Authorial Voice
February 08, 2007

So I turn this morning to The New York Times op-ed page (with my decaf cappucino, skim, I know not a real cappucino), and I see the headline, "How Not to Inflame Iraq." I begin to read it, since I read too many pieces on Iraq and why should I skip this one? Actually, it is not what you would intellectually call "op-ed," assuming that this genre of writing might be literally op-ed, that is in opposition to Times editorial policy. But for a long time that's been a dream deferred. In any case, the article read like echo of Times policy.

A Modest Gift
February 06, 2007

I confess to an offense I committed some three decades ago. (This is was after 1974 just after I took over TNR.) I suppose it was a passive offense. But, in all truth, just before Christmas--just before two or three Christmases, actually--the Iranian ambassador to Washington sent me a big tin of caviar. A big tin of beluga caviar, as it happens. And I took it home to Cambridge, and we ate it with friends. What did I make of this gift?

Saudi Ambassador Update
December 25, 2006

A few days ago I posted what I presumptuously called "a scoop," a scoop about Saudi Arabia. In it I reported that Adel Al-Jubei, who has about as sharp a mind as I know and free a spirit, had been appointed the Saudi ambassador to the United States. But there was a behind-the-story story that I did not fully know, although I had some speculations--correct ones, I believe--that I shared in The Spine. Robin Wright, in Monday's Washington Post, has now told the trail of intrigue, in high politics and low, that led to Prince Turki al-Faisal's speedy exit from Washington.

Memory Loss
February 14, 2006

Two weeks ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) voted to refer the matter of Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council. There is plenty to like about the IAEA resolution, starting with the large majority it commanded among the organization's member states--even the usually recalcitrant Russians and Chinese signed on.

Unfriendly Fire
July 23, 2001

In 1967, at the height of the Six Day War, Israeli jets strafed and firebombed a seemingly hostile ship near the Sinai coast. Israeli torpedo boats quickly converged to finish the job, then abruptly ceased fire and offered assistance to the battered crew. Israel had attacked the USS Liberty. In all, 34 Americans died, and 171 were injured. Israeli leaders apologized promptly and profusely, explaining that they had mistaken the Liberty for an enemy vessel--an explanation that subsequent investigations in both the United States and Israel upheld.

Ambassador Feelgood
November 27, 1997

Over a thousand delegates gathered in early October at the Sheraton Chicago for the fifteenth annual Hispanic leadership conference. The gleaming hotel, towering over the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, seemed emblematic of Hispanics' growing political heft. Speakers at the conference included former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry G. Cisneros, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, and Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman.

Confessions of a 'Contra'
August 05, 1985

How the CIA masterminded the Nicaraguan insurgency.