Over at Foreign Policy, Josh Keating pulls together a list of Vladimir Putin's excellent adventures, made all the more absurd by the fact that he is refusing to debate his various weak rivals for the presidency because he is too busy.
Here are some highlights from the list:
1. Scuba-diving for greek urns
2. Driving a Harley at a biker rally on the Black Sea
3. Presiding over MMA fights (and getting booed)
4. Holding high-level snow leopard summits with Leonardo DiCaprio
5. Shooting whales with crossbows
6. Shooting other animals
8. Practicing with Russian hockey legends
9. Showing off his judo moves
10. Singing jazz standards for Kevin Costner and Goldie Hawn
Given Santorum's strong showing in the Iowa Caucus and the importance of Iran to U.S. foreign policy in 2012, it's worth revisiting a couple lines from this primer on Santorum's worldview from ForeignPolicy.com:
Santorum has stated that an Israeli military strike on Iran is inevitable and that the United States should support it when it comes. He has made the case for years that Iran poses the greatest threat to U.S. national security - a threat on par with that posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In 2004, he authored legislation to support democracy movements in Iran. He blames the Obama administration's failure to support the Green Revolution opposition movement for its ability to overthrow the Iranian regime.
Spencer Ackerman adds:
Santorum has called fighting “tyrannical and fanatical Islamic regimes” — Iran and Syria were his examples — “my purpose, and our national calling.” In the Senate, he sponsored a bill providing cash to dissidents looking to overthrow the Iranian regime.
Few of Santorum’s Republican opponents are as hardline on so many foreign-policy issues. Romney even appears to be moving in a more dovish direction on Iran from his last presidential bid. And while the others play down security issues on the trail in favor of economic ones, Santorum’s final Iowa ad...boasted he had “more foreign policy credentials than any candidate” — and even repackaged a military term to dub him a “full-spectrum conservative.”
In the video above from today, Santorum speaks to the Republican Jewish Coalition, explaining why he sees Iran as threat #1 to America and why he thinks President Obama's Iran policy has failed.
Half a million Japanese people are praying for an economically prosperous 2012.
Why did tens of thousands of North Koreans apparently sob uncontrollably at the death of brutal dictator Kim Jong-il? Ian Buruma has a theory:
We often suppress real pain, such as that caused by the loss of a family member. Numbness, rather than hysteria, is the norm. But our feelings must find an outlet somehow, and they can emerge when a celebrity dies.
All of the pent-up emotion of real personal bereavement comes gushing out on a public occasion. People who ostensibly are weeping for Princess Diana are actually mourning their own loved ones. The feeling is displaced – indeed, misplaced. Mourning of this kind is a form of sentimentality, but it can be heartfelt nonetheless.
Sometimes, a public figure’s death makes us mourn the passing of our own lives. Whether the person who has died is a beloved princess, a popular singer, or a bloody dictator, is irrelevant. We grew up with them; they are part of us. When they die, a little bit of us dies with them.
Happy New Year!
Tune in at 10a.m. or 1p.m. EST Sunday to hear Fareed Zakaria, Anne-Marie Slaughter and others offer up their predictions for 2012.
What are your predictions for 2012?
"Minorities accounted for 92 percent of population growth in the 2000s. The pie charts in the picture above appear the same size, but remember that the country grew more than 30 percent faster in the 1990s than in the 2000s. If population growth is the pie, then minorities are taking a larger slice of a shrinking pie. "
By Amar C. Bakshi, CNN
According to a Gallup poll released Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama retain their place in the eyes of Americans as the Most Admired Woman and Most Admired Man on Earth living today.
This marks the tenth year in a row that Hillary Clinton has been the Most Admired Woman and the fourth year in a row that Barack Obama has been named the Most Admired Man.
Seventeen percent of poll respondents mentioned Hillary Clinton as the woman they admired most, followed by 7% who named Oprah Winfrey and 5% who named Michelle Obama. Other leading women included Sarah Palin, Condoleezza Rice, Laura Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Ellen DeGeneres and Michele Bachmann.
Hillary Clinton has been named Most Admired Woman 16 times since 1993 – more times than any other woman since the poll was first conducted in 1948. Eleanor Roosevelt finished first as Most Admired Woman 13 times.
Seventeen percent of poll respondents mentioned Barack Obama as the man they admired most, followed by 3% mentioning George W. Bush and 2% mentioning Bill Clinton. Other leading men this year included the Reverend Billy Graham, Warren Buffett, Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump, Pope Benedict XVI and Bill Gates.
The Reverend Billy Graham has been named among the top 10 most admired men alive more than any other man – 55 times since 1955.
For more on the results of this poll, visit Gallup.com. Who do you admire most and why?
As we approach New Years, publications are spinning out top 10 to top 100 lists at rapid speed. TIME.com has an impressive array of them. The Awl has put together the 15 most delightful Internet films of 2011.
Two of them struck me; through time-lapse photography, they offer a sense of the scale and wonder of the world. (Both are worth watching in full-screen mode.)
The first is by Terje Sørgjerd and is called "The Mountain." Take a look at 00:32 to see the Milky Way through a sandstorm.FULL POST
The New York Times reports that the Obama administration has decided "in principle" to allow Yemen's embattled president Ali Abdullah Saleh to enter the United States for medical treatment.
Do you think Saleh should be allowed into the U.S. Let us know through the (unscientific) poll below:
For more information on Yemen and the debate that raged in the White House, read on: FULL POST
Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter writes on the Harvard Business School blog:
"The functions of partnering, brokering, aggregating, curating etc. all point to another dimension of global empowerment. For decades the name of the game in policy-making and problem-solving was to launch a new program or initiative — to do something that needed doing. Today the best advice is likely to don't just do something, stand there. Stand there, look around, find out what is already being done, and then connect existing initiatives, programs, projects, and organizations to one another in ways that allow them to be more than the sum of their parts."
"So what does all this mean for job-seekers in this uncertain economy? Forget the titles on the org charts and the advertised positions. Design your own profession and convince employers that you are exactly what they need. In my view, the New York Times and other information hubs ought to be advertising for curators and verifiers, but you shouldn't wait for them to do so. Define the functions you think they need and you can supply, and then apply for a corresponding position, whether or not they've created it yet."
As CNN reports, "Iranian students stormed the British Embassy in Tehran on Tuesday, breaking down the door, throwing around papers and replacing the British flag with an Iranian one." This act comes just over a week after the U.S. and UK imposed tougher sanctions on Iran.
To get perspective on both the sanctions and the storming of the embassy, I reached out to Dr. Geoffrey Kemp, who served in the White House during the first Reagan administration as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the National Security Council Staff. In this role, he dealt extensively with Iran.
In our discussion, Kemp made three key points:
1) Imposing crippling sanctions on Iran could damage the global economic recovery by upsetting world oil markets.
2) The Iranian regime must have been aware of the assault on the UK Embassy but decided not to stop it.
3) U.S.-Iranian relations need to be understood in light of changing regional dynamics from Syria to Egypt.
The full transcript is below:
Amar C. Bakshi: How significant are the latest round of sanctions?
Geoffrey Kemp: I think they are psychologically significant but I don’t think they’re going to fundamentally change Iranian behavior on the issue of most concern to us – namely their nuclear program. FULL POST