Archive for the ‘Topics’ Category


Helping women strike a work-life balance would change the world more than you might think.

By Anne-Marie Slaughter

I have a split personality these days. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I give speeches on work and family — and the changes America needs to make to enable more professional women to get to the top. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I teach a course on the politics of public policy and give speeches about a wide range of foreign-policy issues. My audiences for the work-and-family talks are often interested in foreign policy as well, but for most people in my foreign-policy audiences, that “work/family stuff” is a completely separate arena, a sideline at best. Sure, individual women and men will often tell me privately that they appreciated the essay I wrote for the Atlantic this summer on why I gave up my high-profile State Department job to return to Princeton University and my two teenage sons, but they see no real connection with the foreign-policy world.

They’re wrong. The connection is there, and it’s a very important one: If more women could juggle work and family successfully enough to allow them to remain on high-powered foreign-policy career tracks, more women would be available for top foreign-policy jobs. And that would change the world far more than you think, from giving peace talks a better chance to making us better able to mobilize international coalitions to reordering what issues governments even choose to work on.

My decision to talk in such specific gender terms is still deeply uncomfortable for many. Foreign policy is a very male world. The women who have made it are a small and close club, all committed to advancing the careers of younger women and worried that even engaging in this conversation could make it harder to break those glass ceilings. Some argue that as long as some women can juggle high-powered careers and kids at the same time, others should just follow their example and get on with the work. Others argue that my analysis shouldn’t be so globalized because it is based on my own unique situation, suggesting that I should have moved my family to Washington. Read more…

Anne-Marie Slaughter, a 2012 FP Global Thinker, is professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton University and was director of policy planning at the U.S. State Department from 2009 to 2011.

As published in (100 Global Thinkers 2012 Report, December 2012).



By Roger Cohen

Rockets launch from Gaza City as an explosion is seen on the horizon at Israel’s border with Gaza on Wednesday. (Source:

Another Gaza flare-up is over — for now. At least 150 Palestinians are dead. Five Israelis are dead. More bloodshed and scars have been inscribed in the 64-year-old conflict’s Book of Unforgiving.

To what end? Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas, drones on about past “invaders” who “were faced with defeat,” presumably a reference to the Crusaders. Get a life, Khaled, Israel is here to stay. He says, “Whoever attacks Palestine will be killed and buried.” Well, Palestinians have been losing since 1948 with that sort of talk. I would say at this point the trend is definitive.

Israel, in the person of its U.S. ambassador, Michael Oren, defends the Gaza bombing as effective deterrence. “The tactic is deterrence. Our strategy is survival,” he writes of a nuclear-armed state, by far the most powerful in the region, and its supposed need to administer “periodic reminders” to enemies.

Well, ambassador, a powerful Israeli reminder was delivered to Gaza in 2008. Operation Cast Lead left 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. Since then Israel’s interest in the “dream” of a two-state peace has been expressed mainly in the expansion of West Bank settlements. And here we are again facing the fact that neither side in the Holy Land is going away.

Speaking of facts, the chief mediator in stopping the latest round of killing was Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian president who emerged from the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent of Hamas. Until the Arab Spring, the United States shunned the Brotherhood, deemed a band of Islamist extremists. Now Hillary Clinton thanks Morsi for “assuming the responsibility and leadership” that makes Egypt “a cornerstone of regional stability and peace.” Read more…

As published in on November 22, 2012 (a version of this op-ed appeared in print on November 23, 2012, in The International Herald Tribune).


By H.A. Hellyer

The question now is not if the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will change after the Arab uprisings began; the question is how it will. The issue is not whether the United States will engage in this changed wider Middle East; the issue is if it will be able to engage effectively, or not.


In Egypt, some things, of course, stayed very much the same. The new Islamist president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, has not broken the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, and he is not going to. He might have withdrawn Egypt’s ambassador to Israel, but he’ll go back at some point, and the Israeli ambassador to Cairo has not been expelled. No war is on the horizon, partly because the Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood have no real appetite for what it would mean for Egypt and its economy, and partly because the Egyptian military itself would veto it.

Within those parameters, however, Morsi might still have space to manoeuvre. This, however, takes for granted that he is essentially leading a response to the Israeli operation into Gaza. Morsi’s response is driven by an awareness that the Egyptian public demands action. In that regard, he is as much responding to the Israelis as to his own public. His dispatching of the Egyptian prime minister to Gaza is a message to the Egyptian public, perhaps more so than it is to the Israelis, or even the Palestinians. The message reads: I am not Hosni Mubarak, and your opinion matters.

That, in itself, is the product of Tahrir Square in 2011. With military options off the table, there are a number of things that Morsi has not done, which he may yet be pressed to do as a result of public pressure. Solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza can easily lead to normalisation of relations between Gaza and Egypt in terms of more open border controls and open trade arrangements—neither of which have taken place, even during this crisis.

At present, where protests exist, pro-Morsi forces within the Brotherhood will likely try to divert them into expressing support for Morsi’s actions of solidarity with Gaza, rather than allow them to turn into pressure rallies to force him to do much more—perhaps more than he can do. That will only work for so long, however, if the crisis in Gaza continues. Read more…

Dr. H.A. Hellyer is a nonresident fellow with the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings.

As published in on November 19, 2012.



Por Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, Profesor de IE University y Director del IE Master in International Relations.

