As if terrorists, drug cartels and rogue nuclear states weren’t enough to worry about, the United States is now under cyberattack. Spies from China, Russia and elsewhere have broken into the country’s electrical grid, gathering intelligence and perhaps even planning for an unprecedented blitz: buckling the country’s energy infrastructure. Worried, aghast and surprised? Of course. But in another sense, the report falls in line with the rapidly transforming nature of international threats: What yesterday seemed inconceivable is today commonplace. Some scoffed when former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld talked about the difference between “known unknowns” and “unknown unknowns.” But from [...]
MADRID, Spain — FRIENDS AT LAST: Every Wednesday, a large crowd gathers at noon on the edge of the parade ground of the Royal Palace in Madrid to watch the ceremonial changing of the guard. Started a year or so ago, the ceremony involves all the traditional elements of military choreography — colorful uniforms, a band, cavalry, and even two horse-drawn field artillery pieces. Unlike at Buckingham Palace, where a similar drill has been carried out every day for centuries, the guard does not have the symbolic duty of protecting the Spanish monarch: Spain’s king and queen live some distance [...]
Anyone who hoped President Barack Obama would return to Washington with a suitcase full of gifts from his mostly European tour will find the souvenirs largely disappointing. While Obama managed to bring back some important achievements, most of them came in the form of warm feelings. Those are hard to gift-wrap. Following his maiden overseas voyage as U.S. president, Obama arrived home to find the same urgent crises he had left behind, compounded by new foreign policy challenges that had arisen during his absence. Making matters worse, the trip itself, while undeniable fruitful, produced few tangible results. When viewed through [...]
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