATO bombing in 1999.  Unlike several of its Balkan neighbors, Serbia remains outside of the EU.  Unemployment remains high, especially among the young. And the government is under attack for a recent public relations stunt gone wrong, which ended with a helicopter crash that killed several soldiers, medical personnel, and an infant.

“Meanwhile, ordinary people go about their lives. On the Easter Monday holiday, Kalamegdan Park is filled with people enjoying the warm spring weather…  At night, lively crowds laugh and eat and drink as they stroll along Kneza Mihaila, with a big slice of Caribic’s €1 capricciosa pizza.

20150414_085808-church cropped 3

More at