Brussels

Sour Dour Baroness Ashton And The Deeds Of Bibi Netnayahu
March 21, 2010

The Baroness Ashton is a very unhappy woman. You can see it on her face, poor lady. And even the fact that she is now a “peer”--or should one still say “peeress”?--has not visibly altered her look. She is one of those ugly ducklings who has given her life to social causes, a type we all know. Alas, the outcome of such an existence is very rarely happiness. Take her work as treasurer of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), seen as a front by the Soviets, who secretly supplied as much as 38% of its budget.

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.

"Europe ought to buy Greece and make it the federal capital"
January 05, 2010

Greece is a joke. It is also a mess. And it is about to screw up Europe. Not that Europe is at all in good shape either. Anyway, the proposal comes from a quite coherent letter to Tuesday's Financial Times. As you can see from the headline above, the writer wants Greece to replace Belgium as the seat of Europe. But, then, what will happen to Belgium, whose only national assets are the lace industry, chocolate, and the bronze Mannekin Pis spraying his urine into a Brussels street.

Eight Pieces, Really One: Iran, Israel's Military Doctrine, The President And One Dumb Jewish Woman, The Wages of Copenhagen, The Christmas Terrorist, We Should All Stop Talking About The Middle East
December 26, 2009

Jews usually go out to the movies on Christmas ... and then they go out to eat "Chinese." I've spent it writing. Below is my harvest. I wish you all good cheer. Here are the motifs of my writing day. Alas, none of them cheery. 1. THE REAL GRIM REAPER: HOLY DAY VICTIMS IN IRAQ AND PAKISTAN 2. COLD COMMON SENSE ABOUT IRAN FROM, MIRABILI DICTU, "THE NEW YORK TIMES" 3. A WISE EUROPEAN FOREIGN MINISTER: "WE SHOULD SHUT UP ABOUT THE MIDDLE EAST" 4. A SOBER "TIMES" PIECE ON ISRAELI MILITARY DOCTRINE 5.

Sentence of the Day
December 15, 2009

From The Sun's report of the attack on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi: Mr. Berlusconi's office yesterday denied reports that he doodled pictures of women's underwear in climate talks in Brussels last week.

Frenemies
November 13, 2009

Last week’s U.S.-EU annual summit differed from its predecessors in ways that fuel the perception on the other side of the Atlantic that Barack Obama is just not that interested in Europe. First, there was the venue of the opening lunch: Blair House, the government’s official guest house, not the usual White House. Then, there was the luncheon’s host: Vice-President Joe Biden, not the president himself.

Is the Die Already Cast on Obama's Afghanistan Decision?
October 23, 2009

The NYT reports on the NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels, which featured a surprise appearance by General McChrystal: “What we did today was to discuss General McChrystal’s overall assessment, his overall approach, and I have noted a broad support from all ministers of this overall counterinsurgency approach,” said NATO’s secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Although the broad acceptance by NATO defense ministers of General McChrystal’s strategic review included no decision on new troops, it was another in a series of judgments that success there cannot be achieved by a narrower

Ironed Curtain
October 08, 2009

After the Russo-Georgian War in August 2008, the European Union found itself in a difficult position. Moscow had not only invaded a neighbor for the first time since the Soviet assault on Afghanistan in 1979. In recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, it had also broken the cardinal rule of post-cold war European security: that borders in Europe would never again be changed by force of arms. Yet Georgia, too, had clearly made mistakes, not the least in embroiling itself in a military conflict with Russia that Georgia's own allies had repeatedly warned against.

Our Afghan Ambassador: The Man in the Middle
August 21, 2009

When Zalmay Khalilzad was U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan in the aftermath of the 2002 war, it was a given that President Hamid Karzai would never make a decision without first consulting him. And Khalilzad also ruled over the American agencies in the country, including the military. More than ambassador, Afghan-born Khalilzad was America’s pro-consul in Kabul. U.S. Army Lieutenant General Karl W.Eikenberry, the ambassador nominated by Barack Obama earlier this year, enjoys no such pre-eminence.

Selves
July 15, 2009

The Beaches of Agnes--Cinema Guild The Windmill Movie--The Film Desk Human Rights Watch International Film Festival Naturally enough, the New Wave is rolling back. The tide of new French talent that flooded world screens just before and after 1960--bringing Godard, Truffaut, Rohmer, Rivette, Resnais, and Chabrol, among others--has been ebbing for some time. Movingly aware of this, Agnes Varda, one of the earliest if not one of the most eminent members of the group, has looked back at her life in a film. The Beaches of Agnes is autobiography as festival.

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