In June of 1775, when John Quincy Adams was almost 8 years old, his mother, the indomitable Abigail, took him by the hand up a peak in Braintree, Mass., to view from afar the battle of Bunker Hill. Over 70 years later, in February 1848, “Old Man Eloquent,” as he was then called, collapsed at his desk in the House of Representatives and an obscure one-term congressman named Abraham Lincoln was assigned to the committee making the funeral arrangements. Many of the eulogies to Adams identified him as the last remaining link to the founding generation.
The United States should work with the Afghan government to help young Afghans build a future for themselves in their country. But America's responsibility to them — after 14 years of failing to bring peace and security to Afghanistan — goes beyond that.
While the U.S. was operating in Afghanistan, it created a parallel public service sector to the Afghan government that was larger and better paid. The U.S. and NATO military and aid programs employed thousands of young Afghans, newly educated in schools the West paid for.
AMERICANS don’t have a vocabulary to describe the pernicious behavior of political crowds, but our forefathers did. John Adams favored a strong executive to guard against “the mob.” He thought that partisans of popular democracy like Thomas Jefferson or Tom Paine ignored the dangers of populist passion. The people, he wrote, can be as tyrannical as any king. That division contributed to the formation of the first parties — Adams’s Federalists and Jefferson’s Democrats.
As a bloody offensive by the Taliban spreads in Afghanistan and with American combat operations there officially ended, anxious Chinese leaders find themselves under pressure to take a more active role in the long-stalled peace process, according to scholars and current and former diplomats.
President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan is proposing to improve Afghanistan’s contentious relations with Pakistan in the hope of paving the way toward both peace with the Taliban and regional economic cooperation.
Ban Ki-moon, in his seventh year as the secretary general of the United Nations, has a full plate of unsolved problems, from a widening war in Syria to conflicts in the Central African Republic and South Sudan — to say nothing of climate change. Now comes Ebola.