Finland's parliament narrowly approved a bill legalizing gay marriage on Friday after months of heated debate and controversy. Yes, you read that correctly. Finland, often regarded as one of the most inclusive and progressive countries in the world, has only now approved same-sex marriage for its citizens. In the U.S., by contrast, 35 states have already legalized gay marriage, with same-sex marriage bans recently falling in Arkansas and Mississippi.
When El Salvador emerged from more than a decade of civil war in the 1990s, the United States helped set up a training program for the country's new National Civilian Police as part of the U.N.-monitored peace process. It was one of several U.S. projects over the past two decades aimed at steering other countries, from Kosovo to Guatemala to Liberia, toward demilitarizing their security forces and making police accountable.
One day after announcing that Chuck Hagel is being dismissed as defense secretary, his greatest foreign-policy legacy -- relations with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government -- seems to be evaporating. Egypt's interior minister warned on Tuesday, Nov. 25, that police will not hesitate to use deadly force against Islamist protesters during a planned demonstration on Friday, which represents the first serious challenge to Sisi's government since elections in June.
During Chuck Hagel's brutal confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee last year, he was raked over the coals for his alleged lack of commitment to the U.S.-Israeli alliance. Sen. Ted Cruz dredged up a clip in which Hagel appeared to have agreed that Israeli forces had carried out war crimes during the 2006 war in Lebanon against Hezbollah. Several of his former colleagues slammed Hagel for arguing in an interview that "the Jewish lobby intimidates a lot of people up here." That comment also led the neoconservative foreign-policy analyst Elliott Abrams to bluntly deride Hagel as an anti-Semite.
When Thai military leaders ousted the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra six months ago, their real target was the enduring influence of her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was himself ousted in a 2006 coup.