• BOOKS

    What We’re Reading This Summer

    by  • July 11, 2015 • BOOKS • 

    Enjoying your summer but still looking for something good to read? There are lots of reading choices, of course, starting with all those backed up New Yorker magazines, McKinsey reports and NPR’s Summer Romance List. Or you can get a peek at what some of PassBlue’s editors and correspondents — Barbara Crossette, Irwin Arieff, Laura...

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    If Africa Is So Rich, Why Is It So Poor?

    by  • May 18, 2015 • BOOKS • 33 Comments

    They call it the Curse of Riches. Although the African continent is blessed with gold, diamonds, oil, coltan, bauxite, uranium, iron ore and other valuable resources, its inhabitants have long numbered among the world’s poorest. While a few sub-Saharan African nations are doing relatively well, most are mired in poverty. That a continent’s abundant...

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    New Development Goals: Can the UN Machinery Cope?

    by  • April 19, 2015 • BOOKS • 

    The United Nations is now discussing in a broad consultation process the sustainable development goals: a new universal set of ambitions for economic and social development, made up of targets and indicators that all countries are expected to use to frame their agendas and policies from 2015 to 2030, to be adopted by the...

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    China in Africa: When Is a Win-Win Deal a Loser?

    by  • January 1, 2015 • BOOKS • 1 Comment

    Chinese officials often describe their growing economic involvement in Africa as a “win-win” arrangement. As they see it, African nations gain investment and infrastructure, make progress toward development goals and benefit from the creation of jobs and other economic activity. China lands contracts for its state-owned enterprises, enhances its image as a global leader,...

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    Islamism and Politics: Going in Circles

    by  • July 3, 2014 • BOOKS • 

    It must be a drag to live in a strict Islamist regime: the legal system stems entirely from Islamic — sharia — law, in which adulterers are stoned to death, thieves have their hands chopped off, and the renunciation of Islam, or apostasy, is punishable by death. Liberal democracy? Gender equality and women’s rights?...

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    Resource Wars: How Afraid Should We Be of China?

    by  • March 26, 2014 • BOOKS • 1 Comment

    Xi Jinping of China

    The United States and Japanese military held joint war games in California in February, practicing how to invade and take back an island seized by hostile forces. While they didn’t say whose forces they were worried about, the drill was one more sign of growing global fears that China’s People’s Liberation Army may soon...

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    Just About Everyone Wanted Benazir Bhutto Dead

    by  • January 12, 2014 • BOOKS • 

    Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani prime minister who was killed by a teenage suicide bomber in 2008.

    Why write a whodunit when you can’t say who done it? This is the challenging task undertaken by Heraldo Muñoz, a veteran Chilean diplomat and United Nations official, in his new book, “Getting Away With Murder: Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination and the Politics of Pakistan.” In 2009, the UN asked Muñoz to head an investigation...

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    Defending Women’s Rights Against Muslim Fundamentalism

    by  • November 17, 2013 • BOOKS • 

    Afghan women sorting pistachios in Herat

    Karima Bennoune grew up in Algeria in the 1990s, a dark period when the country was riven by Muslim fundamentalist violence and a repressive military dictatorship that responded to the fundamentalist threat with its own campaign of terror. Her father, Mahfoud Bennoune, an intellectual and outspoken critic of both the authorities and the fundamentalists...

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    Shocking! Uncle Sam Is Not an Honest Broker

    by  • July 3, 2013 • BOOKS • 

    Demonstration against land confiscation, Beit Ummar

      You shouldn’t need a book to tell you that the Palestinians have gotten pretty much zilch out of the Middle East peace process. So readers of “Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East” are unlikely to be astonished by what they find there. The core argument of...

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    Regional Organizations Remain Vital to the UN

    by  • April 30, 2013 • BOOKS • 

    Alicia Barcena of ECLAC and Jan Eliasson of the UN

    Formed as a “club” of nation states, the United Nations took some time to find out that cooperation with regional organizations might be of some use in improving social and economic living conditions as well as maintaining international peace and security and safeguarding the enjoyment of human rights. It was not before the economic...

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    Diplomacy: An Insider’s Guide

    by  • March 21, 2013 • BOOKS, UN Diplomats • 1 Comment

    Kosovar refugee

    International crises are not always resolved on the battlefield or at the negotiating table. Sometimes breakthroughs come around a table at a restaurant that is continents away. Or they fall in place because of a thoughtful gesture made by an important player at a cemetery years before. This is one of the lessons of...

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    Kofi Annan: The Back Story

    by  • January 28, 2013 • Africa, BOOKS, Secretary-General • 

    Kofi Annan

    Frederic Eckhard, the United Nations spokesman for eight and a half of Kofi Annans 10 years as secretary-general, was certainly well placed to write a tell-all account of that action-packed era. But readers of Eckhard’s new book, “Kofi Annan: A Spokesperson’s Memoir,” get that and something more. Along with the insider accounts, there’s the...

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    Iran’s ‘Grand Bargain’ With the West

    by  • January 1, 2013 • BOOKS, Disarmament, Middle East • 4 Comments

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, addressing the UN conference on sustainable development, June 20, 2012.

    Iran’s nuclear crisis has been dragging on for a decade, so it sure would be great if someone in the know finally laid out the definitive plan for resolving the dispute and ending Tehran’s international isolation. In “The Iranian Nuclear Crisis: A Memoir,” a veteran Iranian diplomat, Seyed Hossein Mousavian, modestly puts himself forward...

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