There is surely no greater sign of the bankruptcy of U.S. foreign policy than its Afghanistan policy. After more than 15 years of war and the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops, a new president entered the Oval Office poised to fundamentally change that policy. Within months he presented, with great fanfare, a continuation of the same.
Since World War II, U.N. peacekeepers have been dispatched to 69 conflicts — civil wars, border disputes and failed states. But now they are confronting an unsettling new threat: al-Qaeda.
Here in the vast, lawless desert of northwest Africa, their convoys are being torn apart by improvised explosive devices and their compounds blasted by 1,000-pound car bombs. It is a crisis that looks more like the U.S. ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan than the cease-fires traditionally monitored by U.N. missions.
In the Congo, President Joseph Kabila has engineered artificial delays in the election process to extend his stay in power, and the opposition has called for massive protests on Dec. 19, when his mandate was supposed to end.
The Republican majority in the U.S. Congress led by House Speaker John Boehner, along with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama are engaged in a vital debate on how to deal with the Iranian nuclear program.
With the United States and its allies pressing President Bashar al-Assad to step down, the Arab League last week issued a detailed plan for a political transition in Syria. The plan was welcomed by the Obama administration, and Arab leaders quickly said they would refer it to the United Nations.
The United Nations suspended its monitoring mission in Syria on Saturday, a day after the chief observer there warned that spiraling bloodshed was hindering the ability of his team to fulfill its obligations.
The United Nations, looking to modernize its peacekeeping operations, is planning for the first time to deploy a fleet of its own surveillance drones in peacekeeping missions in Central and West Africa.