U.S., Egypt Co-Sponsor a Resolution on Freedom of Opinion and Expression. What the Hell is Going on? Only the A.P. Reported This: I Wonder Why.
October 05, 2009
This was the maiden sally of the United States at the U.N. Human Rights Council, a resolution under the rubric of "promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development." Phew! The measure was introduced by the U.S. and by Egypt, which, of course, has a long and sterling record as an insurer and defender of civilized liberties.
Deterred From Logic on Nukes
September 01, 2009
In the latest issue of Newsweek, Jonathan Tepperman has a very confused piece arguing that nuclear disarmament is a bad idea because “[t]he bomb may actually make us safer.” Taking a stand against Washington’s allegedly overwhelming “nuclear phobia,” he writes, “Knowing the truth about nukes would have a profound impact on government policy.” I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anyone suggest that they know “the truth” about nuclear weapons, but I’m quite certain that Tepperman hasn’t found it. The thrust of the article is that nuclear-armed states won’t fight each other because “all states are rati
The Cheney Fallacy
May 18, 2009
Former Vice President Cheney says that President Obama's reversal of Bush-era terrorism policies endangers American security. The Obama administration, he charges, has "moved to take down a lot of those policies we put in place that kept the nation safe for nearly eight years from a follow-on terrorist attack like 9/11." Many people think Cheney is scare-mongering and owes President Obama his support or at least his silence. But there is a different problem with Cheney's criticisms: his premise that the Obama administration has reversed Bush-era policies is largely wrong.
The Shah of Venezuela
April 01, 2009
The ideas that keep Hugo Chavez in power.
Washington Diarist: In Which We Engage
April 01, 2009
Is it really possible that in a Democratic administration the championship of human rights and the promotion of democracy will no longer figure conspicuously in the foreign policy of the United States? It is really possible. Oh, the stirring words will be spoken; the stirring words are always spoken. But in the absence of policies one may be forgiven for not being stirred by words. And so far even the language has been wanting in ardor. Idealism in foreign policy is so 2003. After all, the opposite of everything that George W. Bush believed must be true.
Cuba's Health Care Paradise
May 12, 2007
Apparently, Michael Moore went to Cuba. You can get Treasury Department permission if you are a journalist. So one question is: is Michael Moore a journalist? I don't know really. What I know is that he is a very smart buffoon. In any case, many Americans go to Cuba without being journalists. Just for travel or on pilgrimage, a left-wing version of pious Catholics going to commune with Our Lady of Guadalupe or the Black Madonna of Czestochowa. This is a silly law, a truly silly law, and so it is widely violated, even by completely non-political people who, let's say, just love Cuban music.
Black Hole; The other Guantanamo.
May 07, 2007
Early last spring, outside a guesthouse in Kabul where I was staying, an injured Afghan man limped up to the locked gate. He wore a blazer with suede elbow patches and leaned on crutches. Because a suicide bomber had attacked the building not long before, a guard blocked the entrance of the unannounced supplicant. The fact that the man refused to give his name didn't help his case.
May Day In Cuba
May 01, 2007
Happy May Day ... in Cuba Fidel Castro did not appear for the May Day festivities in Cuba today.
Sancti Spiritus Diarist
October 16, 2006
The first friend I make in Cuba is Chaviano, the bus station master in Trinidad. I have just finished a six-hour ride from Havana, and all is well except for the absence of my suitcase. "Unusual," says Chaviano, but not something to worry about. And, indeed, 24 hours later, in rolls the suitcase, missing nothing but an envelope marked cash--which, ingeniously, contained all my money. An investigation is launched, and Chaviano asks me to give an affidavit--this being Sunday and his afternoon off--at his home.
August 22, 2005
Guantnamo Bay, Cuba The detainee, by all appearances, is resigned to his fate. Throughout his hearing, he remains stoic, not once even shifting in his chair, let alone jostling the restraints that bind his wrists and ankles. His tan jumpsuit indicates his compliance with the camp guards. (The infamous orange jumpsuits are reserved for "problem" detainees.) When the panel of American military officers asks if he wants to submit additional statements on his behalf, he declines.