I Love the U.N., but It Is Failing
Anthony Banbury | The New York Times
“The world faces a range of terrifying crises, from the threat of climate change to terrorist breeding grounds in places like Syria, Iraq and Somalia. The United Nations is uniquely placed to meet these challenges, and it is doing invaluable work, like protecting civilians and delivering humanitarian aid in South Sudan and elsewhere. But in terms of its overall mission, thanks to colossal mismanagement, the United Nations is failing.”

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In Burkina Faso: FESTIMA, a Festival of African Masks
Jacob Balzani Loov | Al Jazeera
“‘Of course, these masks are not given full power during the festival,’ one musician explained during a break. ‘Otherwise, you would not even be able to photograph them; nothing would show up in the picture.’”

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Interpreting the Russian Withdrawal from Syria
Aron Lund | Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
“The world is now scrambling to understand what Putin meant and what this means for Syria. There are a few different ways to read the situation, and they are not mutually exclusive.”

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The Irish Novel That’s So Good People Were Scared to Translate It
William Brennan | The New Yorker
“[F]or almost seventy years, Ó Cadhain’s greatest work remained inaccessible to nearly all Irish readers, because it was written in Irish Gaelic, a language vanishingly few of them speak, and it had never been translated into English. As if in overcorrection of this historical lapse, Yale University Press, together with the Irish-language publishing house Cló Iar-Chonnacht, has now put out not one but two English translations. For the first time, English speakers untutored in the Irish tongue can experience the exquisite vulgarity of Ó Cadhain’s book, and perhaps begin to understand the exalted standing it has had among Irish readers for decades.”

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Anxious About Trump? Try Being a Foreign Ambassador
Mary Jordan | The Washington Post
“Diplomats from many of the United States’ closest allies said there has not been a U.S. election since World War II in which representatives of foreign nations have felt so completely cut off from a leading presidential candidate or so unsure of his view of foreign policy.”

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Can There Be War Without Soldiers?
Rosa Brooks | Foreign Policy
“Overall, though, today’s wars are growing steadily less ‘warlike.’ Already, for instance, conflicts kill fewer people each year than the wars of earlier eras. This has been particularly true of wars involving powerful states such as the United States: Precision weapons and tight rules of engagement have made recent U.S. wars less bloody for enemy populations than previous American wars, while advances in medical care, body [armor], and other protective technologies have greatly reduced casualties. Given the evolution of the Internet, robotics, bioengineering, and a host of other technologies, the trend toward bloodless war seems likely to continue, as does the trend toward soldier-less, weaponless wars. They keep on giving wars, but fewer and fewer people are showing up.”