MEXICO CITY – Everyone these days, it seems, has their own favorite American diplomatic cable – or will soon – given that the 250,000 documents obtained by WikiLeaks include references to almost every country in the world. For Latin America, Wikileaks has so far provided enticing tidbits of both gossip and substance about Brazil and Argentina; interesting, first-rate analysis regarding Honduras, Bolivia, and Mexico; and a few intriguing notes about regional politics and international relations.
NEW DELHI – “Tzu-Ch’in asked Tzu-Kung a few questions; Tzu-Kung answered: …Our Master gets things (done) by being cordial, frank, courteous, temperate, deferential. That is our…way.” But will Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao live up to that standard, as conveyed in the Analects of Confucius, on his current visit to India?
The widening division within the Press Union of Liberia was very visible during the first National Convention of the Union.I was opportune to have been at the Baptist Seminary on the Eobertsfield Highway for two of the three days of the convention, which was poorly planned. And from what I did see, I think there is a need for the older folks of the PUL to intervene now or elsewhere, their dream will be far from what they thought when they were initially putting the organization together.
CANCÚN – The official communiqué from the Cancún climate-change conference cannot disguise the fact that there will be no successor to the Kyoto Protocol when it expires at the end of 2012. Japan, among others, has withdrawn its support for efforts simply to extend the Kyoto treaty.
PRINCETON – At Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson, who was president of the university before he became president of the United States, is never far away. His larger-than-life image looks out across the dining hall at Wilson College, where I am a fellow, and Prospect House, the dining facility for academic staff, was his family home when he led the university.
MADRID – Arab societies often appear rigid and resistant to change to outsiders, because what they see is these countries’ ruling regimes, which mostly do resist development and change. But this image is nearly the opposite of reality in Arab societies, where enormous dynamism is opening doors to many types of change, albeit at different speeds and in complex, contradictory ways – particularly when change from below is held back from above.
ABIDJAN – On December 2, Côte d’Ivoire’s Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) declared opposition leader Alassane Ouattara the winner of the country’s November presidential election with 54.1% of the vote. The incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo, gained 45.9%. The United States, European Union, Canada, and United Nations Secretary-General all congratulated Ouattara and called on Gbagbo to respect the people’s will.
CAMBRIDGE – Now that the European Union and the International Monetary Fund have committed €67.5 billion to rescue Ireland’s troubled banks, is the eurozone’s debt crisis finally nearing a conclusion?
BORDEAUX – Climatology and its emphasis on global warming is a comparatively recent addition to science. Yet, despite the relative youth of this research, a clear consensus has emerged: climate change – for which human activity is significantly, though not exclusively, responsible – now threatens our way of life, so we must develop the means to combat it.
BERKELEY – One disturbing thing about studying economic history is how things that happen in the present change the past – or at least our understanding of the past. For decades, I have confidently taught my students about the rise of governments that take on responsibility for the state of the economy. But the political reaction to the Great Recession has changed the way we should think about this issue.