DC Bureau

And the Gold Goes To…

Sochi, a small resort town on the Black Sea with only a single mountainous access road, was never going to be the least expensive site to host the Olympic Games.  To Russia’s credit, the infrastructure for the games has been duly constructed – new roads, light rail, power plants to service the guests and stadiums,...

A Dirty Road for Democracy

Using the faulty democratic framework of We the People, Nicaragua’s newly passed constitution may have ingrained into law a lifetime of Daniel Ortega presidency. It was with a slam of the door that twenty-five Nicaraguan opposition lawmakers heatedly abandoned the National Assembly after President Ortega’s reforms passed in the hands of the Sandinista supermajority. With...
False Promises and Premises: Reframing the NSA Debate

False Promises and Premises: Reframing the NSA Debate

In one year, both Keith Alexander and James Clapper will likely retire. Alexander and Clapper are the two men most responsible for the mass surveillance perpetrated by the NSA and officially made public by Edward Snowden; they have a troubled legacy to look forward to. The documents and testimony that have emerged from the saga...

NO to Shackled Speech, Misleading Math, and Disappointing Diplomacy

The title to this article is inspired by what historians of journalism will look back on as one of the bravest pieces of Op-Ed journalism in the 21st century.  On February 5th 2011, the Guayaquil-based newspaper El Universo published an Op-Ed piece titled “NO a las mentiras”.  The title of that piece translates to “NO...
Modernising the World’s Oldest Profession in Argentina

Modernising the World’s Oldest Profession in Argentina

Two weeks ago, Argentina’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Julio Alak pledged the passage of a law that would prosecute individuals for the consumption of prostitution during the 2014 legislative year.  The minister’s statement brings to a head the contentious debate over the legality of prostitution in the Latin American nation that ignited with...

The Other Tibet: The Tiananmen Square Crash and Uyghurs

Terrorism is more than a Middle Eastern issue.  Islamic terrorism is more than a Middle Eastern issue.  The prominence of al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other affiliate organizations in the public consciousness often obscures terrorism’s diverse impact on the 21st century.  The violence and social unrest that inevitably exist among communities in the Middle East that...

The Current State of (Non)Democracy in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan prides itself in being the first Islamic republic, established in 1918, even earlier than the Republic of Turkey which was established in 1923.  However, just like Turkey, Azerbaijan is far from a perfect democracy — and probably not a democracy at all.  This was illustrated by October’s reelection of Ilham Aliyev whose “stunning victory”...

Go West Young Land

On the ninth anniversary of the Orange Revolution that overturned the election of Viktor Yanukovich as Ukraine’s president, Kiev and Yanukovich are again facing massive protests.  More than 50,000 Ukrainians braved cold, rain, and tear gas to stage protests in favor of integration with the European Union.  Opposition politicians are calling for the president’s impeachment...

Iran’s Race for Survival

With the unraveling of the second most important negotiations in Geneva, the perennial question remains the sincerity of Iranian intentions. This political milestone is shrouded by public scrutiny, tilted either towards a distrustful suspicion of Iran or a belief in a novel beginning—towards either an agenda to distract the U.S. in the midst of nuclear...

The U.S. and Cuba: Building a Rainbow Alliance?

Two weeks ago at the 10th Annual Gala Prix Arc-en-Ciel in Montreal, Canada, Cuban human rights activist, Mariela Castro received the International Grand Prix Award to honor her work with LGBTQ communities in Cuba.  The ceremony marks the continued rise in the Cuban activist’s global profile as the new face of the gay rights movement...

Guest Piece: Burma and ASEAN: What Does it Mean for the U.S.?

When John Kerry spoke at the ASEAN summit on October 9th this year, he thanked the government of Burma and President Thein Sein in advance for what “will be a very productive year for U.S.-ASEAN relations when Burma takes the association’s chairmanship in 2014.”  It seems that many nations are eager to observe Burma’s tenure...

Threat to Credibility: 2013 U.S. Government Shutdown

Many Americans will remember the 16-day government shutdown of 2013 as a frenzy of cable news dramatizations and political finger pointing.  During the shutdown, more than 800,000 federal workers were indefinitely furloughed and an additional 1.3 million came to work not knowing when they would receive their next paycheck.  Washington D.C. came to a grinding...