World

Dreaming of Tripoli
April 07, 2011

Somewhere amid the burning oil pipelines and wrecked tanks, among the wounded filling the hospitals and the homeless winding out of their ruined cities, lies another potential casualty of the Libyan war: five and a half million olive trees the Italians planted in the desert in the 1930s. Few worldwide may be thinking of these trees as they watch the latest news. But, in South Africa, some people are praying for them.

How the West Failed Ivory Coast
April 06, 2011

Freetown, Sierra Leone—Twelve days ago, I rode on the back of a motorbike through the forests of Grand Gedeh County in eastern Liberia to a remote crossing point on the border with Ivory Coast. On the Liberian side were jumpy Bangladeshi peacekeepers who stood close by local security forces wearing blue fatigues and coalscuttle helmets. On the Ivorian side were the rebels of the Republican Forces, who support Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of Ivory Coast’s disputed presidential election last year.

Tel Aviv Journal: Richard Goldstone Recants a Blood Libel
April 05, 2011

The ancient rabbis declared that, “even though a Jew has sinned”—which in this context means sinned against his own—“he remains Israel.” We can leave it for the Lord Almighty to decide whether Richard Goldstone remains among His chosen. But, whether the judge can worship with members of the congregation, as he was finally permitted to do at his grandson’s bar mitzvah last spring, remains in the hands of those who’d have to pray with him; and, if I were them, I would not allow him. Not for one moment.

Dispatch From the Frontlines
April 05, 2011

Near Brega, Libya—Somewhere on the road between the cities of Ajdabiya and Brega, amid the wreckage of charred tanks destroyed by Western airstrikes, the Libyan rebels prepare their next advance. Armed with anti-tank missiles and rocket launchers, they look like a fierce bunch. But their panoply of Russian weapons, pilfered from the country’s military bases, paints a deceiving portrait of an advancing army.

Innovative No More
April 04, 2011

Last May, then-New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein traveled to Jerusalem at the invitation of Mayor Nir Barkat. After several of Klein’s other overseas trips, school administrators in places like Australia and England had subsequently spun off some of his favored policies, particularly the controversial school grading system he had put in place in New York. In Israel, Klein again hammered home the values of accountability and bold, rather than incremental, change that he had pushed in seven years leading America’s largest school system.

Inside the Intervention
April 01, 2011

Strategy is a strange beast. Up close—as it is unfolding—even a good strategy can appear muddled, confused, and indecisive. Its logic only becomes clear over time. President Obama’s Libya strategy demonstrates this. It has drawn howls of criticism from across the political spectrum, most of the “muddled, confused, and indecisive” variant.

When Numbers Lie
April 01, 2011

For the first few weeks of the Libyan rebellion, the death count varied wildly. The United Nations estimated that 1,000 Libyans had been killed. The World Health Organization put the estimate at 2,000, while the International Criminal Court put the number closer to 10,000. Since early March, however, estimates have become scarce and even less definite. Now, over a week since the international no-fly zone halted Qaddafi’s advance on Benghazi, authoritative estimates of civilian and military deaths are practically nonexistent.

Spring Trap
March 31, 2011

The public uprisings spreading like wildfire from Tunisia to the Persian Gulf have been referred to collectively as the “Arab Spring.” But in fact, as the Obama administration crafts its policy responses, it should strive to avoid this unifying narrative, lest it obscure the unique challenges faced by each country, as well as the distinctive ramifications that each uprising has for U.S. interests.

Lessons in Recovery
March 31, 2011

Compared to most of its Asian neighbors, Japan seems like a very different society. Unlike in Bangkok or Rangoon or Jakarta, schedules run on time in Japanese cities, and essential services, from street cleaning to tax collection, work effectively. Though it slipped this year from the second largest to the third largest economy in the world, Japan remains, on a per capita basis, far wealthier than China, and, despite years of economic stagnation, its manufacturing firms remain among the best in the world.

Afghanistan Dispatch: Permanent Recess
March 31, 2011

Oqa, Afghanistan—After many day-long camel treks to petition the provincial government in Mazar-e-Sharif, the hardscrabble men of Oqa at last secured a promise: The government would send a teacher to their desert hamlet of penniless carpet weavers, barefoot firewood gatherers, and two score clay homes. Elated, the men pitched in to buy a blackboard and some chalk and dragged them into the only space that could pass as a classroom: the doorless anteroom of Oqa’s sole mosque, an oblique and teetering shape the villagers themselves had hand-molded of tumbleweed and mud. That was four years ago.

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