UN report predicts likely global economic downturn in 2013

UN report predicts likely global economic downturn in 2013

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — The global economy risks sliding back into recession.  That’s the sober assessment from the UN’s World Economic Situation and Prospects 2013, which cites weak economic growth in 2012, and an anemic expected expansion over the next two years.  And while economic woes in the United States, Europe and Japan […]

Remembering Vaclav Havel who inspired freedom fighters from E. Europe to N. Korea, China

Remembering Vaclav Havel who inspired freedom fighters from E. Europe to N. Korea, China

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — One year ago the renowned author, playwright, and former President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel died at age 75. In tribute to this extraordinary European Renaissance Man, I’m reissuing my column in the spirit of memory and the season. “Havel’s career as literary figure, intellectual and a political […]

Europe gets the prize: Sixty years of peace, if not prosperity

Europe gets the prize: Sixty years of peace, if not prosperity

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — The European Union, the concert of 27 countries ranging from the Bay of Biscay to the Baltics and the Balkans has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. Some may smile, others may smirk, and many, when they think about it for a second time, may say […]

With policies in flux among world powers, N. Korea again threatens to go ballistic

With policies in flux among world powers, N. Korea again threatens to go ballistic

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — The impending launch of a North Korean ballistic missile has as much to do with the propaganda goal of putting a satellite into orbit as to serve as a less than subtle bullying to neighboring states all undergoing a period of political transition. Though Pyongyang has forewarned regional governments […]

Named but not shamed: UN Rights Committee cites abuses in Syria, Iran and N. Korea

Named but not shamed: UN Rights Committee cites abuses in Syria, Iran and N. Korea

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — Tis’ the season in the General Assembly for some serious if generally overlooked work and reports. An Assembly committee has soundly condemned the continuing human and political rights abuses in three global transgressors; Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the quaintly titled Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, aka […]

Venezuela gains seat on UN Human Rights Council: ‘Neither the U.S. nor the EU said a word’

Venezuela gains seat on UN Human Rights Council: ‘Neither the U.S. nor the EU said a word’

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — First, the good news. The United States has been re-elected to the UN Human Rights Council along with Germany and Ireland. So too have been South Korea and Japan. Now fasten your seat belts for the rest of the eighteen new selections to the 47 member Geneva-based Council which […]

U.S. global competitiveness ranking: From 1 to 7th since 2007

U.S. global competitiveness ranking: From 1 to 7th since 2007

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — As the seemingly interminable election campaign nears the finish line, there are a few glaringly missing topics which remain almost untouched. The first deals with an issue affecting nearly everyone and the other one which may determine America’s future scientific prowess and potential. Gasoline prices. Here we have record […]

Obama at UN addressed the Arab Street and U.S. voters

Obama at UN addressed the Arab Street and U.S. voters

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — President Barack Obama’s speech before the UN General Assembly was directed to two domestic audiences. One Main Street USA where outrage and anguish over the killing of American diplomats, the trashing of diplomatic property throughout the Middle East, and the seething resentment towards America is viewed as a both […]

What was that you said, Mr. Obama, about the return of U.S. prestige globally since 2009?

What was that you said, Mr. Obama, about the return of U.S. prestige globally since 2009?

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — The killing of the American Ambassador to Libya John Christopher Stevens, along with three other American diplomats, the storming of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt and the tearing down of the flag replacing the stars and stripes with a black banner, all allegedly in response to an American-produced […]

Say this for the French: Passionate about American popular culture

Say this for the French: Passionate about American popular culture

John J. Metzler PARIS — One of the more common misperceptions in transatlantic relations is the near instinctive knee-jerk comment that “the French don’t like Americans.” That is unless you overlook much of the music on French radio which is American, a considerable segment of prime time TV are American programs, and a majority of […]