Bernd Debusmann

In Afghanistan, history rhymes

June 29, 2010

The faltering war in Afghanistan brings to mind a famous quote attributed to Mark Twain and a less famous one by Robert Gates, the U.S. Secretary of Defense. Twain: “History does not repeat itself but it rhymes.” Gates: “Tough decisions: … how to get out, when, and without losing face.”

A comeback for the American melting pot?

June 18, 2010

When U.S. President Barack Obama’s white mother married his black African father, in 1961, black-and-white marriages were one in 1,000 and inter-racial marriages were banned by law in 15 American states. Even where they were legal, mixed marriages were widely considered taboo.

Obama, Iran and Alice in Wonderland

June 11, 2010

Here we go again. That shape-shifting entity known as “the international community” has moved once more to try and stop Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program. In the process, the community shrank by two countries, Turkey and Brazil.

George W. Obama and immigration fantasies

June 4, 2010

In the waning days of his presidency, George W. Bush listed the failure of immigration reform as one of his biggest disappointments and deplored the tone of the immigration debate. It had, he said in December 2008, undermined “the true greatness of America which is that we welcome people who want to work”.

Performance reviews – a global scourge

June 1, 2010

It is time to kill the annual performance review, for decades a feature of corporate life around the globe, dreaded both by those who do the reviewing and those who are reviewed.