Angola

The Trial of Robert D. Kaplan

The Atlantic's absurd defense of Henry Kissinger

The Atlantic writer's apologia for Henry Kissinger is incoherent and amoral all at once.

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Grover Norquist was never the reason Republicans resisted raising taxes.

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Are Afghan negotiations hopeless? In the wake of last month’s assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of the country’s High Peace Council, the mood in both Afghanistan and the United States is pessimistic, to say the least. But negotiations are still possible, and understanding why that’s the case, as well as the difficulties of succeeding, requires understanding the history of similar negotiations, quieting Afghan suspicions, and abandoning myths that cloud public discussion. Saying negotiations are possible is a long way from saying that they will necessarily succeed.

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It's quite possible that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will put an end to further offshore drilling in the United States—at least for awhile. Florida Senator Bill Nelson is already calling for a stop to all new exploration and drilling in the Gulf; he's called any new energy bill that has support for new offshore drilling "dead on arrival." The Obama administration, meanwhile, is sounding a lot more circumspect about its earlier plans to expand drilling off the coasts.

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"Gullible Gambari"

On May 20, 2006, Ibrahim Gambari, the gregarious UN under-secretary general for political affairs, met with leaders of Burma’s military junta and their most famous political prisoner, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. It was Gambari’s first trip to Burma, and the first time in two years that the country’s secretive rulers had granted a UN official such high-level access. Gambari’s optimism was palpable: “They want to open up another chapter of relationship with the international community,” the seasoned Nigerian diplomat said in a press conference on May 24.

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The End of Hunger?

Famine: A Short History By Cormac Ó Gráda (Princeton University Press, 327 pp., $27.95) The earliest recorded famines, according to Cormac Ó Gráda in his brief but masterful book, are mentioned on Egyptian stelae from the third millennium B.C.E. In that time--and to an extent, even today, above the Aswan dam in Sudan--farmers along the Nile were dependent on the river flooding to irrigate their fields. But one flood out of five, Ó Gráda tells us, was either too high or too low. The result was often starvation.

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Air America

Editor’s Note: Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout was convicted last November of four counts of conspiracy to kill U.S. citizens and provide material support to terrorists. Last week, Bout’s lawyer filed papers requesting that the judge dismiss the indictment—and cited this January 2006 TNR article as a reason. “As a result of the embarrassing New Republic disclosure of the incompetence—or worse—of the Departments of Defense and State in their dealings with Bout, someone in the government decided it was time to ‘get’ Viktor Bout,” the lawyer wrote.

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Out of Beijing

All summer, the U.N. Security Council debated whether to condemn the Sudanese government for supporting the murderous Janjaweed militias in Darfur. In July, it passed a weak resolution threatening sanctions against Khartoum. Then, in September, after the Bush administration labeled the massacres genocide, the United Nations passed another, similar, resolution threatening sanctions if the killing continued. Yet the United Nations did nothing more, even as the death toll rose in Darfur.

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Out of Beijing

China's Africa strategy.

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On a Sunday just before Christmas in a village near Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the silent air is more reminiscent of a church service than of the presidential election taking place that day. A young woman approaches the open-air voting table, picks up a paper showing President Obiang Nguema's picture, and hands it to an officer for sealing and posting in the ballot box.

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