In China, a Show Trial Without the Show
August 09, 2012

BEIJING—Back when disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai still ruled Chongqing, he took a special interest in the optics of trials. Before his sudden fall from grace this spring, he was, after all, famous for his dramatic flair—and his most artful turn as politician-cum-showman was the aggressively publicized way in which he cracked down on organized crime, and potential threats to his personal authority.

Ai Weiwei Stands Up for Justice—Even for A Corrupt Official
August 06, 2012

“Chinese law is a big joke.” So says Ai Weiwei, China’s premier artist, in Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a documentary which was released late last month. In recent years, Ai has been the most prominent critic of his government’s repression and lack of transparency.

Breaking: The Olympics Will Overlap with the Presidential Campaign
July 23, 2012

Mitt Romney could still announce his running mate over the next few days, although at this point it seems unlikely that he will. What has seemingly been banned definitively is Romney's holding off this week while still announcing before August 13th. After all, one thing is agreed upon: watch out for the Olympics! “Romney’s second window opens around Aug.

Mitt’s Luck: The Mistaken Focus On ’99 As Pivot Point, UPDATED
July 13, 2012

The new questions about Mitt Romney’s sworn version of his 1999 departure from Bain Capital—which seems to contradict statements in SEC filings, testimony given to prove his Massachusetts residency, and corporate annual reports—are causing his campaign such a headache that someone in Romneyland was moved to float Condi Rice’s veep prospects last night as a diversion. The renewed focus on Bain, as I wrote yesterday, vindicates the Obama team’s decision to press forward with its criticisms of Romney’s tenure year despite the much-ballyhooed warnings of the mayor of the 68th biggest city in the

Our Test is Here
July 05, 2012

THE ARRIVAL in the United States of Winston Churchill coincides with bad news. In Libya, Rommel, instead of being routed, as we were led to expect a few weeks ago, has put the British tank forces out of action, captured Tobruk without a struggle, and driven his enemies back on the Egyptian border. Submarine sinkings in the Atlantic, and particularly in the western part of it, instead of coming under control as the comfortable predictions of the navy assured us they would, have markedly increased -- as we write, the radio reports nine sinkings in a single day.

One Billion Fans, One Terrible Team: Why is China’s National Soccer Team So Bad?
July 03, 2012

BEIJING, CHINA— On a Friday evening in May, more than 50,000 green-clad Beijingers streamed into Worker’s Stadium to watch the local soccer team, the Beijing National Security, play the Guizhou Harmonious Relations. Harmonious Relations lost that night, in more ways than one. The drone of vuvuzelas was punctuated with periodic chanting, mostly variations on the unprintable-in-English term shabi.

Mitt Romney's Man In Macau
June 13, 2012

There is the presidential candidate with very sharp words for China's business, trade and military practices: "We must change course. In the economic arena, we must directly counter abusive Chinese practices in the areas of trade, intellectual property, and currency valuation.

Revolutionary Road
June 08, 2012

 There is something beautiful and breathtaking about watching a hero of human rights make a clean getaway. The hero may go on to other troubles, and the shadows may triumph in the end. But not yet! Meanwhile, you catch a glimpse of that fleeting thing, freedom, as it goes loping around the corner. And the soul exults. The classic text on this most up-to-date of themes was written by Peter Kropotkin, the Russian anarchist, in his Memoirs of a Revolutionist, which he composed for The Atlantic Monthly in 1898 and 1899.

If Only Tom Friedman Had a Newspaper Column
June 07, 2012

I may be a card-carrying member of the liberal blogging guild, but I'm not a Tom Friedman hater. Seriously, I respect his body of work, going back to his days when he was reporting from Lebanon for the New York Times. I appreciate the breadth of his knowledge, which surely exceeds mine. And I admire his ability to produce columns for as long as he has been doing it. Opinion writing isn’t as easy as it looks. But Wednesday’s column was one of those that drove even me bonkers. And it’s not because the column as a whole was awful.

The Need to Lead
June 07, 2012

Strategic Vision: America and the Crisis of Global PowerBy Zbigniew Brzezinski (Basic Books, 208 pp., $26)  When it comes to offering a vision to guide American foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski’s latest book, unlike so much other literature of this type, refuses to lament or exaggerate the alleged decline in American power and influence. Instead Strategic Vision offers a kind of blueprint—a path that Washington must take, in Brzezinski’s view, to ensure a secure international order, in which free markets and democratic principles can thrive.