A Spanish diplomat and I joined nearly 600 other international observers, deployed all across Russia, for the March 18 presidential elections. The two of us flew several hours east overnight from Moscow, and then with a local driver and interpreter met voters and elections officials in frozen central Eurasia. Here’s some of what we saw.
In traditional souks we met the sellers of spices and vegetables of every kind, as well as iPhones and Haagen-Dazs….
Beyond the spice shops and restaurants and holy sites, though, this is also Occupied Palestine…. I saw things that reminded me of the difficulties in Banja Luka, Tijuana, and Kirkuk. A new art gallery illustrates decades of resistance to occupation, and I anticipated decades more. But the graffiti on the Palestinian side of The Wall – peace doves, Trump satire, pizza ads – chronicles desperate, ironic, yet hopeful Palestinians. It was fascinating to me that many of the Palestinians I met were not pessimistic.
Instead, they told me to look at Northern Ireland, South Africa, the Berlin Wall….
Many Americans think of Saudi Arabia as the world’s rich oil producer, the cradle of Islam, and the home of most of the September 11th hijackers.
Ahead of President Trump’s first foreign visits, Saudi officials described the Kingdom’s counter-terrorism bona fides.
Read more: Jerusalem Post, May 17, 2017
A review of some of my recent columns:
For the Global Internet Governance Academic Network (GigaNet):
A former Obama official warns, ““There’s no excuse not to know that the system is blinking red when it comes to the potential for a major national security-driven cyber incident to hit our critical infrastructure in a way that causes major economic issues.”
For the Foreign Policy Association’s blogs:
Former Israeli defense minister, General Moshe Ya’alon gave his first public remarks as candidate for Prime Minister. He began by agreeing with the notion that the Middle East is in its biggest crisis since the time of Mohammad, concluding that the problem is “Iran, Iran, Iran.”
For the Jerusalem Post:
Mr Trump’s “proportional response” of cruise missiles may settle the issue in the short run. But in Syria, in other crises, and in developing his own long-term national security strategy, it will be difficult for Mr Trump to find a third way in between more American war in the Middle East and American withdrawal from global leadership.
What happened to the level of our [un]civil discourse? Why do so many people seem just not to like Hillary Clinton? How did Donald Trump (not really a Republican) and Bernie Sanders (not really a Democrat) do so well in the primaries? What is this “change” we all seem to want? Have Republicans already lost the Hispanic vote, like the African-American vote? Why is trust in the media and in the candidates so low? Is it time for a third party? Could the whole electoral system really be “rigged,” and if so, could it be under foreign influence? Every pundit has a range of opinions.
Among terribly polarized professional partisans and a vast middle unhappy with the whole thing, Americans of all political persuasions share one idea about this election: it has been a crazy year. Continue reading “#MakeAmericaStrongerTogetherAgain ?”
Across the Middle East, refugees, IDPs, and indigenous religious minorities remain at considerable risk. The U.S. presidential election has not addressed any of these concerns, from humanitarian or geo-strategic perspectives. But the new U.S. president will have to.
The Hilton Prize Coalition’s first Storytelling project is a beautiful film, On Shifting Ground, by Steve Connors. The Hilton Prize Coalition and Global Impact are sharing the film globally via webinar on Wednesday, August 17, 11:30am-12:30pm (EDT/New York time) with a discussion to follow. The public may see the film and join the discussion by registering online.
Six winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize were among the many NGOs serving in Nepal when the earthquake hit in 2015. On Shifting Ground is a new documentary that tells the story of collaboration among six Hilton Prize-winning international NGOs and a range of local organizations after the earthquake.
Since 1996, the Hilton Prize has been awarded annually to “a nonprofit organization judged to have made exemplary and extraordinary contributions in alleviating human suffering.” (Its $2 million award is nearly twice the amount of a Nobel Prize.) The Hilton Prize Coalition has begun a Storytelling Program to “highlight…lessons learned by the world’s most extraordinary humanitarian organizations” and to further promote collaboration.
The Coalition’s first Storytelling project is a beautiful film, On Shifting Ground, by Steve Connors. The Hilton Prize Coalition and Global Impact are sharing the film globally via webinar on Wednesday, August 17, 11:30am-12:30pm (EDT/New York time) with a discussion to follow. The public may see the film and join the discussion by registering online.