Three years ago, the world watched in shock as Syria slowly descended into bitter conflict. Once thriving communities have been utterly destroyed. Nine million people are now in need of humanitarian assistance, with their future looking perilous and uncertain. The scale of the humanitarian crisis which results from a conflict of this kind can be overwhelming. But we cannot let ourselves forget its human face.
The crisis engulfing Crimea is a grave one. Vladimir Putin's armies have cut the region off from the rest of the nation, and are insisting on an illegal referendum in order to give elusive legitimacy to a brazen act of aggression. Now is not the time for the West to take options off the table - even rather unpalatable ones.
Today the fighting is as intense as it has ever been but it is right at this moment that the war on drugs may be coming to an end. What we are seeing now at the UN in Vienna, over half a century since the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was adopted, is the breakdown of the all-important consensus.
With Russia integrated into the borderless world economy, all sides have a great deal to lose. Unless the West is willing to engage militarily, the only obvious way to get Putin's attention is by imposing real economic sanctions that have a real effect. However the New Russia cannot be isolated by sanctions without severely damaging Russia's trade partners and investors in the West.
There has been a lot of rhetoric by politicians and commentators claiming that what we are seeing today is Cold War behavior and a resurgence of Soviet Russia. Not only is this view wrong, it completely misunderstands Vladimir Putin's intentions. What we see Russia doing in Crimea today is not Cold War Russia, it is Imperial Russia.
This morning I woke up to a brilliantly sunny day here in Vilnius, Lithuania, and for the first time I can remember, I cursed the good weather. That is because I am in the Lithuanian capital to protest against today's neo-Nazi/ultranationalist march, one which is a stark reminder of the dark days of the Holocaust in this country...
Three years ago, a group of school-children scrawled political graffiti on a wall in the remote Syrian town of Daraa. Their subsequent arrest and torture was the spark that ignited the civil war now ravaging Syria and devastating the lives of so many of its 22 million people. This civil war is now thought to have spawned the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Imagine the horrors of healthcare in a warzone: children having limbs amputated because of a lack of medical supplies and equipment to treat their wounds. Patients knocked out with iron bars, rather than face an operation without anaesthetic. A newborn baby dying in an incubator because of power-cuts... For millions of people inside Syria - this is the reality of their lives now.
In a statement on 4 March 2014, Foreign Minister William Hague deceived the House of Commons about the legitimacy of the new regime in Ukraine... He led the House to believe that the Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, had removed President Yanukovich from power on 22 February in accordance with the Ukrainian constitution.
This government has made no secret of its strong support for the Commonwealth. But no institution today can be complacent. People rightly want to know why institutions exist and what they achieve. The European Union is familiar with this sort of scrutiny - and in recent times, the UK and others across Europe have been asking how it can become more competitive, more flexible and more democratically accountable. The Commonwealth's challenge is very different. It has to explain to all of us how it can be relevant to us in a 21st century world, a world of competing bodies and organisations covering every area of international activity.