«Hemos ganado la independencia, pero hemos perdido todo lo demás». Esta conocida frase de Bolívar debería hacernos pensar a los españoles: a los cientos de miles que vienen pidiendo la independencia de Cataluña desde el pasado 11 de septiembre y a los que nos oponemos a esa independencia. Si el proyecto independentista saliera adelante, los demás españoles perderíamos Cataluña, con todo lo que aporta a España y a la vida de gran número de nosotros; y los catalanes perderían muchas cosas que ahora tienen y que algunos de ellos no parecen apreciar. Pero antes de hacer el inventario de las pérdidas, parece lógico analizar la petición de independencia y sus fundamentos, tanto los racionales como los emotivos; y ese análisis habrá de realizarse detenidamente, sin desdenes ni impaciencias, porque la cuestión es ahora insoslayable y tenemos por delante varios años de un debate al que hay que acudir con plena preparación dialéctica.

La independencia se pide porque, según dijo el presidente de la Generalitat, Cataluña necesita «estructuras de Estado». Ahora bien, ¿no las tiene ya? Hagamos la enumeración: gobierno, parlamento, órgano de garantías constitucionales, defensor del pueblo, representaciones en el extranjero; policía, instituciones penitenciarias, régimen local propio, sistema educativo configurado con plena libertad. Además, la policía catalana viste uniforme único en España, lo que no ocurre en Alemania, donde ciertamente cada «land» tiene su policía, pero el uniforme es el mismo para todas. Hasta código civil tiene Cataluña, el viejo privilegio de las naciones europeas. Ningún «land» alemán, ningún cantón suizo tiene código civil: hace largo tiempo que renunciaron a su antiguo derecho privado para permitir la aprobación de códigos civiles nacionales. Cabría argumentar: Cataluña no tiene fuerzas armadas y su hacienda dista mucho de ser soberana. Pero Artur Mas ha dicho que la Cataluña independiente no necesita ejército y que la obtención del pacto fiscal no supondría la renuncia al proyecto independentista.

No bastan, pues, los argumentos puramente racionales para sustentar la reclamación de la independencia, que solo se entiende yendo a las emociones. Ya dijo Cambó, al final de su larga carrera política, que «Cataluña, contra lo que muchos creen, es un pueblo casi morbosamente sentimental». Esta es la tendencia que aparece en la afirmación del presidente Mas de que la independencia es necesaria porque hay una «fatiga mutua» entre Cataluña y España. Las encuestas no respaldan esa tesis. Pero hay algo más importante: la historia reciente de las relaciones entre Cataluña y el resto de España no ha consistido en un continuo forcejeo que haya generado hastío por ambas partes, sino más bien en una situación de vacío y de parálisis. La buena relación entre Cataluña y España requiere dos cosas: que en nuestra clase política nacional, tanto en el gobierno como en la oposición, haya figuras que sepan hablarle a Cataluña con la altura, la sensibilidad y el respeto que requiere un socio tan importante en todas las empresas españolas contemporáneas; y que de Cataluña venga un flujo continuo de ideas e iniciativas para la mejora del conjunto de España. Seguir leyendo…

Artículo publicado por ABC el 20 de noviembre de 2012.


By Daniel Levy


“In all my years in office I haven’t declared a war”

With those words (and others) Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched his re-election campaign in an October speech to the Knesset. Well, at least that part of the election message box might now have to change. In launching Operation Pillar of Defence Netanyahu is taking an uncharacteristic gamble – albeit a calculated risk. The decision was very likely made with the prompting of his Defence Minister Ehud Barak (who unlike the Prime Minister has little to lose politically, with Barak’s Independence party barely scraping the threshold to enter the Knesset, and is predicated on a number of circumstances having aligned. To be clear, this was an escalation of choice by Israel’s leadership (and it could become yet another war of choice). As the timeline of events over the last week makes clear, the killing of a Palestinian minor on November 8th during an IDF incursion into Gaza initiated a round of escalation which was already drawing to a close on November 11th and 12th, leading to formal reports from a number of Israeli, Palestinian and international sources that a new truce was in place on November 13th. Israel then assassinated Hamas’ military chief Ahmed al-Jabari on November 14th.

Of course, Israel’s leaders have been under pressure for months and even years since the last attack on Gaza (Operation Cast Lead, in December 2008 and January 2009) to ratchet up Israel’s response to the intermittent rocket fire on Israeli civilians, in violation of international law. But that pressure was not significantly greater this time around nor why a tipping point was now reached. Hamas has also been under pressure to do more to alleviate the closure still largely imposed on Gaza and to demonstrate that it has not adopted a Fatah-like acquiescence to the overall occupation. Too often there is a failure to contextualise any escalation beyond the tit-for-tat of the current news cycle – in the past almost four years since Cast Lead 271 Palestinians and 3 Israelis have lost their lives in exchanges of hostilities (according to B’Tselem). And there is the bigger picture. Palestinians remain stateless, denied basic rights and under occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and in many respects Gaza too.

One does not have to be a card-carrying member of Cynics Anonymous to suggest that the timing of the Israeli escalation has rather a lot to do with the approaching elections in Israel. It would also though be mistaken to view events exclusively through that lens. So what was the Israeli leadership’s assessment which prompted the launching of Operation Pillar of Defence and what might that tell us about its intended outcome and trajectory? Read more…

Daniel Levy is the Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at ECFR. He is also Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation and Senior Fellow at The Century Foundation.

As published in by the European Council on Foreign Relations on November 16, 2012.

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