An iPhone with Twitter, Facebook and other apps, in Washington, May 21, 2013 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. On Sept. 1, 2009, the new U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Michael E. Ranneberger, a career foreign service officer with deep experience on the African continent, started a Twitter feed. The seven or so tweets he posted between then and Sept. 29 were lauded as another example of "Twitter Diplomacy." Shashank Bengali, blogging for McClatchy, declared that the ambassador came out "swinging" with highly charged comments about Kenyan presidential appointees and in support […]

America awoke last Friday to the stunning news that its young president, Barack Obama, had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Naturally, in these hyper-partisan times, the award has elicited wild praise and unbalanced scorn back home, with darn near everybody trying to figure out why Obama was tapped for such a high honor just months into his first term. But as with all such awards, more was revealed about the selectors than the selected. So if the choice of Obama is inarguably premature, then what signal was Norway, one of America’s oldest and most sensible friends, trying to send? […]

As if absurdity weren’t already the norm in U.S.-Cuba relations, three years ago the U.S. Interest Section, housed in a rectangular seven-story building in the Vedado district of Havana, began broadcasting a news ticker across its sixth-floor windows. The five-foot, red-orange lettering crept from one end of the building to the other, like anachronistic soldiers leftover from an ideological war settled long ago. Unfortunately, however, nobody seems to have told either the Americans or the Cubans. In kind, Fidel Castro ordered a million people to march on the building in protest. The Cuban government proceeded to block the ticker’s view […]

World Media’s Verdict on Obama’s Olympic Bid

Inevitably, the world has been drawing its own conclusions from President Barack Obama’s unsuccessful bid last week to help Chicago host the 2016 Summer Olympics. And a wide spectrum of press comment centers on whether it has dimmed his global luster. “So is the magic spell the Obamas had woven worldwide beginning to come undone?” asked the Indian paper, The Statesman. That depends, according to a more considered editorial in the Saudi Gazette. “[Obama’s] defeat could soon be a distant memory, and may never be more than a quixotic-blip trip,” the paper observed. “But if, for whatever reason, bigger losses […]

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently responded to criticisms of its policies toward the world’s least developed countries (LDCs), by reforming its approach (.pdf) to “development” lending. The fund has long been a favorite target of civil society groups, who claim that the institution has no expertise in formulating development policy, that its stringent conditions often worsen already dire economic situations, and that its governance structure is highly undemocratic. The fund, they often seem to argue, should either be overhauled, or removed from LDC lending altogether. So, is the new, gentler version of the fund an improvement for poor […]

Age vs. Youth: Reader E-mail

In response to my post on Christian Brose becoming Sen. John McCain’s national security adviser, Rob, age 26, writes: I somewhat disagree with your comparison of the significance between GM of a baseball team and foreign policy adviser to a senator. Someone can gain a mastery of an issue on their own, through intelligence, and simply doing the necessary reading, at any age, and in that sense I’m not at all surprised that Brose was hired as McCain’s adviser. But managing is a whole different story, because, especially at the high level of a baseball GM, it requires at least […]

Age vs. Youth in National Security

I didn’t really think much of the news that Christian Brose, who was running FP’s Shadow Government blog, will be taking over as John McCain’s new national security adviser. I’d known Brose had already worked at State during the Bush administration. What I hadn’t realized is that he is now just 29 years old. This is kind of like what happened to baseball in the early 90s, when Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman became GMs on either side of their 30th birthdays. And to state the obvious, this sort of thing was simply unimaginable when I was growing up (essentially […]

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