Connect to share and comment

Pro-Russian protesters holds placards reading "No EU and NATO!" and "Libya, Syria, Ukraine" during a rally in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on March 23, 2014. Crimea's rebel leader urged Russians across Ukraine on Sunday to rise up against Kiev's rule and welcome Kremlin forces whose unrelenting march against his flashpoint peninsula has defied Western outrage.

- AFP/Getty Images

CAMBRIDGE — The Ukrainian revolution has revealed the European Union as the main driving force in advocating pro-Western change. Lasting political and economic change can emerge from Ukraine’s otherwise stalemated situation only with a strong role by the EU, rather than the United States.

Russia’s de facto annexation of Crimea shows that Moscow is largely immune to Western protests and financial sanctions against its officials or institutions.

Putting the EU in the front seat on the economic front would maximize Ukraine’s independence and stability in its difficult situation. The EU represents the most efficient permanent counter-incentive to Russia’s powerful financial reserves that threaten to pull Kyiv eastward into the Russian orbit.

Read on »

A Palestinian laborer works on a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in east Jerusalem on March 19, 2014. Israel granted final approval for plans to build another 186 new homes in annexed Arab east Jerusalem, a city councillor told AFP, drawing an angry reaction from the Palestinians.

- AFP/Getty Images

OWL’S HEAD, Maine – With the Russian take-over of the Crimea and the bizarre Malaysian flight mystery, it takes more than the third anniversary of the start of Syria's civil war or Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visiting the White House to re-focus anyone's attention back to the Middle East.

Fair enough: a miscalculation or two in the eastern Ukraine could create the kind of international crisis for which the world is unprepared.

Read on »

A man fills a jerry can with clean water on World Water Day March 22, 2014 in Surabaya, Indonesia. World Water Day recognizes the global need for water and energy conservation.

- Getty Images

GRANTHAM, Pennsylvania — The availability of and access to clean water is one of the major issues of our time. While tremendous strides have been made globally to increase access to clean water, making water available to people with disabilities remains an often-overlooked problem.

Read on »

The five star Kabul Serena Hotel opened in November 2005.

- Getty Images

This should have been a happy holiday weekend in Kabul, as residents mark the feast of Nawroz, the start of the new Muslim year. It is now 1393.

Normally on these days the streets are mobbed with gaily dressed families going to visit their relatives, where they eat an assortment of nuts and raisins, accompanied by cakes and cookies, all washed down by endless cups of green tea.

Not this year.

Read on »

In this picture taken on May 15, 2012 Congolese national and former militia chief Germain Katanga looks on during the closing statements in his and fellow former militia chief Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui's trial, at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Former Congolese militia chiefs Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui and Germain Katanga claimed they were innocent of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on May 23, 2012.

- AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The judgment against Congolese former rebel commander Germain Katanga marked a milestone for the International Criminal Court (ICC).

For the first time in its 12 years, the court ruled on charges of sexual violence, although the result was disappointing, barely a whimper.

The ICC found Katanga guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes including murder and pillage in the eastern Congolese village of Bogoro. It acquitted him on all charges of rape and sexual slavery.

Katanga’s conviction is an important step toward greater accountability for mass atrocity. But his acquittal of rape and sexual slavery reinforces a long-standing gap in international criminal justice and signals a hard truth that extends beyond what happened in Bogoro: the court is failing to adequately address sexual and gender-based crimes.

Read on »

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on during a press conference in his country residence of Novo-Ogaryova outside Moscow on March 4, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 4 said that deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych had no political future but asserted he was legally still head of state.

- AFP/Getty Images

NEW ORLEANS — Is the current crisis in Ukraine caused by the ethno-linguistic conflict between Russians and Ukrainians, especially in Crimea?

Ukraine seems to be divided between Russian-speaking Ukrainians and Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians. This kind of talk only benefits Putin’s geopolitical stake in Ukraine.

Western mass media feeds Putin’s propaganda unintentionally by relying on the native language data from the 2001 census. The census failed to ask if the individuals had more than one native language.

The truth is quite simple. Many Ukrainians are bilingual.

Read on »

People participate in the Chinese New Year Parade on February 2, 2014 in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York City. The parade, which is in it's 15th year in New York, brought out thousands of participants and viewers.

- Getty Images

EVANSTON, Illinois —The recent revelation of asylum fraud in New York’s Chinatown has lead to the prosecutions of 30 people, including attorneys who reportedly falsified documents.

But the bust begs us to address a more tragic problem than the crime itself: the complicity of United States Customs and Immigration Services in a trafficking business that generates $9.5 billion in the US each year.

The United States offers two programs that can provide refuge to individuals that have been persecuted or have a well-founded fear of persecution: a refugee program for persons outside the US and their immediate relatives, and an asylum program for persons in the US and their immediate relatives. Asylum fraud is fabricating persecution in order to claim the benefits of asylum.

Read on »

Members of transsexual organizations demonstrate in front of the Nacional Assembly in Caracas on January 31, 2014. Sexual diversity activists' organizations presented 20,000 signatures the supporting same sex marriage.

- AFP/Getty Images

BOGOTA — Will cuts to foreign aid as a response to anti-gay laws help the plight of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Africa? The conventional wisdom seems to say “yes.”

Recent legislation in Uganda, which imposes a life sentence for “aggravated homosexuality” and criminalizes any promotion of homosexuality, has been rightly condemned as a violation of the fundamental equality and dignity of LGBT people.

In response, a number of Western countries, including Norway, Denmark and Sweden, have withdrawn foreign assistance, and the World Bank froze a $90 million loan to Uganda.

These actions, while understandable, are misguided.

Read on »

Pope Francis waves to the crowd at the end of a visit at the parish of Santa Maria dell'Orazione in Guidonia Montecelio near Rome on March 16, 2014.

- AFP/Getty Images

The sudden and completely unexpected appearance of Pope Francis, following the drearily predictable pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, leaves many gasping.

It's almost as if Mother Angelica, with her drearily predictable decades of the rosary, were to be suddenly transformed into Lady Gaga.

The last two popes were unyielding conservatives.

Read on »

DENPASAR, INDONESIA – As China’s National People's Congress met in Beijing from March 5-13, the prevailing news story was one of a commitment to critical reforms, including reinvigorated efforts to fight the corruption and pollution that have accompanied China's remarkable economic rise.

At least that, and a government commitment to an approximately 7.5% economic growth rate, was the story that China's leaders wanted reported out of Beijing, as an estimated 3,000 delegates gathered to approve—cynics might say "rubber stamp"—legislation and key government personnel changes.

But not all went as hoped.

Read on »