Supply teachers are not to be envied. While they may be highly qualified in a particular subject, they re often sent in to teach classes they are not familiar with and doing so without the necessary training.

Over the past several years, similar scenes have been repeating themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Western troops have been training local armed forces. While competent in combat, the military instructors have essentially been functioning like supply teachers: teaching without the necessary educational background, and only for a limited period of time.

Now the United States and the United Kingdom are addressing the issue: both countries are pioneering Teacher Corps. Other countries should follow their example.

Read More

Jorge Quiroga does not believe that the presidential elections scheduled to be held in Venezuela on April 22 will be free or fair. In fact, he contends, “they’re not elections.”

The former president of Bolivia is not alone in that opinion.

Read More

North Korean Gen. Kim Yong-chol is believed to have orchestrated a deadly attack on a South Korean warship, the bombardment of a South Korean island, and, possibly, the cyberattack on Sony Pictures.

Now, the former North Korean spy chief is on a different mission. Kim Yong-chol will lead his country’s delegation to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on February 25. There he is expected to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in to pave the way for a peace summit proposed by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The diplomatic thaw between North and South Korea follows several months of missile and nuclear tests by Pyongyang and is playing out in the high-wattage arena afforded by the Winter Olympics.

Read More

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s re-election on March 18 is a foregone conclusion. Why, then, does this elaborately staged charade garner such attention abroad? Perhaps that is because the election is not important in itself as much as for the question it poses of what comes next.

This election’s importance resides not in its occurrence or in its sham legitimization of this regime. Its significance is that a “reelection” of Putin will extend the current stagnation within Russia well into the future and foreclose many other future alternatives. In many ways, it rejects the future. 

Read More

Terrorist group suspected in disappearance of ninety school girls

More than ninety missing school girls in Nigeria—thought to have been abducted by Boko Haram—show that while the militants may have largely been defeated militarily, Boko Haram remains alive and well in Nigeria, according to an Atlantic Council analyst.

According to J. Peter Pham, vice president for regional initiatives and director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center, the “iteration of Boko Haram the military force was defeated. However, Boko Haram evolved and it has become a more classical terrorist group.” Pham described how Boko Haram has “increased suicide bombings and—if this kidnapping is confirmed—returned to mass kidnappings as well.”

Read More

Ksenia Sobchak sees a “big double standard” in fellow Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s criticism of her decision to stand in the presidential elections in Russia on March 18.

In December of 2017, Russia’s Central Electoral Commission determined that Navalny was ineligible to participate in the presidential election citing a sham corruption conviction.

Read More

State and non-state actors are increasingly engaging in cyber conflict through a range of disruptive and destructive influence and interference operations. Among their targets? Elections.

While election interference does not equal the existential threat of disintegration of nuclear nonproliferation regimes or the perils of climate change, together these challenges all contribute to what was the key theme of the 2018 Munich Security Conference (MSC)—the crisis of the liberal international order.

Read More

Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s forces have unleashed an unrelenting bombardment of the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta that has killed hundreds—many of the victims are women and children—over the past few days.

The United Nations (UN) has warned that the situation is “spiraling out of control.” The Assad regime has reportedly not even spared hospitals and schools. Targeted attacks on these locations could be tantamount to war crimes.

Read More

Under pressure to groom a successor, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has picked a “Mini Merkel” to take over as secretary general of her Christian Democrats (CDU).

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a close ally of Merkel’s, is expected to be voted into her new role at the CDU congress on February 26. She will replace Peter Tauber who is stepping down after an illness.

Read More

Six and a half years after he was hounded out of office, Silvio Berlusconi may be Europe’s best hope of avoiding another political crisis in Italy.

The 81-year old media tycoon is not eying a return to the premiership. A 2013 conviction for tax fraud bars him from public office. But he could end up as kingmaker after the election on March 4.

Read More