The U.S. State Department is set to announce $28 million in grants to help Internet activists, particularly in countries where the governments restrict e-mail and social networks such as those offered by Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google Inc.

The empowerment of Arab publics through months of uprisings and popular protests is driving a structural change in the texture of regional politics which has only begun to unfold. Whether or not regimes fall, or real democracy emerges, every political player in the region who hopes to remain competitive will have to be more responsive to the concerns and demands of the mobilized public.

Despite continuing criticism of the European Union over its delayed response to the turmoil in the Arab world, Poland’s foreign minister said this week that the crisis provided an opportunity for the bloc to help that region on a road toward democracy.

“We have been doing well on the development front,” the official, Zhao Qizheng, former head of the State Council Information Office, was quoted by China Daily as saying. “Now we need to talk better, to make our messages clearer to the world.”

In recent times, the Russians, the Americans and West Europeans have found that the constant interplay of timeless social structures and a readiness to sacrifice life and property in what often becomes a religious struggle produces totally unforeseen crises.

The Israeli parliament’s Immigration, Absorption and Public Diplomacy Committee held a hearing last week to determine whether an American Jewish organisation that favors a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conundrum could call itself “pro-Israel.”

If the heart of foreign policy is its vision then a cardiogram of South Africa's post-apartheid foreign policy would start with some fairly lively scratches: Nelson Mandela's lofty but somewhat naive vision of external relations...

President Obama’s tour of Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador has been buried by news about Libya and Japan. But one of his messages – that Latin America can take more responsibility for global peace and prosperity – deserves to break through for further discussion.