As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More

Russia’s Border With Ukraine: An Urgent Alert

All the ingredients of a possible international crisis are there: —Russia now has an estimated 100,000 troops on the border of its neighbor, Ukraine, an independent neighbor of Russia today that was previously part of the Cold War Soviet Union. —According to Washington Post correspondent Missy Ryan, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was to…

Vocabulary Challenges In A Covid-19 Era

Try to imagine for a moment that you lapsed into a coma in 2019 and were just awakening in 2021 as scores of new terms centered on COVID-19 had infected our vocabulary in just two years. Here’s my list of such terms for such a hypothetical patient: Omicron — a new, possibly more infectious variant…

Thanksgiving Thoughts For 2021 Afghan Pilgrims

David Von Drehle’s column in the Washington Post’s Thanksgiving Day edition sums it all up: “Gratitude is a muscle. It strengthens us with use.” “Ultimately,” the widely-followed columnist concludes, “gratitude is somehow linked to hope and hope is the pre-requisite of action.” “One must be grateful for the Earth before one can save it. One…

Lessons From Glasgow Climate Summit

The Council on Foreign Relations, a respected observer, summarizes the summit findings in an authoritative essay entitled: “What the Summit Did and Did Not Accomplish”. Its summary: Would you consider COP26 a success?  The quick response, according to the CFR, was blunt: “Yes, but barely.”  The recently-concluded summit, it said, “delivered on its primary goal…

Lessons From Covid-19 And A Look Ahead

The New York Times reports Nov. 17 that the Biden administration plans to invest billions of dollars to expand United States production of coronavirus vaccines to deal with the deadly plague at home and abroad. “That goal,” according to Times correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg, “is a proposed first step in a new plan”, enabling the…

Democracy Is Fragile — And Resilient, Too

In an article in the latest edition of Foreign Affairs, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright describes her concerns about United States foreign policy in the 2020s. “Historically,” she says, “our republic’s claim on the global imagination has been inseparable from its identity — however imperfectly embodied — as a champion of human freedom. That…

Climate Talks: A Long Way To Go

A draft agreement at the climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, expresses “alarm and concern” about our planet’s global warming in 2021 and well beyond. The Associated Press reported on November 10 that coal mining and production remain a principal element of that concern. “There is a big push at the summit by most developed countries…