March 11, 2015 |
IN HIS SPEECH to Congress on Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summoned historical and literary resources to support a hard line in the negotiations with Iran over nuclear weapons. Netanyahu turned first to the ancient Biblical story of Esther, the young Jewish queen of Persia, who, with the help of her uncle Mordecai, foiled a plot to kill all the Jews. Scholars disagree on the historical standing of this story, but last week Jews worldwide celebrated Purim in commemoration of Esther, and Netanyahu was able to claim, 2,500 years later, that Esther had saved her people from "yet another Persian potentate.
January 29, 2015 |
WASHINGTON - Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), who has frequently and forcefully clashed with President Obama over Iran policy, gave the administration some breathing room Tuesday. Menendez, the leading Democratic advocate for tougher economic sanctions on Iran, said that he and nine fellow Democrats would not vote for any new measures until at least March 24, heeding Obama's call to allow his administration time to negotiate a deal that prevents Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
December 19, 2014 |
Pakistanis, and sympathizers the world over, are mourning the Taliban's horrific massacre of at least 132 schoolchildren and 13 staff in a crowded school in Peshawar. On the surface, this obscene assault - in which the Pakistani Taliban hunted down children cowering under desks and burned a teacher to death - seems to have stiffened the backbones of Pakistan's politicians, who have long waffled about confronting the country's radical Islamists. After the attack, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif swore to eradicate terrorism from the country.
August 2, 2014 |
While both the U.S. and the European Union have begun to ratchet up economic sanctions on Russian banks and other interests following the July 17 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, the reaction of the Russian government so far has been muted, a panel of Dechert L.L.P. lawyers said in a conference call Thursday. Thus, the potential for a sharply escalating trade war apparently has been averted - at least for now. The conflict between the U.S. and European governments and Russia over Russian support for separatist rebels in Ukraine already has had damaging consequences for the Russian economy, said Dechert partner Laura Brank, and concern by the Russians over further harm from western sanctions has tended to weigh against retaliation.
April 21, 2014 |
Hamid Aboutalebi looked like the ideal candidate to become Tehran's ambassador to the United Nations. He speaks fluent English and French, has served as ambassador to Italy, Australia, Belgium, and the European Union, and - in an ecumenical twist - got his Ph.D. from a Catholic university. There was only one catch. As a 22-year-old, he occasionally served as an interpreter for the students who took U.S. embassy staff hostage in Tehran in 1979. That ordeal remains so vivid in Washington memory that Congress voted unanimously to deny him a visa.
January 21, 2014
What a leader does Defending President Obama's foreign policy on the grounds that he is following the will of the people ignores many lessons of history ("Public supports Obama's caution," Jan. 14). These lessons tell us that the president must see beyond what most of us want and then lead. For instance, Pearl Harbor finally forced an isolationist public to see that we had to go to war with Hitler. Harry Truman's decision to use nuclear weapons on Japan was primarily a product of simple addition, which told him that many thousands of American lives would be saved, and possibly many Japanese.
September 27, 2013 |
When President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke at the United Nations on Tuesday, each used a phrase that is key to any nuclear deal. "The age of zero-sum games is over," Rouhani declared. "This is not a zero-sum endeavor," said Obama (referring to prospects for a deal on Syria, but implying the same approach toward the nuclear issue). The phrase zero-sum game , loosely interpreted, means that for me to win, you must lose. There is no middle ground. But getting beyond zero-sum politics requires a minimum level of trust, or an ability to verify what the other side has promised.
September 20, 2013 |
For 50 years, we lived in dread lest the Cold War end in a nuclear holocaust. The Soviet empire may be dead, but not our nuclear fears: What if a terrorist group or rogue nation deploys the bomb? Yet, during that entire time, we haven't stopped to consider an equally grave danger right here at home: the accidental detonation of one of our warheads. "We came close to having nuclear weapons detonate on American soil a few times during the Cold War," said Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety (Penguin, $36)
May 23, 2013
Cruise captain ordered to trial ROME - An Italian judge has ordered the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship to stand trial for manslaughter in the vessel's shipwreck off the coast of Tuscany, which killed 32 people. Judge Pietro Molino, at a closed-door hearing Wednesday in the town of Grosseto, agreed to prosecutors' request that Capt. Francesco Schettino of Italy be tried on charges of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the vessel while many of its 4,200 passengers and crew were still aboard.