A world of ideas. Commentary and comment on the day's biggest news and most important trends.
'What is religion for, anyway?'
Commentary: Best-selling author Thomas Cahill reflects on Pope Francis and the astonishing change he brings to the Vatican.
Historical ironies abound in trying to reconcile Putin’s actions in Crimea
Commentary: Can Israel’s land grab in West Bank be justified but not Russia's occupation of Crimea?
China's 'two sessions' 2014: Deepening reforms high on the agenda
Hotly-discussed topics included environmental issues, social security, income distribution, the fight against corruption, property issues, medical reform, inflation, commodity prices, and food and drug safety
Women's History Month: Paying tribute to Rita Moreno, Puerto Rican Hollywood icon
Commentary: Moreno is fabulous and fearless. Why the Latino community, especially Latino women, should follow Moreno's lead and boot their insecurities.
Unelected forces controlling Ukraine trying to do what they could not under Yanukovych
Commentary: Protesters believe Ukraine is not a democratic country but it belongs to the European Union anyway.
Women's History Month: Paying tribute to Margaret Marshall, anti-apartheid activist and judge
Commentary: "Freedom is like oxygen. When you’re breathing it, you’re not even conscious."
Protecting trade secrets is a challenge in a global economy
Commentary: Governments have a role to play through national laws and international treaties.
Putin has a genuine interest in protecting Russia's warm-water port and naval base in Crimea
Commentary: He will be shunned internationally for a while, but at least a war will be avoided.
In Somalia, rape is normal, but the government can change that
Commentary: In a country where one-third of the victims of sexual crimes are children, police training and a "zero-tolerance policy" can go a long way.
American ideas on volunteering don't resonate worldwide
Commentary: Nevertheless, a culture of volunteerism can benefit developed and developing nations alike.
German high court challenges the European Central Bank pledge to defend the Euro
Commentary: Is the court inviting challenges to the European Central Bank on complex issues affecting the Euro?
If West stands up to Putin, Russian economy will pay heavy cost
Commentary: The country’s ruling class will suffer under consequences of economic sanctions.
A Universal Rule for Traveling: 'Never, ever insult another country's cuisine'
Commentary: A tweet calling Japan's dolphin hunt "inhumane" triggered a justifiable debate about "culinary imperialism." To tell a nation that its food is illegitimate, barbaric, or inhumane is an insult to its history, culture and identity.
Reducing the size of the army reflects lessons learned in Iraq, Afghanistan
Commentary: But Congress may not go along as members try to protect bases in their districts.
The spirit of the Egyptian revolution can still be felt through its female entrepreneurs
Commentary: Egypt's 2011 revolution empowered many of the country's young women. Now, a new wave of entrepreneurial spirit is rippling across Egypt.
There are encouraging signs that some Arab views of Israel are changing
Commentary: Public sentiment is softening and the power of Israel’s military and high-tech capacity is recognized throughout region.
Russia’s playing a long game over Ukraine
Column: With Moscow already trying to undermine the new authorities in Kyiv, Western countries must learn from past mistakes by fully committing to Ukraine.
Ukraine: What the hell just happened?
Commentary: Was it a democratic revolution? An ultra-nationalist coup? Whatever it was, the future of Europe and East-West relations may depend on what happens next.
With Iraq in deep trouble, US military aid now is key to stabilizing Middle East
Commentary: Stronger ties to US and the West would assure Iraq of its best future.
Optimism suffers setback in Myanmar but believers in democracy press on
Commentary: Military continues to thwart the leadership of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Syria's refugee children need education, lest they become a lost generation
Commentary: Education is the bridge out of a breeding ground of violence, early marriage and crime.
Latinas will soon lead the conversation about US abortion rights
Commentary: Conventional wisdom says Latinas, many of whom are Catholic, might agree with Republicans on abortion. But recent polling shows that isn't the case.
Where human rights are scarce, 'digital rights' discourse must take a back seat
Commentary: Internet users aren't happy about US surveillance, but in regions like the Middle East and North Africa, the bigger question is: If I speak out, will I be punished for it?
Reflections in a college reunion book evoke a sense of national mediocrity
Commentary: Old graduates wonder how to make the US truly exceptional again.
New treaty on mercury protection should win approval of all governments
Commentary: Mercury poisoning is affecting lives of children working in gold mining.
Hindus, Bangladesh’s hidden victims, need government protection
Commentary: Bangladesh's Hindu minority has become a hostage to political battles between parties seeking power.
West stands by as Ukraine loses fight for democracy
Commentary: My grandfather instilled in me a love for Ukraine, and a hope that it would one day squash totalitarian rule. Today, as it loses its fight for democracy, my American daughters wonder why the world isn't listening.
Freedom and liberty: ideas Democrats should fight for in the coming elections
Commentary: The role of government in our lives goes back to the intent of the Founding Fathers.
In Pakistan, Musharraf's treason trial is about revenge, not justice
Commentary: An independent commission is needed to address politically motivated crimes.
The Geneva II talks over Syria's civil war might be a waste of time
Commentary: After eight days of negotiations, the Assad regime and the Syrian National Coalition remain at odds over every single issue.
Nuclear deal with Iran is key to improving Syria peace negotiations
Commentary: A two-state solution has waited half a century; it can wait another year. John Kerry needs to focus on resolving Iran now, where the expiration date is real.