As Russian forces continue to make their presence felt in Ukraine, I think of the Czech student Jan Palach, who burned himself to death in a Prague square 45 years ago, a few months after Russian troops ended the 1968 “Prague Spring.”
Americans like to believe that our exceptional story was cooked up in the proverbial melting pot. And it’s true that we’ve broadly taken strength from our diversity. But the way we engage our differences has more recently begun to shift. We’re more tolerant today than we’ve ever been, but we’re also more likely to wall ourselves off from those who hold opposing points of view. As a result, the latitude to lead lives of our own choosing allows and sometimes compels us to narrow the horizons of our individual experience.
Before he goes to war, Barack Obama should go to Congress.
Democrats curse their luck in 2014 — a midterm in a president’s (often) grim sixth year, with most of the competitive races taking place in states won easily by the last Republican presidential candidate. Low presidential approval ratings in states that Democrats need to win — President Obama is at around 38 percent in Iowa, a state he won in both 2008 and 2012 — are not leavening the mood.
Hours after a video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, punching his then fiancée (now wife) and dragging her limp body out of a casino elevator, hit the Internet, his NFL team tweeted that Rice’s contract had been terminated.
In Monrovia, the blue steel gates guarding JFK Medical Center’s Ebola ward separate two worlds, each hopeless. On one side, three Liberians lie huddled on the ground under a UNICEF shelter, waiting to get in. On the other side, a flatbed truck loaded with 10 bodies in white plastic bags waits to drive out.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is entangled in three critical but faltering relationships with Hamas, the United States and Israel. How he reconciles them will determine whether Israelis and Palestinians resume talking or fighting in the months ahead.
Whether President Obama’s plan to combat the Islamic State actually degrades and destroys the organization may take years to determine, but the debate in the coming weeks over that policy will tell us whether America can have a public discussion about the use of military power during a time of high anxiety.
I’m beginning to think that college exists mainly so we can debate and deconstruct it.
I was in rural Peru, mentoring a group of U.S. medical students who were conducting training in basic public health to lay healthcare providers. Word had gotten out that I was a doctor, and several of the lay providers came to me seeking medical advice.
There is a rhetorical infestation loose in Washington, and left untreated, it will devour what little remains of honest communication in the nation’s capital.
James Foley and Steven Sotloff, the two journalists recently beheaded on video by members of the militant group Islamic State, had a number of things in common. They both cared deeply about the Middle East and believed that stories from the region needed telling. They were intelligent and brave. And they were both freelancers.
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Mitt Romney is increasingly inserting himself into national affairs. That may be because he’s running for president, or it may simply be that he’s just positioning himself as the GOP’s éminence grise, laying its policy groundwork for 2016.
When Pope Francis announced he was unblocking the canonization process for Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, killed in 1980 by a death squad during his country’s civil war, it was heartening and frustrating. Romero stood up to a murderous army on behalf of the poor in El Salvador. President Obama visited his tomb in 2011, and his statue stands on a wall of Westminster Abbey, among modern Christian martyrs including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.