Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.
President Obama's West Point foreign policy address was the very definition of a speech heard around the world. But how has it been received around the world? Jim Clancy hears the thoughts of The National's Faisal al-Yafai in Abu Dhabi and The Henry Jackson Society's Alan Mendoza in London.
World renowned child star and former U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black passed away at age 85 on Tuesday.
Max spoke to the Black family publicist Cheryl Kagan about her memories of Temple.
Kagan, who knew Black personally, said that she had lived a happy, full, and busy life.
"I think what you saw on the screen and on the air was the real Shirley Temple. She was a kind, charismatic, wonderful mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and had been married for 55 years to the late Charles Alden Black. She was an amazing actress, author, and ambassador, and I think her movies are timeless."
Kagan also says that America needed Temple Black at the time she rose to stardom as she was able to "take people's cares away."
Her transition to politics and diplomacy also wasn't as unexpected as it might seem. "She actually co-starred in a movie with Ronald Reagan... She was an amazing woman who could recreate herself and reinvent herself."
Black’s postings as a U.S. Ambassador included stints in Ghana and the former Czechoslovakia. But her experiences as a child star never left her. "She grew up in Hollywood, that was a part of who she was."
Ten years ago the relationship between the U.S. and France was so strained over the Iraq War that some restaurants in the U.S. began calling French fries "freedom fries".
Now, U.S. president Barack Obama is hosting the French president, Francois Hollande, at the White House for a lavish State Dinner.
In a joint press conference Obama pointed out the changed relationship between the countries.
"This level of partnership, across so many areas, would have been unimaginable even a decade ago. But it's a testament to how our two nations have worked to transform our alliance, and I want to salute President Hollande for carrying this work forward."
Last week, Victoria Nuland, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, was allegedly recorded using blunt words about the EU in a phone conversation. Naturally, the story sparked a lot of reaction both in Europe and around the world.
Max spoke to former State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley to find out if the incident reflected the hidden side of diplomacy, and if it offered any warning for others about the modern lack of privacy.
Crowley said that the use of profane language in diplomacy was certainly nothing new and noted that "American diplomats and European diplomats have been swearing about each other and at each other for decades. This is not easy business.” When asked whether this recording enforces the perception among many Europeans that America feels dismissive towards the E.U., Crowley said; "I think there's a natural imbalance here. I mean the United States is the most influential country in the world. If US formulates its policy it's able to move rather quickly. The European Union by definition, by structure, has many members, and it's a much more deliberative process."
But in Crowley’s opinion, the most shocking aspect of the story was “the circumstance under which a private conversation became very public. I think this reflects the world in which we live and the difficulty in keeping private conversations, whether they're in a verbal form in this case, or a written form as was the case in WikiLeaks.” He said that this shows how “things that used to be done diplomatically behind closed doors are increasingly emerging into the open space."
On who was responsible for the production of this recording, Crowley expressed this opinion: "In this case the Russians are perhaps the most likely suspect, and I think this underscores how seriously Vladimir Putin and the Russian government see the situation in Ukraine."
After the French first couple called it quits, former first lady Valerie Trierweiler headed off to India on a long-planned charity trip. While the role of first lady is well established in the United States, recent revelations of Francois Hollande's love affair and subsequent break up have led the French to re-examine the position of president's partner.
Becky spoke with Betty Boyd Caroli, author of "First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama," about how the role differs around the world. Caroli said it's not an easy job.
"It's a very narrow line that the spouses walk," Caroli said. "On the one hand, we expect them to be very involved and we expect to know everything about them. And yet, we really don't think they are the official voice of the president."
Becky asked how challenging the role is for a woman like U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, who sacrificed her own career to support her husband's political ambitions.
"I think it must be very difficult for a high profile professional like Michelle Obama to quit a job that she evidently loved and be basically out of sight for most of the time," Caroli said.