The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO is a memoir of Admiral James Stavridis’s experience as NATO’s supreme allied commander. The first half of the book is essentially a chronological account of his experiences as NATO’s military leader, from learning of his appointment from Secretary Robert Gates to navigating through the crises that faced Adm. Stavridis throughout his tenure—everything from managing NATO operations in Afghanistan, the intervention in Libya, the Syrian civil war, and more.
It is curious that those leading oppressive and corrupt regimes fail to realize that they carry the seeds of their own destruction, if not for themselves then for their offspring. These regimes are properly castigated for their impact on individuals, but their disrespect for the Rule of Law permeates the whole culture of such a country. When government does not obey rules, the people come to believe that rules do not matter. And if rules do not matter, then people are free to behave as they wish. The result is chaos and an existence in which the powerful are free to prey on the vulnerable. All of which leads to an erosion in fundamental elements of human conditions such as employment, education, and housing.
Each year, the Institute for Economics and Peace releases the Global Peace Index, which determines numerical rankings of peacefulness between nations around the globe. The Index is based on three main determinants, of which there are many subcategories: the level of safety and security in the society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, and the degree of militarization. Beyond that, the nations are ranked according to 22 quantitative and qualitative assessments of peace, including weapons imports and exports, levels of organized conflict, incarceration rates, and the number of armed service personnel occupying a nation, among many others.
On March 12th, in the Turda city hall where a grandiose marble staircase leads to a Baroque-style meeting room, about 40 students are preparing to speak to five council members about improvements to their school system. Turda is a city of about 30,000 in Romania’s Transylvania region, and used to be an important industrial center in Romania. The Ratiu Center for Democracy, a foundation committed to strengthening the research and practice of democracy in Romania, has organized this special meeting to give the youth of Turda a rare opportunity to take change into their own hands.
February and March were dark days for Ukraine. Photos from Kiev showed a city center blackened by infernos, and reports from protestors described a grim but determined mood. Increasingly violent clashes between protestors and riot police—whom the new head of Ukraine’s SBU intelligence service Valentyn Nalivaichenko and Ukraine’s interim Attorney General Oleh Makhnitsky told reporters in early April were advised and armed by Russian FSB intelligence officers—resulted in the deaths of at least 88 anti-government protesters in Kiev’s Independence Square in 48 hours starting on February 20th. Many were killed by long-distance sniper rounds.
Diplomatic Courier is excited to present the Diplomacy+SocialGood Summit in Washington, DC on April 22nd, bringing together embassy communicators, public diplomacy experts, and technology innovators to discuss the future of diplomacy and technology for social good. Watch the livestream here.
But we don't want the conversation to stop there! Join us here until April 25th to ask our panelists in this town hall your questions about digital diplomacy, technology for social good, and the ways our world is changing.
When you think of early adopters of technology, innovative designs to streamline manufacturing, or having thousands of songs in your pocket, you typically think of private sector ingenuity. Imagine if you could take a dash of that private sector ingenuity, blend it with the entrepreneurial appetite for risk and infuse it into government programs and initiatives. What types of risk would you see?
In recent years, evidence-based practices have begun to drive social changes internationally. Policies are less frequently passed without accompanying evaluation. Prior to allocating limited resources, more public and private agencies are asking: “What works?” Yet, the answer to that question is rarely simple, especially when evaluating interventions for clandestine crimes like human trafficking.
In the past weeks, tensions along political lines have (predictably) erupted in what can only be described as all-out war among hundreds of thousands of combatants—no, not the recent protests in Ukraine, Venezuela, or Thailand. I am referencing the internet’s recent multiplayer gaming experiment, “Twitch Plays Pokémon.” For more than 390 hours, more than 29.5 million total viewers watched millions of players wrestle in real time over the control of Red, the main character of Pokémon Red (1996); after players bested the Elite Four, the adventure of working through Pokémon Crystal (2000) began. And the evolution of in-group/out-group politics and collective action in this exciting (and strange) social experiment definitely is worth examining.
In an effort to safeguard national security, the United States has undertaken a few select, high profile interventions that have challenged the sovereignty of other nations in years past. Some of these unilateral military actions have been criticized as aggressive attempts to demonstrate the United States’ global superpower status, including last October’s well-reported raids in Libya and Somalia.
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