Sen. Rand Paul talks with a reporter as he leaves the Capitol following his address to the Senate, Washington, May 31, 2015 (AP photo by Cliff Owen).

An epidemic of hysteria swept through Washington earlier this week, and politicians from across the political spectrum were all showing symptoms. Not surprisingly, the subject was domestic surveillance and the National Security Agency (NSA), a topic for which over-the-top rhetoric has practically become derigueur in the two years since NSA contractor Edward Snowden absconded with digital reams of highly classified NSA materials and turned them over to reporters. On one side of this week’s histrionics were the usual threat-mongers, hand-wringers and scare merchants: Republican homeland security hawks like Sens. Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz, John McCain and Lindsey Graham. With the […]

A view of the General Assembly Hall as Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson addresses the opening of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, United Nations, New York, April 27, 2015).

As expected, the recently completed Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was much more contentious than the previous five-year review held in 2010. At that time, the Obama administration’s push to re-energize bilateral arms control initiatives with Russia and shore up the global nonproliferation regime resulted in a generally successful 2010 conference. However, since then great power tensions have grown, and, besides the Iran nuclear talks, progress toward meeting the Action Plan adopted at the 2010 Review Conference has generally been seen as incomplete. As a result, at this year’s review, fundamental differences among the participants regarding the […]

A protester wearing a mask depicting FIFA President Sepp Blatter stands in front of the building where the 65th FIFA congress takes place, Zurich, Switzerland, May 29, 2015 (AP photo by Michael Probst).

Sepp Blatter should make a bid to be the next secretary-general of the United Nations: The Swiss septuagenarian has proved he is a master of multilateral diplomacy. Last week, he won a fifth term as president of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), despite the corruption scandal engulfing the organization. Blatter has exploited political divisions among the West, Russia and the developing world to protect his position. The FIFA affair is a microcosm of wider tensions plaguing international institutions, and it offers some especially hard lessons about the limits of Western appeals to morality and the rule of law […]

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