Belgrade

EVERY WEEK, thousands of Serbians bundle up in bed and flip on their televisions for their fix of “Evening with Ivan Ivanovic,” a cheesy “Late Show” knockoff complete with a live studio audience, a rock band, and an eager host clasping a coffee mug in front of a fake Belgrade skyline. One evening this spring, Ivanovic proudly announced that his guest would be the first American ever to appear on the show. With gusto, the band struck up a brassy rendition of “New York, New York” and Rudy Giuliani, wearing his familiar toothy grin, descended a bright, glowing staircase to wild cheers.

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Accept Serbia

In the aftermath of the arrest of Ratko Mladic, all eyes are now on Serbia’s application for European Union membership (see, for example here, here, and here). After all, the arrest of Mladic, whom Time described as “Europe’s most wanted war-crimes suspect”, was supposed to be the major remaining obstacle to Serbia joining the EU.

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Friends Forever

As Muammar Qaddafi wages war on his own people, whatever international support he once enjoyed has almost entirely dried up. The first to go were his powerful friends in Great Britain; former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who helped rehabilitate the Libyan dictator after he surrendered his nuclear weapons program in 2003, privately urged him to step down.

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Social Action

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present Museum of Modern Art Skin Fruit New Museum William Kentridge: Five Themes Museum of Modern Art   The social history of art in our time will not be easy to write. A daunting range of factors must be taken into account. There is now a large, heterogeneous public aware that art is big business, and it is eager to follow developments in the auction houses, the commercial galleries, and art fairs such as the Armory Show in New York and Art Basel Miami Beach.

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Generations

Picasso: Mosqueteros--Gagosian Gallery Younger Than Jesus--New Museum The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984--Metropolitan Museum of Art Compass in Hand--Museum of Modern Art The exhibition of Picasso's late work at the Gagosian Gallery this spring was a phenomenon. Day after day, Gagosian's huge space on West 21st Street attracted a remarkably heterogeneous public, a mix of artists, art students, Brooklyn hipsters, well-heeled professionals, and European and Asian tourists, gathered together in a way I do not recall seeing before, certainly not in Chelsea. People did not just come and look.

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Red Herring

Why did Russia really invade Georgia? In late September, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov appeared before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and offered a rather stunning explanation. Lavrov--who previously spent a decade as Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, where he mastered the body of international precedents and U.N.

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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.

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When the Rose Revolution began in the fall of 2003, there was little reason to hope for a happy ending. Twelve years earlier, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia had stepped from communism into civil war. The old Communist eminence Eduard Shevardnadze may have brought greater stability when he took over the government in 1992, but his corrupt rule also generated huge new pools of ill will among the populace. Some of this disgust manifested itself in small, peaceful street protests.

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Paradigm Slip

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.

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A Fighting Faith

On January 4, 1947, 130 men and women met at Washington's Willard Hotel to save American liberalism. A few months earlier, in articles in The New Republic and elsewhere, the columnists Joseph and Stewart Alsop had warned that "the liberal movement is now engaged in sowing the seeds of its own destruction." Liberals, they argued, "consistently avoided the great political reality of the present: the Soviet challenge to the West." Unless that changed, "In the spasm of terror which will seize this country ...

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