• BOOKS

    Have You Read the Koran? An Invitation to Non-Muslims

    by  • October 21, 2017 • BOOKS • 

    Early in October, as director of Public Affairs Programs for the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, I interviewed Gary Wills, the prize-winning historian and religious scholar, to discuss his latest book, titled “What the Qur’an Meant: And Why It Matters.” The book is an invitation to all non-Muslims to engage in a...

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    A Hint on Confronting Islamist Power. Or Maybe Not.

    by  • October 7, 2017 • BOOKS, Libya, Middle East, Syria, Terrorism, US Foreign Relations • 

    Will it never end? When will time run out on the array of shape-shifting militant Islamist movements intent on moving into shaky trouble spots around the world to impose their extreme ideology, harness the population and hijack the local economy? How long will it take for the international community — the ubiquitous West —...

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    America’s Pledge to the Paris Agreement Doesn’t Hinge on Washington

    by  • June 26, 2017 • BOOKS, Cities, Climate and Environment • 

    When Donald Trump, defying science and public opinion, reversed American policy and announced in June that the United States would leave the universally endorsed 2015 Paris agreement on climate change, his decision may have given more impetus to a growing trend away from reliance on shortsighted national politicians. In country after country, the focus...

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    The Rules of War Need a Major Overhaul

    by  • December 3, 2016 • BOOKS, Human Rights, Peace and Security, Responsibility to Protect, Security Council • 

    Donetsk People's Republic fighters in Ukraine

    Evidence is piling up: the global security framework that emerged from the ashes of World War II is no longer capable of pursuing international peace. The arrangement, conceived by the major powers that won the war, has expanded into a grab bag of rules and institutions that the crises of our own era have...

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    Explaining the Nobel Peace Prize

    by  • November 26, 2016 • BOOKS • 

    Since 1901, Nobel Prizes have been presented to the designated laureates at ceremonies held on Dec. 10 , the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. As stipulated in his will, the prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine and literature are awarded in Stockholm, presented by the King of Sweden. The Nobel Peace Prize is...

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    In Rio, the Middle Class Awakens to Demand Its Due

    by  • October 29, 2016 • BOOKS • 

    Rio de Janeiro is a spectacular city, situated between mountains and the ocean, broad enough to encompass a national forest and the justly famous beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. It’s the subject of song and story, and this year it pulled off a spectacular and joyous Olympic games. Rio is also a city of...

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    Confronting a Father’s Sex Change and a ‘New Self’

    by  • August 27, 2016 • BOOKS • 

    In 2004, the American writer Susan Faludi, the author of “Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women,” received an email from her estranged father, Steven, announcing that he had undergone sex-reassignment surgery and was no longer, according to him, “impersonating a macho aggressive man that I have never been inside.” It wasn’t the news,...

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    Africa’s War Problem

    by  • July 12, 2016 • BOOKS • 

    Too much of Africa is a mess. While there are, of course, great success stories, many countries continue, despite the end of colonialism and the Cold War, to suffer wildly from poverty, illness, corruption, coups and wars — too many compared with the rest of the world. Even as an outsized slice of United...

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    Ancient Rome: An Empire With Surprising Relevance Today

    by  • April 2, 2016 • BOOKS • 

    Who isn’t fascinated by ancient Rome, which continues to engage our imaginations: how did the Romans have the engineering skills to construct those enormous buildings, and entertain us with statues, plays and art and inform our politics? The Cambridge University professor of classics and blogger Mary Beard’s “SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome,” which...

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    Falling Flat in Syria: How Not to Fight Jihad

    by  • February 20, 2016 • BOOKS • 

    Sun Tzu’s classic work on the art of war advises would-be warriors to “know your enemy.” What were Western powers and the United Nations thinking when they first pondered ways to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from beating, torturing, bombing and even gassing his own people after the first hesitant protests against his rigid...

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    The UN Security Council, Functioning Amid Disasters

    by  • January 9, 2016 • BOOKS • 

    There is no easy way to describe a book about the United Nations that is nearly 1,000 pages long, with dozens of authors, all experts in their fields. “The UN Security Council in the 21st Century” is that book, a collection of situation reports, analyses and prophesies published as the 70th anniversary year of the UN...

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    UN Peacekeeping: A Portrait of More Than 50 Years

    by  • December 28, 2015 • BOOKS • 

    For many people in the world, the United Nations is often associated with peacekeeping, one of the most visible activities of the world body in its efforts to maintain international peace and security. Peacekeeping was created in the late 1940s and developed over decades into an ambitious instrument to contain severe political and military...

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    What Can Save Unesco? Advice From an Insider

    by  • December 15, 2015 • BOOKS • 

    Founded in 1946 with noble goals, namely “to contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture,” the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) has in fact achieved considerable progress, above all in assisting its member nations in providing quality basic education for children, youth...

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    The Surprising Confessions of a Peacemaker

    by  • July 18, 2015 • BOOKS • 

    When war breaks out, you would think the easy answer would be to send in a United Nations peacekeeping mission, right? In fact, it is fairly rare and extraordinarily challenging to pull such a mission together. Even then, the mission can end up a flop, making little or no difference as the years crawl...

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