October 13, 2009
At the Non-Proliferation Treaty meeting beginning today in New York, Iran will try to shift the discussion to Israel’s nuclear weapons by proposing that the Middle East become nuclear-free. As historian Jeffrey Herf wrote at TNR Online last October, this is similar to a ploy the Soviets used in the 1980s: Our negotiations with Iran are not off to a good start. After the initial meeting in Geneva on October 1--with Iran on one side and Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the United States on the other--Iranian representatives said they had agreed to send processed uranium to Russia.
Obama's Nobel: Mixed Blessing at Best
October 09, 2009
It’s not often that the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize wonders whether he actually wants it. But that thought must have crossed Barack Obama’s mind when he was awoken at 6 a.m. this morning and told the stunning news. For Obama, winning the award after just nine months in office—for having created “a new international climate” of peace—is, at best, a mixed blessing.
Today At TNR (October 8, 2009)
October 08, 2009
My Term at Afghanistan’s Graduate School of War, by Ganesh Sitaraman Washington Diarist: The Trend in Dying, by Leon Wieseltier The Biggest Loser in the EU’s Report on the Russia-Georgia War Is … Europe. by Ronald D. Asmus Why Are Companies Fleeing the Chamber Of Commerce?, by Bradford Plumer How to Stimulate the Economy Without Passing Another Stimulus, by E.J. Dionne Jr. One Issue Where Obama Really Is Winning, by Barron YoungSmith Peretz: Neither Patraeus nor McChrystal Can Be Compared to MacArthur, by Marty Peretz What Are Dems Willing to Compromise to Pass a Climate Bill?
October 08, 2009
After the Russo-Georgian War in August 2008, the European Union found itself in a difficult position. Moscow had not only invaded a neighbor for the first time since the Soviet assault on Afghanistan in 1979. In recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states, it had also broken the cardinal rule of post-cold war European security: that borders in Europe would never again be changed by force of arms. Yet Georgia, too, had clearly made mistakes, not the least in embroiling itself in a military conflict with Russia that Georgia's own allies had repeatedly warned against.
The Colbert Report
October 07, 2009
The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert's Secret State Intelligence System By Jacob Soll (University of Michigan Press, 277 pp., $65) That resonant piece of verbal shorthand, TMI--or Too Much Information--would make a fine epigraph for our age. Anyone with an Internet connection today has access to exponentially greater quantities of writing, images, sound, and video than anyone on earth could have imagined just twenty years ago.
Quote of the Day: Obama on al Qaeda
October 06, 2009
Obama spoke at the National Counterterrorism Center today: We know that al Qaeda and its extremist allies threaten us from different corners of the globe -- from Pakistan, but also from East Africa and Southeast Asia; from Europe and the Gulf. And that's why we're applying focused and relentless pressure on al Qaeda -- by sharing more intelligence, strengthening the capacity of our partners, disrupting terrorist financing, cutting off supply chains, and inflicting major losses on al Qaeda's leadership. Notes John Dickerson: What country is missing?
Does It Matter If the World Loves Us?
October 05, 2009
In The New York Times on Saturday, the conservative writer and politician John R. Miller made a more-or-less convincing case that America's standing in the world is more-or-less irrelevant when it comes to conducting a successful foreign policy. Today, on Foreign Policy's website, two scholars summarize an American Political Science Association report on the same topic. The report's conclusion is the opposite of the one reached by Miller, and is broader in its argument.
Unquiet Flows the Don
October 05, 2009
Maurice Bowra: A Life By Leslie Mitchell (Oxford University Press, 385 pp., $50) As warden of Wadham College in Oxford, president of the British Academy, the author of well-known books on ancient Greek literature, and a conversationalist of legendary brilliance, Maurice Bowra seemed, in the middle of the last century, the very embodiment of Oxford life. Enjoying a huge international reputation as a scholar, a wit, and an administrator, he was duly elected into prestigious academies and awarded honorary degrees in both Europe and America. George VI knighted him in 1951.
Mark Lippert, Dedicated Reservist
October 01, 2009
Mark Lippert When I was at the White House reporting a story this summer, I ran into Obama's longtime foreign policy advisor Mark Lippert, a Naval reservist who is leaving his post as chief of staff at the National Security Council to return to active duty. (Lippert also did a tour of duty in Iraq from 2007 to 2008.) Lippert looked a little tired. He had just returned from Obama's whirlwind tour of Russia, Africa, and Europe. I asked whether he'd recovered from the trip yet. Not really, Lippert said. He explained that he'd gotten home well after midnight the previous Saturday.
Yes, There Are Muslim Terrorists In America, No Doubt About It
September 29, 2009
A few years ago The New Republic published an article denying that there were Muslim terrorists in the United States. It explained why the Muslim immigrants were different from those in Europe and also why America was different from Europe. I once heard this piece being quoted in an argument about the perils of Islamic terrorism at a Cambridge restaurant. "Oh my," I said to myself and to the folk with whom I'd been eating. "Magazines can be dangerous, too." There is not too much of this nonsense around these days. And almost everybody has learned the truth.