Department of State
Slow to Anger
October 29, 2001
As well as bombs and food, American aircraft have been dropping leaflets over Afghanistan that say, "The partnership of Nations is here to assist the People of Afghanistan." It's unclear how many Afghans have been convinced their welfare is the primary aim of America's war. But the propaganda is certainly winning hearts and minds at the State Department, which has been busy plotting Afghanistan's political destiny.
October 22, 2001
“Anyone who thinks Islam is a religion of peace has never been to the Sudan,” said the county commissioner in Malual Kon, a small village nestled among farms and swampy grassland about ten miles from the front line of the country’s civil war. There, where Christians and animists have spent almost 20 years resisting the Sudanese government’s self-declared jihad, political correctness is in short supply. “They teach their children that killing a non-Muslim is a key to paradise,” the Christian official explained further.
October 22, 2001
The cold war is back in vogue. For a month now, politicians and commentators have been analogizing the newly declared war on terror to America's 40-year war against communism. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, for one, says, "This campaign will be waged much like the cold war, in the sense that it will involve many fronts over a period of time." But the parallel extends beyond similarities of scope and duration.
October 01, 2001
What do Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and Susan Sontag have in common? All acknowledge a truth that most Americans would rather not: that what took place last week was, as Sontag put it, "[not an] attack on 'civilization' or 'liberty' or 'humanity' or 'the free world' but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions." That those actions should be a source of pride and not a cause for selfflagellation is beside the point. Terrorist grievances aren't with America. They're with America's global power.
Where Angels Fear to Tread
July 24, 2000
Even for the Clinton administration, it was an extraordinary lie. “The United States did not pressure anybody to sign this agreement,” State Department spokesman Philip Reeker proclaimed at a press briefing in early June. “We neither brokered the Lomé peace agreement nor leaned on Sierra Leonean President Kabbah to open talks with the insurgents... It was not an agreement of ours.” Observers were stunned.
December 13, 1999
Richard Holbrooke knows about foreign policy feuds. In the late '70s, he was assistant secretary of state for Asia in the Carter administration—a young bull in the China shop. One morning, he answered his phone at 6:30 and received a tooth-rattling attack from National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was bent on cutting Cyrus Vance's entire (as Brzezinski saw it, leak-prone) State Department out of his forthcoming trip to Beijing.
July 05, 1999
Last Summer, when President Clinton picked Richard Holbrooke to be his new ambassador to the United Nations, Holbrooke's confirmation by the Senate seemed like a virtual formality. After all, even those who don't like Holbrooke's brash style concede that he's one of the Clinton administration's most effective foreign policy hands; and, as a political operator and self-promoter, Holbrooke's talents are legendary. But it won't be until June 17, exactly a year after Clinton announced Holbrooke's selection, that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee finally gets around to holding hearings on Holb
The Stasi and The Swan
April 19, 1999
In the spring of 1995, Jim Clark, who had spent half his life spying on others, was sure someone was spying on him. He first noticed the person when he got off the plane in Germany. Now, at the train station in Bonn, he could see the man's reflection in the ticket counter window.
November 27, 1997
Over a thousand delegates gathered in early October at the Sheraton Chicago for the fifteenth annual Hispanic leadership conference. The gleaming hotel, towering over the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, seemed emblematic of Hispanics' growing political heft. Speakers at the conference included former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry G. Cisneros, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, and Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman.
An Illusion for our Time
October 20, 1997
This week’s TNR cover story by James Mann deals with the vexing problem that China poses to the community of nations—and to the young Obama administration. Mann observes that, even as China has opened up economically, it has pursued an aggressive foreign policy. Writing in TNR thirteen years ago, Peter Beinart anticipated this situation.