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NEW YORK – The US presidential election is still more than half a year away, and it is impossible to know with any certainty who will be nominated to represent the major parties, much less who will be the 45th occupant of the White House. But it is not too soon to assess the mood of the country's more than 320 million inhabitants and what it will mean for the man or woman who ultimately prevails in what must seem to most people around the world to be an endless political soap opera.

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CHICAGO – On March 24, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sentenced Radovan Karadžić – the political leader of the Bosnian Serbs during the 1990s war in the Balkans – to 40 years in prison for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. It is a judgment that will profoundly influence international law, deter those who might otherwise commit atrocities, and open the possibility of political reconciliation in Bosnia. Lawless leaders, such as those in Syria, Sudan, South Sudan, Russia, and the Islamic State, have just been reminded of their vulnerability to international justice.

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CAMBRIDGE – As Chinese policymakers attempt to address what ails their country’s economy, they are pursuing two goals that will almost certainly turn out to be incompatible. Very seldom have central banks been able to maintain a fixed exchange rate over an extended period of time while providing liquidity to troubled banks and an ailing economy. Indeed, the task becomes especially difficult as the monetary stringency needed to prop up the currency intensifies strains on domestic banks and the real economy.

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BEIJING – Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba is the first by a US president since Calvin Coolidge went in 1928. American investors, expat Cubans, tourists, scholars, and scam artists will follow in Obama’s wake. Normalization of the bilateral relationship will pose opportunities and perils for Cuba, and a giant test of maturity for the United States.

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DUBAI – I’m delighted to join in the celebration of this year’s International Day of Happiness. But, to be honest, my focus is on the other 364 days of the year. After all, I am in the happiness business.

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