150 Years And Not One Day More
June 30, 2009

Bernie Madoff has been sentenced to 150 years in prison. He deserves every minute of his stay, although he probably doesn't deserve the comparatively lush prison arrangements made for white collar criminals. After all, this crime was about as intricately planned and self-consciously executed as any financial transgression in history.I know that many very smart people still don't get the particulars of Madoff's depravity.

Now We Know
June 17, 2009

Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America By John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev (Yale University Press, 637 pp., $35) If one were trying to define the lowest point in the long and venerable tradition of American anti-communism, surely it came in 2003, with the publication of Ann Coulter's Treason.

The Netanyahu Speech And The Peace Prospects
June 15, 2009

Officials of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah took just about no time to pronounce the death of the peace process.

Dodd Complex
June 03, 2009

The father, the son, and a Connecticut dynasty in peril.

Obama V. Cheney
May 21, 2009

In their dueling national security speeches today, Barack Obama was all shades of grey, and Dick Cheney was a familiar black-and-white portrait. In a way reminiscent of his March 2008 speech about race in America, Obama was in fine professorial form, laying out the case for closing Guantanamo, and his recent hard decisions about declassification, in a thoughtful, elegant and nuanced way. He was inspiring about the founding American principles that guided him, but realistic about the maddening realities that may force him to compromise those principles.

When Judges Go Bad
May 12, 2009

So let me get this straight: A federal judge in Texas gropes, kisses, and generally harasses two (that we know of) female subordinates (including his secretary, of all the pathetic cliches). When confronted, he lies, claiming that the gals in question were eager participants in all the boob fondling and crotch rubbing. When the preponderence of evidence against him at last leads to a guilty plea and a sentence of 33 months in federal prison, specifically for obstructing justice by lying to an investigative committee about his behavior, the honorable Judge Samuel B.

Pirates: Serious In The Past, Very Serious Now
May 07, 2009

The very literate and cultured foreign and military affairs commentator Max Boot--as opposed to the not so literate and cultured others--goes back into the literature on (and of) piracy. Yes, much of this history traces to the Arab sultanates who foraged the seas for boats that had actually come to the trade. So what's new? But Boot reminds that there was plenty of ocean pillage in the waters of south and east Asia. Is there much now? What to Read on PiratesMAX BOOT is the Jeane J.

Forest Fighters
April 24, 2009

Satipo, Amazon Basin, Peru--On the fourth floor of the National Museum in Lima, there's a photo exhibit of Peru's long "dirty war" against the leftist Shining Path guerrillas during the 1980s and '90s. A series of wall-sized photographs illustrate two decades of bombings, roundups, secret arrests, and massacres that left 70,000 dead. The exhibit has been criticized for both overstating and downplaying government atrocities, a sign that this era in Peru's history remains controversial.

Durban Ii Dispatch: Libya On Trial
April 19, 2009

Geneva, Switzerland Libya was chosen in 2007 to chair the preparatory committee for the UN Durban Review Conference--notwithstanding the irony of an egregious human-rights violator chairing a human rights conference. For the past three days, the committee has been holding sessions to finalize the conference's draft statement, upon which many countries will base their decision whether to attend the conference this week. On Friday, the last day, NGOs were given 30 minutes to weigh in.

The Shah of Venezuela
April 01, 2009

The ideas that keep Hugo Chavez in power.