David Rothkopf

Bad Moon Rising

Behind the scenes at the U.N., a more unsettling story emerges of Syria, Iraq, and fighting the Islamic State.

Much like the schizophrenic reality of the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly itself, this week's conclave of world leaders in New York has presented two contrasting narratives for the Syria-Iraq war and the current moment of upheaval in the Middle East. One, the polished speeches of leaders before the cameras, follows a script, presents its best face, and plays to the hopes of constituents back home. The other, like the snarling traffic jams, the curt, hurried back hall of conversations of the senior officials straining to do the diplomatic heavy lifting, and the late-night critiques offered up in hotel bars, is more ragged, grounded in the truth, and therefore unsettling.

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This Is What a Leader Looks Like

Why Marina Silva’s message resonates from the Amazon to the Middle East to the White House.

Hope and strong leadership are in short supply these days. But if you want a shot of both as well as a glimpse into a story that resonates worldwide, watch the following video. (It's in Portuguese. Beneath it is a translation into English that was prepared by the Economist.) 

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Obama and the Never-Ending War

By limiting U.S. goals in Iraq and Syria, the president makes less likely the exit he so desperately wants.

I have two grown daughters. Neither can remember a moment in which the United States did not have troops deployed in the Middle East. One was 10 months old at the time the first Gulf War effectively commenced with Operation Desert Shield in August 1990. I remember watching televised reports from Operation Desert Storm the following February while sitting in a hospital room in New York shortly after the delivery of her sister.

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Running Toward the Danger

Sotloff, Foley, and the doctors fighting Ebola are part of a vital breed of first responders demanded by a new global reality.

In the wake of 9/11, the world developed a special appreciation for first responders, the men and women who ran toward danger when they saw it. They risked all to help others, and fittingly there was a surge of recognition for cops and firefighters and paramedics -- both those lost in the twisted metal of lower Manhattan and those who carried on in the same tradition.

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