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Berlin before and after
Our colleague, Ambassador Brian Carlson (ret) notes: I found it fascinating to see how the Wall has disappeared in Berlin, but the Inner German border is still clearly visible and has even become a refuge for wildlife and plants. The graphics about demographic data are well done, but I especially liked the two videos.

 “The Collapse of Order in the Middle East”
In remarks to the recent Arab-U.S. Policymakers Conference, a former ambassador surveys multiple failures of U.S. policies, considers the threat of ISIS,  and offers some thoughts on how to proceed.
By Chas W. Freeman, Jr., Freeman was Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs from 1993-94. Previously he served as U. S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm). He is currently Chairman of the Board of Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based business development firm.

“The Big Questions on ISIS”
Is ISIS really a threat to the U.S.?  Should the U.S. attempt to defeat ISIS? How long will it take? Some quick speculations on these and other questions.
By Robert N. Hein, Brookings Blogs. Hein is a U.S. Navy captain who is a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for 21st-Century Strategy and Intelligence.

“The ISIS Challenge Online: When Twitter Becomes Anti-Social Media”
ISIS has promoted its seventh-century views and recruited jihadists through a deft social-media campaign. The key to combating anti-social social media lies not on the ground, but in cyberspace itself, where old-fashioned tools of warfare need to be reimagined.
By Ahmed Charai,  The National Interest. Charai is publisher of the Moroccan weekly news magazine L’Observateur; chairman and CEO of MED Radio national network; and chairman of the daily newspaper Al-Ahdath al-Maghrebiya. He also sits on the boards the Atlantic Council, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

“Dealing with Putin”
The stage is being set for an even more dramatic confrontation between the West and Russia over Ukraine. The authors say President Obama must recognize the danger to U.S. national interests that the crisis may create and act accordingly.
By Robert D. Blackwill and Dimitri K. Simes, The National Interest. Blackwill is the Henry  Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He has also served as Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Planning under President George W. Bush as well as U.S. Ambassador to India. Dimitri K. Simes is President of the Center for the National Interest.

“If We Run and They Kill Us, So Be It. But We Have to Run Now.”
Six months ago, 276 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by Boko Haram. The handful who escaped that night tell the story of their ordeal.
Sarah A. Topol, Topol is a Cairo-based journalist who covers the Middle East. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Newsweek, and The New Republic.

“How the Fall of the Berlin Wall Really Happened”
Many Americans have come to believe that the wall fell thanks to Ronald Reagan’s a 1987 “tear down this wall” speech. In truth, the opening of the Berlin Wall resulted from a series of mistakes by East German officials.
Mary Elise Sarotte, New York Times. Sarotte is a professor of history at the University of Southern California, a visiting professor at Harvard, and the author, most recently, of The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall.

“The Breach of the Berlin Wall”
The final hours before the fall of the Wall: an eyewitness report by an American diplomat.
By J.D. Bindenagel, The Globalist. Bindenagel is a former U.S. Ambassador and currently the Henry Kissinger Professor for Governance and International Security, University of Bonn.

“For Whom the Wall Fell? A Balance Sheet of the Transition to Capitalism”
Only one out of ten people living in “transition” countries have seen a successful transition to capitalism and more democracy.
By Branko Milanoic, The Globalist. Milanovic is the Presidential Professor at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center and Senior Scholar at Luxembourg Income Survey.

“Gorbachev Warns World ‘On Brink of New Cold War’”
In a recent speech in Berlin, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev accused the West, particularly the United States, of giving in to “triumphalism” after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of the Communist bloc. The result, he said, could partly be seen in the inability of global powers to prevent or resolve conflicts in Yugoslavia, the Middle East, and most recently Ukraine.
By Frank Jordans, The World Post. Jordans is an Associated Press reporter based in Berlin.

General Dan Bolger Says What the U.S. Does Not Want to Hear: Why We Lost
An interview with the retired general who has published a book titled Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Bolger savages the proponents of the counterinsurgency strategy, chiefly Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, for overpromising and under-delivering in Iraq and then recycling the formula to brew a weaker tea in Afghanistan.
By Spencer Ackermann, The Guardian. Bolger retired from the U.S. Army in 2013 after 35 years of service. He currently teaches military history at North Carolina State University.

“Afghanistan: ‘A Shocking Indictment’”
Rory Stewart reviews Anand Gopal’s book of investigative journalism No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes, which “demonstrates that the failures of the intervention were worse than even the most cynical believed.”
By Rory Stewart, New York Review of Books. Stewart is a British MP and former diplomat whose book The Places in Between was an account of his solo walk across Afghanistan in 2002. Gopal is a Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor reporter.

“Kissinger on Diplomacy”
The former Secretary of State visits Harvard Law School to talk about his new book, World Order, and reminisce about Mao, Nixon, and detente.
By Colleen Walsh, Harvard Gazette. Walsh is a Harvard staff writer.

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