Liberalism and the American Exception
March 25, 2010

Blogging at World Affairs, David Rieff has written several recent posts in which he explores, and severely criticizes, the idea of American exceptionalism and its influence on the conduct of American foreign policy. Along the way he also has some flattering things to say about my own examination of the idea in several posts over the past nine months. But he also voices some concerns about my position. As he writes, Linker is only willing to call for [the] modification [of exceptionalist thinking], not its abandonment.

Surprise: "Indonesia Considers Removing Obama Park Statue"
March 23, 2010

This didn't make news in America. But it certainly made news elsewhere,
and especially in Asia.

Behold China
March 17, 2010

For decades, various Chinese officials and outsiders have reassured the world that the country’s Communist Party leadership eventually planned to open up its one-party political system. The regime would undertake major political reforms and liberalization, it was said, to accompany the economic reforms launched by Deng Xiaoping in the late ’70s. It was merely a question of choosing the right time. Writing in Foreign Affairs two years ago, John L.

Mr. Coffee and Mr. Fixit
March 13, 2010

Raymond Carver: Collected Stories By Raymond Carver (Library of America, 1019 pp., $40)   Raymond Carver: A Writer’s LifeBy Carol Sklenicka (Scribner, 578 pp., $35) In the summer of 1984, the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami and his wife traveled to the remote coastal town of Port Angeles, Washington, to visit Raymond Carver in the glass-walled “Sky House,” overlooking the ocean, which he shared with his partner, the poet Tess Gallagher. It was more of a pilgrimage than a social call.

Amazon’s Kindle: Symbol of American Decline?
February 24, 2010

Apple’s iPad is dominating the gadget buzz this winter, but a few years ago, we and others made a big deal about the “polyglot” iPod, turning it into a talisman of the globalized supply-chain. The point was to accent the global context in which U.S.

“A War Is A War. A War Is Not A Crime, And You Don’t Bring Your Enemies To A Courthouse.”
February 23, 2010

It is so simple. And elegant. What’s more, it is also true. Why are so many liberal Democrats reluctant to concede that there is an intricate international network of ideological gangsters who recognize each other as ikhwan? These brothers do not define themselves by nation. They define themselves by religion, although there are many hundreds of millions of Muslims who are defined out--and define themselves out--of the bloody fraternity of the faithful. Sometimes, they too are stigmatized as enemies, which means they are also targets.

Terrorists Without Borders
February 23, 2010

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.

Iran's Freedom
February 10, 2010

Freedom's faithful are right now assembling in Tehran to mark the revolution that for three decades ate away at the ever-fewer rights that they had. So this is a protest not only against the regime, but against its seizure of power three decades ago. We had always known that there was an enlightened and democratic cohort in Iran. But, for years, it was silenced and, so, remained silent. Still, the boot on the human face can not last forever. Now we know that this cohort is enormous.

The Full Text of Obama's Speech
January 27, 2010

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery The State of the Union Wednesday, January 27, 2009 Washington, DC Madame Speaker, Vice President Biden, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans: Our Constitution declares that from time to time, the President shall give to Congress information about the state of our union.  For two hundred and twenty years, our leaders have fulfilled this duty.  They have done so during periods of prosperity and tranquility.  And they have done so in the midst of war and depression; at moments of great strife and great struggl

Muhammed Gives the Met the Jitters
January 10, 2010

This is an inside New York story that I read in the New York Post. But it's really an international story with serious ramifications. This is actually a postscript to the twelve Danish cartoons of four years ago, one of which was the image of a bomb in Muhammed's turban. There was an attempt on the life of this particular cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, by a Somali jihadnik a week after the Christmas bomber struck. The Somali was arrested, as was the Nigerian.