Where now for Cuba?

There are a number of no-go zones in the world for Barack Obama these days. Damascus is enemy territory. Most of Iraq and Afghanistan are too dangerous. Pyongyang has never hosted a sitting U.S. president, and Kim Jong-Eun frankly prefers Americans with better jump shots. We now have a nuclear deal with Iran, but there are no trips of reconciliation to Tehran on the White House calendar. Relations with Moscow are frosty, and don’t expect a trip any time soon to Ankara either. Oh, and it would probably be a bad idea for the president to show up at a … Continue reading

Six reasons why we don’t need a new cold war

The Pentagon budget the Obama administration unveiled this week calls for quadrupling spending on efforts to counter Russia. The money would move more troops, tanks, and artillery into position near the Russia border. This last Obama budget would also fund another installment in a $1 trillion and 30-year plan to “modernize” our nuclear arsenal with new land-based missiles, bombers, and submarines. If Congress supports the White House’s request, this budget would have our country spending more, adjusting for inflation, than we did during most of the Cold War. The Republican-controlled Congress wants to add even more. Sounds like we’re gearing … Continue reading

Keith Somerville on Africa’s Long Road Since Independence

As a journalist, Keith Somerville was stationed in Malawi in 1981 to monitor regional radio coverage. The BBC World Service maintained the Monitoring Service, with bases in Kenya and Malawi, to track events across southern, central and eastern Africa. The Monitoring Service worked both for the BBC and its funder, the British government, and routinely passed on information to the Ministry of Defence and, by extension, to the intelligence services. The radio networks played a vital role in Africa because of widespread illiteracy, as well as the lack of infrastructure and logistics necessary for a functioning press. Radio broadcasts offered … Continue reading