Gimme Fuel, Gimme Fire
February 08, 2011
When the Iranian Revolution overthrew the Shah in 1979, years of “peaceful” U.S. nuclear cooperation with the Persian dictator suddenly seemed like they had been a bad idea. In part as a result of this early assistance, Tehran is on the road to producing a bomb’s worth of weapons-grade uranium in roughly a year or less. And with protests upending governments in Egypt, Tunisia, and the rest of the Middle East, this sequence is on the cusp of repeating itself to produce a nuclear domino effect.
The Ambiguous Revolt
January 27, 2011
What kind of revolution is the Tunisian uprising?
No Arab Society Is Immune
January 19, 2011
That is a simple fact, no matter what the apologists, paid and unpaid, say. And what they are not immune from is murder activated by politically motivated killers. It almost doesn't matter who the victims are. It's the numbers that count, the bigger the better. Yesterday, Stephen Lee Meyers reported in the New York Times that at least 49 hopefuls for the police academy were blown to smithereens in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town. Meyers wrote that the ministry of the interior had announced that there had been 60 dead. The reporter's own number for the wounded and maimed was 116.
Today’s News Is Like Yesterday’s: Killings In The Muslim World
January 17, 2011
Actually, I didn’t read this anywhere—no, not anywhere—but in an A.P.
September 21, 2010
“Come stai…? Tutto bene…?” This had been U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's opening line since the early days of our professional relationship. I'd heard him use the greeting many times as he rose through the ranks, resorting to it whenever he met an Italian colleague (like me). Still, those words never failed to warm my heart. Walking around his desk Kofi smiled, hand stretched out towards the black leather sofa. It was early September 2006. Both Annan and I were about to leave the United Nations for good. He was leaving after two terms in office.
"Europe's Distress In Relation To Its Immigrants"
August 18, 2010
“Les guichets du Louvre” is a French film released in 1974 in America as “Black Thursday.” I recall every scene: they were withering, all of them.
August 05, 2010
The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism By Pascal Bruckner Translated by Steven Rendall (Princeton University Press, 239 pp., $26.95) I. Once upon a time, it seemed an incontestable fact that the life of the mind radiated from the Left Bank outward. Within a small quadrant of the Latin Quarter in Paris, an intellectual elite labored to produce magisterial works that lesser minds all over the world received eagerly, gratefully—and by and large uncritically.
During his campaign and at the beginning of his presidency Barack Obama promised to shut Guantanamo and give (most of) its prisoners their freedom. Freedom is a difficult state to bestow on people, especially those who have lived in the circle or shadow of terror or terrorism. In any case, the Congress won't allow the president to close the penitentiary at the southern tip of Cuba. And it certainly won't permit him to sprinkle the remaining inmates around America.
July 21, 2010
The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western MasochisBy Pascal Bruckner Translated by Steven Rendall (Princeton University Press, 239 pp., $26.95) I. Once upon a time, it seemed an incontestable fact that the life of the mind radiated from the Left Bank outward. Within a small quadrant of the Latin Quarter in Paris, an intellectual elite labored to produce magisterial works that lesser minds all over the world received eagerly, gratefully—and by and large uncritically.
James Downie's Best and Worst
July 12, 2010
Best Goal: By miles (which, ironically, seemed like the distance the ball traveled), Giovanni van Bronckhorst against Uruguay. Simply unstoppable. Most important goal (to Americans): Landon Donovan against Algeria, of course. To prove that soccer is now "mainstream," all you have to do is look at the many sports columnists (Bill Simmons, most notably), in their obligatory Lebron articles, using Donovan's goal as an example of what sports can be.