Bob Dylan in China
April 11, 2011
In memory of Farah Ebrahimi. Times are indeed a-changing: Bob Dylan, who became an American icon by “speaking truth to power,” just gave a concert in China, one of the most repressive countries in the world. While there, Dylan not only failed to express solidarity with the Chinese dissidents in jail; according to The Washington Post, he also agreed to perform only “approved content.” The scenario becomes even more ironic when you consider that, while Bob Dylan sang “Love Sick” in mainland China, outgoing U.S.
After the Disaster
March 17, 2011
Beijing, China—Despite nuclear, geological and logistical disasters unfolding simultaneously, deciding to leave Tokyo on Monday was not a quick decision. My departure was no reflection of the endurance of the Japanese people to overcome this disaster. No doubt, within the nuclear power plants, there are sleepless men, everyday working men, continuing at tremendous personal peril to ensure the safety of millions. Heroic seems an understatement to describe their efforts, and they are not alone. I left because, unlike so many people there, I could—a lucky privilege I did not take for granted.
China’s Jittery Leaders
March 03, 2011
This is the first in our package of articles about the Middle East revolts and the future of autocracy worldwide. Click here to read about the Muslim Brotherhood, here to read about Russia's deep despair, and here to read about Venezuela's lost generation. No one thinks about their own demise more than the leaders of China’s Communist Party. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites, they have undertaken a massive effort to study why some one-party states survive while others fail.
The Trouble With Tibet
February 19, 2011
Dharamsala, India—Flying from Delhi to Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India, takes about 90 minutes. The plane lands in the valley below the Dhauladar range of the Himalayas, a massive barrier between India and Tibet. From the airport, the road leads up to the former British hill station that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made available in 1960 to the Dalai Lama, who had escaped from Chinese-occupied Tibet the year before.
Does Huntsman Stand a Chance in 2012?
February 02, 2011
The Beltway is buzzing over former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman’s suddenly revived 2012 ambitions. Huntsman is reportedly about to resign as Obama’s ambassador to China in order to “explore” a White House bid, and a cabal of advisers who were prominent in John McCain’s 2008 campaign is plotting his strategy. At least on one level, the Huntsman boomlet isn’t terribly surprising.
January 27, 2011
Each year, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its affiliated organizations hold hundreds of meetings, at which officials from countries across Asia come together to issue bland, verbose communiqués about everything from agriculture management to the handling of spiny dogfish and to listen to interchangeable speeches by government officials. Along with an inevitable level of boredom, the meetings feature exaggerated, affected displays of courtesy that would not have been out of place at the Tudor Court.
Take Only Pictures
January 18, 2011
When Chinese President Hu Jintao meets his American counterpart at the White House tomorrow, he will undoubtedly go through the motions of engaging him on substantive matters. But there will be little in the way of agreement: At the last summit, in November 2009, China and the United States released a 4,223-word joint statement that became a dead letter within three weeks, after acrimonious exchanges at the Copenhagen Climate Summit.
TNR's Best Sudan Coverage
January 08, 2011
This weekend, citizens of southern Sudan will decide, in a referendum, whether or not they want to secede and form a new nation. This historic vote comes after decades of war, genocide, and repression, and the southern Sudanese are expected to choose independence by an overwhelming margin. In recent years, TNR has devoted considerable space to covering Sudan—and advocating for its people. When genocide was claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands in 2004, we demanded that the U.S.
Richard Holbrooke in Asia
December 20, 2010
While sitting in Istanbul‘s Attaturk International Airport waiting for a flight, I was stunned to hear a BBC announcer report that my colleague and friend U.S. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke had just died. I knew that he had been rushed to George Washington University Hospital with a torn aorta. But, despite the seriousness of his condition, it was still unimaginable that he would not recover. After all, had “Holbrooke,” as his friends and colleagues always referred to him, not always prevailed?
Reading Strauss in Beijing
December 17, 2010
A few years ago, when I was still teaching at the University of Chicago, I had my first Chinese graduate students, a couple of earnest Beijingers who had come to the Committee on Social Thought hoping to bump into the ghost of Leo Strauss, the German-Jewish political philosopher who established his career at the university. Given the mute deference they were accustomed to giving their professors, it was hard to make out just what these young men were looking for, in Chicago or Strauss. They attended courses and worked diligently, but otherwise kept to themselves.