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.
Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review: The American Left has shared this maddened perplexity at its country’s character and this hope for its effacement. Marxists at home and abroad were always mystified by the failure of socialism in the U.S. They thought that, as the most advanced capitalist society, we would have had the most restive proletariat. Instead we have had a broad and largely satisfied middle class. Even our unions, in their early history, were anti-statist, their radicalism anarchistic rather than socialist.
My hunch is that the hemorrhaging of oil in the Gulf of Mexico won't end until...well, until it ends. By which I mean until the last drop rises to the surface and there is no more below. No, I don't know when that will be, and neither apparently do the hot shot execs at what President Obama (in another swipe at London) called British Petroleum or. for that matter, the president himself. Of course, no one really does.
I’ve written myself about the Obama administration’s more-than-flatfooted policies on Syria (here, here, and here) and Iran (here, here, and here). So I am particularly gratified when I find myself in alignment with Barry Rubin, a truly brainy scholar with a slight polemical touch. His latest analysis is below. Syria is a galling instance of the president’s obsessions ... and for several reasons. A weak country, both economically and militarily, its only possible political sway is to exacerbate the hatreds of its neighbors towards Israel.
Julia Ioffe is a writer living in New York. Russian legislators summering in Sochi got a special visit from President Dmitry Medvedev yesterday when he came into town to introduce a bill that would radically expand his powers to declare war and move troops outside Russia’s borders. The law, as it stands now, is fairly narrow. Russia can mobilize to protect itself from invasion and to fend off aggression. That’s it.
I know that many people think that as long as two heads of state sign a document a real deal has been made.
Julia Ioffe is a freelance writer living in New York. If any proof were needed that the Russian political system operates in its own time-space continuum, it came this morning, when the parliament decided to deal with the country's economic meltdown by amending its constitution. The Duma fixed the 1993 text by decoupling presidential and parliamentary elections and approving term extensions for the president, from four to six years. The amendment, which President Dmitry Medvedev announced on November 5, was discussed for a scant two weeks and passed overwhelmingly: 392 to 57.
Cathy Young is contributing editor of Reason magazine and author of Growing Up in Moscow: Memories of a Soviet Girlhood. The death of Soviet political cartoonist Boris Yefimov on October 1, largely unnoticed in the West, was not quite the end of an era--Yefimov's era ended long ago--but the end of a life that, Zelig-like, was involved in every transition of the last century of Russian history. More than a century, in fact: Yefimov (born Boris Yefimovich Friedland, in Kiev in 1899) was 109 years old when he died. As a boy, he watched Russia's last Czar Nicholas II go by in a coach.
Here's our election day correspondent Michael Idov speaking (on camera!) about Dmitry Medvedev's victory in Russia's presidential race--reflecting on the great apathy it inspired and on what you should expect going forward. Check it out.