• Lugano, New York, Brussels: A Busy Time for Swiss Diplomats

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    Swiss diplomats are juggling with planning for the July 4 and 5 reconstructing Ukraine conference in Lugano, the upcoming presence of Switzerland on the UN Security Council and finding an institutional agreement with the European Union. The three represent major challenges to traditional Swiss neutrality as well as work overload. 

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  • MBS and Putin: What is the value of talking to one and not the other?

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    President Biden is confronted with two decisions: The first is whether to go to Saudi Arabia this summer to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to try to persuade him to increase his country’s oil output. The second is whether to speak directly with Vladimir Putin to try to end the war in Ukraine. Neither outreach is a form of recognition; it is a necessity for much larger considerations.

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  • Cold War 2.0: Trauma and Nostalgia

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    Remember the Cold War? Remember its most dangerous thirteen days when the world was dramatically close to a nuclear confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over the latter’s missiles in Cuba? Remember the Bay of Pigs failed invasion to overthrow the communist Fidel Castro’s government? Remember sirens frequently blasting in New York City, with young students huddled under their desks in rehearsal for an actual Soviet attack?

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  • Guns in the U.S.: The Chronic Nightmare

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    In 1968, during my first year teaching in the South Bronx, the frequently absent Raymond walked into my junior high school English class holding a pistol, looked at me and announced: “Motherfucker; I’m going to blow your fuckin’ head off.”

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