Commentary | Opinion

  • Changes to Monitor Commentary

    Commentary at the Monitor is evolving to better meet reader interests. We'll be minimizing some elements, but adding others. And while the form of Monitor commentary may change, we'll continue to offer the constructive, thoughtful perspectives you've come to expect from us.

  • Global Viewpoint Why America should let Iraq resolve its own crisis

    The US already destroyed the political, economic, and social infrastructure of Iraq. There is no way it should attempt to re-enter this agony. This is not some jihadi apocalypse. In fact, ISIS is establishing the groundwork for what is emerging as a likely federalist structure of Sunni Arab, Shiite Arab, and Kurdish regions – the only way Iraq can survive for the foreseeable future.

  • How unlikely partners came together on a Maine river

    Decades of dam building had decimated migratory fish populations that had long sustained local wildlife and people on the Penobscot River. After years of contentious battles, local stakeholders struck a deal. Today, for the first time in 200 years, river life is rebounding. And the power company has not lost any hydropower generation.

  • Global Viewpoint How China and the US can avoid a catastrophic clash

    By provoking US allies, Beijing is forcing Washington to choose between abandoning its friends or going to war with China. Both believe the other will back down. But there is a high chance that they are both wrong. America’s best move then is to change the game in Asia, by offering to share power if China behaves responsibly.

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  • How to build peace, one teenager at a time

    At Seeds of Peace, we bring kids from conflict zones together to learn to see each other and their differences in a new light. Now, our first generation of alumni are emerging as leaders of their societies and leveraging their experience to build peace.

  • What it will take to end sexual assault in the military

    The epidemic of military sexual assault requires continued pursuit of reform. With that in mind, we recently introduced the FAIR Military Act, which is aimed at eliminating bias in the military justice system and increasing accountability among all levels of the military.

  • Digital addictions mean we can't read books anymore. And that's a problem.

    To read a novel, once upon a time, all you had to do was suspend your disbelief. Now you have to suspend your belief that the world will end if you lose digital access for a few hours. That's a shame. Because reading is still the best way to lose yourself, in my opinion. 

  • Civil discourse that doesn’t taste like broccoli

    Neither a barrage of facts nor a sense of civic duty alone will make people reexamine their positions. As we've learned at The Village Square, civil discourse requires friendship, humor – and irreverence.

  • Why America must step up its role in resolving Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

    Stepping up America’s direct role in advancing a resolution to the simmering conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region between Armenia and Azerbaijan is an essential step to serve not only American interests, but to put Vladimir Putin on the defensive.

  • On anniversary of Snowden's NSA disclosure, a shocking realization

    For all the debate since Edward Snowden's NSA disclosures a year ago, the only thing more striking than the changes that have resulted is how much has stayed the same. Unfortunately, a lack of evidence of cold war-style abuses has dampened the public push for reform.

  • Global Viewpoint Modi 2.0: How India's new prime minister may have evolved

    As an opposition member of parliament, I can happily say that Modi appears to have realized that he will have to lead the nation from the center and not from the extreme right, where he built his base. But if he backslides, we will resist him robustly. India's democracy deserves no less.

  • How not to talk about human trafficking

    Human trafficking is a complicated problem that can be difficult to discuss appropriately and sensitively. But as we've seen after the Somaly Mam case, the discourse of human trafficking has real impacts on anti-trafficking efforts and on trafficking victims and survivors.

  • After the Isla Vista rampage: Saving boys – to save women

    If we are serious as a culture about preventing future atrocities, we need to change the way we socialize boys and men like Elliot Rodger. And we will need to dismantle a culture that routinely treats women and girls as sexual objects and targets of real and virtual violence.

  • The potential of local conflict resolution in Darfur

    Arab nomads in Darfur have organized interlocking conflict resolution networks to address local disputes before they escalate. Their work could help bring lasting peace to a region plagued by violence. But it requires stronger international support to fulfill its promise.