Albania

Before running Romney's campaign, Stuart Stevens helped lift two foreign strongmen into power.

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There's been a lot of head-scratching in the past 24 hours over how Eric Fehrnstrom, Mitt Romney's longtime chief aide, could have stepped in it so badly with his "Etch-a-Sketch" comment yesterday. For those of you who were traveling in Albania yesterday, Fehrnstrom responded to a question on CNN about the risk of Romney being pulled too far right in the primaries by saying this: "Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes.

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The nuclear order seems to be falling apart. Gone is the uneasy balance between the cold war superpowers. We now face a slew of new nuclear actors. North Korea has reprocessed enough plutonium for perhaps ten bombs, in addition to the two it has already tested. Iran’s centrifuge program seems poised to produce weapons-grade uranium. And Syria was apparently constructing a clandestine nuclear facility, before it was destroyed by Israeli air strikes in 2007. It’s not just enemies that pose a problem.

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Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field Edited by Antonio Giustozzi (Columbia University Press, 318 pp., $40)   My Life with the Taliban By Abdul Salam Zaeef Edited by Alex Strick van Linschoten and Felix Kuehn (Columbia University Press, 331 pp., $29.95) After several hours of driving down one of the two-lane asphalt roads that wind through Pakistan’s tribal areas, our kidnappers entered the territory of Baitullah Mehsud, the widely feared leader of the Pakistani Taliban. It was the middle of March in 2009.

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Odd Surprises

Lorna's Silence Sony Pictures Classics My Fuhrer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler First Run Features One of the more thrilling chapters in film history is the account of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne. The joint career of these Belgian brothers has been, since they became known, breathtaking. After some twenty years of documentary work for Francophone television, in the early 1990s they began to make features. The first two were not widely seen.

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Crime Scene

As NATO's troops took over Kosovo last week, I took out my copy of the international war crimes tribunal's indictment of Slobodan Milosevic and four of his aides. This grisly document, issued May 24, I reasoned, would serve to orient my reporting--a kind of Baedeker guide to a shattered landscape that, according to NATO estimates, may contain 10,000 corpses in more than 100 mass graves. My first stop was Velika Krusa, near the Albanian border on the main road north from Prizren to Djakovica.

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