Whenever we hear that a new U.S. ambassador has been nominated, it’s not unreasonable for us to assume that the nominee has been to his or her appointed country. But, as we learned from President Obama’s most recent ambassadorial appointments -- in America, at least -- that's not always the case.
Norm Eisen, the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, poses at his official residence in Prague in October 2013. Eisen's mother was born and raised in what was Czechoslovakia and was sent by the Nazis to the Auschwitz concentration camp, which she survived.
Credit Filip Singer / The Washington Post/Getty Images
During World War II, the Nazi secret police occupied a palace in Prague that is now the residence for the U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic. Underneath an antique table at the residence is a Nazi sticker showing an iron eagle with a swastika and a serial number.
Credit Filip Singer / The Washington Post/Getty Images
The drive into Prague is like a journey into the past. As you approach, grand castles and cathedrals appear on the horizon and pull you into an old-world city that could be the setting for a fairy tale.
Three years ago, Norm Eisen made this journey in a motorcade. It was his first day as U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic. He was returning to the land where his mother, Frieda, had been born almost 90 years ago.
The 40th session of the Yale Model United Nations is underway in New Haven. Nearly 1,700 high school students from as far away as New Zealand have been immersing themselves in the Model U.N. experience, taking advantage of the plethora of speeches, classes and other activities happening this weekend.
President Obama speaks at the White House on Saturday.
Credit Susan Walsh / AP
<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <o:OfficeDocumentSettings> <o:AllowPNG/> </o:OfficeDocumentSettings></xml><![endif]--> During a rare Saturday night address, Obama told the country that while this is "just a first step, it achieves a great deal."
Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 1:17 pm
Updated at 5:01 a.m. ET Sunday
Iran and six world powers have reached a preliminary agreement in Geneva on curbing Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.
In a late-night statement from the White House, President Obama called the breakthrough "the most significant and tangible progress" with Iran since he took office. It calls for specific actions over the next six months, while negotiations continue on a longer-term deal.
In a time when some say youth civic engagement is declining dramatically, there are programs that exist to teach students effective deliberation, debate, and discourse. This November, high school students from across the state will flock to UConn to debate current and pressing foreign policy issues, in a simulation of the United Nations.
Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 11:26 am
Secretary of State John Kerry plans to meet his Iranian counterpart this week for the highest-level face-to-face between Washington and Tehran in six years.
The meeting with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and representatives of five other world powers — Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — would come as newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits the United Nations in New York. The talks would center on Iran's nuclear program.
Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 5:17 pm
Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was among several political prisoners released by Tehran on Wednesday, just days ahead of a visit by Iran's newly elected moderate president to the United Nations in New York.
Sotoudeh, who had been held since 2010, was one of eight women and three men released, according to the BBC. Reformist politician Mohsen Aminzadeh was also among the prisoners freed.
It’s been an amazing few days in the life of the Syrian crisis. On Monday morning, we heard Bashar al-Assad address his country’s chemical weapons in an interview with Charlie Rose. "We don't discuss this issue in public because we never said that we have it," said Assad. "And we never said that we don't have it. It's a Syrian issue. It's a military issue. We never discussed it in public with anyone."
Last night, during a speech to the nation, President Barack Obama laid out his case for military intervention in Syria: "If we fail to act," he said, "the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them."
Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 11:00 am
One line President Obama might have borrowed for his speech to the nation Tuesday night was a famous one from John F. Kennedy's inauguration address: "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate."
Always admired as a fine turn of phrase, what meaning does this have in our own time?
Perhaps it might have helped Obama make the turn from indicting the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons to explaining why he backed off his own earlier threat of military retaliation against Syria.
Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 1:14 pm
If ever a speech seemed to be President Obama's last, best chance to win public and congressional support for his plan to launch military strikes against Syria, it's his prime-time talk to the nation Tuesday.
With polls indicating that 60 percent of Americans oppose action against Syria for using sarin gas and congressional approval looking ever more like a long shot, Obama's speech is a high-stakes endeavor.
Originally published on Tue September 3, 2013 11:25 am
The White House is working with congressional leaders to shape a resolution that authorizes the type of military action that would send a "clear message" to President Bashar Assad and cripple the Syrian leader's "capability to use chemical weapons not just now but in the future," President Obama said Tuesday.
Sitting with leaders from both major parties, the president also said he is confident lawmakers are "going to be able to come up with something that hits that mark."
There are now four United States Navy destroyers positioned in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea — each equipped to fire cruise missiles at targets up to 1,500 miles away.
In a speech yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry called the use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians “a moral obscenity,” signaling a toughening stance by the Obama administration on the Assad regime.
The Obama Administration is considering military strikes on Syria in response to the Assad regime's deadly poison gas attacks in Damascus last week.
While there is growing support for military intervention in Syria by members of Congress, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy says he's against it. Rather, Murphy says the president should focus on a diplomatic way to deter the Assad regime from further attacks.
Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 12:45 pm
The CIA isn't exactly known for its openness. But for a spy agency, it's been a gusher of information over the past week when it comes to old controversies.
The CIA has now acknowledged its role in the 1953 coup that deposed Iran's left-leaning Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. Few Iranians will be surprised. They have always believed Mosaddegh was ousted by U.S. and British interests, and those suspicions are a big part of Iran's mistrust of the West to this day.
Local Pakistanis are relieved to hear that Osama bin Laden has been killed by U.S. Special Forces. Dr Saud Anwar, former President of the Pakistani American Association of Connecticut says it's "a high five moment" for the United States and Pakistan. He spoke on WNPR's Where We Live.