A Geneva Odyssey

On September 27, the citizens of Geneva rejected an initiative for the construction of a short tunnel to join the two banks of Lac Leman. While several explanations have been given for the resounding defeat of the proposal – too expensive during a period of economic belt tightening or more enthusiasm for an ambitious, larger construction away from the center of town – no one with a fleeting knowledge of Geneva history should have been surprised at the result. Since the construction of the Mont Blanc bridge in 1862, there have been numerous attempts to build another crossing, but all have failed.

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Perpetual war poses a risk to U.S. power: An update

The following are parts of an article written by me which appeared on the Op-ed page in the International Herald Tribune on June 28, 2002. In parentheses and italics are updates that I have added after President Obama’s September 10, 2014, speech on the Islamic State (ISIL). The direct quotations are from his words.

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How Should We Celebrate With Roger?

After his triumph in the reverse singles on Sunday that clinched Switzerland’s place in the Davis Cup finals, Roger Federer was carried around the court on the shoulders of teammate Stan Wawrinka and Captain Severin Luthi. “To see his face after the match point, he looked like a 17-year-old junior who had just won his first ATP points,” said TV commentator and former Swiss Davis Cup Captain Marc Rosset.

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Roger’s Roar and Smile and their Lessons for Diplomats

Roger Federer is best known as a tennis player, perhaps the greatest of all time. His record of 17 Grand Slam titles is unmatched in the sport’s history. But besides his one-hand backhand, elegant dress and phenomenal court movement and presence under pressure, his recent performance at the U.S. Open bears witness to another quality that warrants attention and, hopefully, simulation.

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Iraq, Libya and Syria: Are they better off today than they were before?

At the end of the Cold War and the Arab Spring, the West enjoyed tremendous satisfaction that liberalism was on the rise. More than just the superficial end of history, there was a deeper sense that there was progress in the organization of human society. Various manifestations appeared of a universal acceptance of human rights and humanitarian law. The establishment of the United Nations Human Rights Council was a fitting example. The term “international community” seemed to have some meaning.  

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