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  • Think Again: Nelson Mandela

    False. For most of the world, Nelson Mandela is a hero of the struggle against apartheid and for nonracial democracy. The election of Mandela, the father of democratic South Africa, as president in 1994 marked both the end of a racist regime and the country’s embrace of racial reconciliation. As such, Mandela was a figure of hope not only for Africa but for the rest of the world — which was still very much struggling with racism and underdevelopment. Mandela articulated for South Africans of all races his democratic vision and, with then-President F.W. de Klerk, shepherded the country toward nonracial elections and a new constitution. COMMENTS (0) SHARE: Twitter Reddit More…

  • The Heretical Pope Francis Vs. Rush Limbaugh

    Take, for example, Louis Woodhill, a commentator for Forbes magazine. Woodhill works himself into a tremendous lather over the pope’s musings. Francis, he writes, “has lent the prestige of the Catholic Church to leftist/socialist whining about the ‘new tyranny’ of ‘inequality,’ ‘exclusion,’ and ‘marginalization.’” Woodhill is appalled. How dare the pope claim that such things exist! If there are poor people in the world, it’s their own damned fault.

  • The Real Sochi - An FP Photo Essay

    Their incredulity inspired a slow trek of adventure and investigation to document the effect of the games, which open Feb. 7 and are expected to cost $50 billion, making the Sochi games the most expensive Olympics on record. Year after year, as they traveled the region, the pair returned to Sochi, watching as the area was scraped clean and rebuilt, making way for new roads, railways, resorts, stadiums, and villages, watching as the old clashed with the new. This five-year journey resulted in their epic body of work, The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus, from which these photographs (and their accompanying stories) are taken.

  • How Poland Became An Eastern European Education Powerhouse

    This is from a country that in the early 1990s had one of the lowest participation rates in secondary education — that is, high school level schooling — among OECD countires. When the country took the test in 2000, nearly 70 percent of basic vocational school students tested at the lowest literacy level. The country’s transformation has been much-admired in education policy circles. This year, Poland was treated as an education superpower alongside the likes of South Korea and the vaunted Finns in journalist Amanda Ripley’s book The Smartest Kids in the World.  As Britain’s Daily Telegraph put it: The former eastern-bloc country’s schools may “make a poor impression on the outside. But the ageing and slightly shabby appearance of the buildings belie…one of the world’s best performing education systems.”

  • Israel’s Kill List

    The Israeli intelligence source, who dealt with the Radical Front, likens the anti-Israel coalition to SPECTRE, the fictional enemies of James Bond. With one difference: “SPECTRE usually did it for money.” Israeli intelligence drew up a list of these men, each one the possessor of highly lethal skills that could be threatening to Israel, even if there had not been a coordinated network embracing of all of them. The list was headed by two men: Imad Mughniyeh, Hezbollah’s supreme military commander, and Gen. Muhammad Suleiman, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s head of secret special projects, including the building of a nuclear reactor, and the person in charge of Syria’s ties with Iran and Hezbollah. As Meir Dagan, the former Mossad chief, told me: “Gen. Muhammad Suleiman was in charge of Assad’s shady businesses, including the connection with Hezbollah and Iran and all sensitive projects. He was a figure Assad was leaning upon. And these days, he misses him.”

  • This Is America’s Most Top Secret Volleyball Court

    It’s a Strangelovian addition to the facility responsible for America’s deadliest nuclear materials. Unless the volleyball court is someone’s strange idea of a decorative feature, the plant’s scientists could be handling materials used in weapons capable of annihilating millions of people one hour, only to be playing beach volleyball the next.

  • Team Obama Changes Course, Appears To Accept China Air Defense Zone

    Top Obama administration and Pentagon officials signaled a willingness to temporarily accept China’s new, controversial air defense identification zone on Wednesday. Those officials expressed disapproval for the way in which the Asian power has flexed its muscles, and cautioned China not to implement the zone. But they also carved out wiggle room in which the United States and China ultimately could find common ground on the issue, indicating that they may be willing to live with the zone for now — as long as China backs off its demand that all aircraft traveling through it check in first.

  • Meet The Pentagon’s Most Powerful Female Official Ever

    Christine Fox, a former defense official and Hollywood inspiration, will be the new Deputy Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon, making her, at least temporarily, the highest-ranking woman ever in the Defense Department. She replaces the outgoing Ash Carter, who retires Wednesday as the Pentagon’s equivalent of a Chief Operating Officer.

  • The Desolation Of Smog - An FP Slideshow

    On Dec. 5, 1952, a thick layer of fog settled over the streets of London, blanketing the city. This was no ordinary wintery mist, but rather a noxious haze of sulfur dioxide from coal-fired industrial factories and cookstoves in London homes. London’s Great Smog hung in the air for five consecutive days; visibility was reduced to mere feet and cars were abandoned or led off the road by police with… to the Telegraph, the devastation the smog wrought “only became apparent when undertakers reported that they were running out of coffins and florists had sold all their flowers.” In the following three months, an estimated 13,000 people died of respiratory complications.

  • Meet The Most Powerful Man In Pakistan

    Sharif assumes power during a critical time. With the United States set to reduce its troop presence in Afghanistan in 2014, the new army chief will be a vital powerbroker in shaping the complexion of post-war Afghanistan. With militants often launching raids from Pakistan’s restive border areas, the Pakistani borderlands have become a key theater in the Afghan war. But American military commanders have been less than successful in recruiting the Pakistani army to their cause. Pakistan has long been hesitant to crackdown on Afghan militants whom they view as potentially valuable allies in promoting Pakistani interests across the border once the United States pulls out. Kayani rebuffed Washington’s repeated demands for an aggressive military force to squeeze Taliban insurgents in the North Waziristan tribal areas and that calculus is unlikely to change under Sharif.

  • Dutch Double Down In Mali

    Fearing an Islamist offensive against the capital of Bamako, the French government launched a military offensive in January that routed the militants out of northern Mali. The French then helped organize a coalition of African countries that helped Mali drive the insurgents into retreat in the north. In July, the African troops were integrated into a new U.N. peacekeeping mission - the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stablization Mission in Mali(MINUSMA). The mission - which is headed by a Dutch politician, Bert Koenders- is serving along-side a separate French force of some 3,000 troops.

  • Fear And Loathing In The Kingdom

    Two aspects of the agreement, in particular, will consolidate Saudi fears that an Iranian bomb is now almost certainly coming to a theater near them. First, the pre-emptive concession that the comprehensive solution still to be negotiated will leave Iran with a permanent capability to enrich uranium — the key component of any program to develop nuclear weapons. In the blink of an eye, and without adequate notice or explanation to key allies who believe their national existence hangs in the balance, the United States appears to have fatally compromised the long-standing, legally-binding requirements of at least five United Nations Security Council resolutions. If the Saudis needed any confirmation that last month’s rejection of a Security Council seat was merited — on grounds that U.S. retrenchment has rendered the organization not just irrelevant, but increasingly dangerous to the kingdom’s core interests — they just got it, in spades.

  • Who Is The Shadowy Sultan That Shepherded The Nuclear Deal With Iran?

    Working through the Sultan Qaboos-bin-Said, the ruler of Oman, U.S. diplomats have secretly huddled with a team of Iranian diplomats since 2011 to carry out bilateral talks aimed at securing an agreement to put the brakes on Iran’s nuclear ambitions. While negotiations in Geneva appear to have generated all-important consensus among Western powers, the meat of the agreement looks to have been hammered out in Muscat, far from the prying eyes of the international media gathered in the Swiss city.

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