German Chancellor Angela Merkel reportedly told President Obama on Sunday that Vladimir Putin was out of touch with reality. When it comes to Ukraine, however, it’s not just Putin who seems to be operating in a parallel universe. In Washington, this crisis is causing politicians from both parties to lose their grip.
As the Ukraine crisis deepened, Sen. John McCain responded by criticizing President Obama’s “feckless” foreign policy, while Sen. Lindsey Graham called Obama “a weak and indecisive president [who] invites aggression.” These sharp comments brought to mind a different time and crisis.
A plea for about a dozen people who know who they are: Will you see “12 Years A Slave” now?
What Xi Jinping has accomplished over the past year doesn’t look like an old-fashioned Communist Party putsch. There aren’t red banners in the streets or blaring loudspeakers. But Chinese and Western analysts agree that Xi has achieved a remarkable consolidation of power.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s disastrous government is in much bigger trouble than most people think, not because of the student protests that have already resulted in more than 16 deaths, but by a 56 percent annual inflation rate — the world’s highest — that may soon turn his country ungovernable.
As a wave of protests against government corruption and misrule rolls from country to country, nervous autocrats are using the same formula to crush dissent.
Secretary of State John Kerry has done Israelis and Palestinians a huge favor by pushing them to make one last try at negotiating a two-state solution. After months of effort, Kerry will soon present a draft framework meant to serve as a basis for a final agreement. Critics such as Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon have called Kerry’s project “obsessive and messianic.” Although those remarks were quickly refuted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ya’alon was correct: You really do have to be mad to try to close the current gap between Israelis and Palestinians.
Fifty years ago, the Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” You’ve surely seen clips of them on the news, or on tribute shows, japing with the press, smiling those cheerful smiles, singing “All My Loving” — and you probably thought, “Oh, they were so cute.”
What’s the connection between the Sochi Olympics, Syria, and the Nazi starvation siege of Leningrad in World War II? Answer: Vladimir Putin.
In 1995, I flew into the Caucasus on a Russian transport plane taking medical personnel back to the front in the province of Chechnya. This was the first of Moscow’s two recent wars against Chechens seeking independence, and it was going badly. The doctors and nurses on board had already seen hundreds of soldiers die and were slugging vodka from bottles to prep themselves for more carnage.