Jim Slattery, a former six-term Democratic Congressman from Kansas, late last year became the first former or current American legislator to visit the Islamic Republic of Iran.
In Tehran to attend a conference on countering violent extremism, Slattery encountered a largely friendly reception from both officials and ordinary Iranians and came back equipped to present a more realistic and upbeat depiction of Iranians than is usually found on Capitol Hill.
Georgia is seeking the elusive Membership Action Plan (MAP), which is NATO’s program of advice, assistance, and practical support tailored to the individual needs of countries wishing to join the organization.
A commitment such as MAP would be a powerful statement about the tangible rewards that can come from a democratic transformation like that in Georgia. NATO needs to overcome its ambivalence about Georgia’s credentials for Euro-Atlantic aspirations and rearticulate its strategy to ensure the credibility of its promises. Russia, by seizing sovereign Ukrainian territory, has already done much damage to Euro-Atlantic security.
The release of a gruesome video showing the burning to death of a Jordanian pilot– weeks before IS offered to trade him for a female terrorist jailed in Jordan – exposed the depths of the organization's cynicism and sadism. It also united Jordanians, who had been somewhat ambivalent members of a 60-nation anti-IS coalition, in demands for revenge. On Wednesday, Jordan executed two militants at dawn.
New government risks undercutting ties with Europe and the US
GREECE HAS never been a leader in Europe's power institutions — NATO and the European Union. German, French, and British leaders alike considered it too small, poor, and geographically remote to be a major player. But all that changed with Sunday's landslide victory of the radical left-wing Syriza party in the most important Greek national election in four decades.
By Monday, Syriza's young, strong-willed leader, Alexis Tsipras, had been sworn in as prime minister. Within hours, his new government challenged the EU to renegotiate the terms of Greece's massive bailout package. Tsipras then threatened to block stronger EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. Suddenly, a new and very different government in Athens is back on the radar screen of Berlin, Paris, and London.
On the 70th anniversary of liberation, a survivor’s journey is a reminder to recall each victim’s story of strengthTHIS WEEK marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army. And Thursday is the 83rd birthday of my wife's uncle, Bernie Rosner, who was hurtled into that Nazi death camp's cruel vortex as a 12-year-old in 1944. Bernie's ultimate survival and subsequent long and happy life is a lasting triumph over his Nazi tormentors.
Bernie's extraordinary story, like those of nearly every Holocaust survivor, is brutal, dramatic, courageous and, ultimately, life affirming. In June 1944, when he was studying for his bar mitzvah in the provincial Hungarian town of Tab, local authorities and their Nazi allies ordered the deportation of over 475,000 Jews. Given 24 hours notice, Bernie, his younger brother Alexander, and mother and father, Bertha and Louis, were marched with hundreds of other Jews through the streets of Tab on their way to the death camps. Seven decades later, Bernie recalled for Libby and me at his northern California house last weekend that some of his Christian neighbors jeered as he left his home forever.