Wrestling with Iran

In Iran, wrestling commands the same level of public interest as football in the United States. This is no passing fad. Wrestling is intimately entwined with the history and culture of the country, going back to the legendary matches that Persian kings conducted with their rivals. It’s also a matter of national pride. At the Olympics, Iran wins more medals in wrestling than in any other...
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The Leader Our Foreign Policy Deserves

It’s often said that, in democracies, we get the leaders that we deserve. In the current slugfest masquerading as a presidential race, it looks as though we’re getting the leader that our foreign policy deserves. The results of the first round of the 2016 presidential election in Iowa, with narrow victories by Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton, only underscore this point. Let me explain. The Obama...
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East Asia Is Invisible

Americans don’t care about East Asia. That’s a strong statement. So, let me make a few qualifications. First, Americans love Chinese, Japanese, and (increasingly) Korean food. They like to visit East Asia. They will, on occasion, watch a Hong Kong action film or the latest from Park Chan-Wook. But when it comes to the pressing issues of the day, most Americans simply don’t follow what’s...
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Life in the Gray Zone

In the 13th century, the Italian town of Lucera was a Muslim island in a sea of Christendom. Here Frederick II, the head of the Holy Roman Empire, established his own shadow cabinet of scholars and advisors from among the Arabs that he invited to live in this walled city near the eastern coast of Italy. It was a bold, unconventional move during a precarious time in Christian-Muslim relations. The...
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Wrestling with Wrestling Jerusalem

Solo shows are about journeys. The performer tells the story of how he or she navigated through an experience of life-altering importance. At the beginning of Wrestling Jerusalem, the new solo show that kicks off Mosaic Theater Company’s latest Voices from a Changing Middle East Festival in Washington, DC, playwright and performer Aaron Davidman makes it clear that his journey of personal...
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US and Iran Collect Diplomatic Jackpot

In 1748, as part of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, France regained Cape Breton from Great Britain. The island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, had passed back and forth between the two countries over the years, and previous treaties had been as binding as toilet paper. But as part of the 1748 treaty, Great Britain sent several British peers to Paris as a guarantee of the British king’s good faith...
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