A child of the Great Depression, the venerated cartoonist Jules Feiffer often turned to adventure comic strips and the tales of Hammett and Chandler, along with the films based on their works. He explains that these elaborate fantasy worlds allowed him to escape from and survive the very real difficulties of life at this time in American history. Feiffer’s new graphic novel Kill My Mother (W.W. Norton, August 2014), reaches back to his first obsessions; playing with his past, Kill My Mother launches him into a form of graphic expression he says he was unable to find until the age of 80. Happy in his later years, Feiffer asserts that he can finally return to what he really wanted to do in the first place.
Ambassador Frank G. Wisner addresses the revolutionary changes that have swept the Middle East since 2010, considering, too, the origins of the crisis and the ongoing "situations" in Egypt and Syria. In the scope of his talk, Wisner also addresses contestations in Israel, Palestine, and Iran, and outlines choices that will have to be made by the United States and Europe in the coming months and years regarding these troubled states. Wisner's remarks are based on decades of experience as a diplomat in the region, careful study of written analyses, and recent meetings with key government and civil-society actors in a number of Arab countries, Iran, and Turkey.
Russian president Vladimir Putin’s move against Ukraine appears to confirm that Russia is no longer interested in partnership with the West, preferring instead to establish a distinctive area of competitive political and cultural control. So say Andrew Nagorski and John C. Kornblum, who address recent events in Ukraine, the March 16 referendum in Crimea, and the consequences for post-Cold War Europe. They investigate the economic and political implications of Russia’s actions and examine how this new Russian approach affects the principles and agreements made after 1992. They also consider Russian motives and future Russian behavior in Europe, asking: Are we entering a new area of confrontation? What is the future of EU relationships with countries such as Georgia and Ukraine? How strong is Russian nostalgia for its Soviet past? Have these trends been exacerbated by reluctant American leadership and the lack of a clear European strategy?
Thomas P. Campbell, director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Marine Kellen French Distinguished Visitor, suggests that we have to think critically about the relevance of art museums in the context of today's larger global context. To this end, he recounts the fascinating story of the Met's origins in Europe, the power of museums in the modern world, and the increasing fusion of audience and technology. Campbell also discusses how the Met's early principles still inform the strategies and initiatives the storied American museum is developing today.
The director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy and the head of the program of the EU-Middle East Forum at the German Council on Foreign Relations discuss US policy in the Middle East. Gathered at the German Council on Foreign Relations, moderator Heinrich Kreft from the Federal Foreign Office was joined by the Brookings Institution’s Tamara Cofman Wittes and the German Council on Foreign Relations’ Dina Fakoussa. The panel discussion began with introductory remarks by Heinrich Kreft and then jumped right into a deep conversation about the future of US foreign policy in the Middle East.
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