American Views Abroad

Thursday, December 31, 2009
A decade of our discontent ends, limping out at midnight. Somewhere among the many articles written about these last ten years, one commented on the end of surprise. Certainly there are no surprises in politics where respect for the ideas of others, the art of compromise and working together are, well, Missing In Action. To be fair it isn't only the politicians who disgust but the finance world, big business, personal greed, and those who stubbornly refuse to get the facts straight, look at the bigger picture and demand higher standards in our dealings with each other.

There are those who try in their own way to change things. There is George in Washington, DC at who has decided to take a good look at climate change and set up A Resource Center for getting solid facts.

There is a translation website at which was portrayed in the IHT recently. Their aim is to bring non English literature to the US. US readers probably don't realize how much they are missing since literary translations tend to be a one way street much like TV programming or films. It's basically the US to the rest of the world market. Yet one of the most difficult tasks is to sit down and translate someone's literary work: its art, culture and sublime emotional message.

Surely there are many others out there. What this site will try to do in the new decade is find them out and pass it along.

Let's hope the new decade ringing in tonight is a more promising one.

Friday, December 04, 2009
From someone who knows what he's talking about: Stretching Out an Ugly Struggle by Graham E. Fuller .....

I had hoped that Obama would level with the American people that the war in Afghanistan is not being won, indeed is not winnable within any practicable framework. But such an admission -- however accurate -- would sign the political death warrant of a president to be portrayed as having snatched defeat out of the jaws of 'victory'.

America has inadvertently ended up choosing sides in this war. US forces are perceived by large numbers of Afghans as an occupying army inflicting large civilian casualties. The struggle has now metastasized into Pakistan -- with even higher stakes.

....So the ugly struggle continues with little prospect for genuine improvement. There are no good choices. Obama has only kicked the can down the road.

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