January 09, 2010
The Invention of the Jewish People By Shlomo Sand Translated by Yael Lotan (Verso, 400 pp., $34.95) By the books an age reads and respects ye shall know it.
John Yoo is Surrounded by Communists!
December 29, 2009
I see various groups are protesting a decision by a California government lawyer to teach a course with you that starts on Jan. 12, claiming he is legitimizing your unethical behavior. At Berkeley, protesting is an everyday activity. I am used to it. I remind myself of West Berlin--West Berlin surrounded by East Germany during the Cold War. Are you saying the citizens of Berkeley are Communists, reminiscent of those on the dark side of the Iron Curtain?
Line of the Day: Ron Brownstein
December 18, 2009
From a smart, provocative column about Governor Howard Dean and those who think it'd be better to scrap the Senate bill and start over: For Dean to insist that Senate Democrats start over after that grueling struggle is a little like suggesting that American troops on the outskirts of Berlin in 1945 should have retreated back to France because D-Day wasn't choreographed just right.
Squaring Idealism and Realism
December 14, 2009
PARIS -- Europeans are coming to terms with the fact that President Obama is not a miracle worker, and with the reality that everything he does is not magic. Oh, yes, most Europeans are still happy Obama is president.
December 10, 2009
Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity Museum of Modern Art Kandinsky Guggenheim Museum This is an autumn of anniversaries in two of New York’s most important museums. At the Museum of Modern Art, “Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity,” the exhibition saluting the ninetieth anniversary of the opening of the legendary German school of art, architecture, and design, also marks the eightieth anniversary of the founding of the Modern.
So Much Gasbaggery, So Little Time
December 03, 2009
Barack Obama convened his first official summit before he was even elected president. In October 2008, then-candidate Obama gathered a gaggle of business and political heavyweights--Paul Volcker, Eric Schmidt, Jennifer Granholm, Bill Richardson, etc.--in a Florida community college gymnasium for what his campaign billed as the “Growing American Jobs Summit.” “No cheerleading,” Obama admonished the 1,700 people who packed into the sweltering gym expecting a campaign rally.
November 28, 2009
Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations By Avi Shlaim (Verso, 392 pp., $34.95) Avi Shlaim burst upon the scene of Middle Eastern history in 1988, with the publication of Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine. Before that, as a young lecturer at Reading University in England, he had produced two books, British Foreign Secretaries Since 1945 (1977) and The United States and the Berlin Blockade, 1948–1949 (1983), and several revealing essays on modern Middle Eastern historical issues in academic journals.
Washington Diarist: Unmending Wall
November 19, 2009
The absence of Barack Obama from Berlin on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall may be explained in many ways, and one of the explanations may be his view of the world. He is kein Berliner. No, he is not soft on communism, not least because there is no longer any communism, at least of the classical kind, to be soft on. In the video message that was broadcast to the commemoration--it allowed him once again to have the stage to himself, and to describe his own election as a climactic event in “human destiny”--Obama spoke all the right words for all the right sentiments.
Rough as Velvet
November 17, 2009
Thomas Omestad covered the Velvet Revolution in Prague for the December 25, 1989, issue of TNR. Read his piece here. The opening moments of what became known as Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution” did not feel so velvety. Nor did the outcome of those events--a largely peaceful triumph of the people over a stifling authoritarian system--seem certain. For those on the streets of Prague on the evening of Friday, November 17, 1989, it was easy to imagine a tragedy-in-the-making and perhaps a reprieve, of sorts, for a dying regime.
Hope and Betrayal in Berlin
November 14, 2009
Twenty years ago, I was there when the Berlin Wall was coming down. What I witnessed about human aspiration in those magic November days in 1989 thrills me even now. But what it showed me about politics may be even more important. “What is freedom?” I began asking people as I waded through the crowd gathered at the Brandenburg Gate. To a middle-aged nurse it meant the flight of her co-workers to the West. There were 17 nurses left on her floor. There had been 50. “It’s bleeding us to death.” She didn’t blame those who had left for better jobs and a better life in West Germany.