Dominican Republic

IN MITT ROMNEY’S 2010 campaign book, No Apology: The Case for National Greatness, the former Massachusetts governor cites twelve countries that the United States has invaded for the “cause of freedom.” Readers expecting to learn about World War II or the downfall of Slobodan Milošević might be surprised by Romney’s list.

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Last year, Hugo Chavez amended Venezuela's constitution and abolished term limits. The entire business was a bit odd, but not because the constitution was changed, which is quite common in Latin America. Nor was it because the changes involved extended his rule (which is equally common). No, what was unusual about the constitutional reform of 2009 was that abolishing term-limits was all it did. You see, constitutions are uniquely plastic in Latin America.

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I've just read the transcript of the president's remarks about Haiti, the ones he made on January 15. He noted that, in addition to assistance from the United States, significant aid had also come from "Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others." Am I missing another country that truly weighed in with truly consequential assistance? Ah, yes. There it is.

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The Disaster Pool

Anderson Cooper was one of the first reporters to arrive in Haiti after last week’s massive earthquake. According to a Los Angeles Times account, the CNN personality raced to the airport upon hearing the news and caught the last flight out of New York. Unfortunately, the flight he caught deposited him in the Dominican Republic, not Haiti. That forced him to catch a lift the following morning on a government helicopter, which nearly collided with a plane in the congested skies above Port-au-Prince. As it happens, though, Cooper’s epic journey to Haiti was fairly typical among journalists.

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Neo-McCain

I have liked John McCain ever since I met him almost a decade ago. At the time, I was writing a profile of then-Senator Fred Thompson, who was rumored to be considering a run for the presidency. I had been playing phone tag with the press secretaries of senators friendly with Thompson and was getting nowhere. I decided that, instead of calling McCain's office, I would drop by. I spoke to one of his aides, who asked me whether I had time to see the senator then.

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Island of Disenchantment

Charles Lane: Haiti's deteriorating democracy.

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Because he is using his powers as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to pressure President Johnson into a change of foreign policy, the name of Senator J. William Fulbright was dropped with a clang from the White House social list for six months, from last September until this March, when President Johnson apparently decided that wasn’t the way to influence an Arkansan. Fulbright’s response to the cease-fire took the form of three Christian A.

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He Was a Man of Principle

Headline, New York Times, September 10, 1962:  GENERAL WALKER SEIZES CAPITAL;    TANKS CIRCLE THE WHITE HOUSE;       NEW JUNTA PROMISES ELECTIONS From a “Letter from Washington, The New Yorker, September 22, 1962. Even in this blasé capital, there were some eyebrows raised by the whirligig of events that have made Major General Edwin A. Walker the provisional President of the United States until—or so his aides inform us—new elections are held in 18 months. That the army had become increasingly involved in the perturbations of politics had been known.

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For nearly 20 months a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary has been holding hearings, ostensibly on "the Communist threat to the United States through the Caribbean," presided over by James O. Eastland of Mississippi. He is assisted by Senators Dodd, Johnston of South Carolina, McClellan, Ervin, Hruska, Dirksen, Keating and Cotton. How many witnesses have been called has not been disclosed. The testimony of only a few has been released, and that has been edited before publication.

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