Balkans

Karzai 1, Holbrooke 0
November 20, 2009

Is someone from the Pentagon taking a shot at Holbrooke in that WashPost story on Obama's "reset" with Karzai that Jason linked? Note this: "We've been treating Karzai like [Slobodan] Milosevic," a senior Pentagon official said, referring to the former Bosnian Serb* leader whom Holbrooke pressured into accepting a peace treaty in the 1990s. "That's not a model that will work in Afghanistan." Who played the critical role in dragging Milosevic to a peace agreement? Holbrooke.

Hawk Down
September 24, 2009

With the 2008 presidential campaign in full swing two summers ago, Joe Biden, then making his own bid for the White House, ridiculed Barack Obama on a momentous issue: Afghanistan. The occasion was an August 2007 speech by Obama outlining his plans to fight Al Qaeda, which included sending an influx of American troops and aid to the country. Later that day, Biden issued a snarky press release gloating about his own extensive record of pushing similar policies, and which cast Obama as a naïve newcomer.

“We Can’t Just Do Nothing”
August 27, 2009

Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror By Mahmood Mamdani (Pantheon, 398 pp., $26.95) The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and For All By Gareth Evans (Brookings, 349 pp., $24.95) I. IN THE SUMMER OF 2007, Mahmood Mamdani found himself at a meeting of activists and politicians, listening to sentiments that had by then become quite common among a certain class of politically active Americans. The speakers were calling on the United Nations to send peacekeepers to Darfur.

Airplane!
May 20, 2009

PAKISTANIS TREAT THEIR military achievements like pop icons. Photos of the nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan are waved at rallies, and a street in Islamabad bears his name. Replica models of the mountain site where the country tests its nuclear bombs stand at the center of traffic circles. And the angular black silhouette of the F-16 fighter jet is such a treasured image that it is often found on the brilliantly colored commercial trucks that rumble along Pakistan’s highways.

Choosing Life
November 05, 2008

Memoirs By Hans Jonas Edited by Christian Wiese Translated by Krishna Winston (Brandeis University Press, 320 pp., $35)   The Life and Thought of Hans Jonas: Jewish Dimensions By Christian Wiese (Brandeis University Press, 292 pp., $50)   I. Hans Jonas was a philosopher, not a prophet, but his teachings speak as powerfully to our age of global warming, global markets, and Manichaean geopolitics as they did to the century of world wars in which he developed them.

Trying war criminals locally.
May 01, 2006

Four years, 466 hearing days, more than 300 witnesses, and over $200 million after it began in The Hague, Case Number IT-02-54, Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic, was officially declared over on March 14, three days after Milosevic was found dead of an apparent heart attack in his prison cell. There will be no verdict.

Paradigm Slip
April 11, 2005

The first sign of ethnic tension confronts me just a few miles from the border as I drive north into Kosovo. In the town of Kacanik, I pass an old Serbian Orthodox chapel. It is surrounded by a high fence and barbed wire. There are three sandbag bunkers around the chapel, a double row of cement and steel tank traps at the entrance, and a guard post inside the fence. The grounds look more like an armed camp than a place of worship. Later, I learn the church has been all but abandoned.

Stop Talking
June 07, 2004

Most of the time in war, diplomatic machinations don't create enduring realities--events on the battlefield do. After World War I, the defeated, but not humiliated, German army that surrendered in France and Belgium provided the origins for the "stab in the back" mythology that fueled Hitler's rise to power. After World War II, by contrast, the shattered and shamed Wehrmacht in Berlin was unable to energize a Fourth Reich. George S.

Credible Threat
January 19, 2004

Well before he officially launched his candidacy in mid-September, Wesley Clark was hailed as the Democrats' savior. Party strategists, convinced that the front-running Howard Dean would flame out against George W. Bush, saw in Clark not only a sensible political alternative but, just as important, an electable one.

The Ungreat Washed
July 07, 2003

The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad By Fareed Zakaria (W.W. Norton, 286 pp., $24.95) I. Midway through Fareed Zakaria’s attack on democracy, one realizes that his animus toward popular government is not only theoretical but also personal, and in some ways it is even quite understandable.

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